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Photoshop Selection Tools and Content-Aware

We take certain things for granted when working in PhotoshopR. For example, how many selections do you make during a project? If you totaled the amount of time it takes to make all those selections, how much of your production time is dedicated to this task? Photoshop CS5 has some new adaptive selection tools which help you to refine the selection's edge for better results. You will find these tools in the Refine Edge dialog box.

First, we have the Smart Radius option in the Edge Detection section of the dialog box. When this option is activated, Photoshop will "read" the type of edge (hard, soft, etc) and automatically adjust the selection edge as needed. You can also use the Slider control to refine this adjustment further.

We also have the Refine Radius and Erase Refinements tools which are to the left of the Edge Detection section. You will use these tools to paint over the edge to refine the selection. On the other hand, we have a new tool for removing that halo effect that sometimes occurs when removing backgrounds. In the Output section of the dialog box, we would activate the Decontaminate Colors setting and use the control slider to refine the edge and remove the halo.

We also have the Content-Aware feature. This feature will help you remove unwanted objects from your artwork or photos and automatically replace the objects with the surrounding environment, based on the best match to lighting, tone and noise. For example, to remove small objects that don't require a selection, such as a power line, you can use the Content-Aware feature with the Spot Healing Brush to "paint away" the power line and replace it with the sky.

On the other hand, to remove a large object such as a person from a photo, you will want to use the Content-Aware Fill option on a selected area. I have learned the hard way that the trick to using this feature is to select some of the surrounding background with the person. As you can see, I have made a selection around the man in the photo and included some of the brick wall. Then click Edit Fill to open the Fill dialog box. Under the Contents section, choose Content-Aware. Photoshop will do a little calculating and automatically replace the man with the brick wall.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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