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Photoshop CC Logo  How to use Content Aware in Photoshop CC

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Photoshop CC tutorial 22: What is Content Aware?

Photoshop Patch tool - With content aware

The Patch tool is a good alternative to the healing brush when you need to replace larger areas.

  1. Go to your layers panel, click on the ‘create new layer’ icon.

    New Photoshop Layer

  2. Rename it ‘Cleaned image’ by double clicking on the new layer text.

    Cleaned image layer

  3. Select the Patch tool.

    Spot healing brushin Photoshop

  4. Now look at the top control panel where you can make a few decisions for your final result. Make sure the patch option is ‘content-aware’. You can try the different settings in the ‘adaption’ features. This will determine how much change will occur. So if you want a more random result you’d choose one of the looser options, if you want a more subtle change. Medium is a good starting point and your default. In this case this image suits ‘loose’.
  5. Make sure ‘sample all layers’ is ticked. This means that when we drag our selection (whilst on the cleaned image layer) the final result will be on its own layer with the original still accessible in your original layer.

  6. Draw a rough selection around the area you would like to replace.

  7. Click and hold on that selection and drag your cursor around until you find the piece of skin that you would like to replace it with.

  8. Release the mouse button.
  9. Look at your layer panel. You will see your ‘cleaned image’ layer has your new clouds on its own layer.

    Patch tool on layer

  10. OR we can do this straight on the layer. 
    File > Open > Photoshop Exercise Files > Patch Tool > Patch Tool.jpg
  11. Select the patch tool.

    Patch tool

  12. Draw a rough selection around the area you would like to replace.

    Using Patch Tool on skin

  13. Click and hold on that selection and drag your cursor around until you find the piece of skin that you would like to replace it with.

  14. Release the mouse button and done!


Photoshop Content aware - Move

The content aware tool allows you to move a large object and automatically replace the background, providing it is replaceable.

  1. File > Open > Photoshop Exercise Files > Content Aware Move > Woman in grass.tiff
  2. Using the lasso tool make a selection around the woman. Note: Your selection can be very ruff.
  3. Select the content aware move tool Content aware move tool in Photoshop
  4. Move the selection to a clear bit of the grass.
  5. If there are a any problems with the move you can try two following techniques

• Undo and try an new selection.

• Try some of the other ‘Adaption’ features in the context menu.

Photoshop content aware move settings

Content aware move example


Photoshop Content aware - Extend

Extend the block of grass using the content aware extend tool.

  1. File > Open > Photoshop Exercise Files> Content Aware Extend > Content Aware - Extend.jpg
  2. Select an area of image to extend wit the rectangular marquee tool. Note: Ensure in the app bar that the mode is set to ‘Extend’.
  3. Using the content aware tool set to extend in the context menu, drag and position to the right. Notice how Photoshop rewrites both the selected area and part of the un-selected area. You can try different setting after the move as long as the selection is still active. Try ‘strict’ ‘loose’ and ‘very loose’.


Spot healing brush - With content aware fill

  1. File > Open > Photoshop Exercise Files > Content Aware Fill > Healing Brush 1.psd.

  2. Choose the Spot Healing Brush Spot healing brush.
  3. Ensure that the Content Aware Fill option is turned on in the Application Bar.

    Content aware in toolbar

  4. Using the brush work in small areas at a time.


  1. Photomerge (creating a panoramic image from several photos)

  2. File > Automate > Photomerge.

  3. Click Browse then go to Photoshop Exercise Files > Photomerge > select all of the images you want to merge.


  4. We’ll use the Auto setting (top left) but you can experiment with the other settings for different results.
  5. Make sure Blend Images Together and Geometric Distortion Correction is clicked on.
  6. Click OK.


  7. We can do two things there. Either use the Crop tool to get a nice straight image OR use the amazing content aware fill tool. Lets do that....

Photomerge advanced

  • In your layers panel select all the layers by clicking on the first layer, hold down shift and click on the last layer. Then click on the drop down menu for layers and merge these layers together.

    merge layers in photoshop cc

  • Your layers panel will now have one layer.

    Merged layers

  • With your magic wand tool on the left of the screen select all the transparent areas around your image, holding down shift if you need to add to the marching ants selection.
  • Go to Edit > Fill and make sure the ‘Use’ is Content Aware.

    Edit Fill Content Aware


  • And magic! The empty areas have filled! Truly amazing.







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