[Review] InPaint

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

InPaint

Version reviewed:

v3.0

Supported OS:

Windows 2000 and higher

Price:

$39.99 (USD) for a personal license, and $99.99 (USD) for a business license

Software description as per the developer:

Do you have a photo that would look just right if you could only remove one or more objects or persons from your composition? For example, look at the following two pictures. The original on the left features a large building in the foreground that dominates the scene while also blocking an uninterrupted view of the horizon. If we could somehow remove this, it would open up the entire view. You can see what we mean in the picture on the right. With the building gone, we can really appreciate the full beauty of this landscape. Well, now you can remove just about any unwanted object or person using Inpaint.

Ashraf’s note:

This review was last written on InPaint v2.4. It has now been updated for InPaint v3.0. The following are the changes in InPaint v3.0 as per the developer:

  • Absolutely new interface
  • Inpaint algorithm improvements
  • Whole program optimization
  • Localization to German, Russian, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Mac OS X support (only Intel CPU)

{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Has an undo/redo feature.
  • Supports all four major image formats: .JPG/JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, and .GIF.
  • Processes images quickly fairly quickly.
  • Supports drag + drop.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Users can no longer easily multi-process the same area selection. (Easy multi-processing of the same area was available in previous versions.)
  • Undo/redo functions are not properly programmed for undoing/redoing area selection – they only work with undoing/redoing image processing.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”7″}The new area selection method (coloring in the area you want to remove) is more annoying to use, in my opinion, than the previous method of drawing a “border” around areas in InPaint v2.x. Another issue I found with InPaint v3.0 is that the undo/redo features don’t work with area selection – they are only for undoing/redoing image processing. Being unable to undo/redo area selection is very annoying. Plus users can no longer easily multi-process the same area as a whole. However, overall, Inpaint v3.0 is still easy to use.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”9″}Works very well; InPaint v3.0 has made a lot of improvement in terms of quality. However, InPaint still isn’t perfect; don’t expect to do one process and instantly fix images. Furthermore, results still vary depending on the image you are trying to edit.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”9″}I can see many people finding this program useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”5″}If InPaint was a perfect program, it would be worth its digital weight in gold. However, based on its performance and user-friendly, I feel $30 for user license and $60 for business license is a much better price rather than the $40/$100 that InPaint is currently at.
{/for}
{for=”Final Score” value=”8″}
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tupr]
{/rw_verdict} –>

We have all used the “clone stamp” (or something similar) tool when using an image editor, right? When it comes down to its core, InPaint is basically a clone stamp which has been tweaked for quick and easy usage. In other words InPaint is a program that allows users to easily remove “blemish” (whatever you may consider a blemish to be) from images.

This is what InPaint’s main program window looks like:

The attraction of InPaint is how easy it is to use to remove “blemishes” vs. using a clone stamp. All you need to do is load the image you want to edit (.JPG/JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, and .GIF supported) [drag + drop is supported], “color in” the area you want to remove, and process the image. If you don’t like the end result, you can either undo the processing and modify your selection, or go in and make new selections to improve image quality. Unfortunately while previous versions of InPaint allowed for easy re-processing of the same area as a whole, InPaint v3.0 does not. However, in defense of InPaint v3.0, the performance is a lot better and multi-processing of the same area as a whole is not needed as much as it was needed before.

The following is a demonstration video created by the developer showing InPaint in action:

Of course in the demo video the developer shows an image that InPaint has processed very well. While InPaint indeed does work very well, don’t expect such easy and accurate processing for all images. How well InPaint is able to edit your image depends on the image and its content. To show what I mean, I have conducted five examples of my own:

NOTE: Because the trial version of InPaint does not allow you to save images, I am unable to show the images by themselves (I could not save them); rather I can show the images within InPaint, so please click on the screenshots to view the images properly in detail.

Example 1

Original Image

Image Credit: SnapsterMax

Objective: Remove the tall building in the middle of the image

Selection

Result

As you can see, with doing just one selection and processing, InPaint performed OK. It removed most of the building but it left some blemishes. I went back and individually selected those blemishes and processed the image a few more times to get an end result of this:

Yes, if you look very closely and analyze the image, there is still some evidence that the image has been edited; and yes, there can still be improvements made (I could still go in and use InPaint to improve the areas that are yet not perfect.) However, the end result is very good… especially if you consider I spent less 3-4 minutes on the image.

Example 2

Original Image

Image Credit: joiseyshowaa

Objective: Remove the tree from image.

Selection

Result

Unlike example 1 which needed multiple processing, InPaint was able to properly remove the tree extremely well with just one selection and processing. Yes there is still some touch up required (I didn’t go in and individually process the left-over blemishes like I did in example 1) but the end result with just one selection and processing is terrific. (I spent about 1-2 minutes on the image.)

Example 3

Original Image

Image Credit: Jayel Aheram

Objective: Remove the strip of land from the river.

Selection

Result

InPaint performs well in removing the land with just one selection and processing. However, like example 1, there are some noticeable blemishes. I did a couple of more selections and processing and ended up with the following final image:

Beautiful. Yes, like with all the other images, anyone looking for modifications will spot where InPaint removed parts of the image. However, anyone not specifically looking for changes will notice no difference. (Again I spent about 1-2 minutes on the image.)

Example 4

Original Image

Image Credit: AndyRob

Objective: Remove the treehouse from image.

Selection

Result

After looking at that result image, I ask you: “What treehouse?” Like example 2, InPaint was able to satisfactorily remove the “blemish” in example 4 with just one selection and process. Just like all the other images yes there is still room for touch-up (I didn’t go back and process the left-over blemishes individually) but anyone that didn’t know there is supposed to be a treehouse in the image. will never know there is supposed to be a treehouse in the image. (Again I spent about 1-2 minutes on the image.)

Example 5

Note: For example 5 I reused the image from example 1 but for example 5 I am trying to remove a different part of the image.

Original Image

Image Credit: SnapsterMax

Objective: Remove the tree from the bottom-right corner.

Selection

Result

All the previous examples showed off InPaint’s skills. Example 5, however, reveals the fact that InPaint does not always perform very well. As you can see in the above screenshot, while the tree did get removed, the building in the background is distorted; it is clearly noticeable the image has been altered, even to someone not specifically looking for the alteration.

To try to improve the quality of the image, I went in and processed the blemishes individually. The best result I was able to come up with is this:

Although better than just one selection and process, the end image still clearly needs quite a bit of touch up. The reason why InPaint does not perform as well in example 5 is because the background is a more complex than the backgrounds in examples 1/2/3. Example 4 also has a fairly complex background like example 5, but the nature of the image (the trees, leaves, etc.) helps cover-up for any potential blemishes InPaint has left behind in example 4. The image in example 5 doesn’t have such things to cover left-over blemishes and thus InPaint’s failure is fairly noticeable.

That said, here is one tip may help you get better results with InPaint:

  • In InPaint after making your selection, a rectangle box appears around it. The area inside that rectangle box is the area that InPaint uses to fill in the area you selected. You are allowed to modify that outer rectangle box; drag its corners to make it bigger or smaller, and click + drag the box to other areas. Moving this rectangle box allows you to tell InPaint exactly what type of image you want to be filled in the area that you selected. If you are confused and don’t understand what I mean, see these two demo videos created by the developer showing how you can move around that rectangle box and what happens when you move it:

Note: The following videos are of InPaint v2.4. However, the idea of moving the rectangle is still applicable in InPaint v3.0. In other words, you can still do what is being shown in these videos in InPaint v3.0.

Last but not the least, there is one area I feel InPaint can be improved. InPaint has both undo and redo functions. However, the undo/redo are designed to undo/redo image processing; they are not designed to undo/redo area selections (the coloring in). For example, let’s say you color in an area in one continuous mouse-click, and then color in another area with a different mouse-click. If you use undo InPaint will remove the whole selection (instead of just undoing your latest mouse-click selection) and undo the last image processing you did; and you can’t even redo area selections. Clearly the developer did not build undo/redo to work with area selection and this needs to change. Not being able to undo/redo area selections is very annoying.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

Web InPaint – An online version of InPaint.

All of the following tools have a “clone stamp” (or something similar) tool which can be used to do similar things as InPaint:

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}InPaint is simple enough for novices and yet still handy for a quick touch up by a professional; it works quickly and performs well. I first reviewed InPaint when it was v2.x; InPaint v2.x was a good program. InPaint v3.0 is a great program. While InPaint v3.0 still isn’t “perfect” and the performance still varies depending on the image being processed and how you handle area selection, performance in InPaint v3.0 has been noticeably improved. I still feel InPaint v3.0 is overpriced just like InPaint v2.4 was, but InPaint v3.0 has improved enough to warrant an official recommendation: dotTech gives InPaint v3.0 two thumbs up and a solid recommendation.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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40 comments

  1. tekknokat

    Regarding the comment by Tomcat, “From my experience, Ad-Aware may not be the best anti-spyware tool, but it very rarely gives false positives.”

    In my experience, I have been forced to disable Ad-Aware, because the dozens of false positives it keeps returning on my system, I feel without exception are nothing more than panic mongering to make people feel safer and pay to use a product they probably might not need. Not a single one of the many results it has returned on my system since January 2, 2011, has been legitimately threatening in any way, shape, or form. It really makes me mad that I had to restore benign files from backup, because the software quarantined or removed them without asking me first, even though the preferences I selected I asked to be informed and choose when a threat was found, and decide what to do. It just deleted perfectly good .executables installation files, Internet Explorer .url Favorites, and other files I wanted to keep, because they were deemed a threat either by heuristics, or people that got an infected file by the same name, maybe imbeciles for all I know. I know my files were good, and I had to restore every single one of them that I was able to. Not pleased, no … not at all. Any software that uninstalls without the owners permission is faulty.

    Sorry, I realize this is about the InPaint review. I just downloaded the Ad-Aware because I missed the 1 year Freebie, and got the 6-month freebie run on the 2nd of January 2011. I have heard that the free version is not as aggressive or returns as many false positives as the paid version, maybe that is why some people get fewer false positives than others.

    I appreciate the good review of InPaint, and will download it based on Ashraf’s recommendation, and give it a try, despite the mentioned shortcomings. I could use something to touch up the horrible pictures I take.

  2. Andrew Jordan

    Ashraf,
    I never download or use a product from GOTD without getting your approval.I try to read your site as well but I only have so many hours in a day.I thank you for all your help for some of the clearest reviews I have ever read. I’m English but have lived in the US for nearly 40 years and worked in sales.Americans don’t have much of a sende of humour, time and again I have run into problems putting out newsletters and slipping in the odd joke. I have been absolutely staggered and horrified at the depth of hatred that President Obama has generated amongst some people. I don’t understand it and all I can do is hope that people will stop living their lifes with so much hate. Don’t feel bad about the illustration nobody would ever imagine the reaction, but then reasonable people don’t think like haters. By taking it down you are being intimidated just like the Jews were by the Nazi’s. Stand up for what is right, the ability for you to publish.Once you lose that right then “they” have won.

  3. Tuiruru

    Help

    I installed on Vista Home Premium from GAOTDand then used the Activate app in the unzipped folder BUT I forgot to do this as Administrator and under HELP it was asking for a serial number. Uninstalled the program, wound back Windows to the Restore point I’d made before installing the program, redownloaded it and activated it, this time as Administrator and it’s still asking for a registration code. Any idea how I get round this?

    Thanks

  4. Dennis

    Thank you for taking the time to not only review all these programs. But to describe and show what it does and how it works. I check out what you have to say about any of them before I decide rather or not to download.

  5. Rob(CAN)

    @ Ashraf, This is your website, post what you please.If others don’t like it…well the internet is full of other sites they can go to ;)
    @ MikeR- ” RobCr and Janus Daniels were spot on about the utter triviality of all this nit-picking. Ashraf and Gizmo between ‘em provide two of the very best resources of their kind anywhere on the Internet, and provide it free of charge. I hope the day isn’t going to dawn when dot tech has to start thinking about the colours it uses because someone, somewhere, thinks they’re emblemmatic of some political party, somewhere.” WELL SAID SIR.

  6. John C

    Just a quick heads up about the fact that v3 is now localized into various languages – if, like me, your locale happens to match one of the localized languages (Portuguese in my case), the application will always appear in that language, never in English (even if/though, again as in my case, the OS is in English).

    I contacted the company to ask if there were any way to change it to English, but they replied that the language selection is hardcoded. If you really want English, it’s necessary to change the locale.

    Apart from that minor quirk, I also fully recommend the app – don’t think about it as simply an app for removing objects from photos, it’s also extremely useful for cleaning old photos (and did a truly remarkable job of removing felt-tip pen marks (ahem! blush! :-) from a 70 year old photo of an old (and long passed away) great-aunt of mine :-) :-)

  7. MikeR

    Amazing how good intentions can be misunderstood and frustrated. Recently, Ian Richards (Gizmo) launched a Facebook page to publicise techsupportalert and as part of that launch made a new tutorial available. The idea seemed to be to incentivise FB users by making the tutorial available to them first and then, after one week, popping it on tsa’s website.

    Horrors! Disgraceful / outrageous / shameful were typical of the comments that poured in from people who don’t want an FB account. How could tsa discriminate in such a way?

    Of course, they could just have waited a week for the free product of someone else’s labours. But no. And so a comments thread that might usefully have discussed the contents of Gizmo’s tutorial was instead derailed. . . to such extent that Gizmo issued an apology, and ended the alleged “discrimination”.

    A week or so later, and here we are at dot.tech, where the free fruits of Ashraf’s labours are suddenly the focus of not dissimilar criticism, this time over the inclusion of an image that someone somewhere finds questionable. And so the image has been removed.

    RobCr and Janus Daniels were spot on about the utter triviality of all this nit-picking. Ashraf and Gizmo between ‘em provide two of the very best resources of their kind anywhere on the Internet, and provide it free of charge. I hope the day isn’t going to dawn when dot tech has to start thinking about the colours it uses because someone, somewhere, thinks they’re emblemmatic of some political party, somewhere.

    Ends rant. As to InPaint: yes, it’s all right. True, the developer’s claims are a bit over-stated because the pixel displacement algorithm works best only where adjacent pixels can easily fill in. But as a freebie today’s GOTD is a good ‘un. That retail price though is, well, silly.

  8. tomcat

    Please ignore my above post.
     
    I submitted the suspect file to Lavasoft, developer of Ad-Aware, for analysis after which it declared it clean and removed it from its malware database.
     
    lIt was a false positive then.

  9. tomcat


    My Ad-Aware scanner finds a high risk Trojan in the exe file Inpaint.exe. From my experience, Ad-Aware may not be the best anti-spyware tool, but it very rarely gives false positives. I have also had the suspect file scanned online and a few scanners also found malware. However, it’s fair to say that the large majority of them didn’t find anything.

    The above results give me the impression that the file possibly contains a carefully selected, hard to detect Trojan.

    I haven’t posted this finding in GAoD, firstly because I discovered later, and secondly they most probably wouldn’t have approved it to appear. I hope Ashraf reads it.

  10. MerryMarjie

    Wow, I’m stunned!  People are objecting to a picture you used to illustrate a program?!
    The service Ashraf provides is priceless beyond measure, and his hard work and time are vilified because he chose to use a simple photo.  Unbelievable, and incredibly silly.
    Get a grip, people!

  11. JM

    Ashraf, no problem at all. I understand and understood
    where you were coming from, right from jump.

    I’m fairly good at seeing who has an “agenda” and who
    does not. And you, in my estimation, do NOT.

    All you would like to do is to inform, enlighten and
    provide insight in a fun and entertaining way. And
    you certainly excel at accomplishing that each and
    every day. So – keep up the bang-up job you’re doing
    and thanks ever so much for helping to make decisions
    about software so much easier.

    Your Web site is a must read for me, and is a wonderful
    source in obtaining high quality and first rate programs
    for my PC.

    Joe M.

  12. Mags

    @Ashraf: Yeah something similar happened to me.  I also found it wouldn’t resize properly, (possibily because one side was only 3 px in size) it would only allow movement of one side of the rectangle and other would disappear, leaving a triangle instead of a rectangle.
     
    As for the Canadian jokes, I won’t hold my breath waiting  :P  LOL
    BTW glad you’re back.
     
     

  13. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Mags: Yea, InPaint does sacrifice quality for easiness to use and pace in regards to InPaint vs Clone Tool. You said you find the bug annoying… so I assume it is happening to you too?

    @Kellox: Bleh, why didn’t I think about right-clicking… Thanks!

    @RobCr: -_-

    @Home User: Thanks for the support!

    @Mags: Just wait for the Canadian jokes to start =P.

    @JM: Thanks for the support!

  14. Obajosh

    In my humblest opinion, I do not think the use of not only the  president’s picture, but also of any political/religious figure or image is a good idea or should even surface on your site. People have different opinions and beliefs and am sure we will see an influx of comments that have nothing to do with the program reviewed. You might have just opened a “pandora’s box” and  if what RobCr said was true, then am sure that there are many others who will be interested or looking closely into this site, including future developers, advertisers or ?????.
    The last thing I want to do is to come into this site and start reading about political, religious or social opinions/inputs (especially if they have nothing to do with technology) instead of technical issues.
    It is a concern also,  if  your website appears on google according to RobCr ‘s search input.
    Those are my opinions.
     
     
     

  15. Against_Hatred_of_Others

    Number 8’s comment by “drvajra” is politically motivated and offensive and ought to be removed. RobCr, I suspect Ashraf’s use of Obama along with the offensive comment which has nothing to do with InPaint is the cause. I have never posted before but greatly value what you do Ashraf and regret that your using Obama innocently has been hijacked in order to promote “hate” against the “zionists” ie Jews. Respectfully yours Against_Hatred_of_Others

  16. Kellox

    Hi Ashraf
    I, too, have been annoyed with the remaining selection boxes after the process. But there’s a much easier way than pressing the square a different place (twice). Simply right click inside the photo. Voila!
    Thanks for your great job evaluation the programs.

  17. Mags

    I’m not overly impressed with Inpaint.  I still might keep the program but I certainly wouldn’t want to pay for it, not even if they reduced their price.
     
    The results of my trial was not impressive and mixed the colours from the top and bottom throughout the white strip unevenly rather than evenly, so ended up using the clone tool.  It might work differently if the area used is larger than what I tried it on, so might try again another time, if and when that happens.
     
    The minor bug you found is annoying for me.
     
    While using the clone tool does take time (and in some cases when doing on the pixel level a lot of patience) it does a far better job.
     
    Being the perfectionist that I am I prefer using the clone tool.

  18. JM

    In reference to using President Obama as an example to demo
    and illustrate  InPaint’s  capabilities and deficiencies, I personally
    do not take issue with it, nor do I question it any way.

    You prefaced using his likeness as an example by clearly stating
    this was done merely to display what Inpaint can and can’t do.
    For me, that is more than enough to take you at your word.

    From my viewpoint, you have no history (from what I can discern)
    of being partial to or biased against  any political party or affiliation.
    After-all, it is not as if you were Rush Limbaugh who used President
    Obama as a primary example. For if that were indeed the case, then
    yes, your motives unequivocally could be called into question and we
    could proceed with a hateful email writing campaign,  flooding your
    email box filled with venom and spewing incendiary rem
    arks (Hey!
    That could be fun – btw!  LOL)

    There’s certainly a value and a supreme importance to being
    tolerant and  sensitive to other people and their thoughts,
    feelings and sentiments. However, even that, like virtually
    everything, can be taken a bit too far.

    In my humble opinion, you have not crossed any ethical lines
    of misconduct. In other words, Ashraf, the pic be cool :) No
    need to sub the image, lose sleep or even give it another
    thought.

    Just my own view on this particular subject is all.
    Joe M.

  19. Mags

    Thx for the review.  Currently I have an image which I might need this tool for and will give it a try in a while.  What I need removed is a white line about 3 px high and approx 200 px long, with different colour mixes above and below it.

    I’ll post my results here.

    On the point that OUTDesigns made.  I wouldn’t worry Ashraf, unless Americans get hostile about their president.   Here in Canada we love to poke fun at our politicians often and no one gets upset about it.

    As for removing Obama’s image who cares.  (guess I might get some flack for that comment)

    I like Obama and wish he was our Prime Minister, rather than Harper.
     

  20. Home User

    @Ashraf: You are the one who needs sleep. I think Obama is a good president but I don’t see where the picture you used implies anything. You could post 100 different kinds of pictures to use and someone might find each one offensive. Not trying to be negative but it gets old!

  21. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Jeanjean: Glad you enjoy the program!

    @OUTDesigns: =O I thought using the Prez’s pic would be about as neutral of a pic as I can get; he is the darn President, it is not like I am supporting or insulting him. I didn’t mean/imply anything by using his picture, please don’t get the wrong idea.

    @njwood60: Hmmm. Try contacting the developer and see if he/she can help.

  22. njwood60

    Thanks Ashraf.
    I installed and tried to use on an image that I had previously used Photoshop on, so I could do a comparison.
    However, I didn’t get that far, the program crashed on the second attempt at a clean up and then 2 more times after that so I gave up and uninstalled. I have Windows XP.

  23. OUTDesigns

    First . . . a sincere “welcome home”. I hope you were able to Ctrl-Alt-Delete your brain and relax. Hoping you have come-up with all kinds of new ideas and I can’t wait to see what direction you’ll be taking DotTech.org.
    Excellent review!
    I’ve been using this program for several versions and have found it to produce exceptional results when used for specific tasks. I reserve use of this program for removing scratches, dust and foreign objects from black and white photographs. A pro-photographer since 1980, I find the results to be in many cases better than programs costing hundreds of dollars more. It’s a great tool for b/w photo-restoration. However, as strong as inPaint may be when working in black & white, the results obtained on color images (especially “busy” images) are hit-n-miss (as you showed above with the photo of The Capitol Building.
    Feel free to delete this part of my comment. . . But, speaking of that, I was surprised to see you utilize a political image as an example . . . I’m a big fan of yours . . . but I’m certain that there’s another image available to convey the program’s short-comings without the misinterpretations which this example might cause.