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I've wondered about this for a while. I've look in Adobe's documentation, but no luck there. I've also searched here. Anyone have an idea?

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    This will probably blow your mind, so prepare yourself. The answer is... when it doesn't work for your situation. – dpollitt Oct 25 '14 at 19:33
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Almost never. At least for photographs (graphic designers and illustrators might find great utility in the "create texture" option). The only reason, really, would be when (a) repeated attempts using the content aware option failed to produce anything other than a mess, (b) no appropriate sampling point is available for the healing brush (proper), the clone stamp or the patch tool, and (c) you're not too terribly close to an edge. There might be something about an image (or a point in an image) that makes the quasi-random nature of the content aware tool, well, have a bit of a spasm. At that point, it might be worth trying the proximity match option — the worst you'll get is CS4-quality healing.

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As a user of PS, I NEVER use Content Aware Healing tool. To me, it is NOT accurate! ( I have tried it at great length) It samples tones based on mathematical calculations, which from my experience are never correct!.

If I was to use the tool to correct blemishes near the edge on a face, which happened to be on a solid background, PS will take a sample from both, the face and the background, leaving me with a mess to clear up! Same applies to healing anything near a solid structure. PS will just fuse the two tones together!

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  • Your answer is good, in that it says why you'd want to avoid the spot healing brush at all, but it doesn't answer the question that was asked. (And if you really want to avoid tone problems, try healing combined with frequency separation. An action — well, a pair, since the procedure is slightly different for 8- and 16-bit images — makes it quick and simple to work on texture and tone separately. Since the cleanest matching textures often come from areas of different tone and vice-versa, frequency separation will usually give the best results.) – user32334 Oct 25 '14 at 20:43
  • @user32334 - you're spot on about frequency Separation. Smooth with 1 layer and tone with the other. Works every time. Perfect for Perfect Prints. Content aware is too Obvious in Prints, especially 24" Plus. To confess, I have used it to clear sensor/Lens dust from the sky before, but thats it! – Abdul Quraishi Oct 25 '14 at 21:02
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Generally I find that the tool is less useful we there are areas of high contrast just outside of the selection area. That said, a second pass will typically clear up any extraneous elements that got pulled in from the CA fill.

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