Anything Photoshop or Photography

HOW TO USE CONTENT-AWARE FILL AND NIK VIVEZA 2

Image of a Native American Doll in a papooseJust a simple blog this on Content-Aware Fill and and Nik Viveza 2, that I consider as the best Photoshop plug-in around and how I use it. Once again the Native American Festival displayed their beautiful doll collection. This year they were all shown in a tee-pee type structure, and this little doll was swinging around rather aggressively as it was pretty windy! The doll looks totally scared which I found rather comical! And the papoose was a very interesting object so I had to take some pictures.

For this image, nothing was done in Lightroom except to check Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration. Below is how the RAW image before taking it into Photoshop – not that great!
Lightroom Screen shot showing original image as shot in RAW Normally I would do a straighten and/or Crop in Lightroom and adjust the Basic sliders, but in this case, Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop was going to be needed to fill out areas due to the straightening and then cropping in Photoshop. Lightroom will not let you crop outside the image area, but Photoshop will. See below how the image looked after this step.

Image shown after crop and straighten in Photoshop

You can see the pink areas that have no picture info in them – these areas need to be filled in using Content-Aware Fill. I have created an action using the following steps which usually gives a decent fill-in result.

1. If possible use the Magic Wand Tool, which was done in this case, to select the areas to be filled in. In the above, the process was repeated twice, but you could select both areas by clicking the SHIFT button and clicking with the Magic Wand into the second area. I find that if too much area is chosen at once, the results might not be as good. Also, any way of selecting is fine and do use the Quick Mask Tool (Q) to clean up a selection if it needs it before proceeding.

2. This step is where I begin my action. Go to Select -> Modify -> Expand and put in 4 pixels. This is enough information for the Content-Aware command to work pretty well.

3. Go to Edit -> Fill (SHIFT+F5 or SHIFT+BACKSPACE) and select Content-Aware in drop down list, Mode Normal and Opacity 100% in the Fill dialog box, then OK.

4. Press CTRL+D to deselect the selection.

At this point some clean up on a New Layer is required using the Clone Stamp Tool or the Brush Tool. Below you can now see how the image looked as I took it into Nik Viveza 2 – just ignore the control points icons. You can see that it added in the upper right area perfectly, but top and left side had to corrected a bit after running content aware. In fact the doll on the left had been cut off in the original image, but Photoshop picked up some brown, so I just painted in an arm and smoothed out the brown edging. Since it was not a focal point in the image, it really is unnoticeable.

Image as shown in Nik Viveza 2 with no filter changes applied.

Next the image is shown with all the Control Points turned on.

Image showing Nik Viveza 2 control points turned on

Before going into the filter, I always make a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top and then right click on the layer and select Convert To a Smart Object. That way if the effect does not look good, I can go back into the filter and adjust the settings easily. There are 9 control points in this image. Usually I am looking at 4 or 5. The first control point is usually placed on the focal point of the image – in this case the doll’s face. The face was brightened up a little, Contrast added, and Structure pulled all the way out to show the detail of the face. The Control Point was adjusted so it only affected here face. Other control points lightened up the post on the right to make it almost disappear, the one shown above is for the middle of papoose to show a little more detail in that part of the object, and the bottom box was set with the Structure slider left to totally soften it instead of add detail. The Structure slider is very similar to Clarity in Camera Raw. In other words an image can be totally tweaked by adjusting the same sliders shown on the left for each control point. I really like the fact that a color can be sampled from an image and changed if it is not working in a certain place. Very easy to use.

Since the basic sliders – Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Structure – can all be adjusted in the Control Points, it is very easy to adjust the image to get the effect you need. I use the Shadow Adjustments and Warmth much less, but occasionally they really help. Also, by sampling a color you like, you can adjust a color very easily in a different part of the image.

Now that I have said all this about Viveza, you can do almost all of the same things in the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop – you just have to do it with Adjustment Brushes and Radial Filters, but it can very easily be done. I would recommend you try this if you do not have the Viveza filter as it is just about as good. I find Viveza is very quick and easy to use but I do use the Camera Filter a lot now that Photoshop CC and CC2015 have it. And you Photoshop CS6 users can get to it very easily on a layer by using Dr. Brown’s ACR Script (See my Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script blog for download link.) The only thing it will not have the is Radial Filter, but it does have the adjustment brush capability.

Since it is usually at the end of my workflow I find that major flaw, Viveza has saved a lot of images. Also it can create a really nice subtle vignette by putting control points in each of the corners and just adjusting the Brightness slider down. A layer style was used to add the large brown stroke around the image.

Hope you get a chance to use this filter, you will not be disappointed with the results. Later…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!

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2 responses

  1. Great edit, and what a difference in the before and after!

    03/29/2015 at 5:25 pm

  2. Thanks Lisa!

    03/30/2015 at 8:48 am

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