I have been having a blast this past week playing with some of the new features in the recently released Photoshop CS6. Over the course of the coming month, I will be reviewing some features I find useful in my daily workflow. For this piece, I’d like to start with perhaps the king of the show, the newly revamped Content Aware tools. Adobe says that they have improved the algorithms of this popular tool. Both the select and blending have been updated so they work more seamlessly along higher contrast edges. My initial tests seem to bear this out!
For this image captured at Big Sur’s Sobranes Point, I was drawn to the colorful foreground. Unfortunately, nature is rarely perfect, so this was a “perfect” candidate to test the new Content Aware features. Here is what the foreground looked like prior to applying Content Aware.
Notice the barren patch near the top-left of the foreground. This is where I will put most of my attention. First, I selected that area.
Next, I tapped the Delete key to bring up the Content Aware Fill Box. If Content Aware is not listed next to Use:, simply click on drop-down menu and select Content-Aware.
Next, I clicked on OK and let Content Aware chew through the problem. Here is how it rendered the scene:
As you can see, the newly updated algorithms did a nice job at seamlessly filling in the area. Next, I wanted to test the new Content Aware Patch tool.
I select the area that I wish to fill with the Patch tool, then move it over another portion of the image that I want to replicate.
Here is the result of the Content Aware Patch tool:
New in Photoshop CS6 is the ability with both the Patch and Move tool to select from five different region preservation options:
Next, I wanted to try the Content Aware Move tool. Personally, I don’t see this tool as practical for my workflow as I do not move elements in my scene. But for the purpose of this blog, I have decided to show it. This tool allows you to move a selected element and move to another location within the image. It not only moves, but fills in the area where it originated. I decided to move a yellow sea daisy.
By default, the Tool Palette will show Spot Healing Bush. Simply click and hold to get this fly-out window and select Content Aware Move Tool. Next, I selected the sea daisy.
Now, I simply moved it to the area I wanted to paste it into:
Once you release the mouse, Content Aware Move Tool will automatically start merging. Here is the result:
As you can see, I will have to touch-up the surrounding area along the top of the daisy. A more careful selection would also be useful.
The image leading off this article is the final version. For me, Content Aware is simply a tool to help along nature’s rough spots. I would not use it to move elements such as a moon. Sure I could do that, but I get no personal satisfaction on doing extensive digital surgery. Ultimately, each one of you will have to make your own choice as to how far you will go with the new technology.