Photoshop makes objects disappear with revamped Content-Aware Fill

Making an object in a photo disappear is a time-consuming task in Photoshop but the photo editing software will soon have a more effective tool for wiping out telephone poles, trash cans, and other objects that are better left out. On Monday, September 10, Adobe teased an overhaul of the Content-Aware Fill tool coming soon to Photoshop CC.

Photoshop already has a Content-Aware Fill tool that automatically removes a selected area and replaces it based on the pixels around that object. But, there are little photo editors can do if the software doesn’t get it right the first time. The overhauled tool will give photographers options to help get the fill to blend seamlessly with the rest of the image. To house all those options, the Content-Aware Fill tool will open to a new panel, much like other tools with their own interface such as Select and Mask.

After selecting the object and opening the updated tool, Photoshop displays a live preview next to an image with a green overlay. That green area shows what parts of the photo the software is using in order to guess what needs to replace the object that you selected. Using a paintbrush tool at the side, photo editors can change what parts of the image to use in that fill.

But the Content-Aware fill tool will soon be able to replace that missing section of a photo with something that doesn’t exist perfectly in the original photo itself, thanks to artificial intelligence. With new mirror and rotate options, the tool allows for correcting portions of the image that are somewhere else in the photo but are flip-flopped or tilted from what needs to go in that gap. You can replace a butterfly’s missing wing by mirroring an intact one, for example. Photoshop’s existing content aware tool can only fill the gap with what is already in the image, exactly as it is in the image — it can’t rotate or distort the copied area to match the rest of the image. 

The new tool also allows editors to export that fill as a new layer instead of altering the original image, allowing for further manipulation once back inside the usual Photoshop interface. The update also makes the tool easier to find, adding it to Edit > Content-Aware Fill. The current tool will remain active under the options inside Edit > Fill, even after the update launches, Adobe says.

Outside of sharing that the tool is coming, Adobe hasn’t yet said what version of Photoshop the new tool will be coming to. Adobe Max, the company’s annual conference, is coming up next month and usually brings several updates along with it, but Adobe could make photographers wait a little longer for the feature to roll out.

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