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Sometimes when you take a photograph in the field it's not until you get home when you realize that maybe the aspect ratio of the original shot isn't quite what you wanted it to be. Take for example this image. I might actually want to crop down this image so that it's maybe a 4 x 5 aspect ratio instead of 2 x 3 aspect ratio. Of course the problem with just using Free Transform to change the aspect ratio would be that it's going to start squishing all the buildings. Let me show you what I mean. If we go to Edit > Free Transform and I just start pulling in this side in order to make my image the aspect ratio that I want it to be, now all of the sudden all of my buildings are squished.
So let's escape out of that. And instead of using Free Transform, I'm going to use the Content-Aware Scale feature in Photoshop. What the Content Aware Scale feature does is that it tries to analyze your image, and it's going to look from top to bottom and left to right in your image and it's looking for low-frequency areas, so areas like this that don't have a lot of detail, as opposed to maybe an area like this where you've got a lot of detail going through this barn.
When I start making this image smaller by dragging the handle on the left-hand side, you can see that the buildings aren't really changing. What's changing is the space in between the buildings. The space right here is being compressed, the space right here, as well as the space over here on the right side on each side of this red building. Let me show you the difference. If I use the Amount slider here at the top, right now we're using 100% Content-Aware Fill. But if I move the slider to the left, we can see what this would look like with Free Transform.
You can see if I was just using Free Transform, all of a sudden the church and some of the other buildings got a lot taller. With using Content-Aware Fill, we can see that the buildings keep their original perspectives even though I am changing the aspect ratio of the entire image. So I've used this a lot when I've photographed a landscape, something similar to this, but then I want to actually use that image in a square format in one of my composites. In order to apply it, we'll the tap Enter or Return and if I just toggle Undo and Redo, Command+Z and Ctrl+Z, you can see the Content-Aware Scale does a much better job keeping the original buildings than if I had to do this with Free Transform.
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