Each image in today’s post is clickable so you can see a larger versionOne of the cool new features in Photoshop CS4 is content aware scaling. When I first examined CS4 I thought the feature sounded amazing, but I wasn’t sure how often I would use it.
Watching Matt Klowskowski’s training on CS4 recently he did a 2 part installation on Content Aware Scaling (why is it I always have to double check how to spell his name?. He mentioned during the tutorial that he wasn’t sure how often he’d use it, but the segment stuck in my mind. If nothing else, the ability to scale in this manner holds a “cool-ness” factor.
Yesterday I came across one of those moments when I was stuck for a solution. And go figure, content aware scaling came to the rescue. It also made a customer very happy.
Mid day a woman wandered into the gallery looking a little lost. She approached our counter and asked shyly, “Are you Rick?” I told her my name was Rich, and that yup, that’s me. She seemed relieved and proceeded to pull out a very old photo from a folder. Could I fix it and bring it back in a larger size?
I answered yes to both questions.
Gotta say, I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Clients have been sending everyone with any type of old photo question to me. Camera questions too. But there’s a growing trend in my print business. Extremely old extremely damaged photos are being brought in for me to do a little restoration work. Couldn’t do it without Photoshop. And I’ve been amazed by the results. My clients have too. Usually it takes about 30-40 minutes on the really damaged pieces, and about 10-15 for the mildly damaged stuff.
So, my new client leaned over my shoulder and watched me work after we’d scanned in her image. Retouch here, corrected tears in the image there. And then she asked, “Can we make an 8×10 out of it just to see?” Well, yes and no. Yes, happy to print for you. No, the dimensions of the image don’t match with an 8×10. Very strangely sized photo, seriously. Resizing I found we could make an 8×13.5″ print. Odd for sure. But we wanted to get to an 8×10.
Cropping 3.5″ off the photo wasn’t acceptable. The photo was of her parents way back when. They’ve been married 65 years, and the photo was one of their first dates. Wow! If we cropped we’d cut off heads or legs. Didn’t want to do that. Plus there was an interesting background going on. How to resize without stretching or squishing important parts of the image?
Content Aware Scaling!
After selecting my area to preserve and creating a channel out of it I jumped into the content aware scaling section under the Edit menu. Increasing the size of the image horizontally allowed me to stretch the sides of the photo. Not much was going on in either side and they were mostly in shadow, so I was able to stretch only the shadow while leaving the primary focus of the photo alone. In moments we had the image resized so we could print 8×10 after a quick crop. Wow, it worked so well.
The embarrassing moment came when I forgot one point in how to use the technique. I hadn’t had the need to use it yet, so it’s one of those things that slips your mind. So, with my client standing behind me I jumped over to Kelby Training.com, pulled up Matt’s tutorial, jumped ahead to where I remembered this one step being and in 30 seconds of viewing I found the one key I’d forgotten! Great to have that resource right there at my disposal!
So, content aware scaling can be very useful! The Kelby Training site was useful too. Tell you what…..I’ll never forget that step again! 🙂