Sunday, July 18, 2010

Content-Aware Fill: Photoshop CS5

Content-Aware Fill is an intelligent, new feature in Adobe Photoshop CS5. It works like the Clone Stamp tool but makes things a lot easier by allowing you to select a custom area and fill it with surrounding pixels. It is intelligent in the sense that it does all the hard work of blending and mending the edges to make it look like your photo was never edited.

Here is a simple example:

You want to remove or "erase" the woman in the picture so that only the flowers in the background are visible. Sure, you can do this using the clone stamp tool but it would take forever to stamp flowers all over the woman.

But, with Photoshop CS5's Content-Aware Fill, you can just select the woman using the Quick Selection tool and "fill" her in.

Above, I have roughly selected the woman. When you do this, make sure to select all the way to the edges of the object you want to fill. It doesn't matter if you go over the edge a little bit because we will be doing just that in the next step.

Next, we extend the selection edge by a few pixels to give a sort of allowance for the fill. Go to Select>Modify>Expand.

Now, we can fill in the selection by going to Edit>Fill and selecting Content-Aware in the Contents area. Or you can just hit SHIFT+F5 to open the Fill Window.

And here you have the flower field without the woman:

Okay, so this one turned out quite well. I may have said that it's "intelligent" but there are limits to what it can do. Sometimes the fill is so obvious and you just can't get the result that you want. This is especially true if the background of your picture is very varied and does not have a somewhat consistent pattern. The picture above is quite simple because the flower pattern is consistent in direction and depth. Otherwise, you really can't rely on this feature alone to mend your pictures. You still have to do some editing yourself using the earlier tools such as the Clone Stamp tool.

Well, overall, the Content-Aware Fill is one brilliant feature, despite some minor limitations. ^^ It saves a lot of time in photo-editing - you just select and fill an object and make it look like it just became invisible.

Credits: Photoshop is a trademark of the Adobe Corporation.

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