How to Use Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop CS5
Using Content-Aware Fill
In the previous movie, we discussed how we can use the Clone Stamp tool and the Healing Brush in combination with the Patch tool in order to clean up this image. Yet let's say that we want to clean this up even further and let's say we don't have a lot of time. Well here what I want to do is take a look at what's called Content-Aware Fill, and I want to take a look at this in a couple of movies but introduce it here. Well, what I am going to do is go ahead and merge my underlying layers to my topmost layer, just so I have this on a separate layer so that we can really deconstruct how it works.
In order to do that, I will press a shortcut. It's Shift+Option+Command+E on a Mac; on a PC you press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. Let's name this new layer c3. All right. Well in this new layer what we are going to do is we are going to make a selection with one of our Select tools, in this case just the Lasso tool. I am going to go ahead and click and drag across this image and I am going to make a pretty rough selection of this photo here, and I want to make a selection of the top area.
What I want to do is I want to remove the top area of the image. I want to clean it up. Well I can do so by navigating to my Edit pulldown menu and then by choosing Fill. Now because Content-Aware Fill is actually so strong this may be a shortcut you want to write down, Shift+F5. Well either way, let's go ahead and open up the Fill dialog. What we are going to choose is Content-Aware. Now when we do that what's going to happen is is Photoshop is going to analyze the image, and it's going to try to fill this area with something that it thinks is good.
Now in this case it did a pretty decent job except we have a couple of little problem areas. One of the things that it thought was good was the Shadow. It liked the Shadow so it replicated that up here, but at the same time it also completely removed all of the erosion of this wall. Let's see how we could make this perhaps even better. Well you can navigate to Select and choose Deselect and see what we could do. Well here once again, what we could do is make a selection, in this case a smaller selection of the shadow, press Shift+F5 and then click OK.
Now what it's going to be able to do is to slowly build this up. So again, as we do this in smaller and smaller areas, pressing Shift+F5 and clicking OK, it's going to help us remove these problematic areas. We can even do with small things like cracks or like this area where the concrete has a little bit of a stain on it. Once again, Shift+F5 and then it will help me remove that. So we can use this particular tool in a number of different ways. Here what I'm trying to illustrate is just this whole idea that you can use this in this repetitive fashion in order to clean this area up in some pretty astounding ways.
Now one of the things that you may want to do at this juncture is let's say we want to remove this streak here. When we attempt to do that we can make a selection around this, then press Shift+F5. It's going to do a decent job of cleaning this up and also try to honor those shadows there. Let's press Command+D on a Mac or Ctrl+D on a PC. Yet it is still a little bit problematic. It's not perfect, although we could fix this up if we really wanted to. Well how could we fix it up? Let's take a look.
We could create a new layer, right, and we could click on the New Layer icon, and then we could use some of our different Healing or Cloning tools. For example, we could use Clone Stamp in order to remove that shadow area. We can reshape the front of this camera a little bit here and then go back with the Clone Stamp tool and just add a little bit of texture on top of that by Clone Stamping some of the texture back in. I also want to remove, while I am here, this little light spot on the shadow. I think that looks pretty good. All right. Well now that I have done those things, I want to merge this layer down to my c3 or my cleanup 3 layer.
I will do so by pressing Command+E on a Mac, Ctrl+E on a PC. Well, let's take a look at our before and after. Here we have it before and then after. When you take a look at this, it's actually incredibly stunning what's happening in that short amount of time and one of the things I am trying to illustrate here is just how you can begin to use this Content-Aware Fill. Sometimes this can be helpful for trying to fill in a particular area or sometimes like in this context, it can be used in multiple passes, multiple times in order to successfully remove content and really clean up this image and create this nice and clean and crisp image.
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