[Windows] Fix blemishes or remove unwanted objects in photos with InpaintJanuary 8, 2013 6 Email article | Print article
Have you ever wanted to “magically” edit objects from a picture? Either fix a blemish or remove an unwanted object? By magically, I mean fill in a selected area with textures pulled from the surrounding image. Alright, so it is not magic, but it is still pretty cool. Inpaint allows you to easily remove things from your picture (trees, phone lines, etc.).
WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO
Inpaint labels itself as a photo restoration program that allows you to select areas inside an image to touch up or remove. Essentially, Inpaint is an automatic clone stamp — the tool most photo editors have for removing objects in a photo. You select the object/blemish you want to remove (you “select” an object by using the brush tool and paint over it) and Inpaint uses the surroundings of that object/blemish to try to remove it (you must press the “Play” button to tell Inpaint to process the area). This makes it easy (easier) to remove certain objects from your pictures, like watermarks, power lines, logos, etc. There is no longer a need to mess with trying to clone an area to look like another area. This program will do it for you.
- Remove unwanted objects from your pictures quickly and easily (such as text, watermarks, trees, power lines, face wrinkles, etc.) or repair old photos that may have become damaged or scratched
- Supports JPB, BMP, PNG, and GIF images
- Has Undo/Redo features
- Has a ‘Multi View’ tool that allows you to paint an image on top of the image you loaded
- Has a ‘Magic Wand’ tool that allows you to easily select areas of the image that are the same color
- Allows users to modify what area of the photo is being pulled to replace the object/blemish that is going to be removed
- Isn’t a perfect magic wand for fixing images. How well this will remove a blemish or object depends on the complexity of the background surrounding the object/blemish you want to remove. And you may have to process an area multiple times, or in pieces, before it comes out how you want it to.
- The ability to modify the area of the photo that is being used to replace the selected object/blemish is limited to whatever area you can resize the rectangle to — it isn’t completely full customization that you could get via freehand selection
The idea behind Inpaint is pretty good. You use this program to remove unwanted objects or blemishes from your pictures. If you have used a clone stamp in an image editor, you can think if Inpaint as an automatic clone stamp — you simply tell Inpaint what you want to remove, and Inpaint tries to remove it. When it works, it works great — you can easily remove watermarks, text, and other unwanted things from your picture. The real problem is when it doesn’t work.
You see how well Inpaint works fully depends on the picture you are trying to fix/touch up. If the area surrounding the object/blemish you are trying to remove is a complicated image, then Inpaint will do a terrible job of removing the object. For example, let’s say you are trying to remove a power line from a picture, just like the program says it can do. If the power line is surrounded by all blue sky, it will remove that power line no problem. However, if the same power line runs behind someone’s head or close to it, you will run into issues. More specifically, as you start to get close to the person’s head, the program will pull textures from the head and put it into the sky instead of simply replacing the empty space with sky like it should.
Another example of Inpaint failing is I had one picture where a friend of mine was standing by a pole. You could see the pole coming out from behind his head. So, I went to remove the pole. The closer I got to his head, the more “wrong” textures the program started popping up with. At one point, it looked like my friend had a really ugly growth on his head (kind of funny really) because instead of simply removing the pole and replacing it with the correct background, Inpaint was replacing the pole with my friend’s head. This issue is common with many images — anything that is slightly more complex than a uniform background will cause this problem.
What I am trying to say is Inpaint is a good program, but it won’t work magic. It is nothing more than a tool. To best use Inpaint, you need to understand the strengths and shortcomings. For example, going back to the photo of my friend and the pole, to get better results, I can process parts of the pole separately. The parts of the pole completely surrounded by the sky I can process in one fell swoop and the parts of the pole that get close to my friend’s head I can process separately. I also have the option to to modify the area of the photo that Inpaint pulls from for better results and I can reprocess the area multiple times for better result. Eventually I can properly remove the pole from the photo (with little to no distortions) by using Inpaint, but it isn’t as easy as simply selecting the pole once and it will be removed. You will have to work for it.
CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK
Inpaint is a good program. If it worked like magic, as the developer seems to indicate, it would be great. However, it doesn’t so I’m not going to call it great. As I’ve said before, Inpaint is essentially an automatic version of the clone stamp tool found in most image editors.
Is that worth $19.99? For professional photographers, graphic editors, etc. it really depends. For more complex images, clone stamp offers a lot more control than Inpaint — Inpaint botches up complex images. However, for simple(r) images, Inpaint can save a valuable amount of time and a one time charge of $19.99 is definitely worth it. For amateurs or people who rarely fix up photos? Yeah, the automatic nature of Inpaint is indeed useful but if you rarely work with photos, are you really wanting to spend $19.99 to a photo fixer? I don’t know — you decide; Inpaint has a trial you can test the program to see if you want to buy it. And there is a free version of Inpaint available online at Web Inpaint.
Version reviewed: 4.7
Supported OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7/ 8
Download size: 3.6MB
VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/45
Is it portable? No