Paint.NET Clone Stamp Tool

Learn to use the Clone Stamp tool to improve your images

Paint.NET is a free photo-editing software for Windows PCs. It has a remarkable range of features for free software. One of those features is the Clone Stamp tool. As its name suggests, the tool clones pixels from one part of an image and applies them to another area. It is basically a paintbrush that uses one part of an image as its palette. Most professional and free pixel-based image editors have a similar tool, including Photoshop, GIMP and Serif PhotoPlus SE.

The Clone Stamp tool can be useful in many situations, including adding items to an image, removing items and basic cleanup of a photo.

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Preparing to Use the Clone Stamp Tool

Click File > Open to navigate to a photo and open it.

Zoom into the image to make the areas that you want to work on clearer and easier to see. In the bar at the bottom of Paint.NET's interface are two magnifying glass icons. Clicking on the one with the + symbol zooms in a few increments.

When you're zoomed in close, you can either use the scroll bars to the left and bottom of the window to move around the image or select the Hand tool in the Tools palette and then click directly on the image and drag it around.

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Select the Clone Stamp Tool

Selecting the Clone Stamp tool from the Tools palette makes the tool options available in the bar above the document window. You can then select a Brush width setting from the drop-down menu. The size you need is dependent upon the size of the area you want to clone. After setting a width, if you drag your cursor over the image a circle displays around the cursor cross hairs showing the selected brush width.

When the width is suitable, select a part of the image that you want to copy. Select the area to clone by holding down the Ctrl button and clicking your mouse button. You'll see that this marks the source area with a circle the size of the Brush width.

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Using the Clone Stamp Tool

When you use the Clone Stamp tool to copy regions of pixels from one location to another, the source area and destination area may be on the same layer or on different layers.

  1. Select the Clone Stamp tool from the Tool Bar.
  2. Go to the area of the image you want to copy from. Click the area while holding down the Ctrl key to set the source point.
  3. Go to the area of the image when you want to paint with the pixels. Click and drag the tool to paint with the copied pixels. You'll see a circle at both the source and the target areas to indicate where you are cloning and painting. These two points are linked as you work. Moving the stamp in the target area also moves the cloning location in the source area. So the tool path is being copied, not just the inside of the circle.
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Tips for Using the Clone Stamp Tool

  • The Clone Stamp takes its setting from the Brush Width, Hardness and Antialiasing settings on the Tool Bar.
  • Reducing the Hardness setting softens the edge of the stamp. A low Hardness setting makes stamped areas less obvious.
  • If Antialiasing is disabled, the Hardness setting is ignored.
  • Lower the opacity of the stamp by lowering the opacity of the Primary color and using the left mouse button when cloning. If you use the right mouse button, the opacity of the Secondary color is used.