Photoshop CS5 Preview: Content-Aware Fill Is Magically Automatic

Photoshop CS5

Bryan O’Neil Hughes, one of the product managers of Adobe’s Photoshop, let loose with a video that’s tearing up the internet today, making nerds nationwide thrilled about the possibilities of even easier photo editing.

The key item demonstrated here is called “Content-Aware Fill.” Essentially, in CS4, the current version of Photoshop, some image cleanup tasks had a tendency to get tricky. Shadows, lens flares, and miscellaneous detritus often posed a real challenge to image polishing, and though Photoshop is relatively (and I use that word extremely loosely) easy to use, those problems often proved to require an expert touch.

Content-Aware Fill looks to change all that. I have no idea how it works, but it seems to analyze photos not just for shades of light and dark but for actual objects. So if you need to remove an object from a photo, it’ll understand that there’s, say, grass behind it, and fill in with the appropriate shad and texture of grass.

The absolute craziest example comes late in the video. Panoramic shots, after being stitched together, very often take on odd, semicircular or irregular shapes. It’s not that big a deal, usually–there are programs to stretch them out, or (as is the more common choice) you can just leave it looking kind of weird. But Content-Aware Fill can actually supply appropriate imagery where before there was none, filling the space around the irregular panorama with mountains, clouds, or what have you. It’s unbelievable.

It’s a hell of a preview for Photoshop CS5, which comes out April 12.DN