Today’s Question: I see on the list of new features in Photoshop that there is now an improved Content-Aware Fill. But when I use the Fill command and choose “Content Aware”, I get the exact same dialog with no changes from the previous version. How do I get the updated features?
Tim’s Quick Answer: The updated implementation of the Content-Aware Fill feature in Photoshop CC 2019 is actually separate from the Fill command (which does still have the Content-Aware option). So now the older implementation of this feature is found with the Fill command, and the new implementation is found with the new Content-Aware Fill command on the Edit menu.
More Detail: I can certainly understand being confused by the apparent lack of any change to the Fill command, based on Adobe having promoted a completely revamped Content-Aware Fill feature in the latest update of Photoshop. The new feature has simply been added as a new command on the menu. So, while you can still use the original implementation of the Content-Aware feature with the existing Fill command (Edit > Fill on the menu), you will also find a new “Content-Aware Fill” command on the Edit menu.
The key benefit of the new Content-Aware Fill command is that you can specify which portions of the image should (versus should not) be used as potential source pixels when removing a blemish or other object from the selected area of a photo.
To get started you simply create a selection of the area you want to cleanup within the image. Then choose Edit > Content-Aware Fill from the menu, which will bring up the Content-Aware Fill workspace. You can then use the Sampling Brush tool with the “Add” and “Subtract” controls on the Options bar to add to or subtract from the sampling area to be used for image cleanup.
This enables you, for example, to exclude areas from being sampled that might be causing unwanted textures to appear in the cleanup area. In other words, this adds a degree of control over a cleanup process that had previously been completely automatic.