February 17, 2007

How the Healing Brush came to be

The new issue of Computer Graphics World features an article from Adobe VP of engineering Dave Story, discussing the origins of the Healing Brush*.  He writes,

The inspiration for the Healing Brush came from something you might hear in a Physics 101 lecture: When you place a piece of metal on a heated surface, heat diffuses through the metal until it reaches a steady state. But what does heat diffusion have to do with pixel restoration? More than you might think.

Dave mentions Poisson image editing and the Laplace equation, but overall he keeps the discussion out of the techier weeds.  If you eat that stuff for breakfast & want something more bracing, you could try this math-heavy 1-pager on covariant image reconstruction from Todor Georgiev, who is featured in Dave’s write-up.

*On the off chance you’re unfamiliar with this technology, here’s a PDF for background on the Healing Brush.

Posted by John Nack at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2007


  • Mordy Golding — 5:16 PM on February 17, 2007

    As a parenthetical note, I take credit for the name “healing brush”. I believe that Kevin Connor (of the PS team), Maria Yap (of the ID team at the time), and myself (of the AI team at the time) were in the San Jose CBC (Customer Briefing Center) showing a high-profile customer future versions of each of our products.
    During Kevin’s presentation, he decided to show this new brush that was being developed. At the time, even other teams within Adobe hadn’t seen this new brush yet, and it was indeed the first time I had seen it. Kevin had mentioned that the team hadn’t thought of a name yet for the tool.
    After Kevin had used the brush to sample skin from a baby onto an image of an older man with a wrinkled face, I told both Kevin and Maria that they should call it the “healing brush”. I don’t know who came up with the band-aid idea for the icon of the tool.
    [Good stuff. I’m glad we didn’t have to go with the original name, which matched the early behavior: the Make It Look Blurry Tool. ;-) –J.]

  • keith — 5:56 PM on February 17, 2007

    The origins of the Healing Brush… I find that “stuff” fascinating, thanks for the info. Yea I’ve stumbled onto other sites to discover that there’s a whole lotta math going on – behind the scenes with digital imaging & filters. I belong to a group of volunteer retouchers (OperationPhotoRescue) and looked up the math that’s behind the filter that removes texture from an image – amazing. Is the math the same on the plane in Spain?
    [No; the Spanish version uses more tildes. –J.]

Copyright © 2020 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy and Cookies (Updated)