AI is here!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gripped the tech world of late and it’s relentless surge seems to be seeping into all area of our lives.

Now it looks like it’s getting a toe-hold in the ever changing world of digital photography. Adobe Photoshop, arguably the industry standard for image editing, released a beta version which includes a basic but powerful tool that clearly demonstrates the potential that AI has to radically change the way we will soon be able to manipulate visual media.

One of the most fiddly and time consuming image editing tasks a photographer encounters is removing unwanted artifacts from a given photograph. It usually requires detailed and careful attention to replace a distracting or ugly section of a picture without leaving a blindingly obvious anomaly where the offending pixels used to be. Not any more. Photoshop’s ‘Generative Fill’ tool takes care of everything. All the user has to do is select the item to be removed and the software does the rest. I have to reluctantly confess that, whilst it’s not perfect, it’s usually pretty bloody good. The most amazing part for me is that the tool will replace the ‘hole’ where the deleted area was with an effortlessly blended and realistic background. Have a look at these two images, before and after. OK, so I removed a few cars and a bloke looking in a shop window? Nothing ground breaking there….

But have a closer look…

This is a close up of the original image with a silver car which I wanted to remove. The background behind the car is quite complex and will need to be replaced with a believable ‘fill’. With the Generative Fill tool you only have to do a loose selection of the car using, say, the Lasso Tool and then let the AI fairies go to work. This is what it comes up with a mere 10 seconds later…..

MIND BLOWN! It’s removed the car and replaced it with a near perfect background! It’s added foliage, stone steps with weeds, stone pavement and curb stones. The stone wall to the right of the noticeboard is pretty perfect. It’s placed double yellow lines off the edge of the curb adding more weeds along the roadside. The only problems that I can see are the dark patch on the tarmac and the road marking to the right of that patch but I suppose they can be easily ‘tidied up’ with the good old clone tool.

The scary thing is that this is still only the beta version of the software, it’s still being tested, refined and developed.

I need to go an lie down….

Just to finish, see if you can spot 4 other places I used Generative Fill on the main image.