Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Content-Aware Fill review

Adobe will be releasing its Photoshop Creative Suite 5 on April 12, 2010. With every release of Creative Suite, the Photoshop team comes up with a set of new magical tools that make Image editing feel like a cakewalk. We can expect the same from the upcoming release, according to a video published recently by Bryan O’Neil Hughes (Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop).


The video demonstrates the new “Content-Aware Fill” (CAF) that allows users to erase any object in an image by smartly replacing it with a predicted background (which easily suits the eye). Traditionally photographers had to go through multiple and time consuming procedures in order to erase an object that lies on a complex background (involving gradients, non-uniform color patterns). Even with the availability of “Clone stamps”, “Spot Healing” and “Magic wands”, its pretty complicated to get the perfect output. While in CS5, the Content-Aware fill will relive the editors from such hectic, time-consuming procedures. Just a few clicks and one can rest back in his seat to see CAF fill in every pixel in the selected area in order to ensure proper continuity through-out the image.

CAF even works on shadows. In few cases you might need to apply it multiple times to get the desired output. But then, its worth it!

I am seriously impressed with this unbelievably magical tool, and this provokes me to think on “How it works?”. Here, once again I put forward my predictive approach on how would such a tool work.

Firstly, looking at the perfection with which it erased (in the video above) the pieces of trash surrounded by a shadow, it is quite obvious that the whole image is being analysed to understand the objects and their nature in the image. While removing the poles on the landscape (Video @1:13), it is noticed that the curvature of the landscape is retained along with the forest at horizon. This is a very remarkable point to notice. This proves that the tool has the capability to understand the pattern of connecting two points across the selected area (this itself resolves most of the worries the job involves). Further, we see in the second demonstration a desert road being removed (video @3:54). The placement of the shrubs are denser towards the left and fade as we move towards the right. This is perfectly handled by CAF while replacing the road with the shrubs. This, again shows that how the tool considers multiple parameters while replacing the road. The density and size of each shrub is analysed and the best fitted pattern is created to be placed over the road. Works perfect!

I would recommend you to watch the video till the end, as the last demonstration is the most magical (video @4:43). The whole panorama has an uneven edge due to the different images placed together. The surrounding white/blank area is filled with the most appropriate color texture to create the previously hidden portions of the cloud and open sky. This would really involve some heavy logic (obvious due to the prolonged loading dialogue box). The complete image is again being analysed to understand the pattern of the cloud and render an unbelievably suitable patch.

I just can’t wait to try my hands on this new tool. Till then, send in your comments and feedbacks on CAF and this post. Cheers!

UPDATE: Comment on similarities between yet to release Content-Aware fill and GIMP’s Resynthesizer plug-in