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Using photoshop 23.4.2 on Big Sur...
I'm trying to use content-aware scale to extend the background -- I've selected the subject & made an alpha channel of it, then chosen 'protect' when using content aware scale.It's not protecting the subject at all and is scaling it along with the background. I've attached images of before and after.
Is this a bug or is there something I'm missing? This has happened on mutliple files, and I'm about to give up using this feature though it would be helpful if it worked.
It's a little hard to tell what is going on from your screenshots.
Watch this video from Jesús Ramirez to make sure you understand the feature:
It's also not clear what your goal is. If, for example, you want to extend the window, wall, and ledge and leave the towels alone, you might try one of these: