By now, you have heard a lot of hype about the magic of Photoshop CS5’s new Content-Aware Fill. After testing it, I can confirm that it really is pretty magical. Many of the sample images you have already seen are chosen to be perfect situations for Content-Aware Fill. I decided to give you a real world photo with a real world result. I did use Content-Aware fill to remove the tourist in the original photo, but the end result was only 85% complete and required several steps.
1. Create a selection around the content to be removed.
I used the Polygonal Lasso Tool to create a quick selection around the tourist in the foreground and a few tourist behind him. I made sure to include some of the surrounding texture in the original selection. Content-Aware is a new option in the Use drop-down of the existing Fill Command ( Edit > Fill ).
2. Modify the selection and re-apply the Content-Aware Fill.
Content-Aware Fill does a great job at rebuilding the red steps. With each application, the Fill creates a portion that is good enough to keep. I then held-down the Alt/Option Key while using the Polygonal Lasso Tool to reduce the selection to only the portion that still needs fixing.
I repeated this process four times, with each step getting closer to the desired result. 85% complete in just a few minutes.
3. Complete the image with standard Photoshop techniques.
Looking at the last Content-Aware Fill image, I saw a few things that needed a human touch. The red steps needed straightening and the blonde did have a few extra legs. I completed the retouching with cloning, blending, etc. Be sure to look for obvious repetitive patterns. Content-Aware Fill uses a portion of the existing photo as a source, so look for obvious doppelgangers. (Hint – take a look at the tourists at the top of the stairs.)
The final result is impressive and much faster than starting from scratch. Content-Aware Fill is a powerful addition to Photoshop CS5. But, it can only take you so far. The rest is still up to you. 😉