How to Use Fill Options and Tips in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

After you make a selection while working in Photoshop CS6, you’re ready to use one of the Fill options. You can use the Fill dialog box to fill the selection with the foreground or the background color; you can also choose to fill the selection with color, black, white, gray, a pattern, history, or content. Photoshop is full of shortcuts and options. Here are just a few:

  • With the selection active, press Alt+Backspace (Option+Delete on the Mac) to fill the selection with the foreground color. All areas within the selection, including transparent areas, fill with the color.

  • Fill only the pixels in a selection with the foreground color, leaving any transparent pixels transparent, by pressing Alt+Shift+Backspace (or Option+Shift+Delete on the Mac).

  • Lock the transparent pixels in a layer (and its selections) by clicking the Transparency icon in the Lock area of the Layers panel.

  • If you’re working on the Background layer, you can also fill the selection with the background color by pressing the Backspace (Delete on the Mac) key. This opens the Fill dialog box. Choose your desired Fill option from the Use drop-down menu. (pop-up menu on the Mac) (Pressing Backspace/Delete on other layers creates a transparent area that shows the image in the layer underneath the selection.)

  • By selecting the Color option in the Fill dialog box, you access the Color Picker where you can select any color of the rainbow to fill your selection.

  • Select the Content-Aware option in the Fill dialog box to fill the selection with similar content that’s close to your selection. If you are trying to create a realistic composite, be sure to look at the results closely. Sometimes this option can create soft or choppy edges.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/TriggerPhoto/Image #11338536]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/TriggerPhoto/Image #11338536
  • Select the Pattern option in the Fill dialog box to fill the selection with a pattern. Click the arrow next to the pattern swatch and select a pattern from the drop-down panel. Click the Pattern panel menu to select more pattern libraries.

  • Select the History option in the Fill dialog box to restore the selection to a state or snapshot of the image.

  • Paint part or all the interior of the selection by using any of the Brush tools. This option lets you partially fill a selection by using a bit of flexibility and creativity. When you paint a selection by using Brush tools, Photoshop confines the paint inside the boundaries of your selection.

  • Pour color from the Paint Bucket tool into the selection.

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