Photo Tool Could Fix Bad Images

Digital photographers could soon be able to erase unwanted elements in photos by using tools that scan for similar images in online libraries. Research teams have developed an algorithm that uses sites like Flickr to help discover light sources, camera position and composition in a photo. Using this data the tools then search for objects, such as landscapes or cars, that match the original. The teams aim to create image libraries that anyone can use to edit snaps.

James Hays and Alexei Efros from Carnegie Mellon University have developed an algorithm to help people who want to remove bits of photographs. The parts being removed could be unsightly lorries in the snaps of the rural idyll where they took a holiday or even an old boyfriend or girlfriend they want to rub out from a photograph. To find suitable matching elements, the research duo's algorithm looks through a database of 2.3 million images culled from Flickr.

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News source: BBC News

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If a person has the TIME, to sit down and LEARN photoshop, or a similar program, I don't know why you would want to
use anything else. I've used photoshop for years, wouldn't use anything else, but, it is an extremely complicated
program. I guess the "mom & pop" types that still get confused between the left & right mouse button would use it,
but I can't see anyone else using it.

Maybe my point of view on this is colored by the fact I grew up before digital cameras. But with film cameras, you needed to pay attention to the composition, lighting and the whole field of view. You had to have some skill to get good photos. These days, technology is teaching that you can edit and add filters and manipulate garbage (or other unwanted features at time of shoot) to create an alternate reality. This just continues the slide to fake photography and unskilled photographers who think more of themselves than their talents merit, because they can use coverup tools.

I guess in some way, my roots are iso speed in a CMOS sensor world.

On the other hand, ability to digitally manipulate photos has probably opened up the world of photography to a lot of people who may not have gotten into it in the past. I know that I have seen both film and digital photos that look horrendous, but also ones that also leave me wondering: "Is that real? How'd they do that?". A friend of mine recently took some pictures with his digital camera that turned out really good. I remember asking him what Photoshop filter he used. He kind of laughed a bit and told me that it was all camera work, no Photoshop. IT made me have a bit of a new-found respect for digital cameras and their abilities when placed in the right hands.

I do understand what you mean about the old school way of doing photography becoming a sort of "lost art". Seems like technology has a way of doing that sometimes.

markjensen said,
Maybe my point of view on this is colored by the fact I grew up before digital cameras. But with film cameras, you needed to pay attention to the composition, lighting and the whole field of view. You had to have some skill to get good photos. These days, technology is teaching that you can edit and add filters and manipulate garbage (or other unwanted features at time of shoot) to create an alternate reality. This just continues the slide to fake photography and unskilled photographers who think more of themselves than their talents merit, because they can use coverup tools.

I guess in some way, my roots are iso speed in a CMOS sensor world.

Before computers, mathematicians would spend days attempting to calculate new Prime numbers. Today we have computers that do these calculations for us...

Times change and things that were once tough, a 10 yr. old could do now... it happens... to every thing.

HeartsOfWar said,
Before computers, mathematicians would spend days attempting to calculate new Prime numbers. Today we have computers that do these calculations for us...

Times change and things that were once tough, a 10 yr. old could do now... it happens... to every thing.

Nice. Except I am not talking about speeding up of raw computations. That is a science There is a clear right answer, and it is always the same. Photography is an art. There is no mathematical "correct" picture.

And it is this skill that is atrophying away with these digital filters.

In the recording industry, there is an expression that shows the problem: "We'll fix it in the mix", meaning the false premise that any problem in recording the music and lyrics can be covered up by over-dubbing and such at teh edit and mix phase.

I agree, the trend of everyone touching up photos to the extreme is really devaluing actual photography skill. At the same time it makes true, skilled photography seem less impressive when you get all these amazing photos that are ultimately "fake." Not that I personally have much skill when it comes to photography, but it's still my stance.

It's kind of like with models -- I like them better without airbrushing and retouching. But that's just me.