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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

How to use Content aware move in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about Content Aware Move. You make a selection, you drag it around, you can resize it, reshape it, and hit return, it removes the original, and my little friend here is blended nicely. It almost works that easily. Let me show you my tips and tricks to get the most out of Content Aware Move. 

To get started let's go to '05 Cropping, Aligning, Distorting'. So that's the folder, and open up these two images, 'Content Aware Move 1' and '2'. Thank you, Floris and Barth. What it's good for is making selections, moving it around, deciding what kind of size it is, and what angle it is. Clicking 'Return', and it tries to blend it. The cool thing about it is that it removes where it was. So in this example here, I'm showing off. So it's like the Patch tool, except, if I do this one here, I move it, I get to rotate it, I get to make it look like there's more than these birds. So hit 'Return', and it gets a bit better, or even better. 

I want to remove the dotted lines. I don't want to get rid of them, I just want to hide them. So 'Command H' on my keyboard, or 'Ctrl H' on a PC. That's still there, it means, see this structure and color, I can actually adjust these afterwards so if they don't match or look nice, can you see, it's kind of moving it around a little bit. So structure is kind of like how much it moved. Thing with it is the kind of moving of the contrast areas. Like you do a selection. Often the problem is, or the issue is the color, and how it blends. You can kind of work your way through after you've moved it and rotated it to try and get it to blend. This one works perfectly nice, because I picked an example that has a very similar sky. 'Command H' to turn my little selection back on, 'Deselect'. If you leave that off, forever, and a day, you'll be trying to select things and nothing will be appearing. 

If your Transform is not appearing turn it on there, and it's still broken, it's probably because it's on Extend. So go back to 'Move', let's do one more, and we'll just show you that you can use any selection tool. I'm using the Rectangle Marquee Tool. Now go to my Content Aware Move, move it over here, rotate it around, scale it down. Doesn't even need-- I'll hit 'Return', it's moved it there perfect. I'm going to hit 'Command H' to get rid of the selection around it, and I don't need to do any adjustments here for this structure and color. Back on, 'Command H', 'Command D' to deselect, or 'Ctrl D'. 

The one thing we should do though to go a little bit more pro, is when you are grabbing this-- before you actually do it-- so I'm going to 'Deselect', I'm going to make a new layer. There's an option that says Sample all Layers. Lots of the features allow us to do that, where I can go, you, move him over here. Rotate him, select him, hit 'Return', I don't need to adjust these because it blends in nicely, but he's on his own layer, there he is. Hello, handsome man. I don't want to leave you half cooked, running around, going, "Ah, Content Aware Move works perfect." I find it works some of the time. I'm going to guess a number, like it works as good as that, like 30%, maybe even 20% of the time. Often I'm hitting on Content Aware Move. 

The nice thing about it is it's really quick and easy to test. So all you do is, do a selection around it and just see if it works. Rotating, selecting in, hit 'Enter'. You can see, did a bad job, but now I can play around with structure and color. I think structure is the kind of mass that goes around the outside. It's a better way of explaining it, Dan, and color is the Blending Modes. So you can fiddle around with this and get it. Like I find I struggle a lot with it. Hey, got it, and if I had 'Deselect' now you'll see that it's okay. You can see there's some weird stuff going on. 

So what would I do if I had to do this and Content Aware Move's not working? So it's not a good way to get it to work, if it doesn't work, and you can't use those adjustments, we're kind of stuck. What I like to do in this particular situation, probably the easiest thing is to, actually, unless lazy Marquee Tool-- just copy and paste it, it's on its own layer. You can just move it around, rotate it, scale it, and then a Blending Mode. And in this case, which one's going to work? Darken. You can still see the edges there. Remember our shortcut, you're on the Move Tool. Hold 'Shift' down, then tap the '+' key. Just kind of work your way through until you're like, "Oh, yeah." 

Darken colors, there's kind of a red glow around it, which I can fix. So any better one? Darker color is the one, and to get rid of that red glow I'm just going to go to 'Adjustments', and I go to 'Hue & Saturation'. I could just make black and white but I want the blue that's left in the birds, I'm going to say, reds, I want you to be desaturated, but only that layer, please. Is it quicker, longer? It works, and that's the way I'd do it. We've done this before, so I'm going to go fast. I'll show you another way that I would do it, if that didn't work or it wasn't black and white. Go to my background layer, I want you, my friend. I copy and paste him, he's on his own layer. I'm going to transform him and flip him. 

Now I want to do a selection, I'm just going to do a Channel Mask. I turn these other layers off to make my Channel Mask a little less complicated. I'll zoom in on the sky. This has nothing to do with Content Aware Move now, but you'll find times where Content Aware Move is close to working, but just doesn't give you the result. You're going to have to go out and do something like this. So instead of a Channel Mask, while we're in here, we'll do a quick Selection Mask. Give it a go, I know it works because I've tested. So I got the basics in here. I'm going to add a Layer Mask, with the Mask selected, I go to 'Select & Mask', I'm going to look at it against black, then probably bump up the radius, then maybe shift the edge in a bit. Click 'OK'. Turn everything else back on. Right click this disabled mask. There's a bit of fullness that I lost because I was going a little bit too fast with the Quick Selection Tool, or at least the Select & Mask. 

So the radius didn't give me what I needed. I'm going to undo that. Do it again, be less lazy. Same thing, let's go 'Decontaminate Colors'. Smooth it out a little bit as well. Let's click 'OK', that's a lot better. If that doesn't work for you my next step would be the long version. You can kind of see how I start with like-- Content Aware Move, it's the quickest, it's easy. Removes where it was originally and places it in the new spot, and you've got some adjustment. So that's the easiest, if that doesn't work, the Blending Mode work nicely, but we had to kind of adjust it with our 'Hue & Saturation. 

The third option was a little bit longer again. Just start with the easiest one, and work your way along until the last one is-- I'm going to delete this mask. I'm going to just move this fellow over here. Grab this original guy, delete the Mask, and do a Channel Mask. So just that layer on, actually, shortcut, Dan; come on. You remember what it was? You don't? Dah. Hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac, or the 'Alt' key on a PC, and just click on one of the layers. Click it again holding that same shortcut turns it all off, except for the one you've got selected. So Channel Masks, let's have a look. You can see here, we didn't do this during Channel Masks but I do all the time. 

See the shortcuts, it will be 'Ctrl' 3, 4, 5 on a PC, but on a Mac, I'm just going 3, 4, 5 on my keyboard, and I'm just looking at which has the most contrast. And it's clear the red does, so I'm going to duplicate this channel. I'm going to grab my levels by hitting 'Command L'. You can go to 'Image Adjustments'. Don't use the ones in here when you're doing a Channel Mask. I'm just going to crank up the whites. Do something with these. It's looking good. Remember our cool little trick where we used the Brush Tool? And we set it to 'Overlay'. And we can just kind of paint all that stuff out. We get quite close to the edge without wrecking it. There was no need to go in that close but you get the idea. So it's a longer method. 

Another trick is, instead of clicking this to load the selection, you can just hold down the 'Command' key and click on the thumbnail. That's 'Ctrl' key on a PC. So I've got my selection, that little guy there is useless now. I've just used him to get the selection. I've turned RGB back on. Layers, at the moment it's inverted. I've got the opposite selected, so I'm going to undo. Invert the selection, under 'Select', 'Invert'. That was the long way, but it gives me a more kind of realistic-- these guys have a kind of a jagged edge, so you can't judge my jagged edge here. If you don't like the original-- where is he? He had a jagged edge too, there he is there. So spare this, it's not my selection. 

So Content Aware Move works. I don't love it, like I love you, Content Aware Scale, but it can work, and if it doesn't, we tried the Layer Mode trick, then we tried the Quick Selection with some Select & Mask action, then we went to our big guns, Channel Masks. If any of those things are a bit quick for you, or you haven't watched the previous tutorials, all of those things are explained in the Select & Mask section. Go check those out, but for now let's move on.