Content-aware fill is one of my favorite tools. You select an area you wish to blend in, and photoshop by so miracle does it, making your selection disappear. What actually happens is that the program analyzes the pixels surrounding your selection, and uses them to fill the area. The results are usually not perfect, but it serves as a great starting point for using the clone stamp tool. So essentially content-aware fill helps you make unwanted elements disappear, by doing most of the work, requiring only a little touch up with the clone stamp tool.
With the arrival of the new photoshop, content-aware fill received some much-needed love and received a huge update. Before you didn’t really have control over what it did after selecting the area you wanted to fill, but now there are plenty of options. They created a complete workspace dedicated just for this. You can access it by going to Edit>Content Awave Fill. Here you will find multiple tools for editing, and what is really cool, a live preview is available, so you can see how the changes you make affect the image in real-time.
As I mentioned before, Photoshop is using the surrounding pixels for the fill. Now inside this new work space, with the use of the sampling brush tool, you can control which areas to be used.
You should only select the areas which are similar to what’s behind the object you want to erase. For example with a bike on a field, you should select only the grass to be sampled. Doing so will give you much better results.
The lasso tool is also available, so you can modify your selection by either adding or subtracting from it. A tip I can give is that you shouldn’t spend too much time on trying to make your first selection perfect, it is better to make a rough initial selection and refine it after. When refining this selection try to keep as much of the original pixels as possible, so there is less to fill, and more pixels to sample from.
While the lasso tool is selected, having a little feather is helpful in preventing hard edges.
On the right side, you’ll find the fill settings. Color adaptation helps to match brightness and contrast, while rotation adaptation, allows the image to be rotated, which can help if there are some lines misaligned. Scale resizes the content, and the mirror allows flipping. There is no single best setting here, you should play around with these until you get the best result.
Once you are happy with how the preview turned out you can choose an output method.
Selecting a new, or duplicate layer is advised since those are the nondestructive options. Using this tool sped up my workflow considerably when it comes to removing unwanted objects seamlessly from the picture, so I can only recommend implementing it.
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