Home Tech Adobe Adds AI-Powered Eraser to Lightroom

Adobe Adds AI-Powered Eraser to Lightroom

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Adobe Lightroom Screenshot

Photobombing is dead. Adobe is adding an AI-powered generative delete feature to its Lightroom Photo Editor That makes it very easy to remove unwanted elements, like that annoying guy in the background. The new feature is in a public beta testing phase, but will work across the entire Lightroom ecosystem, whether you’re using the app on mobile, desktop, or web.

Lightroom’s Generative Remove uses Adobe’s Firefly AI engine to seamlessly replace unwanted elements. Simply paint over the area you want to remove and Lightroom will send that information to Adobe’s Firefly servers, which will then process the data and return it. In demos seen by WIRED, this process took no more than a few seconds, although performance will depend on the speed of your Internet connection.

Unlike Adobe Photoshop Reference image feature, which launched less than a month ago and allows users to generate new images using Firefly, Lightroom’s AI features put a lot of focus on the photographer’s workflow.

The highlighted area shows what will be deleted.

Courtesy of Adobe

You can use Object Aware and Generative AI together.

Courtesy of Adobe

One of the hardest things to do when editing images is to remove distracting elements. Typically this would be done using tools like Lightroom’s Content Aware Remove, which hides elements by matching surrounding areas. This works well in small situations where the backgrounds are not too confusing for the software. For example, removing a telephone pole against a deep blue sky. But the larger the object to be removed and the more complex the background, the more difficult and time-consuming.

Generative Remove powered by Firefly can do the same but for much larger objects on any background. Adobe has reduced what would previously have required hours and considerable technical knowledge to a simple mouse movement and a few seconds of processing time. Now everyone is a Lightroom wizard. Plus, unlike other retouching tools, which make the best combination possible, Generative Remove generates three different versions and lets you choose the one that looks best.

As impressive and useful as Generative Remove is, it may sound a little familiar, especially for anyone who uses Google Photos. These new features don’t offer much that Google’s Magic Eraser tool can’t already do. It also doesn’t enable anything like Google’s Magic Editor, which lets you alter the lighting of a scene or cut and paste subjects within the scene.

Adobe’s Generative Remove reflects the company’s previous uses of AI, such as last year’s AI-powered denoising tool, which built on existing denoising tools, improving them rather than breaking significant new ground. I suspect this is what working photographers really want: better tools, rather than flashy new features. Adobe seems content to leave the more dramatic AI-powered tools, like rearranging a scene after the fact, to others.

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