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A favorite editing trick: Adding background easily using content-aware fill



Hey everyone!

This video is about how I prepare my images for print when I'm printing on a gallery wrapped canvas. When I'm printing on anything flat, let's say a plain print that's going to be framed or something like wood or acrylic or metal, I don't need any extra give on the sides of my image because everything that's printed is being seen. But when I print on a canvas, the image actually wraps around to the canvas so you're losing two inches of the image on each side.


So what do I do if I have an image like this, where I don't want to lose the top or the bottom of the crib, and I want to see everything that's in this image. I want to see everything on the front of the canvas so the pieces that wrap around the side, I want it to be extra. What do I do?


Well, here's how resize it. How do I know how much to add? Every size image will need a different ratio. So how do I know? So how do I know how much to actually add to the sides of the image and then how do I add it? First thing, how do we know how much to add? Every image will need a different proportion, a different amount proportionate to the size that you print. So if you're printing, let's say 16 by 20, which is kind of a small print. Two inches compared to 16 is a much bigger amount percentage wise than if you have a 40 by 60, and you're only taking two inches of the sides. That's going to be a whole different look.


So what I want to do first is size my image to the size that I'm actually going to print on the front of the canvas. So what I'm going to do is hit C for crop tool. So you did C for the crop tool and then in the crop tool, you can choose a ratio or you can choose width times height, times resolution. That's what I'm going to choose width times height times resolution. Now this specific image is being printed as a 30 by 40 so I'm going to enter 30 inches by 40 inches. Make sure that you're set to inches. If you're at centimeter or at pixels, PX is pixels, It's going to look very different. So you want to do 30 inches by 40 inches. Then the way I always crop my image is to 300 PPI and make sure that the PPI is also px/in, not px/cm. So 30 inches by 40 inches of 300 pixels per inch. Don't check off delete pixels because if you do check it, then you're going to lose everything that's outside of your crop and you might want to keep that later. So what I'm going to do right now is uncheck the delete crop pixels. Now I'm going to crop this whichever way I want so it's centered and good. In this case, it is already centered and good.


Now you can see that I have 30 inches on the ruler over here, and 40 inches on the ruler over here. Just a side note, if you don't have the ruler, ctrl+R, is the shortcut for showing and hiding your ruler, or you can go to view and then ruler guide to show your ruler. So you want to hit control R so that to make sure that you see a ruler. You can also right click, or if you're on a Mac, then command click on the ruler and you can choose pixel, inches, centimeter, millimeters... I like to use inches.


The next thing you're going to do is grab a guide and put a guide at each edge of your image. The way to grab a guide is to hover over the ruler and then click and drag until you have a guide and just let it snap to the edge of the image. We're going to do one more, hover over the ruler, click down and drag and then drop and let it snap to the edge. Now we're going to do the top and bottom same thing, hover, click and drag, let it drop and snap to the side of the image and same thing for the bottom. Now that I have these guides, I'm going to add a guide two inches away from each edge. So we're going to do one guide at negative two, just drag and drop. I'm looking at the ruler right here and it says negative two, right? I'm going to do the same thing on the other side, the more zoomed in the more accurate it'll be. So one is going to be at 32. The next one is going to be at negative two on the top, right over here and the next one is going to be at 42 on the bottom.


Step one, size image appropriately crop it, but to not delete crop pixels. Step two is put a guide on the edges of the image so you know where it ends, where you wanted the front of the image to be. Step three is put another guide two inches away on all edges of the image. Step number four is going to be to go back into the crop tool and instead of 30 by 40, you're going to add four inches to each dimension because two inches on each side. So instead of 30 by 40, 30 plus two on each side would be 34 and 40 plus two in each side would be 44. So now I have 34 by 44, and I'm going to drag this up and snap it to the new grids that I made. So once you crop something to 34 by 44, it should reach the outset edges of all your grids.


Now there's one more really cool thing that I want you to see before you hit ok. I'll just go in and check the content aware box. This lets Photoshop know that it can try its best to fill it in itself and then you don't have to do so much work to do. You want to make sure that you're working off of a copy. So you want to make sure that you're working off a duplicate, not off the original image. So I'm just going to ctrl+Z. Now I'm going to ctrl+J to duplicate this layer. Now I'm going to go back to 34 by 44 and crop it. I don't want to ruin my background layer in case it doesn't fill it correctly so this should reach all the edges. Now I have 34 by 44, It's hitting all my outside guides, I'm going to make sure content aware is on and then I'm going to hit okay. Photoshop is going to take a minute to fill this in. Then there's two things that could happen: if Photoshop did a good job, hurray, amazing! You're ready to print and stretch it around a gallery. If Photoshop didn't do such a good job, for example, look at this Photoshop did an amazing job, adding the texture all around. It did a pretty good job on the bottom, over here, kind of mushing out what was happening, but it did not do such a good job on the top with this hardware. So what you're going to do is you're going to either check another image and if you have something that you can use to add to that with the stamp tool. What I'm going to do is take some of the bottom and see if that looks good on the top. I'm going to ctrl+J again to get a copy of this document. Then I'm going to call this hardware and what I'm going to do is ctrl+T and I'm going to flip it vertically so that the bottom is on the top. Now I'm going to treat this almost like a head change, and I'm going to try to match up the edges. I'm going to try to match up this pole with a hardware, that's it. And I'm also going to match up the crib. So we're masking off the crib area and the pole that has the hardware and because we flipped it vertically, the light is still coming from the right direction from the right side. So that's perfect as well. Now I'm holding on the alt key while I click on the mask icon. So that's going to be an inverted mask and now I'm going to use a soft white brush on a hundred percent flow and a hundred percent opacity to start brushing on the new layer and hide what's going on here. I have two thoughts. First of all, the pole looks so much better now, so that's good. Second of all, the background is totally not the correct color. I'm going to move this over a little bit more to see if it fits better. I'm going to make sure that I'm on a very soft brush. So B for brush, and make sure that my hardness is zero, now I'm going to mush this in as much as I can. I was trying to cut this out and see if we could leave it perfect, but we can't. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the original layer zero, which is my original file. I'm clicking and dragging to bring it up and what I'm going to do is I'm going to use some of the background from here to fill in the top of this. So you could see, I wanted to cover over the dark parts of the background because the bottom is darker than the top. So what we're going to do is control T to transform and we're going to stretch it so it gets a lot bigger than it is and see if this could match up better. Alternatively, we can use the side of the image, which has a little more for us to work with. It looks like that would be a good decision. You can see how my mind works with trying things and then if that doesn't work, try something else. I'm gonna rotate this counter-clockwise and we can use this part of the image. It doesn't have to be that big now that we have more space to work with. So let's see how this matches up, hold down the alt key and click the mask icon. With the soft white brush, let's try to fill this in and see if it matches up. It actually matches up pretty well. All we need to do is cut out the shape of the crib so that we're not hiding it. We can do this two ways, we can either do a selection or we can use the mask. I think because this is blurry and dark and blending in, just painting it directly onto the mask would be the faster, easier choice. So we're just cutting out the hardware and now I'm really zooming in so that I can get in here and create that perfect edge. Again, as usual, I have one hand on the mouse and one hand on the keyboard and the one thats on the keyboard is hitting X to keep changing from black to white and it's also on the bracket keys. I'm making them bigger or smaller as needed while I'm using the brush. Now we could use control semi-colon to blink the guides on and off and to double check and make sure that there's no hard edges left anywhere especially where Photoshop edited stuff and we didn't necessarily see it. So we want to make sure that there's no hard edges or anything silly showing on the front of our image because anything out of these two inches are kind of going to be wrapped to the back. All right, that's it, this is ready to save. It looks perfect!


So that is how you prepare an image for print when you're printing on canvas. Another thing is that you can use the content aware fill on crop anytime you're cropping an image and you want to fill up the rest of it if your photo isn't taking up the entire canvas. All right, that's it for now! I really hope you enjoyed this lesson and I'll see you in the next one.


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