As part of the tips to become a Photoshop guru it is necessary to be able to use Photoshop content-aware fill, in this post we will talk about Photoshop content-aware fill.
But first, for the novice, let’s take a look at what content-aware fill is.
Table of Contents
What is content-aware fill?
Photoshop has many tools for moving or removing unwanted objects from a photo. With Photoshop content-aware fill, you tell Photoshop what you want to move or delete, and the software does the rest. Photoshop selects pixels around the object that can work in space.
With each version of Photoshop, these tools become more powerful. Some of the tools we learn about here are only available in the latest versions of Photoshop. If you haven’t updated to the latest Photoshop 2019 and above, now is the time to do so!
First, we’ll learn about the Photoshop Content-Aware Fill option in the Patch tool. Next, let’s move on to the Content-Aware Move tool. Finally, we’ll learn about the latest addition, the Photoshop Content-Aware Fill workspace. This workspace was introduced in the CC 2019 release of Photoshop.
When to use Photoshop content-aware fill?
Photoshop content-aware fill is useful when removing objects from a scene. When colors and textures are consistent, Photoshop does a good job of replacing pixels.
Moving objects to another part of an image, or another image, is made easy with the Content-Aware Move tool. The selected object is moved and integrated into the image. Then Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill to fix the gap left behind.
As with any tutorial, it’s best to accompany an image of yourself. Find an image to work with, open the latest version of Photoshop, and let’s have fun moving and deleting!
Using content-aware fill
Let’s start by looking for Photoshop’s content-aware fill tools that we’ll be using. The Patch tool and the Content-Aware Move tool are located on the toolbar. The Patch tool icon is a rectangle with lines dividing each edge. The Content-Aware Move tool is a pair of crossed arrows in the shape of an “X”.
If your toolbar is not visible, go to the Windows drop-down menu and place a check next to “Tools”. If I mention a Photoshop tool that you can’t see on your toolbar, go to Edit>Toolbar. Drag the hidden tools from the right column to the left column. You can group tools in a way that makes sense to you.
When you select the Patch tool, choose Content-Aware Fill from the options bar. Both the Patch tool and the Content-Aware Move tools also have “texture” and “color” settings.
To access the Photoshop Content-Aware Fill workspace, first, make a selection around an object. Then go to Edit>Content-Aware Fill… If the Content-Aware Fill option is grayed out, use a selection tool like the lasso (shortcut “L”) to highlight your content. This should activate the command.
Let’s start by learning how to use the Content-Aware Fill option in the Patch tool.
Content-Aware Patch Tool
One of the first tools you use when you delete something from an image is the Patch tool.
1 – Selection
First I make a copy of my image on a new layer. It is good practice to create a new layer with each change. This ensures that you can always go back to your original image. If you haven’t created a duplicate layer before, go to Layers > Duplicate Layer (Ctrl+J or CMD+J).
Make sure Content-Aware is selected in the options bar.
2 – Drag to replace pixels
Grab the selected area and drag it to a sampling area. Try to match all the obvious lines if you can.
When you release, Photoshop accepts this suggestion and uses Content-Aware Fill to fit the new pixels into the space.
If you don’t like the result, undo the change. Select Edit > Undo Patch Selection (Ctrl + Z or CMD + Z). Then drag the patch to another location. Using Photoshop content-aware fill
You now have two more fill settings in the Patch Options bar: texture and color. The structure tells Photoshop how much to stick to shapes in new content. 7 means being true to form. 0 means interpreting the shapes loosely.
For colors, select how much color mixing you want Photoshop to do. 10 is the maximum. 0 means you don’t want any color mixing.
The Patch tool works best on less complicated images. For more complicated images, I’ve found that correcting the object in smaller sections works best.
Content-Aware Move Tool
Photoshop Content-Aware Fill is useful for removing objects, but also for moving them.
Make a copy of the image on a new layer by choosing the Layers drop-down menu and Duplicate Layer (Ctrl+J or CMD+J).
Select the layer and click the Move Content-Aware tool. Draw a loose loop around the object you want to move.
Drag to move pixels
Grab the selected area and drag it to the location where you want to move it.
When you let go, a transformation box appears around your selection. This will allow you to rotate the content to best fit the new space.
Click Return or the checkmark in the options bar to accept the changes. Photoshop moves the selected pixels into the space and corrects the original space.
As with the Patch tool, I have two fill settings: texture and color. They work the same way in this tool to close the leftover hole by moving the object.
Content-Aware Fill Workspace
The Patch tool works fine for simple edits, but the Content-Aware Fill workspace gives me more control.
The previous Content-Aware Fill tool is still available Edit>Fill>Content-Aware Fill. This will open the fill panel and allow you to select Content-Aware. But that tool has largely been replaced by the workspace.
I’ll show you the Content-Aware Fill workspace.
To remove an object from an image using the Content-Aware Fill workspace.
Start by selecting the object you want to remove with the lasso tool. Then select Edit>Content-Aware Fill… This will open the workspace.
This workspace consists of three sections.
- The middle panel is your image. Photoshop applies a content-aware fill preview.
- The far left panel is covered by a green overlay, highlighting the Photoshop sampling area. Refining the sampling area will give you better results.
- You also have a toolbar on the far left with a sampling brush, lasso tool, hand tool, and zoom tool.
- The far-right panel offers additional options.
Refine the sampling area
- Using the sample brush set to minus in the top options bar, I erase the green overlay in the sample area. Because you don’t want Photoshop to use these parts of the image as replacement pixels.
- By default, Photoshop automatically selects the sampling area. But you can control the choice in the right panel. Select Rectangle if you want Photoshop to pick only the pixels around your selection. Select Custom to fully control the sampling area. From there I use the defined sample brush to add and paint the sample area.
- With a more complex image, you may want to increase the color matching. You can choose from none, standard, high, and very high.
- If your selection is skewed, you may want to apply a rotation adjustment. You can choose from none, low, medium, high and full. You also have the option to scale the image or the mirror.
- When you change these settings, Photoshop warns you that the results may be unexpected. If you don’t like the result, undo it with Edit>Undo (Ctrl +Z or CMD + Z).
- When you’re happy with the changes in the preview pane, click OK. By default, selected areas with content-aware fill changes are saved on a new layer.
Conclusion: Photoshop Content-Aware Fill
Photoshop content-aware fill tools let you move or delete objects in your images. Content-Aware Fill uses AI technology to select and match the best replacement pixels.
The Patch tool lets you select an object and choose pixels to put in place. The Content-Aware Move tool lets you move a selected object, integrate the object into its new home, and restore the space left behind. The Photoshop Content-Aware Fill workspace allows me to manage the sampling area. This Photoshop Content-Aware fill tool is much more subtle and sensitive than the Patch tool.
The Photoshop Content-Aware Fill technology has improved a lot over the years, but it’s not foolproof. You may need to do some cleaning after moving or deleting an object.
You can remove objects and people from occupied backgrounds. No one will ever know what you’ve done. Keep following vdtips for more graphic design tips and tricks.