Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Content-Aware Fill, part of Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth.
Did you ever want to remove a person or a distracting object from a photograph? In the past that could be quite challenging, but now it's relatively easy, using a new feature in Photoshop CS5 called Content-Aware Fill. And what's interesting about Content -Aware Fill for this course is that Content-Aware Fill requires you to make selections because what the Content-Aware Fill feature does is fill a selection with photographic detail that matches the surrounding content.
So let's say that I want to remove this statue from its location here in the garden. And to take it a step further, I'm not only going to remove it; I'd like to move a copy of it to elsewhere in the image. To accomplish that, I first have to put the statue on its own layer, so that I can move it without disturbing the rest of the image, and this is the first time that a selection comes into play with this technique. I am going to use the Quick Selection tool to select the statue. This tool is a favorite selection tool, because it selects not only on the basis of color and tone, but it also recognizes object edges.
And that means it should do a great job of selecting this light statue from its dark backdrop. I've made my brush tip relatively small, and I'm just going to click in the image with the Quick Selection tool and drag over the statue, and Photoshop automatically selects the statue for me. I'll go into the nuances of the Quick Select tool in detail in a separate movie, and I'll also cover in a separate movie how I would refine the edges of the selection like this. But for now, I just wanted you to see that this is another time that you're going to want to make selections.
Now that I've made this selection around the statue, I can copy the statue onto its own layer, so that I can move it without disturbing the rest of the image. To do that, I'll go up to the Layer menu, I'll choose New > Layer via Copy, or I could use the common keyboard shortcut: Command+J on the Mac, or Ctrl+J on the PC. Now in the Layers panel, there is a brand-new layer. I'll make the Background layer invisible by clicking its Eye icon, so you can see the content of the new Layer 1. I am going to name Layer 1.
I'll call this statue, and then I'll make the Background layer visible again by clicking in its Visibility field. Now remember, I said that I wanted to move the statue to a different part of the photo. So I'll select the Move tool in the toolbox. I'll make sure that the statue layer is targeted in the Layers panel, and then I'll click and drag anywhere in the image to move that copy of the statue to elsewhere in the photo. But I still have the original statue down on the Background layer.
That's okay because here is where I can use a selection with Content-Aware Fill to remove the original statue from the Background layer. I don't want to reuse the same relatively precise selection that I used to create the statue layer, because Content-Aware Fill seems to do a better job with a selection that's a bit looser than that one, and includes a bit of the background. So I'm going to make the statue layer temporarily invisible, just so that I can see all around the original statue. And then I'm going to go to the toolbox, and I'll select the Lasso tool.
The Lasso tool is a free-form selection drawing tool, which I'll go into in more detail in a separate movie. But for now I'm just going to use it to make a rough selection around the statue that includes just a bit of its surroundings. I'll click, hold my mouse down, and just drag a rough selection around the statue. Here, I've gone into the statue a bit, so I'm going to add to this selection by going up to the Options bar for the Lasso tool and clicking the Add to selection icon. Then I'll come in, and I'll just add a little bit, right there right, where I went over the finger of the statue.
So this is the second time that a selection comes into play in the technique that I'm showing you. What I want to do now is to fill this selection with photographic content that Photoshop interpolates from the surrounding area. I'll go to the Layers panel, and I'll make sure that I have the Background layer selected. If I don't, I'll click on the Background layer. I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I'll choose Fill, or I could press Shift+Delete on my keyboard to bring up this Fill dialog box.
Here, I'll go to the Use menu, and I'll choose Content-Aware, and then I'll click OK. In just a moment, Photoshop auto- magically fills the selected area of the Background layer with detail that matches the photographic surroundings. Now the fill isn't perfect. If I deselect by pressing Command+D on the Mac or Ctrl+D on the PC, you can see, if you look closely, where the edges of the fill are. But I could fix that by working on these edges with other tools like the Clone Stamp tool.
But I am not going to do that right now because the point of this movie is to focus on the use of selections when you're using Content-Aware Fill. I am going to go back to the Layers panel and make the statue layer visible again. So you can see where I've moved the copy of the statue. To sum up, in this tutorial I use selections for two purposes: first to select a portion of an image so that I could put it on its own layer, the statue layer, where I could move it without disturbing the rest of the image, and second to remove an object from the original photograph by filling a selection around it using the new Content-Aware Fill feature.
So Content-Aware Fill offers a couple of important opportunities to use selections.
- Understanding the when and why of making selections
- Combining and transforming selections
- Selecting fine detail with Refine Edge
- Capturing soft and hard edges in one selection
- Understanding the relationship of selections to masks
- Removing color fringe around selections
- Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
- Working with the Color Range command
- Selecting with the Pen tool and paths
- Making easy selections with the Quick Selection tool
- Working with Refine Mask
- Sharing selections between images