Introduced in Photoshop CS5, the Content Aware Fill tool is a handy way to remove objects from an image without resorting to fiddling around with the clone stamp tool. With Content Aware Fill, Adobe Photoshop will try its very best to fill any selected area with a best guess at what should be in there based on the rest of the image.

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Open any image, ideally one with clearly defined background detail and a foreground object you would like removing. Highlight an area around the offending object, either cut out a square or use the lasso tool to cut around it. Now choose Edit and Fill. The Fill menu should pop up and it will default to “Content Aware Fill”, so just click OK and see what happens.

Photoshop should have filled the selected area based on the colours and textures that surround it. It works best on non-complex images, such as landscapes with textures like sky and rock that can be cloned, or repeating patterns like material or wallpaper.

It’s not perfect. Depending on the complexity of the image, you can get mixed results, but one great tip is that every time Photoshop tries to help you with Content Aware Fill, it gives a different result, so if you don’t get an image change you are happy with, trying undoing the action and then apply it again, maybe buy the second or third time the Photoshop pixie will get the hang of it.

This is ideal for cleaning up images that have offending objects like litter, telegraph poles, stray animals or ex-boyfriends inconveniently cluttering them up, and when it does work, in just a few seconds, it does feel like you are working some sort of Photoshop miracle. You will generally get better results using the Clone Stamp tool, mainly because you have complete control, but from a time saving point of view, Content Aware Fill is an invaluable tool to have at your disposal.

[Image via Russ Payne]