If they Say, Why, Why? Tell Them That It’s Human Nature.

This isn’t as much a Photoshop Tutorial as an insight on human nature.

We all settle in to a certain workflow, no matter what your job. You reach a comfort level and with deadlines, client demands and The Daily Grind it becomes difficult to shake yourself out of that routine.

Which brings me to the other day. I was working on a video project for PORON® Cushioning with Jason, our video intern. We needed to take the photo below and clip out the hiker, replacing the clipped area with the background that would appear if he were not there. The result would be an animation effect that would hopefully be more interesting than a flat stock photo.

My usual approach would be to make a clipping path around the hiker, create a new layer with the hiker on it, and use the clone tool and various other techniques to try to seamlessly fill in the area. Then, something occurred to me.

Before Photoshop CS5 was released, a YouTube video of one of its new features started floating around. This feature was jaw-dropping and I remember counting down the days until I could give it a go and incorporate it into my workflow. Unfortunately, The Daily Grind took over and I never took an opportunity to use it, until now.

The feature is called Content-Aware Fill; what it does is analyze the contents of the image to figure out what the photo would have looked like if the unwanted object or area had never been there. Let’s have a look at the hiker.

First, I’ll use the lasso tool to draw a selection around the area I want removed; in this case, the hiker.

Then I’ll hit the delete key and a dialog box will appear asking me what I’d like to replace the deleted area with. I’m going to select; Use: Content-Aware, Blending: Normal, Opacity: 100% and click OK.

Eureka! Granted, results vary from photo to photo and a perfectionist would still take the time to clean up the rough spots, but Photoshop has given us a great start on accomplishing what we set out to do.

Lesson learned, no matter what your line of work, it pays to take a time-out and attempt to learn something that may be out of your comfort zone, no matter how small. In this case, I saved a ton of time and now I have a new trick.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some deadlines to meet.

October 4, 2011 · Posted by in design, video  


One Response to “If they Say, Why, Why? Tell Them That It’s Human Nature.”

  1. Pete on October 4th, 2011 11:29 am

    Awesome! I too have gotten stuck in using many of the same Photoshop methods I’ve been using for 10 or more years, just because that’s the way I’ve always done it. Making time to try/learn new things should definitely be a priority.