Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustration by Richard Downs

Content-Aware Fill


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Content-Aware Fill

Over the course of this chapter, we're going to take this photograph of this attractive young person, as captured by photographer Matthew Dula, and we'll away her blemishes, we'll paint away some of the stray hairs across her face, we'll recolor the makeup under her eyes, so it's a better match for her natural skin tones. We'll get rid of some of the shine across her forehead and over here on her left-hand cheek. We'll also whiten her teeth and then finally, we'll add some saturation to her eyes. We'll ultimately come up with this final retouched image.
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  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 18s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 13s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 34s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 9s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 47s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 11s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
6h 39m Beginner Apr 26, 2012

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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals is a concise and focused introduction to the key features in Photoshop, presented by long-time author and Adobe veteran Deke McClelland. This course covers the image editing process from the very beginning and progresses through the concepts and techniques that every photographer or graphic designer should know. Deke explains digital imaging fundamentals, such as resolution vs. size and the effects of downsampling. He explains how to use layers to edit an image nondestructively and organize those edits in an easy-to-read way, and introduces techniques such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, correcting and changing color, and retouching and healing images. These lessons distill the vast assortment of tools and options to a refined set of skills that will get you working inside Photoshop with confidence.

Topics include:
  • Opening an image from Photoshop, Bridge, or Camera Raw
  • Navigating, zooming, panning, and rotating the canvas
  • Adding, deleting, and merging layers
  • Saving your progress and understanding file formats
  • Cropping and straightening
  • Adjusting brightness and contrast
  • Identifying and correcting a color cast
  • Making and editing selections
  • Enhancing portraits by retouching skin, teeth, and eyes
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Content-Aware Fill

Over the course of this chapter, we're going to take this photograph of this attractive young person, as captured by photographer Matthew Dula, and we'll away her blemishes, we'll paint away some of the stray hairs across her face, we'll recolor the makeup under her eyes, so it's a better match for her natural skin tones. We'll get rid of some of the shine across her forehead and over here on her left-hand cheek. We'll also whiten her teeth and then finally, we'll add some saturation to her eyes. We'll ultimately come up with this final retouched image.

And notice that she's the same person she ever was. I haven't healed away any of the creases or smile wrinkles or any of the details that make us interesting to look at. This is not Botox and that's very important. Rather, it's about achieving a smoother, more evenly rendered portrait, and that really is the key to successful retouching. Now I am going to switch back to my original photograph. In this movie, I'll show you how to work with one of Photoshop's best automated retouching tools, which is Content-Aware Fill.

Before I set about working on this image, because virtually, all of Photoshop's retouching tools are static. Meaning that they permanently modify the pixels. I'm going to go ahead and create a copy of this image so I can come back to the original later on if I need it. So I'll press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to jump the background. And I'll go ahead and call it Retouch and then click OK. Now I'll start off by demonstrating how Content-Aware Fill works and then I'll show you a practical application.

Using my Rectangular Marquee tool, I'm going to select a rough area in the middle of the face. So I'm selecting around her nose as you can see. I want the selection outline to match the angle of her face, so I'm going to rotate it independently of the image by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Transform Selection command. Now notice, if you drag on the handles, you can scale the selection after the fact, and if you drag outside the selection outline, then you can rotate it. And I'm going to rotate the selection to about 12 degrees, works out nicely.

And I can see 12 degrees in the heads up display right next to my cursor. And then I'll release my mouse button and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to complete the rotation. And I'm also going to nudge the selection to the right a little bit by pressing the Right Arrow key a few times. Now let's heal away the nose. Now you know this is not a practical retouching technique. However it does demonstrate how Content-Aware Fill works. To access the function, you go up to the Edit menu and choose the Fill command, and that brings up the Fill dialog box.

You can also access this dialog box by pressing Shift+Backspace on the PC or Shift+Delete on the Mac. Go ahead and set Use to Content-Aware and then make sure the Blending Options are set to their defaults, by which I mean, a Mode of Normal and Opacity of 100%, Preserve Transparency should be turned off. Then go ahead and click OK in order to fill in that selection outline. What Photoshop is doing, is it's looking outside the selection for details that should be cloned into the selection.

And is basing its decisions on the luminance levels and details that it finds along the perimeter of the selection outline. And everything that it puts into the selection is something that was formerly outside the selection. So all those details associated with the nose are completely and entirely replaced. If I press Ctrl+H or Command+H on a Mac to hide the selection outline, you can see that in this region right here, where we're seeing the shading next to the nose, right at that location, Photoshop sees that there are darker details and repeats darker details inside the selection.

You'll see a variety of details, by the way, from all over the image and you may see some details repeat here and there as well. So there's a lot of random detail juggling going on. Now I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to bring back the nose because after all, it's very positive detail inside this photograph. Then I'm going to zoom in on what is perhaps the biggest blemish which is this item over here on the cheek just to the right of the nose. Let's start by selecting and using the Lasso tool. Now bear in mind, the perimeter of the selection outline makes a big difference in terms of how Content-Aware Fill behaves.

So we want to select well outside the blemish in order to tell Photoshop that this unblemished region of the skin is the area that we want to match. Then I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide the selection outline and I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+ Delete on the Mac to bring out the Fill dialog box. Everything is set the way it should be because Photoshop remembers the last application of this command. So in other words, Use is already set to Content-Aware, so all I have to do is click on the OK button and Photoshop goes ahead and replaces that detail.

It may or may not do exactly the job that you're looking for. One way to alter the results is to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Press Ctrl+H or Command+H to bring back the selection outline. Then press the Shift key, for example, and drag with Lasso tool to include just a little more detail like that, and then try again. Press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac, click OK and evaluate the results. And at this point, things are looking okay but not perfect, and they never are.

Each and every one of the retouching tools is going to deliver a different result--not always a good result, but that's okay as long as you're moving in the right direction. Because for example, let's say I'm not very happy with this region right there, that sort of scrapey detail, I'll just go ahead and reselect this area, like so, and then press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac in order to bring up the Fill dialog box. Click OK and that's starting to look better. So just to give you a sense of what we've been able to achieve so far, I'm going to zoom out from the image and then go ahead and pan down.

This is the original version of that blemish detail, and this is a healed version so far, not perfect but a lot better, thanks to the automation of Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals .

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Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting graphic design on
Q: When I double click the welcome.psd file included with the exercise files, I get the following error message:

"Some text layers contain fonts that are missing. These layers will need to have the missing fonts replaced before they can be used for vector based output."

Unlike the TIF and JPEG files which display and open correctly, all the icons for PSD files are blank but other than the welcome.psd file, they seem to open correctly without the error message. Is this a problem that I should address (perhaps re-download the files or find the missing fonts)?
A: The TIFF and JPEG files are flat, so they don't contain fonts and the operating system can interpret them (and generate thumbnails) without help from Photoshop. The PSD files have two issues:

First, they may contain editable text complete with font info. The files are designed with fonts that ship with Photoshop, so you don't get error messages, but Adobe sells some versions of Photoshop without fonts. This may be your issue.

Second, the PSD files contain no flat previews. This makes for smaller files, but it means the operating system, Mac or Windows, cannot generate previews. That won't effect your experience in Photoshop, but it does mean you can't see the file until you open it.
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