Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with content-aware fill, part of Photoshop CS5 New Features.
Content-Aware Fill is one of the most impressive and useful new features in Photoshop CS5. This new capability makes it really easy to remove unwanted objects from a scene. Here, for example, I'd like to eliminate some of the elephants, the ones that are hiding in the bushes here and over on the right side. That could be difficult to accomplish using just the tools in the last version of Photoshop, like the Healing brushes or the Clone tool or maybe the Patch tool. But this is a snap to do using the more sophisticated technology behind Content-Aware Fill.
The first step is to make a selection around the elephants that I want to hide. I can use any of Photoshop Selection tools or features for that purpose. The good news is I don't have to make a really precise selection. So I'm going to use the Lasso tool, in this case, and just draw a rough selection around the elephants that I want to remove. With the Lasso tool, I come in and draw around this elephant. I'm drawing my selection close to him, but I don't have to be right up against him. Now I'm going to hold down the Shift key so that I can add to that selection, coming over to the right side of the document and selecting the elephants here in the bushes.
Next, I'm going to bring up the Fill dialog box, the same way that I've done in earlier versions of the program. I'll go the Edit menu and I'll choose Fill. In the Fill dialog box, I'm going to go to the Use menu and there I'm going to choose the new Content-Aware option. Then I'll just press OK. Keep your eye on the selected areas in the image and you'll see the elephants are gone and in their place is complex detail built from the surrounding trees and bushes. I'm going to deselect so that you can see that better. I'd say that this result is pretty impressive, given the complexity of the detail here.
Now, one caveat. You don't always get perfect results with this tool, for example, if I look closely over here, I can see a few artifacts here and here. If you don't like the results that you've gotten, you can always undo and either draw a new selection or use the Refine Edge controls on the selection that you already made. And as I covered in another movie, you can get to the Refine Edge controls from any of the Selection tools by pressing the Refine Edge button in the Options bar for those tools. Then after you've refined the edge of a selection, maybe smoothing it or shifting it so it's a little bigger or smaller, you can run the Content-Aware Fill function on it again.
So that's an example of using Content -Aware Fill to cover up or hide some content in an image. Let me show you another great use for Content-Aware Fill. To do that, I'm going to switch over to this image of a canoe and a couple of life preservers floating in the water. What I'd like to do here is to select this life preserver and maybe move it away from the canoe. I don't want to cover it completely, but you might expect that if I were to select the life preserver and then move it, I'd be left with a hole or a dent in the canoe here, because the life preserver is covering up the canoe and the reflection of the canoe in the water.
Let me show you how I can use Content-Aware Fill to fix that problem. The first step again is to make a selection around the blue life preserver and I'll also select its reflection and shadow here in the water. I've already made a selection like that, again, a rough selection that I made with the Lasso tool, which I'm going to load right now for you to save time. Now the next step is to copy the contents of that selection up onto a new layer. The shortcut for that, as in past versions of Photoshop, is to press Command+J on a Mac. That's Ctrl+J on a PC.
Now in the Layers panel there is a new Layer 1. If I make the Background layer invisible, you can see just what's on Layer 1. As you know, on the Background layer, I still have that life preserver. So what I want to do is to run Content- Aware Fill on the Background layer to fill in this area with detail from the water surrounding it. What I think is really amazing is that when I do that, Content-Aware Fill is going to actually build the edge of the boat and the red reflection of the boat in the water. Let's see how that works.
First, I want to load the selection around the life preserver again. One way to do that is to take advantage of the transparency on Layer 1. I'll hold down the Command key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on the PC and click on the Thumbnail on Layer 1 to load this selection. Then I'm going to go back and click on the Background layer and I'm going to run Content-Aware Fill. Now here is a new wrinkle, I don't have to go up to the Edit menu and choose Fill, instead when I'm working on a special Background layer like this one, which is often the case when I'm working with a photograph, all I have to do to bring up the Fill dialog box is to press the Delete key on the Mac or the Backspace key on the PC, like this, and there is my Fill dialog.
I'll make sure that Use is set to Content-Aware and I'll click OK. I'm going to deselect and you can see that here on the Background layer, Photoshop has done a very nice job of filling in where the blue life preserver used to be and building for me this red glow in the water and building in an edge to the boat here. Now, I'm going to go back and make Layer 1 visible again. Layer 1 contains that copy of the life preserver, you'll remember. Because I've run Content-Aware Fill on the background layer beneath the life preserver, I can move the life preserver or transform it or rotate it, or even run the Puppet Warp on it.
I'm just going to move it so you can see how this works. I'll select Layer 1. I'll make sure I have the Move tool and then I'm going to click-and-drag in the image. Now the only trick here is moving it to a place where its content and its color look realistic against the background. So I move it to around there. Now I do notice that there is little bit of red around the life preserver. I can fix that by going back and making a tighter selection. But I'm going to leave it as is for now. I'm also going to suggest that you practice further on this image if you have the exercise files.
You'll find a selection already made for the red preserver that you can access from the Select > Load Selection menu. You can try making your own selection around this canoe that I just did with the blue life preserver to give yourself further practice with this new feature. I think you're really going to love Content-Aware Fill. It's useful not only for photographers but for designers and any Photoshop user who is looking for a quick and easy way to replace content in an image. You'll find the same fantastic Content- Aware technology in a related feature, Content-Aware Spot Healing, that you can use when you're trying to replace thin content, like a stray telephone wire, as I'll show you how to do in another movie.
- Performing Content-Aware Fill and spot healing
- Painting realistic brush strokes with bristle brush tips
- Blending paint with canvas colors with the Mixer Brush tool
- Selecting hair and other soft edges with fine detail or edges with sharp contrast
- Extruding 2D objects in 3D space
- Creating surrealistic and photorealistic HDR images in Merge to HDR Pro
- Simulating HDR imaging in a single photo with the HDR Toning adjustment
- Working with Mini Bridge