Image Cleanup Tools

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Today’s Question: Is there any tool in Lightroom that can do what Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop can do?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The short answer is “no”. Lightroom does include the equivalent of the Healing Brush, but the Content Aware technology is currently only available within Photoshop.

More Detail: The image cleanup tool in Lightroom is called the Spot Removal Tool, which perhaps helps to make it clear that it is really intended for relatively simple image cleanup tasks, such as removing spots caused by dust or other contaminants on the image sensor in your camera. The Heal option for the Spot Removal Tool provides the same basic functionality as the Healing Brush in Photoshop.

The Content Aware technology is by comparison significantly more advanced. With Content Aware you are getting a variable blending of pixels based on the actual content in the area of the image you want to remove a blemish.

This is one of the reasons that Photoshop remains an important component in a Lightroom-based workflow for many photographers. And yes, I do realize that many photographers would prefer to have Content Aware technology (among other features) included in Lightroom so they could eliminate Photoshop from their workflow.

Unless Adobe decides to add the Content Aware technology to Lightroom, for the best cleanup results within a Lightroom-based workflow I highly recommend using Photoshop. Once you’ve performed all of your adjustments within Lightroom’s Develop module, you can send the image to Photoshop using the Photo > Edit In command. Then employ the Content Aware technology (and make use of any other desired features in Photoshop.

When you’re finished working in Photoshop, simply choose File > Save to update the new file created as part of this workflow, and then choose File > Close to close the image. When you return to Lightroom you will find this new derivative image next to the original capture.