Removing Background or Objects
The idea of removing background from an image, or specific objects, gained traction over a couple of years ago. Atleast on the consumer side. Towards mid-2021, many companies came into existence, each with software that enabled the users to achieve one of the two of the following: a. Remove or change the background of an image b. Remove or alter objects, people, etc. from one or more images.
One of the most famous images that shows a person getting removed from an image is This picture has been featured in many articles and reviews over the years, including Business Insider (February 2014), Openculture(Aug 2017), HistoryNet (July 2021) and Hindustan Times (April 2022) to name a few.
Over the past few years the term "Photoshopped Image" or simply "Photoshopped" gained much notoreity because of its mis-use, often overshadowing some genuine uses of the photo editing software.
Editing images to remove objects
advised requested to ignore my image editing skills
Over the past couple of years, sites like ProductHunt have featured image background removal services like erase.bg, remove.bg; and the Saas (Software as A Service) deal aggregator sites like Appsumo have highlighted startups or similar services (BG Eraser, Background Cut) that offer to remove background or objects from images. The idea found so much popularity that even more established players like Canva began to offer this tool as a part of their offerings. The help pages of Canva describe the process to remove backgrounds.
Removing image backgrounds on the editor
- Click on the image you want to edit.
- On the toolbar above the editor, click Edit image.
- From the side panel, click BG Remover.
- Wait for the background to be processed.
- To apply the changes, click Apply on the bottom of the side panel. (Source: Canva.com)
A similar service. Vistacreate (formerly Crello), has a short video that described how to use this feature. (Warning: Loud music, keep volume on low)
Below is a screenshot from a service called Photomash by Pixlr, where one can upload a single image and generate various variations of the same image by changing the background colours.
Background or object removal is a tool used most commonly by social media marketers, e-commerce sites, and even consumers who are more adept in using these techniques to make their images stand out. AI backed background or object removal makes this process really convenient.
Note: Check the license and terms for images that are generated using the free background removal tools. Hotpot.ai, for example states that the images generated using the free version of their tool have the Creative Commons CC-By-NC license.
#Fun times- A blast from the past
Below is an image of yours truly, when I was younger, and leaner (thankfully not meaner).Unfortunately this picture was taken with a rather plain Jane background, and while researching for this segment, I ended up removing the background using removal.ai. This opens up the possibility to do more with this image that was possible before. Before you wonder, I do not foresee myself standing next to a beach shack drinking Mai Tais.
Another application of AI Imaging is to add a 'mask' to images, to cover the identity of persons in an image or to hide details from an image or video.
Tip: you can perform multiple enhancements or manipulations to an image.
For example, the below image of a woman has been enhanced to 4x the original size, after an object was removed from the left hand side of the image. That object can be replaced with some text or any other relevant information. I am using a very basic example to illustrate the idea.
- Original AI generated image from MagicStudio
- Image with an object (person) removed
- Same image after 4x enhancement (right click to view full sized image)