Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Photoshop

Removing Distracting Stuff Using Content Aware Fill in Adobe Photoshop CS5

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this excerpt from The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers, Scott Kelby offers a couple of examples of ways to use Content-Aware Fill to remove distracting things you wish weren’t in the photo.
From the book

Removing Distracting Stuff Using Content-Aware Fill

This is probably one of the main reasons you bought the CS5 upgrade—to get Content-Aware Fill, because it’s just incredibly amazing. That being said, as amazing as it is, it’s incredibly simple to use, so don’t let the fact that it only took four pages in the book to cover perhaps the most famous feature in all of CS5 throw you off. What makes the feature even more amazing is that you have to do so little—Photoshop does all the heavy lifting. Here are a couple of examples of ways to use it to remove distracting things you wish weren’t in the photo:

Step One:

In this case, we have someone sneaking into the scene from the far left side of the image, and it takes away from what’s happening in the rest of the image. To have Content-Aware Fill remove that one-third of a person, just get the Lasso tool (L) and draw a very loose selection around them. Don’t get too close—a loose selection, like the one you see here, is fine.

Step Two:

Now press the Delete (PC: Backspace) key on your keyboard, and the Fill dialog will appear, with Content-Aware selected in the Use pop-up menu (as shown here). Just click OK, sit back, and prepare to be amazed. (I know—it’s freaky). Go ahead and Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D). Look at how it replaced the missing grass in the proper perspective. This is the essence of being “content aware” and being totally aware of what’s around it. The more I use it, the more it amazes me, but part of using this effectively is learning it’s weaknesses, and how to get around them when possible.

Step Three:

As well as it did removing that one-third of a person on the far left, it’s not going to do a good job if you want to remove the guy on the right. It seems like it should work just fine, but it doesn’t. Well, at least not at first, but we’re going to kind of make it work. Start by putting a loose selection around him, then hit the Delete (PC: Backspace) key, and when the Fill dialog appears, don’t touch anything, just click OK.

Step Four:

In this case, it didn’t really work as well as we had hoped. Now, your first inclination is to undo, and then switch to the Clone Stamp tool, but don’t quite yet. One thing I’ve learned about Content-Aware Fill is that it is sometimes chooses different places to sample content from, so instead of switching to the Clone Stamp tool, try this first: press Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to Undo the Content-Aware Fill, and then just try it again. You might be surprised that it samples from a different area, and it might work this time. However, it didn’t for me, but don’t worry—I’ve got a backup plan. Go ahead and deselect.

Step Five:

Now, let’s think of things differently at this point. Let’s not think, “Content-Aware Fill didn’t work.” Let’s think, “Hey, l can use Content-Aware Fill to fill that concrete-looking shape on the right side of the photo.” So, make a loose Lasso selection around the concrete-looking blob, then bring up Content-Aware Fill again, and give it a shot.

Step Six:

Wow—this is a lot better. It’s not fully there, but a lot, lot better (more on taking it up a notch in a moment). Now, you will fall deeply in love with Content-Aware Fill if you can come to peace with the fact that it won’t work perfectly every time, but if it does 70% or 80% of the work for me (in removing something I don’t want), that means I only have to do the other 20%, and that makes it worth its weight in gold. If it does the entire job for me, and sometimes it surely does, then it’s even better, right? Right. Also, it helps to know that the more random the background is behind the object you want to remove, the better job Content-Aware Fill generally does for you. (By the way, do you think we could pull that same scam again? The one we did in Step Five?)

Step Seven:

Put a Lasso selection around the area that’s still messed up (where the guy on the right used to be), and try the Content-Aware Fill thing on that area, and see what happens. Well, you don’t really have to, because I’m showing you here. It’s pretty darn close now, and just needs a little touch-up (notice how the railings don’t quite match up?). Well, let’s see what happens if you tried to move the guy in the black outfit—you know what to do: Lasso, then hit Delete.

Step Eight:

For some reason, it worked much better on him, first time out, than it did on the guy on the right. If you look at the fence behind where he was, you do have a tiny bit of touch-up with the Clone Stamp tool to make his removal really seamless (that fence needs a tiny bit of fixing, right?), but when you think of how much Content-Aware Fill did for you, it makes you start to wonder how you lived without it.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020