Photoshop magic

Adobe’s Photoshop program is one powerful piece of software, and has been for the past 10+ years.  Although I use the software, I barely scratch the surface for knowing how to use it correctly.  I’m sure there are way more features than I use or even know about.  Fast forward to their newest release, Photoshop CS5.  Included with the new 3-dimensional warping and brush tools, is a feature called “content-aware fill”.  Basically, the software will allow you to delete an object, and it will automatically fill it in based on the rest of the image around it.  Or in other words, magic.

Before the software was officially released, this new content-aware feature was very much hyped and parodied.  Naturally, once I got the program for myself, it was one of the first things I tried out.  Let me tell you, it is magic.

For example, check out this picture below.  Notice anything funny about it?  This is the beach in Barcelona, it looks like the beach in Barcelona.

Now, take a look at the original image.  There is a giant sign in the way.  If you look close enough at the first picture, you might be able to convince yourself that the “filled in” part is darker.  But if I just showed it to you alone, you might not right?

The coolest part is, I deleted that sign with 4 clicks through menus.  I just had to highlight it, and then tell the program to fill that area in using its content-aware engine.  Not bad huh?

That picture worked out well, but it should be easy to make water and blue sky blend with water and blue sky.  So I thought I’d try a more difficult image.  As with the first set of images, here is the aftermath.  Looks like a trail looking down on a city and sea right?

Well this is one of our many pictures of Edinburgh (more coming soon).  We hiked up an inactive volcano for some amazing views of the city.  The only problem was, many people had the same idea, so it was hard to take a picture without a fellow tourist in it.  Not a problem for Photoshop CS5, I just removed the people in the image below.

Now for another example from the same hike.  Here in this picture you can see two people that actually take up much more space than I would have liked when I snapped it.  This might be more difficult to handle, since the software has to handle many aspects in order to “delete” them.

And the results are:

Not bad.  It’s not a perfect way to delete unwanted tourists, but I am pretty satisfied with how well it turned out.

OK, now for the overkill test.  Since I was able to remove a sign, and some random people successfully, I thought I’d try something more extreme.  Again, I’ll Tarantino it, here is the end result first.  See if you can find areas that don’t quite look right.  Its sort of like photo hunt we played as kids at the dentist or in the bar as adults.

And here is the original:

As I hope you can see, I removed three people and two trees.  That is a lot of stuff to edit out of a picture and still have it look semi-normal.  While I don’t doubt that these capabilities were present in the previous versions of Photoshop or other image editing software, I am quite sure this process was never this easy.  Our vacations will  never look the same again.

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3 thoughts on “Photoshop magic”

  1. Hey Nick – I have CS5 and am never very impressed with my content aware fill attempts – I think I am doing it wrong. Do you lasso the whole area you want to remove and then select Content Aware with the spot healing brush? Please let me know, I want to get rid of people!

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