Photoshop gives us several retouching tools to choose from when you want to remove items from an images. The Content Aware Fill tool introduced in CS5 is one of these, and is often a great go-to option for making larger, more complex repairs.
Photoshop Content Aware Fill
In this video tutorial we look at how to use Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill to remove logos and distractions from an image we’re preparing for microstock.
This is Leez Snow at Everything Microstock, and we’re going to take a look at Content Aware Fill, one of the many tools that Photoshop has for removing unwanted elements from an image.
In looking at this photo, I know that I need to remove this logo from the waiter’s apron. I also want to get rid of this picture in the background and this distracting stain from the cabinet behind him.
To get started I’m going to make a copy of my background layer by pressing the shortcut Command J on my Mac or Control J on a PC and I’ll rename that layer “Cleanup”. That just helps me stay organized as I get more and more layers.
Now the first thing that you want to do when you use Content Aware Fill is make a selection around the area that you want filled. You can use your Selection tool of choice. I’m going to use the Lasso tool by pressing L. And I’ve got my selection.
I can get the Fill tool up here from Edit -> Fill or, the way that I prefer to get it is Shift + Delete on a Mac, or Shift + Backspace on a PC, and it brings up the Fill dialogue. When you have the Fill dialogue you need to make sure you select Content Aware. Use Content Aware for filling that selection.
When I press OK, look what happens. It removed the picture all right. But Photoshop looked at the information around that selection and it pulled in stuff that I didn’t want. So I’m going to undo that by Command or Control Z, and get rid of my selection with Command or Control D, and I’m going to try again.
This time what I’m going to do is make a bigger selection that just includes the information or color or whatever that I want Photoshop to pay attention to when doing that Content Aware Fill. And I’m going to jump that selection to its own layer by pressing Command or Control J. So now you can see when I turn off the other layers that that’s all that’s there.
So I’m going to rename this layer to Picture. And now what I’ll do, still with the
Lasso tool, is I’m going to draw a selection around my picture, and when I press Shift + Delete, I’ll get that Fill dialogue with Content Aware Fill and press OK. And that is the result that I wanted.
I’ll get rid the selection by pressing Command or Control D, and then let me just show the other layers again, and I think that looks pretty good up there.
As with every change that we make to an image that we’re going to put on our microstock, you want to look at it at a 100% and make sure it’s totally seamless.
Now I see a little bit here – it could just be shadowing or whatever, but I’m going to give it one Spot Healing swipe to clean that up. and I like that now.
I’ll select my lasso tool again, and I’m going to press the Spacebar to temporarily get the Hand and drag to the next spot that I want to take care of, which is this logo. When I release the Spacebar, I’m back to the Lasso tool.
I’m going to go back to the Cleanup layer, and since we learned before that just selecting the item doesn’t really work that well, I’m going to do my broader selection around this green apron, keeping just the color that I want Photoshop to consider in my selection.
I’m going to do Command J or Control J to jump that to its own layer. As you can see it’s on it’s own layer. And I’m going to name that Apron.
Now what I’m going to do is do our closer-in selection right around the logo, and press Shift Delete like we did before to bring up the Content Aware Fill dialogue. Press Okay, and it’s gone. I’ll do Command or Control D to get rid of my selection. Not bad. I see a little bit of haloing or outlining here and I’m at 200%. I’m going to clean that up, maybe with a little bit of Clone Stamp here I just grabbed. And I’ll just clone just a little bit like that. The apron has a lot of texture to it and different coloring so I don’t think it needs to be too perfect, but I definitely don’t want it to be noticeable that I removed that so I just was looking at the Before and After – and that looks good to me.
So now I’m going to press the Spacebar again and move on down to the final item that we want to remove, which is this funny highlighting. I’m going to reduce the size and the image to 100% by pressing Command or Control Minus sign to make my view a little bit smaller.
Now I’ll go back to the cleanup, and in this case I don’t think I need to make a large selection to jump to it’s own layer. I’m just going to select fairly closely to the drip itself and see if Photoshop can figure out how to handle this wood molding and if it can line it up. So we’ll give this a try and we’ll press Shift Delete to bring up that Fill dialogue, Content Aware Fill. Press okay and look at that. It did a great job. I’ll get rid of that selection, and I like that the way it is.
I’ll press Command 0 to look at my whole picture here. Maybe I’ll make it a little bit smaller like that, and I think that looks good. So there it is Before and there it is After all cleaned up.
Those are just some examples of things we could do with Content Aware Fill. So the next time you need to remove a large logo or other item from your image, give Content Aware Fill a try.
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