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Gear & Apps

Content Aware Crop Tool | A Sneak Peek At The New Photoshop Feature

By Kishore Sawh on May 26th 2016

There’s a new version of Photoshop CC waiting in the wind, and that’s exciting. But perhaps even more exciting is that Photoshop’s Product Manager, Stephen Neilson, has said, “A major release of Creative Cloud is on the way.” What could that mean? Is there going to be an overhaul to the suite of applications? Or is this Photoshop version going to be so significant that it merits language that strong? Well, if the preview is anything to go by, it will be welcomed with open arms by the photography community.

Content Aware has turned out to be Photoshop’s real transformation trick; originally a resented ugly duckling it has blossomed into a highly regarded swan that just keeps getting better with each iteration. A few years ago you really had to consider whether it was worthwhile to employ, but today, for many, it’s an indispensable ability that finds its way into a few Photoshop tools. Now, we are being teased with Content Aware Crop, and it looks brilliant.



Essentially, what this new feature will do is allow you to move your crop box as you like, rotating and straightening at your will, and instead of restricting the crop size to fit within the given borders of the image, it will simply let you move those borders and expand the image, filling in the blanks.

The example shown in the video is, perhaps, a frustration almost all of us have had; straightening an image and through the rotation much of the image is cropped out. With the new Content Aware Crop tool, Photoshop promises this will be an issue of the past.

But will it?



Photoshop’s new features have, on occasion, not worked quite like we’d have hoped, and being a sort of predictive software algorithm, it lays at the feet of repetition – which is why Content Aware is great for open spaces and skies, but you can’t use it in a ‘crowd’. However, there’s no denying that this is an exciting feature that will make life just that little bit better. The question is, has Adobe just passed off the main dish as an appetizer of the new release, or is there more meat to come?

Check out the video below, and we’ll keep you posted whenever a new update arrives. If you’d like to learn more about Content Aware, check out this article.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Simon Wainwright

    I believe the term is ‘waiting in the wings’

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  2. Dave Lyons

    I’m not sure of all the scenarios yet but when I do my panos in affinity photo you can choose to have it do this during your crop. Still digging this app, just got to get used to a slightly different system but it is much faster and not a leaky, memory hog like ps

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  3. Mark Romine

    I still haven’t updated from CS6. Adobe so far hasn’t added anything of value for what I do to make me want to pay a subscription fee. These automated tools are often a joke. I used to give Adobe $175.00 every 18 months just to update PS as well as money for ID and AI. I’m happy to say I haven’t been moved to give Adobe money for those apps in the last 3-4 years. I’m sure eventually I will once their apps stop working under the current Mac OS.

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    • Bryce York

      the ability in Lightroom to generate RAW HDR with zero tone mapping – essentially making a super RAW, ready for standard editing workflows – is enough to justify my ~$10/mo.

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  4. Andrew Miller

    MMmmmmm. If it works then amazing. However what a major overhaul usually means is something will break dramatically and need to be fixed urgently, and my PS actions won’t quite work in the same way!

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  5. Jim Johnson

    I’m dubious. As was stated, there are a lot of situations where content aware fills have to be manipulated. I’m not complaining, it’ll be a good starting point, but like every other automated feature, it’s only a starting point.

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    • Bryce York

      I just hope it can be sent to a new layer instead of being destructive – but i doubt it…

      Would be nice to be able to do this kind of thing without having to duplicate my whole image.

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