Spots like these are common with digital cameras, caused by dust on the sensor. The Spot Healing Brush makes easy work of blemishes like these.
This screen grab shows the Spot Healing Brush and a few options. The Patch tool also has Content-Aware, along with Content-Aware Move. Change brush size by using the dropdown option or use the left or right bracket keys.
It only takes a single click to repair a blemish, but you can also scrub over an area with the mouse to fix irregular shapes.
This is a tight shot of a historic old sign here in Jackson Hole. It has a few problems I highlighted in red. The image needs straightened and distracting areas of the sky and sign face need fixed.
To straighten this shot, I duplicated the original background layer (Control/ Command-J), then selected all (Control/Command-A) and used the Transform Tool (Control/ Command-T) to rotate it to tastes. This leaves white triangles in each corner on that layer. Use the Magic Wand to select one corner, and Shift-Select the other three corners. Tip: After selecting using the Magic Wand, go to Select,>Modify> Expand, then enter two or three pixels. This helps eliminate a halo at the edges of the selection.
Go to Edit>Fill> and select ContentAware from the Contents pull down. Newer versions of Photoshop have an additional checkbox for Color Adaptation. It usually does a better job if available. Click OK and presto— the corners are repaired!
I used a combination of Content-Aware and the Clone Stamp tool to repair the bottom section, removing the top of the changeable message panel. Each image will have variations of needs.
The flaws and blemishes in the original image were quickly fixed using the Spot Healing Brush. Most of them took only a singleclick with a brush slightly larger than the problem area. For many projects, this is a completed image. I thought the image felt a bit cramped, so I added some extra space.
This screen grab shows the Canvas options. I chose to make the new Canvas 110% of the original image, growing from the center. It is just as easy to add by pixels or inches. I chose the option to fill the canvas with white, but there are several options.
Here’s the image with the extra canvas added on all sides.
The white area was selected using the Magic Wand, then I expanded the selection by two or three pixels as before, then went to Edit>Fill>ContentAware. Click OK. The results are usually amazing. If repairs are needed, use the same tools to fix flaws.
I used the Clone Stamp tool to add some blue sky over the telephone lines as they touched the edges of the sign. With the Clone Stamp selected, click an area next to the fix while holding down the Option or Alt key. This sets the clone source. Click over the line to create a “buffer” for the Spot Healing Brush. With that tool selected, click once at one end of the line, then hold down the Shift key and click the other end. The software fills in the middle. This step took me only 5 to 7 minutes.
This capture shows a lot of clutter and distractions. It was actually a fairly easy and fast fix.
Using essentially the same techniques, I removed the guy wires in less than five minutes. Occasionally, you might find it better to click small sections of a long line instead of healing all of it at one time. This is especially so on a sagging power line. Remember to keep the brush size to a size just larger than the blemish or lines.

Abracadabra: Find the magic in Photoshop’s Content-Aware tools

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Adobe added Content-Aware into Photoshop in CS5 in 2010. Wow! It was and is a game changer. Over the years since its initial inclusion, Content-Aware tools and features have become increasingly powerful. Content-Aware technology is truly magical!

When applied, Content-Aware analyzes nearby areas for color, texture and content to either fill or replace defective or missing areas of an image that would often take many steps to achieve prior to the technology.

For example, the Spot Healing Brush can quickly replace dust and spots often found in digital images when the lens is dirty, or if the sensor has collected lint or dirt. These repairs typically require a simple click. The same Spot Healing Brush can be used to remove power lines, trash or graffiti in a photo. Jet contrails across the sky can also be removed with relative ease.


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Mike Jackson

Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Era Studios in Jackson, Wyoming, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is www.goldenstudios.com. His email address is golden@goldenstudios.com. You can see more of Mike’s photos at www.tetonimages.com and www.goldenstudios.com.