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22 May 2024

Content Aware Fill

Term: Content Aware Fill
Description: Content aware fill in Photoshop is a powerful feature that can be used to quickly remove unwanted elements from images. It works by analyzing a selection area within an image and then attempting to intelligently reconstruct the missing parts using surrounding pixels. It does this by guessing at color, brightness, texture and other details for pixels to produce a seamless result. Content aware fill is an incredibly useful tool for professional photographers and designers alike as it can save hours of editing time when removing complex objects or cleaning up images with lots of distracting elements.

Here is a quick reference guide for using the content-aware fill tool:

  1. Make selection (L)
    1. Feather if desired (Shift+F6)
  2. Fill (Shift + Backspace)
    1. Content aware
    2. Color adaptation (if gradient)
  3. Clone/heal to refine

When using the content-aware tool, we again recommend scaling the image on your screen to actual print size. To do this, you can use a ruler and measure the image on your screen. If you intend to print an image that measures 24×36 inches, do the following:

  1. Use a ruler to measure the long edge of the image on your screen (which should be displayed in Photoshop).
  2. Next, divide the long edge of your intended print (in this case 36 inches) by the measurement you took of the image on your screen (in this case 10 inches). For our example, 36 divided by 10 equals 3.6.
  3. Look at the zoom percentage in the lower left corner of Photoshop (which in our example is 12.52%).
  4. Multiply your long edge number (3.6 from step 2) by your zoom percentage (12.52% in step 3) and you should end up with the new zoom percentage you need to edit your photo at a real printed scale. In our example, the new zoom number is 45.07%. Now, on your monitor, the image should be scaled to its actual print size.

To retouch the image in a non-destructive manner, create a new layer in Photoshop and make sure that “Sample All Layers” is checked before removing distracting elements on the new layer. If you make corrections on the original layer, it can be difficult to make changes should you later decide to use more of the original image.

With content-aware fill, you can easily remove small or large objects. The feathering feature allows you to control how the retouched area will blend into the rest of the image. The higher the feather radius, the smoother the transition. You’ll need to experiment to get a feel for the feather radius you’ll need to use. After you’ve made an acceptable change using content-aware fill, you can go back in with the healing/patch tool to further refine the retouched areas.

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