Everything You Need to Know About Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill

Content-Aware fill is one of the most useful innovations in the history of Photoshop, allowing you to convincingly replace a wide variety of things in an image quickly and easily without having to do a lot of manual cloning and blending. It is not perfect, though, but with a bit of know-how, you can get a lot more from it. This helpful video tutorial will show you everything you need to know about the Content-Aware tool and how to customize it to your needs.

Coming to you from Anthony Morganti, this excellent video tutorial will show you everything you need to know about the Content-Aware fill tool in Photoshop. One of the easiest ways to get better results out of the tool is simply to create a new layer of just the selection from which you would like Content-Aware to sample. Otherwise, the tool will draw on the entire image and make its best guess, but by using this simple trick, you tell it exactly what to use to build its result. And remember, if you don't like the results, you can simply run the tool again, as you will get something unique every time.ย Check out the video above for the full rundown from Morganti.ย 

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J M Diaz's picture

Thank you.

Narendra Gorantla's picture


Christopher Boles's picture

Excellent tutorial!

Tom Reichner's picture

Does anyone know if there's a way to use this content aware thing WITHOUT using layers? Any time I have tried to use layers in Photoshop, I get terribly confused and cannot figure out how to do them. If content aware could just be used in the one original image, without any layers, like the clone stamp tool, then that would be so great for me!

W Mitty's picture

Tom - Content Aware Fill in Photoshop is for the most part destructive, i.e. it works on the current layer (which is the original image if you haven't created any additional layers). if you do content aware fill by selecting "Fill..." from the Edit menu, the modification is made to the original image. If you do content aware fill by selecting "Content Aware Fill..." from the Edit menu, you have the option to have it applied to the original image, or to create a new layer. It is selectable by the drops-down menu at the bottom of the dialogue box, titled "Output Settings". By default, it appears to be set to "current layer", meaning it will modify the original image.

In the video, Mr. Morganti duplicates the image in a new layer so that he can get back to the original if he goofs since the operation is destructive, but this is not necessary to use the tool. You can work on the original. I always go from LR to PS, so for simple edits in PS using CWF, Clone Stamp, etc, I don't use extra layers because I can always dump the PS edits if I honk it up too badly and get back to the original in LR. Only if I have to do a lot edits in PS do I use layers.

So, it can be used just like the healing brush or the clone stamp tool, without creating and having to deal with layers.

Christopher Boles's picture

I circled the object I wished to delete using the Lasso Tool, clicked on Content-Aware fill and the work pane opened up. On the screen, a pop-up showed up saying that I needed to use the correct sampling tool. I can't find a "sampling" tool in the list of tools. So, what is with that?
I just clicked the box to not see it again.