Skip to main content

Content Aware Fill Part 1

Lesson 38 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

Content Aware Fill Part 1

Lesson 38 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

38. Content Aware Fill Part 1


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

Content Aware Fill Part 1

We know how to get rid of censored suspects and how to do some basic retouching just remember that clicking and dragging where you can kind of not use a circle, but using odd shape is new in photo shop. See, see if you don't have c c you don't have or you haven't. Updated cc to the newest version, you might not find that in there you might have to just click and let goto work with circles remember before we stitched panorama is on one of the previous days, and when we were done stitching a panorama, we ended up with a picture was not a rectangle. Instead, it had unusual shape in, sometimes in the process of cropping that became less than ideal because I had to get too close to some objects when I cropped them like when I had really long panorama of seattle, I might even crop off the top of the space needle because this the rest of the panorama, I had an odd shape. So let me show you how you can fill in the empty parts of your panorama with something with some material so that you don't...

have to crop out as much of the picture uh, so let's, take a look, the first thing I need to do is get all the empty areas in this picture selected there are a bunch of different ways you could do that one of them would be to use a tool called the magic wand tool with the magic wand tool, you could click in the empty area, look in the upper left and it's going to select from the point that I click at it's going to spread out until it hit something. It looks different than what I clicked on in the difference is determined by this thing called tolerance at least thirty two brightness levels of difference and then it's going when it hit something that's at least that many brightness levels different than what I click on it will stop well, since this is all empty, all the checkerboard area and here contains nothing, which means it's consistent, even though it looks like a checkerboard chick award is just an indicator to say that it looks this way to make it easy to tell what is empty versus what might be white. So I'm gonna click out there. The problem is now I have to click down here because it wasn't continuous didn't make it all the way down here because the picture bumped in whenever you have a selection tool, if you just click it's going to replace the selection you last had with a new one, if you want to add to it instead, you can either hold down the shift key or you can click this little icon appear, which means whenever I use this tool instead of creating a brand new selection I had the one I already got it but holding downshift does the same thing so I could go over here and do this and do this and then I gotta click up here again and all that, but that was three or four or five clicks and sometimes their arm or areas where I might have to click about ten times to get it so I'm not actually going to use that technique even though it might be the first thing you'd think of I'm going to use a technique that will give me the selection I want with more precision and we'll do it very quickly in my layers panel I'm gonna move my mouse on top of the thumbnail for that layer and there's a trick you can use if you hold down the command can a macintosh that's controlling windows in? Click on this little thumbnail picture in your layers panel before you collect the moment you hold down the command key, you'll see a little kind of marquis icon appears on top. Uh well, if you command click on that little thumbnail anywhere within it you're going to get a selection of everything that's in that layer it's going to select everything that doesn't look like a checkerboard in that layer that's what that does it's a little trick command click on the thumbnail for the layer that's control clicking and windows is just a weird trick that says select everything it doesn't look like a checkerboard now that's the exact opposite of what I want I wanted the checkerboard area so I'm going to go to the selectmen you then and there's a choice called in verse which gives you the opposite and so while she's in verse then I have the officers so therefore I couldn't do that even on a really complex panorama that's kind of weird shape in the magic wand tool might not be convenient to use uh or I might miss a spot or something well, this isn't gonna miss a spot it's just thinking that let's select everything that's in this layer select inverse and therefore you got the empty parts now just like with the with something that has a technology called healing whatever's on the edge of this whatever this edge is touching is what it's going to try toe match the brightness of in right now that ej doesn't actually overlap the picture and I needed to I need this election to overlap the picture just the tiniest bit and so what I'm going to do next is go to the select menu there's a choice called modify and there's a choice called expand and what expand will do is take my selection and just act as if it's a a balloon full of air and imagine you just added some extra air. What would happen? The balloon we get bigger, but it be the same shape, same thing here. It's just going to make the selection larger but retain the same shape. So if I choose expand, all they need is one or two pixels cook okay? And you won't be able to visually notice it, but that selection now encroaches into the picture by one pixel. Uh by typed in ten. It would've gone ten pixels in, but we just don't need more than one. Now I'm going to go to the edit menu and I'm gonna tell photoshopped to fill that empty area. And when I choose fill, this comes up and it needs to know what should we fill with? I don't want to fill with black. The default setting is actually a choice called content aware, but we used this the other day and I changed it to black for some reason, we're going to run into a problem which some people online right now is giggling about because they're thinking I'm going to mess up and that is there's a check box we also used yesterday or the dave oh yeah, yesterday down here called preserve transparency. I don't know if you remember when it used it when it was at the beginning of the day yesterday we're talking about layers I had a picture of I think a horse I had painted around the edge of it with white paint and I decided I want to change the color of the paint to black I was sitting on its own layer I said this just filled layer with black and it filled the entire layer with black so oh man, I don't want that I wanted on ly fill the parts that contain something so I turned on something called preserve transparency and that means preserve the checkerboard don't fill the checkerboard well right now the only thing we have selected is check board so if that thing's turned on this isn't gonna work so I'm gonna turn that off that makes sense preserve transparency the checkerboard is the transparency so if we're going to preserve it and that's you're not not going to work so actually what I have right now are the default settings. If I had never used this feature before in my lifetime and I opened it that's the settings it would have been at I don't remember what version of photo shop they added content aware fill in I'm guessing see photo shop cs five or six just enough so you have an old old version uh I'm gonna click okay and let's see cross your fingers at this point it helps because sometimes it doesn't always do great but most of time you'll be amazed look what I just did I think that's nuts that they've come out with technology that does that I mean now it's not going to be perfect but I'm going to get rid of my selection d select and we could take a look just glancing at it any bad but you want to be critical of it because you're just going to post it on the internet you'll be fine because it's usually pretty small and nobody zooms up on internet stuff but if you're going to make a print and hanging on the wall look close because it will have messed up in all we need to do to fix it most of the time is just select smaller and smaller areas and repeat the process like this small areas messed out okay we'll just select that small area and phil and then there's another spot messed up select phil and so let's see if we can get away with that right here this part to me looks like it kind of slowly blends from one color to the next word should be more abrupt and so I'm just going to select that it won't always be able to fix it sometimes I have to do things manually but I'm going to try a content where phil there it did do something different and you can apply it more than once, like, right now, could you supplied again if I want, but just look at that and I get that actually looks better to me. Looks more like what should be there. This looks like weird, blurry material. Not sure I'm assuming that's where it filled it in may choose on new a few times, too. Check. Yeah, you see how that's how far out the selection was so I could come over here and say, well, that part there does not look right. And phil cook okay? Wow, completely different with that, would it picked it looks more appropriate. But now this big chunk looks out of place, so I might just say, see if it can get rid of this and now I have to go up here a lot and choose this. There are two different keyboard shortcuts that will get you in there. It lists one right here, which I don't use shift f five because my f keys are assigned like f five on mine is going to change my keyboards. Brightness, you know that kind of stuff. I don't like ones that use f keys and there's, a different keyboard shortcut that also brings you in there and it's just shift the lead. And to me, that makes more sense because I'm thinking of deleting something right now you know, the leading like retouching out something but shift elite will bring you into this dialog box and then pressing return is the same as clicking ok, so if you need to do this a lot, all you need to do is selected area to shift delete return so now this part down here was too bright so selected shift elite turn and you see how I can, uh, relatively quickly do some of this. This part up here looks odd shift elite return uh, anyway, I'll come over here I'm not going to fix this whole thing because it's just a matter of time I want to get onto things where I actually have to make decisions instead ofthe line and photo shop, but I would go around wherever it looks weird shift, elite return and that looked a little odd here. Maybe I'll have it called all the way into their shift delete return and see if I can get it to be more realistic. But what you'll find is this does an amazing job on skies because skies and clouds or things that don't have such specific detail exacting detail where if you put a little bit of the wrong stuff in that it would look bad and so for skies and it works great in and panoramas that's half of the problem in your panorama it's the top of most panoramas of sky and then the bottom is where you might need to go through and do what I'm doing now, wherever you have extremely exacting detail, like where waterfall is, you're going to manually, uh, retouch that, but considering what's in a lot of these areas, it's not doing too bad concerning the amount of effort that was involved, but do be critical of it. And then afterwards, since it was a panorama, I would be cropping the picture, so I'm going to crop out some of that. So what you might want to dio is do this technique where you fill it, and then before you go in and start fixing things, crop the picture because you usually crop of panorama little bit anyway, crop the picture and then only fixed the parts that were left over, because otherwise you might end up fixing that corner in the lower right and in the end, it's not even in your picture. So why spend the time? You'll also need to use the same technique if you ever have architectural images like, here are some there's, a church in iceland and of cem. Turf homes or buildings and notice that I tilted my camera up to include the top of this building can you tell I tilted because the top of the buildings look smaller than the bottom that the sides of the building is kind of doing that well we can fix that and if we go here too our tabs that's under the lens tab think we used it the other day uh under the choice called profile if you turn that on that's gonna fix bending of those lines if they're bent in or out it'll fix it and then under the tab called manual we had some icons and collectively those icons air known as a feature called up right the letter a stands for otto if I click on it it doesn't okay job getting those lines to be nice and straightly vertical I can also try this icon over here which only thinks about vertical lines it doesn't care about horizontal tze and see which one of those I like better but like otto or like this there is a choice of the bottom by the way I don't think I mentioned before called show grid if you turn on show grid then there's also a slider which controls how big the great iss so if I get one of those grid lines to be near the edge of the building where I can easily refer to it then I could switch between auto and the choice called vertical and see which one I think looks better and when it comes to the church out here I like auto better because the vertical on the church looks like its the same angle is the grid line whereas when I click on the vertical and that to me still looks tilted it actually looks like it's over compensated to me looks like it's going out s oh, I like the auto in this particular case. So anyway you have this and then usually the next step after using this is crop your picture because you no longer have a rectangle well, if I come here and here and use the crop tool and I crop out all of that checkerboard uh okay, I have to crop to there and at the bottom what? Todo I mean, I need to crop to hear well that's not what I want, right? So often times you're gonna have to clear your crop uh bring it over to photo shop and used the exact same technique we did with the panorama to fill in the empty parts that make sense so I could say open image and what we did was we moved my mouth's on top of the thumbnail image my layers panel I held down the command key control windows which I currently have held down I click on that thumb now and get my selection I need the opposite of that, so I go to the select menu and choose in verse and then I need the selection overlap the picture right now like kisses, the picture doesn't overlap and so it's select modify expand just one is fine one or two and then I went to the edit menu and chose phil remember there's a keyboard shortcut for that? If you do it a lot it's relatively easy to remember shift lead because I think I need to delete something on my picture retouch something out and just shift elite brings it up all you gotta do is make sure that this says content aware oh, and if you see your coworker constantly doing this, turn this on when they're at lunch work for them anymore and then you can come in the next luncheon turn off because it remembers that setting sticky although you don't have to do that to your coworkers uh and it will do some filling and it doesn't mean it's going to be perfect, but it's probably going to make any additional retouching that's needed be lessened ah lot in so in this particular case I see one little weird spot in the grass I'd usually have to be zoomed up though to really know if it's weird shift elite return see if it can fix that other things and it's mainly over here where we have very precise detail where it did weird stuff and that's where I'll probably have to manually uh retouched that because I doubt I thought it's going to do to bet but usually it's one of those things there's so many features in photo shop where I think of three strikes and you're out which is give it three chances and then quit trying and do it manually if that makes any sense so now that I've done that before I'd really start retouching all that stuff though fixing where it messed up I'd crop the image because uh just make sure you got your ideal crop whatever that happens to be and it might be that I don't even need to fix that because I ended up cropping out that part that was an issue so otherwise I find if I don't think that way I end up spending a lot of time fixing a really hard area and it doesn't even end up in the end result any questions about the technique yeah if if you expanded your your image so that it's white would would still work the same way if the area was full of white instead of looking like a checkerboard right because you expanded your your basic image like you did a canvas size is one thing or used the crop tool and you've added space so let's find an image especially if you have a sky skies were great I haven't much like this in the magazine said hey we don't want to use that and I'm like a magazine you know when he's on the cover you're like well in order to use that on the cover colors are vertical right so that's not gonna look so good but that's the image they want to use so I'll zoom out on the picture and I'll say fine let's crop it this way that'll be a ridiculous amount of space to fill but waken c I do the same technique in this case I can see is the magic wand because it's one big expanse that's rectangular I do want to expand it by one pixel and then shift delete return and let's see what it does I have no idea in this case that's a huge space so I doubt it's going to do a great job but you never know but if that was a small amount let's say I doubled the amount of space above the uh amount of sky above the building that's here it would most likely to find and that doesn't have to be a checkerboard can be white but look at what it just did little to patterned uh but to show you that I will work with white er let me come in here and crop this so it's more realistic and I will flatten which should fill that with white and then I'll just I could use a magic wand to if I want it in this case I'll just use the marquis tool and I'll make sure it overlaps the original a little bit so shift lead attorney but the problem is so many people on lee look at their images and fit in window view and they think it looks great let's just close that say that do whatever if it's for the internet that's fine other people were going to be seen in the same view of small but if you're going to be printing it, be critical of what it did that mean zoom up and make sure it really looks right like I don't know if that looks right or not and if it doesn't select the area, make your selection overlaps some of the surrounding shift delete returned and see if you can do better there and then move over and sees or any other area I can see something right there. I don't know what it's like feels like a line shouldn't be a line in my sky so I might just go over here I should have a little extra on their site didn't need to go up hook it shift delete return and just continue looking and being critical of it and whatever you think like here dc repeat repeat repeat shape can you see that kind of feels like three very similar things so go in there shift lead return that still looks somewhat similar. I'll tackle the other one. Sometimes I end up retouching the area that's not where it filled in. Instead it's the area where it looks like a copied from were generated that from, um maybe it still bugs me because this looks like the one up top. And now that just copied from puts up here. So sometimes if it does that and I try it more than once, and it seems to do that, I'll try to incorporate both of the things, you know, like, if we may choose, undo. Okay, if it was this, what I might do is select this hold shift to say I want to select mohr and this to say, no, you can't copy from over there. I'm telling you to get rid of that thing you've been copying from so shift delete return and, you know, see what it comes up with to give you some ideas as faras. You know, if it seems tio have, like, a fixation on a particular part of your image, go tell it to retouch that out as well. So, yeah, we could have space like that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Course Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.


I had several "lightbulb" moments with this class, after many years of photography and when you think you know it all, you don't :) Ben Willmore is an excellent tutor, with his many years of experience teaching PS, he obviously knows the types of things a lot of us struggle to understand. I learnt a lot about Bridge, and have since implemented these things into my everyday workflow, so much easier to sort out what I want to keep etc.. Thanks so much Ben and Creative Live. Thanks also to Ben's wife for her amazing work creating the Guide etc. Even though being in Australia, I pay more for the courses (the conversion rate, the aussie dollar is low at the moment) it's very worth it to me. I have paid more for courses here, and learnt next to nothing. Thanks again.

Student Work