Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9: CS5 Content-Aware Fill for the Masses?
When Photoshop CS5 first came out, its headline feature was content-aware fill, which removed objects and filled gaps seemingly out of thin air, as if by magic. In truth, careful cloning could have done the same but content-aware fill was a lot faster. The only problem for me was Photoshop's exorbitant price tag.
At Photokina 2010, Adobe announced Photoshop Elements 9 with two major features: a souped-up spot healing brush (similar to content-aware fill) and photomerge styles (copying the 'style' of any photo and applying it to another photo).
Does the new spot healing brush work? Take a look at the original version of the shot above:
The spot healing brush removed the light pole with a single stroke. Awesome!!! I then refined the results further by additional applications of the spot healing brush and by cloning small areas.
As for the photomerge style, it was disappointing. I couldn't get good results from it. I'll continue to experiment with it.
Another new feature of PSE 9 is layer masks. Finally! Previous versions required workarounds and plug-ins. Still no real curves adjustments though. Or vibrance, or clarity (outside of the RAW lab). I've gotten used to Corel Paintshop Photo Pro, and am a bit frustrated at the missing functions in PSE.
I'm nonetheless excited about the new content-aware fill "lite" of PSE 9, and I think it's a good enough reason for me to upgrade from PSE 8. I'm hoping though that Paintshop will have a new version soon and that new version hopefully has an answer to content-aware fill. Meanwhile, you may want to take advantage of a $20 rebate on PSE9, plus a $20 gift from Shutterfly.
Update: PSE 9 is available at Costco.com for $49.99 through 11/28/10 while supplies last!