Content Aware Fill in Photoshop CS5

I was working on some of my Yosemite photographs the other day and came across this one taken from Tunnel View. As soon as I opened it up, I noticed jet contrails in the sky and was ready to immediately close it to find another one without the contrails. Honestly, I didn’t want to spend the time to clone out the contrails using the Photoshop clone stamp or healing brush or spot healing tools.

Then, I remembered the Content Aware Fill tool! Content Aware fill allows you to select a region you want to repair and then simply press the enter button on your keyboard. Photoshop CS5 does the rest. Honestly, the tool is embarrasingly easy to use. Just draw a selection around the area, activate the Fill Tool, choose Content Aware Fill and press Return/Enter on your keyboard. Done!


Notice the contrails in the sky above El Capitan.

Notice the contrails in the sky above El Capitan.

The first step to fixing problem areas in your photo is to make a selection around the offending “thing.” In the case of the photograph above, the offending “thing” is the contrail. So, choose the lasso tool and simply draw around the contrail.

Choose the Lasso Tool from your tool bar.

Choose the Lasso Tool from your tool bar.

Here's the simple selection drawn around the contrail.

Here's the simple selection drawn around the contrail.

After you’ve made the selection, you have to activate the Fill Tool. Do this by going to your menu in Photoshop CS5 and choose Edit –> Fill…

After choosing Fill, you’ll need to change the method from Foreground Color to Content-Aware.

Choose the Fill Tool from the menu Edit --> Fill... Then choose Content-Aware from the pull down menu.

Choose the Fill Tool from the menu Edit --> Fill... Then choose Content-Aware from the pull down menu.

The next step is to either click the OK button or press the Enter/Return key on your keyboard. After this, Photoshop CS5 takes over and completely repairs the area.

Draw a selection around the area you want to fix with the Lasso Tool.

Here's the result after using Content Aware Fill inside the selection.

Content Aware Fill mysteriously knows exactly what to replace and exactly what to keep. Honestly, it is astounding!

Fixed! Simple to use and amazing results.

Fixed! Simple to use and amazing results.

The more I use Content Aware Fill, the more impressed I am with the tool. I find I use it for repairing everything from dust in the sky to zits on a face to trash in a landscape photo to hair on someone’s head. If you haven’t upgraded to Photoshop CS5 yet, then this tool alone makes the upgrade worthwhile.

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