Photoshop CS5 – Content Aware Fill

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content-aware-fill0By 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.

content-aware-fill1I 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-fill2Content-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.

content-aware-fill3I 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.

content-aware-fill4Looking 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. 😉


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