How To Clean Up Your Panoramic Photos Part 2: Content Aware Fill

Chances are, you’ll end up with a few unwanted objects in your panoramic photo.  Perhaps it’s a power line that’s sagging in the frame. Or it’s an unwanted tourist walking through the shot. Fortunately, Photoshop offers a suite of tools for removing objects and hiding blemishes. In this first part we look at the Content Aware fill command introduced in Photoshop CS5.

The Content-Aware fill option is a new command in Photoshop CS5.  It allows you to select an area then fill it with a texture that was automatically generated based on pixels surrounding the selection. What happens is that Photoshop randomly synthesizes similar content to fill the area based on the surrounding source image. This is a great way to remove an object or blemish from a shot. In some cases it completes the job in one step; in others it offers a great jump-start and can be touched up with cloning or healing.

A rough selection was made with the Lasso tool (left). The Content-Aware fill command does a good job of removing the object (center). A quick use of the Clone Stamp tool completes the touchup (right).

In order to use the command, you’ll need a selection.  We find that the Lasso tool works fine or the Quick Selection tool.  You’ll want to make the selection slightly larger than the targeted area.  To create a gentle transition zone, be sure to choose Select > Modify > Feather and enter a value of 5–25 pixels to blend the selection.

To access the Content Aware Fill command, you’ll need to see the Fill dialog box.

To access the Fill dialog box (and Content-Aware fill) just press Shift+Delete.

  1. Choose Edit > Fill to bring up the Fill dialog box.
  2. Choose the Content-Aware fill from the Use menu and click OK. The command may take a few moments to process if you’re working with a high-resolution image.
  3. If you don’t like the first attempt Content-Aware fill generates, just choose Edit > Undo and then repeat the Content-Aware fill command.

This post is adapted from the book Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques.  If you want to learn how to mix panoramic photos with video (and much more) check out the book.


About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

Posted on October 17, 2011, in Panoramic, Tutorial and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How To Clean Up Your Panoramic Photos Part 2: Content Aware Fill.

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