Adobe Photoshop for Beginners: Using Content Aware Scale and Fill

The content-aware tools in Photoshop are an incredibly powerful way of using pixels in an image and manipulating them. You can do a lot with content-aware scale, making an object look bigger or smaller by filling in or removing pixels. There are a lot of things possible when using this tool.

If you’d like to see the rest of my mini-reviews for this tutorial series, you can do so here.

In today’s lesson, we will be using the following assets:

Adobe for Beginners

We will be using the first image of the bee on the flower. It is hard to see it as this is a white background, but the original image is smaller and the canvas larger. Ideally, we want to extend our image’s background to cover the larger portion of the canvas that shows as a transparent part of the image when using the PSD file in Photoshop. You can do this using the “crop tool” with the content-aware scale option.

To make this change in the image, we use our edit menu and then choose “content-aware scale”. This will fill in the “extra” portion of our image by copying the pixels in the background and making it look like the image is larger.

You want to end up with something like this:

Edited by Darkside Creative

As you can see in the image I’ve edited above, the background has extended, but it doesn’t look “stretched” and looks exactly like the background in the image.

PRO TIP: Not every image will work well with content-aware scale. The best types of images to use are images with the same colour in the background (or close to the same colour). You cannot use this tool for every instance as it will not yield the same results every time.

Let’s use the second image asset for more content-aware scale editing. We want to do a similar thing with this image by extending the background to use this image as a header for let’s say our Facebook profile or even for Twitter (size constraints will vary).

Let’s apply our content-aware tool to this image and see how we go (remember using the crop tool to extend the image and then edit>content-aware scale to fill in the blank canvas).

You should end up with something looking like this:

Edited by Darkside Creative

We want to try something new with our next image by grouping the plants in this image a little closer together. To achieve that, we will be using the same technique except instead of extending the canvas outward, we want to push things closer together, so going inward.

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Edited by Darkside Creative

In our final example, we are going to do two things to the image. We will extend it just like we did with the first example except something in the image is not going to work with that technique. If you simply extend the last image’s background, you will distort the paper that is on the desk. And we don’t want that to happen. So we need to find a way to protect that part of the image when we are editing it with our crop tool. To do this, we need to select this part of the image by using any selection tool you like (I’m using the quick select tool) and then saving that selection.

Once you’ve saved the selection, you can then begin with the content-aware editing part of the technique just as we did with the first image. When you choose “edit>content-aware scale, you will need to use the drop-down menu where it says “Protect” on the toolbar and choose whatever you saved your selection as. This will avoid distorting that part of the image – pretty cool, huh?

Okay so with that done, you simply apply the technique with content-aware and voila! You should end up with something that looks like this:

Edited by Darkside Creative

Just remember our pro top above – NOT every image will be the correct type of image to use this time-saving technique, but with the image examples we’ve used above, it’s perfect!

Well, that’s it for this tutorial review, and we only have one last portion left to learn, and we will have the Adobe Photoshop for Beginners by Envato Tuts completed and that’s a HUGE achievement people!

Please let me know if you’re following this tutorial series or if you have any comments or questions about any of the art on this blog. I’d be keen to discuss with you!

Until tomorrow, stay safe out there, keep creating, and I’ll catch you in the next post!

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