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Teaser: Photoshop CS5 Extended’s Content Aware Fill

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By Photoshopman a.k.a. Gary Small

Hi everyone! Well, I know the buzz is on with the announcement by Adobe of CS 5! As one of the people privileged to work with the beta/pre-release of Photoshop CS 5 Extended, I can tell you it’s an amazing upgrade. There are not only a bunch of new tools and features, but most of the tools and functionality of Photoshop across the board have been greatly improved. It’s like a whole new program!

I was going to write a long article, covering all the new features, but since I know many of you are dying to see what’s new as quickly as possible, I decided to put out a few teasers a little at a time, just to whet your appetites. I’ll try to publish as many as I can as quickly as I can.

So on that note, here is the first installment—what I think is by far the best new feature in Photoshop CS 5: Content Aware Fill.

Content Aware Fill is like the Patch Tool on steroids. I won’t even attempt to explain the technology behind it (because frankly I don’t understand it myself!), but the way it works is incredible. Let’s say you have an object, or even a person, or just about anything (trees, cars, telephone poles, exit signs) that you want to remove from a picture. In the past, it would take hours of Cloning, Healing, and Patching. Along comes Content Aware Fill, and reduces the work to mere seconds.

Here’s a nice outdoor scene with a bride and groom by a bridge. I love the scene and would like to re-use it, or make a background image out of it. But I need to get rid of the bride and groom to do so. All I have to do in Photoshop CS 5 is select the bride and groom (I used the Lasso tool to make a loose selection), then either hit the Delete key (if you’re working on the Background layer), or go to the menu and click Edit>Fill. Then in the dialog box that pops up, click the drop down box and select Content Aware and then click OK. Then watch what happens.

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Original image of the bride and groom. Photo Ⓒ Gary Small.

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Photoshop CS5 Extended screenshot of the selection around the bride and groom. Photo Ⓒ Gary Small.

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The final image, after Photoshop CS5 Extended worked its magic with Content Aware Fill. Photo Ⓒ Gary Small.

It doesn’t always work perfectly, but in almost all cases, Photoshop analyzes the surrounding area and fills in the selection appropriately, to make it look like the object (or people) selected are replaced with the scenery they were standing in. In the same example, I used Content Aware Fill to fill in the patch of white sky in the upper left corner. It was much faster than cloning the trees or using the patch tool and with better results too!

My next installment will talk about the new “Refine Edge” command, and as a bonus, we’ll see how I combined the two to make a completely new picture in under 30 minutes! Stay tuned!

♦ Gary Small a.k.a. Photoshopman is a Professional Photographer, Photoshop Guru and master of color management. Check out his work at www.jsmallphoto.com.


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Diane Berkenfeld, Picture Soup. Picture Soup said: We've got a TEASER preview of Adobe Photoshop #CS5 – check it out: http://wp.me/py5xM-nW – the software does the work for you! […]

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