Photography Tutorials and Articles

Photoshop Content Aware Move Tool

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Recompose a picture using Photoshop Content Aware Move Tool

Photoshop has many advanced tools for photo editing. In this article I am going to cover Photoshop Content Aware Move Tool, one of the newest features in Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC.

In the photo below, I took a picture of a Common Loon and she was not cooperating at all! So when looking at the photo I noticed that everything is perfect but the composition. I wanted her to be in the Rule of Thirds and swimming into the frame not out of the frame.

Original photo

The loon is swimming out of the frame
The loon is swimming out of the frame

Thanks to Photoshop Content Aware Move tool, I fixed the problem. Here is the tutorial of using Photoshop’s Content Aware tool.

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Edited version

I moved the loon using Photoshop Content Aware Move tool
I moved the loon using Photoshop Content Aware Move tool

What is Photoshop's Content Aware Tool?

If you click and hold on SPOT HEALING tool, it opens up and you will see more tools hidden there! One these tools is Content Aware Move Tool. Generally speaking Content Aware Move Tool allows you to select a portion of the picture, cut it, and then move it to a new location of your choice.

Content Aware Move Tool

Photoshop Content Aware move tool
Click and hold the Spot Healing tool icon to open the tools

What is the difference between Move Tool and Content Aware Move Tool?

Move tool just cuts the selected area and moves it to the new location without making any adjustment or blending. Notice the blank spot and that the selected area did not blend with the new location:

Move Tool efect

photoshop content aware move tool
Notice the blank spot when using the move tool.

And here I used Content Aware Move Tool. As you notice, it not only moved the selected area, created a background for the blank spot, and blended the selected area with the new location.

Using Content Aware Move tool

photoshop content aware move tool
Photoshop Content Aware Move tool recreates and blends the pixels.

Content Aware Move tool uses a very complicated algorithm to calculate the pixels and recreates or blends them together.

How to use Photoshop’s Content Aware tool?

It is very straight forward. Here is the technique that I found works best for me:

1-Select Lasso tool and loosely select around your subject. Make sure to include the background, you don’t need to make an exact and tight selection.

Using Lasso tool

Photoshop content aware tool
Select around the subject loosely.

2-Select the Content Aware Move Tool, move the selection to its new location and job is done!

I moved the loon using Photoshop Content Aware Move tool
I moved the loon using Photoshop Content Aware Move tool

You may need to do a little clean up by using Spot Healing or Clone Stamp tool.

That is all there is to it about Photoshop’s Content Aware Move Tool. Go ahead and make some changes in some of your not very perfect shots and make them perfect! 

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Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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