The Content-Aware Move Tool in Photoshop Elements

The Content-Aware Move tool in Photoshop Elements saves you a bunch of time and work by analyzing the pixels in your photo and filling in areas that you move people or objects from.

It also uses its analysis to seamlessly blend the items you move into their new backgrounds.

Watch the video below to see how quick it was for me to move the flamingos closer together as you can see in the before and after photo.

BEFORE on the left and AFTER on the right

Click to watch the video below to see how it's done. Under the video there's a summary of the steps for you to use as a quick reference.

Follow The Steps Below To Use The Content-Aware Move Tool On Your Photos

STEP ONE- Duplicate The Background Layer And Then Hide The Background Layer.

Press Command-J on a Mac or Control-J on a PC to make a duplicate of the Background Layer in the Layers Panel.

It's named Layer 1 by default.

Now hide the Background Layer by clicking on its Eye in the Layers Panel.

A red diagonal line will appear over the Eye indicating that the Layer is hidden from the Active Image Area.

STEP TWO- Make The Content-Aware Move Tool Active By Clicking On It In The Toolbox.

Go over to the Toolbox and click on the Content-Aware Move tool to make it active.

It's located at the bottom of the Toolbox and looks like 2 wavy, overlapping arrows.

STEP THREE- Make Sure That The Mode Is Set To "Move" Down In The Tool Options.

Before we go any further look down in the Tool Options and make sure that "Move" is set as the Mode.

If it's not click on the button next to it to set it.

STEP FOUR- Draw A Path Around The Item You Want To Move To Select It.

Click-and-drag to draw a loose path around your subject.

When you get close to where you started your path just release the mouse button.

Photoshop Elements will close the path and turn it into a Selection.

STEP FIVE- Move Your Subject To Its New Location.

Place your cursor inside the selected area and click-and-drag to move your subject to its new location.

Once your subject is where you want it, release the mouse button and it will be placed there.

Photoshop Elements will analyze your photo and fill in the area where your subject was originally.

It will also use its analysis to blend your subject into its new location.

If you want to see if Elements can do a better job of filling in and blending, you can try the different settings on the Healing Slider (there are 5 different settings).

You must try the different settings while your subject still has its Selection active. Once you deselect, the Healing Slider will not have any affect on your photo.

STEP SIX- Deselect To Complete Your Move.

Once you feel that Photoshop Elements has produced the best healing that it can, deselect. Do that by pressing Command-D on a Mac or Control-D on a PC.

If there are some areas that the Content-Aware Move tool didn't do a "believable" blending of new pixels, you can go in and manually fix those areas. Usually the Clone Stamp tool works well for such touch-up.

Here's a link to a tutorial I made on how to use the Clone Stamp tool if you need some guidance:

And that completes this tutorial on how to use the Content-Aware Move tool in Photoshop Elements.

Try this tool next time you want to move someone or something in your photo. Even if it doesn't do a perfect job the Content-Aware Move tool can give you a good start.

Until next time . . .

Take care!
Rick Peterson

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