We’re all for preserving the authenticity and integrity of original photos, but sometimes we amateur photographers need a little help to capture the perfect shot.
Those skilled in Photoshop can usually work their magic to get exactly the photo they want. But for the rest of us, Inpaint is a clever tool that makes it simple to remove unwanted objects from photos. It’s also useful for removing time/date stamps, watermarks, dust specks, scratches, and facial blemishes.
To use Inpaint, first you choose an image. Then you use the mouse pointer as a red marker to colour in the object(s) to be removed. You can make the marker tip larger or smaller to make it easier to colour large objects or for detail work, respectively.
Now click the Inpaint button in the toolbar, and the program works its magic, removing the marked areas and, even more impressive, automatically surveying the surrounding areas of the photo to generate realistic-looking filler. This works surprisingly well, although it won’t match a professional retouching by a Photoshop master. If you zoom in on a higher-resolution image, a sharp eye may spot some slightly blurry areas where Inpaint modified the photo. Inpaint’s effectiveness also depends on the size and detail of the object you’re removing and the intricacies and uniformity of its surroundings.
Take an original image, highlight the unwanted objects, and Inpaint removes them
Still, for a cheap program, Inpaint’s results are very good, and if the result isn’t perfect you can mark that area and reprocess the photo to get a better result.
Unfortunately, Inpaint doesn’t offer a batch mode, which would be useful if, for example, you have a group of photos that have a time/date stamp – in the exact same location, of course – that you want to remove. Inpaint is a one-trick pony, but it’s good at that trick, especially considering the price tag.