I’ve enjoyed Content Aware since its inception. I must admit however, that it has its drawbacks. It works great when image conditions are optimum, but I’ve always struggles with it picking up pieces of background patterns, etc. and hated the time I would spend trying to make it just right. Still, it was a big improvement from previous ways of dealing with content removal. Well, I’m happy to say that Photoshop CC 2019 has taken a leap forward with this issue! Let me show you how:
I’ve opened an image of two Loons on a lake I bought from Adobe Stock.
The image is fine, but let’s say I want to use the image for a presentation and want some text over the image on the right and the second Loon is in the way. Also, the Loon on the right is in a weird position and it almost looks like a rock with a turtle on it. Whatever the reason, I want to remove it. Removing it seems simple enough, but there is the light ray and getting the reflection out so that it looks natural is a bit tricky. In the past, I would have probably just given up. Not this time. I will:
- Choose the polygon lasso tool. You may prefer the regular or the magnetic tool, but for something like this I prefer the polygon. Too often the magnetic tool thinks it knows what I want and it is wrong! LOL
- Draw around the Loon on the right leaving a little space around it. Make sure to choose the reflection as well.
At this point, you would normally go to Edit > Fill > Content Aware. Instead, please go to Edit > Content Aware Fill.
You will now have two windows. On the right, you will see part of the image with the area that you have chosen removed. On the left, you will see the whole image with green around the area that is not being removed. If you read my blog post on background removal in PowerPoint, this will look very familiar. Hint: You can change the color from green to whatever you prefer. Just click on the color swatch and choose the color you like. I chose a pink because it is familiar to me from previous PowerPoint work.
Although it is okay, and frankly before the update, I would probably accept this result because to fiddle with it more (i.e. try content aware fill again choosing other areas, would probably make it worse. However, with this update, it does a significantly better job, so here’s what to do:
- The lasso tool is still in use, so make sure it is in the add mode as you will be adding to your selection. You will know you are in add mode if you see the plus sign to the right of the lasso tool image.
- Click into the area where you want to add to your fill removal and add it to the original. I did an addition on the top and the bottom. You will see how it is going to look in the preview on the right. If you take too much, simply choose the remove or minus mode and remove it from the original.
- When you have it as you want, click OK.
If you have a project where there are areas that repeat – say the water is swirled in some areas and you don’t want to worry about the content aware fill adding the swirled area when it replaces the fill you removed, simply grab the brush tool (B) and use it to remove the sample area from the rest of the image. As you remove it, the color (in my case pink) will be removed. Watch the preview to make sure it doesn’t do damage to your resulting image. You can easily replace it by adding to the sample area as needed.
That’s it! Please note in the final image even though I removed the vertical light rays which intersect with the horizontal rays, the horizontal rays were not affected. How cool is that?
Give it a try and let me know what you think. Better yet, share your images. See you next week.