Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Awe of Adobe Photoshop Elements 9's Content-Aware

My photography workshop teacher said, in many occasions, that we are responsible for every millimeter, for every pixel there is in a photograph. He said that we should always be aware of what the camera sees because it can be different with what our own eyes can see. "You see a sheep on a pasture, loved the lighting, took the picture, assumed that you got the shot, only to find out when you view the photo in your monitor that the sheep is just a minutiae in the shot." I can say that I am also guilty of that: when I see something compelling enough to get my camera out of the bag, fling the camera and take the shot, I sometimes forget that what the camera sees is different from what I see.

Take the photo below of my friend in one of our trip to Atlantic City.

It was one muggy, grey afternoon but I noticed the place he was standing on and I definitely loved the lines surrounding him. But, when I got home to look at the photos taken that day, I suddenly noticed the "No Swimming" sign on his left. If I could repeat the shot, I would have asked him to take a step to the left to cover the sign. But that's that: we would have to go back to Atlantic City and hope for the same environmental conditions if I want to recreate the shot.

Enter Photoshop Elements 9.

I've read about Content-Aware for Photoshop CS5 and I got very happy when Photoshop included the technology in Elements. How good is Content-Aware? Look at the same photo below but with Elements doing its magic:

From People and Portraits

The sign disappeared and it was replaced by a portion of the fence! That was very, very nice!

How to use it? Click on the "Spot Healing Tool" (the one that looks like a Band Aid with a semi-circle) and click on the "Content Aware" radio button at the top. That's it. As simple as that. And let Photoshop Elements do its work.

I know that I should learn to see as the camera sees but for those times that I forget, Photoshop is a great, great help.

Photo made with a Canon Eos 7D with a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6. Settings at f/5.6, 1/10s, ISO640.

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