Ever needed to quickly edit something or someone out of an image?
Maybe it’s the stranger who wandered into your family photo, or the stand holding up your final artwork for school? Whatever the job, if you don’t have the time or Photoshop skills needed to edit the thing yourself, why not try Cleanup.pictures — a handy web tool that does exactly what it promises in the URL.
Just upload your picture, paint over the thing you want removed with the brush tool, and hey presto: new image. The results aren’t up to the standards of professionals, especially if the picture is particularly busy or complex, but they’re surprisingly good. The tool is also just quite fun to play around with.
Cleanup.pictures seems to be from the same team that made a fun augmented reality demo that lets you “copy and paste” the real world, and is open-source (you can find the underlying code here). Obviously, tools of this sort have long been available, dating back at least to the launch of Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool, but the quality of these automated programs has increased considerably in recent years thanks to AI.
Machine learning systems are now not only better at the problem of segmentation (marking the divisions between an object and the background) but also inpainting, or filling in the new content. Just last week, Google launched its new Pixel 6 tools with an identical “Magic Eraser” feature, but Cleanup.pictures shows how this feature has become a commodity.
I think my favorite use of this tool, though, is this fantastic series of pictures removing the people from Edward Hopper paintings: