This free web tool is a quick and easy way to remove objects from images

Have you ever needed to quickly edit something or someone from an image?

Maybe it was the stranger who walked through your family photo, or the booth holding your latest work of art for school? Whatever the job, if you don’t have the time or Photoshop skills to edit the thing yourself, why not give it a try. Cleaning photos – a handy web tool that does exactly what it promises in the URL.

Just upload your image, paint over the thing you want to remove with the brush tool, and presto: new image. The results do not live up to professional standards, especially if the image is particularly busy or complex, but they are surprisingly good. The tool is also a lot of fun to use. You can check out some examples in the gallery below:

Cleanup.pictures appears 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 like this have been available for a long time, dating back at least to the launch of Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool, but the quality of these automated programs has increased dramatically in recent years thanks to AI.

Machine learning systems are now not only better for solving the problem of segmentation (marking the divisions between an object and the background), but also for painting or filling in new content. Google last week launched its new Pixel 6 tools with an identical “Magic Eraser” feature, but Cleanup.pictures shows how that feature came to be a commodity.

I think my favorite use of this tool, however, is this fantastic series of images removing people from Edward Hopper’s paintings:

Esther L. Gunn