Friday, June 15, 2012

Content Aware Fill

Photoshop CS5 - Content-Aware Fill - Page 2

Back in a previous tutorial, we looked at how to stitch multiple photos together to create a panoramic image using thePhotomerge command in Photoshop CS4. We won't get into details here on how to create panoramic images since we covered it in the other tutorial, but if you've used Photomerge before, you'll be familiar with the problem seen in the image below.
This is the panorama I created in the tutorial as it appeared right after running the Photomerge command, which left me with lots of empty blank space around the image:
A panoramic image created with the Photomerge command in Photoshop CS5. Image © 2010 Steve Patterson, Photoshop
Photomerge is great at stitching images together, but it leaves lots of blank space around the result.
Normally (as in prior to Photoshop CS5), we'd get rid of all that blank space by simply cropping it away with the Crop Tool, but let's see what happens when we let Photoshop try to replace the blank areas with actual image detail using Content-Aware Fill.
I've gone ahead and merged all of the layers onto a single layer, and I'll quickly select the image by holding down my Ctrl(Win) / Command (Mac) key and clicking directly on the preview thumbnail in the Layers panel:
Clicking on the preview thumbnail in the Layers panel. Image © 2010 Steve Patterson, Photoshop
Holding Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and clicking on the preview thumbnail.
As soon as I click on the thumbnail, a selection outline appears around the image:
A selection outline appears around the panoramic image. Image © 2010 Steve Patterson, Photoshop
The image is now selected. The blank areas are not.
At the moment, the image is selected, but I don't want to fill the image with anything. I want to fill the blank space around it, so I need to invert my selection, which will select the blank areas and deselect the image. To do that, I could go up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Inverse, but I'll use the faster keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+I (Win) / Shift+Command+I (Mac):
The selection has been inverted. Image © 2010 Steve Patterson, Photoshop
The blank areas are now selected. The image is not.
With the blank area now selected, I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Fill, just as I did before, and I'll select the newContent-Aware option at the top:
The Content-Aware Fill option in Photoshop CS5. Image © 2010 Photoshop
Selecting Content-Aware in the Fill dialog box.
I'll click OK to exit out of the dialog box, and after waiting a few moments for Photoshop to analyze the image, we get the results. I'll press Ctrl+D (Win) / Command+D (Mac) to remove the selection outline so we can see the image better:
Content-Aware Fill was able to fill the blank area around the Photomerge image. Image © 2010 Steve Patterson, Photoshop
Content-Aware Fill was able to extend the image into the blank area.
Does Photoshop CS5 have some serious wow factor going on? I would say so. Again, the results aren't perfect. There's an obvious dark blotch in the clouds in the top right corner of the image and some of the water along the far left and right edges appears blurry, but Content-Aware Fill was able to do 80-90% of the work for me in a matter of seconds, leaving me with nothing more than a quick clean up with one of the other retouching tools. I'd call that impressive!
As we've seen, Content-Aware Healing and Content-Aware Fill are great new additions in Photoshop CS5, but they're certainly not the only new features. More are on the way!