The New Content-Aware Fill In Photoshop CC 2019 – Complete Guide

Photoshop CC 2019’s biggest and best feature is perhaps the New Content-Aware Fill.

First introduced in Photoshop CS5, the Content-Aware Fill analyzed the areas around a selection to figure out what pixels to generate to fill the selection and remove an unwanted object.

In some cases, the fill did an amazing job, in others not so much. The biggest issue was that you couldn’t tell photoshop what areas to sample from or how the fill should be generated.

This all changed with Photoshop CC 2019. Now the Content-Aware Fill gives you complete control over what pixels to sample from, and how to apply the algorithm.

In Photoshop CC 2019, the new content-aware fill allows you to define and exclude source areas. You also get output settings to help you work in a non-destructive workflow.

To activate the new content-aware, select anything in your image that you would like to remove.

Then go to Edit > Content-Aware Fill…
(Note: that the existing Edit > Fill dialog is still available.)

Content-Aware Tool Bar

Once you are in the Content-Aware Fill Workspace, you can modify how the fill behaves by using the following tools and options:

Sampling Brush Tool

You can use the Sampling Brush Tool to add or remove the areas from your image that Photoshop will use to sample to generate the fill.

By default, a green overlay covers the areas that Photoshop CC 2019 uses to sample pixels to generate the fill.

To add or remove from the sampling area, paint directly on the overlay. The results will appear on the Preview panel as soon as you release your mouse.

You can use the Add or Subtraction buttons on the Optionsbar to control how the brush behaves.

Hold Alt (Mac: Option) as you paint to temporarily switch to the alternate option (add or subtract depending on your current setting).
You can use the slider to adjust the size of the brush.

Lasso Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool

You can modify your original selection by using the Lasso Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tools, available in the toolbar.
Lasso Tool: Click-and-drag to draw a freehand selection.
Polygonal Lasso Tool: Creates straight-edged selections.
Expand or Contract Buttons: When either the Lasso or Polygonal Lasso Tools is selected, you see the Expand or Contract Buttons. These buttons will either contract or expand the selection based on the number of pixels in the corresponding popup slider.

Hand Tool and Zoom Tool

The Hand Tool and The Zoom Tool work as you would expect. They allow you to Zoom and Pan the image.

  • Hand Tool: Moves (pans) the image within its window.
  • Zoom Tool: Magnifies and reduces the view of an image.

Content-Aware Sampling Options

The settings in the Sampling Options control the overlay that indicates the sampling areas.

  • Opacity: Changes the strength of the visibility of the green overlay. 50% is default.
  • Color: Changes the color of the overlay from green to any other color you like.
  • Indicates: Selects what the overlay targets. The sampled areas, or excluded areas.

Fill Settings
Change the Fill Settings in the Content-Aware Fill panel to get the best results:

  • Color Adaptation: Allows contrast and brightness to adapt for a better match. Good for filling content with gradual color or texture changes.
  • Rotation Adaptation: Allows content rotation for a better match. Good for filling content with rotated or curved patterns.
  • Scale: Allows content resizing for a better match. Good for filling content with repeating patterns of different sizes or under perspective.
  • Mirror: Allows content to be flipped horizontally for a better match. Useful for images with horizontal symmetry.

Content-Aware Output Settings

One of the best additions to the new content-aware is the output settings which allow you to work in a non-destructive workflow if you prefer.

  • Current Layer: Performs the fill in the currently selected layer.
  • New Layer: The fill generates the new pixels in a new layer for a non-destructive workflow.
  • Duplicate Layer: generates the fill in a duplicate of the original layer.

Full-Resolution Preview

The Preview panel provides a full-resolution preview of the changes that you make. The full resolution preview is generated immediately after the initial low-resolution preview.

Any time a preview is generating, you will see the spinner icon on the bottom, right corner of the Preview panel.

Once the initial, low-resolution preview is displayed, an additional warning icon appears next to the spinner. Once the full resolution preview is generated and displayed the warning icon disappears.

Below is an example of the UI when the low-resolution preview is ready, and the full resolution preview is being generated.

Content-Aware Fill and Layer Masks

If you have a layer mask active, the Content-Aware Fill will disregard those areas, and they will appear as transparent pixels in the Fill.

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I kind of hate crap like this. Adobe has already messed up my fill tool so that it won’t fill selections. I have to mash my mouse button until my face turns blue, and I’m only using CS3. Why would they want to mess it up further than they already have? More to the point, how do I get my goddamn fill tool to actually fill again? You know, with just one click, the way it’s supposed to work?


Uh, this sounds like a personal problem. I don’t have no such issues. However, i’m also not using the ancient CS3 version. I’m 2019 CC, so yeah.