Tutorials – Photoshop CS5 Content-Aware

There’s been lots of talk concerning the updates to the Adobe CS5 suite since it’s release.

More importantly, for us photographers there have been a bunch of cool updates to Photoshop CS5. A real handy one being the a new method of replacement fill with “Content-Aware“:

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware

What exactly is replacement fill with “Content-Aware” and how do you use it?

Put simply, Photoshop will replace a selection within an image with content from elsewhere in the same image that it determines best matches what’s being removed.

It comes into it’s own where the clone-stamp tool and delicate selection would previously be used.

Using that method the user samples the required pixels and applies them elsewhere in the image.

Using “content-aware” Photoshop takes the guess work out of it for you.

Sound confusing?

Perhaps an example of it in practice is in order?

This lovely wedding photo taken by Don Chu is SCREAMING at me to remove the graffiti smack bang in the center of the image, and also the no-standing sign to the right. The “one way” sign can stay as it ties in really nicely with the massive red arrow and it’s kinda symbolising that a wedding is moving forward, not backward, but that’s just my take on it!

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware

01. First step is to make your selection, using whatever selection method you like to work with.

For this image, the graffiti is kinda squarish, so I’ll make my selection with the Rectangle Marquee Tool:

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware - making the selection

Here’s the image with the selection made:

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware - selection made

02. Then it’s as simple as smashing the “delete” key on your keyboard and up pops the “Fill” dialogue box we are all familiar with.

Only thing different is there is now the option (nicely set as the default!) to fill with “Content-Aware

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware - the new Fill dialogue box with Content-Aware option

For the Blending options, leave them set to defaults:
Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%

03. Hit return on your keyboard and BAM! graffiti is gone and replaced nicely with bricks sampled from elsewhere in the image! Photoshop does all the guess work and in this instance it worked well. It’s not seamless, however for a client who never knew the graffiti was there in the first place it’s perfect.

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware - BAM! Graffiti is removed. Too easy.

And here’s the image with the same steps above also applied to the no standing sign to create the final image:

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware - Graffiti gone, No Standing sign gone.

Again, it’s not perfect, but it will certainly save a bunch of time and effort when working on multiple files.

Download a high res version of the image used in this tutorial to try for yourself here.