Remove straw from photo

I am a newbie in PL6 elite (coming from LR) and need some advice to remove a straw from a picture…I have tried the retouch tool, but I am not quite happy with result… I suspect this is mostly due to my lack of experience with PL6. My question is to the more experienced users - is PL6 capable of doing a good job removing the straw??

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[quote=“thomasev, post:1, topic:31279”]
Sorry for the purists, but I find the photo very beautiful like this.

This took me a few minutes in PhotoLab 6.2. It was a quick and dirty effort and I could have gotten much cleaner results if I had spent a bit more time at it and had the original raw file to work with instead of a low res 163kb jpeg. Some of it was removed with repair, other parts with clone. modifying smaller pieces. I used around 10 or so adjustments altogether and rotated a a couple of them and feathered a couple. It is far from perfect but I just wanted to give you an example of what could be accomplished quickly.



Same here, I’d cut some of the right edge off though. The straw will then “close” the image.

Remove the straw in smaller pieces. Try the repair and clone tools and use them to paint over the straw either going in the same direction of the straw or at a more or less right angle of that direction.

Learning a tool is best done by using it in different manners, which should also provide clues on how to fix different issues.

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Thank you very much, I will try it myself utilizing your advice…

I do agree, but I have more than 100 pics of the White throated dipper and I have just started to learn PL6… For this picture I would like to remove straw for learning how to use PL6…

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It takes some practice and an understanding of the various tools and their limitations.



@thomasev sorry, I have a lot of respect for PhotoLabs but consider the tools required to remove the straw, which like others I would leave, as next to useless in PhotoLab.

DxO don’t claim any special “AI” capabilities and I afraid that it is fine for removing flare (sometimes) and does any dirt and sensor spots but beyond that I am not impressed. The advantage is that it can work on RAW, my personal go to tool is Inpaint and it only works on JPGs and failed dismally with this image, about the first time it has been a washout from the start!

So I tried it with Inpixio which I am currently in the process of returning because of some artefacts it introduced in an object removal that Inpaint did perfectly (and even better after a few additional touch ups). It was a a grave headstone I used to test a number of products, the headstone definitely belonged in the picture but was a good object for tests but your bird hiding behind a straw is even better!

So I am looking for

  1. Highlight the item to be removed
  2. Click “Remove”
  3. Tittivate if required
  4. Move to the next problem

In this case Inpixio did this in one

then another one

But the software or the user needs to select elements that are left in the picture to fill in the gaps, using algorithms or detailed knowledge of the object or better, in my opinion, a bit of both.

Except for the elements I mentioned earlier I wouldn’t even try to “fix” this in PhotoLab and I am impressed with what @mwsilvers achieved.



PS and it does need more work because the feathers are too indistinct in the area of the repair so l feel that the straw is a worthy element of the picture, but I will use this to test any other software that I come across, with your permission of course.

PPS this was also done in Inpixio (sorry not PhotoLab) but in smaller steps and some needed two or more attempts to fully remove an element but the final image is closer to “ideal” I feel

First, the new repair/clone tool is much more powerful and usable than you give it credit for being. Second, it took me less than 5 minutes to make those corrections and I could have done a far better job if I had the original raw file rather than a low res jpeg. I didn’t put much effort into it. As it was I purposely did a quick and dirty job without giving it too much thought just as a demonstration.


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@mwsilvers I tested the new features during Beta testing as you did, I believe, and for all the welcome changes it is still essentially “dumb” and the user does the “heavy lifting”. Your 5 minutes of effort is good but I would suggest my final effort which took about 1.5 minutes is better.

That is not through any great talent that I have but because in this case the software I used actually did the job, which it hadn’t on a previous test where Inpaint did an almost perfect job in one attempt but failed miserably on this bird and straw image!

I am not trying to be unkind to PhotoLabs but to say I was underwhelmed by the updates is putting it mildly. My first attempt with PL6 Beta was to remove a flagpole in a shot of a church yard and PhotoLabs and I did not have enough space to remove it successfully and Inpaint got it first time!

I tend to live with a photo as it is with respect to removing objects, but flare, dust and sensor spots are a camera image (and camera operator) issue rather than a scene issue and PhotoLabs can handle them most of the time (flare sometimes defeats an easy fix).

I like the idea of being able to fix the RAW, rather than have to post-process the JPG because the whole process will need to be redone if I change the other edits. Hence, my desire for software that gets it right more times than not with little input from me!

Please continue to encourage others with your enthusiasm for PhotoLabs, which I share, it is the first and frequently the last editor I go to for my editing needs but sadly not for object adjustment or removal.

While editing in PhotoLabs I might try to see if I/the product can manage it but I am invariably disappointed with the results. Partly due to my lack of skill coupled with the time taken to achieve good results and partly because I have other software to hand which does the job quicker and better!



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It isn’t AI but it is very effective. as @mwsilvers did, I only spent couple of minutes on this one using only the new Retouch tool in PL6.

I really prefer doing it myself rather than turning it over to AI.


I wonder how effectively your AI based removal tool would work on a much more complex object like the sign in front of the locomotive which crosses over a variety of different shapes, colors and textures. I also believe you indicated your preferred tool does not work on raw files. By the way, this was the very first image I edited with this new tool.



It is not often I want too remove objects from a picture, but sometimes it is required to remove objects if it might distract the viewer… And if the picture is one of few which is a keeper… The challenge with birds, in my opinion, are the feathers and specially if the pictures is enlarged for printing. If you want the raw file for test I can send you a link for download, no problem at all…

@mwsilvers Mark I congratulate you on your skill and while some of the AI tools could be guided as to what parts to “steal” from the rest of the engine it would be take as long as doing it with PhotoLabs.

Given that I can barely hold the mouse steady enough to mask the uprights of the plaque then I am going to have problems whichever tool I use!

My personal take is that the sign is part of the exhibit and I typically take a full picture of the exhibit and also one of the sign and that is the way they remain but I will add this image to my “collection” of images to test either my own skills or so called AI tools in the future.

@rrblint I am also impressed

Now is the ideal opportunity for you both to provide a tutorial on how you achieved what you have with PhotoLab.

I don’t really care whether I use so called AI or do it by hand but if “AI” can do the job with some nudging from me then that is fine for the few occasions that I want to change reality to “recover” an image.

My photos are recordings of what I saw at the time, so in Highdown Gardens which I visited on the way back from a trip to the dentist I took this image

(straight from the camera but reduced in size, I take both JPGs and RAWs).

Do I attempt to remove the cone(s) and …

“Life it too short” plus it shows what is happening, repairs are underway and, hopefully, the path will come back into use later in the year (or not).

@thomasev the RAW won’t help me because the “tools” I was using only work on JPGs. PhotoLab could tackle the RAW image and as @rrblint and @mwsilvers have shown is capable of miracles in the hands of those practiced in editing images in that way.

PS Had I known that I might use the “ugliest” part of the image as an example I would have also taken an image with the zoom (increased the noise, so more work for PhotoLab) but I simply took the picture to record what I had seen.

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@mwsilvers & @rrblint (is that Mark and Mark?) here is the image with the flagpole and headstones

Here is Inpaint removing 2 headstones, and only for a test, they belong in the picture

and Inpixio leaving behind some artefacts from one of the removals

and I did try to remove the cracks in the wall of this picture but gave up and never left any record of my efforts and if the owner can’t be “bothered” then why should I!

I wonder why it is called “Flintstones”?

But just up the road is this from the 15th century

but I don’t think I am going to remove the cars!

Inpaint at work here and it should be “easy” for most software to get the flagpole when in the open sky

and the grass patch needs another patch to make it look less like a copy.

Sorry, Inpixio with the flagpole in one

That is your choice of course, but this discussion is not about whether or not one should use the repair/clone tool on a particular image, but rather whether PhotoLab’s implementation provides the tools necessary to effectively.remove objects we choose to remove.

In my,l limited experience, I’m not aware of any other tool which can remove very complex objects as well and with it as little effort.


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@mwsilvers agreed and how long did it take to achieve your edit?

It did take a while, but certainly not more than about 20 minutes. Keep in mind of course that it was also the first time I used the tool on an image other than just testing out the capabilities of the individual components. If I were to recreate this again, I believe I could cut at least 5 minutes, If not more, off that time. In the end it was a rather labor intensive effort. But, speed is not the important factor here. It is whether or not the tool is effective for completing the task at hand.


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By the way, I’m not sure how familiar you are with all the aspects of this tool, but it also allows you to rotate, resize, and create mirror images of the replacement masks to fit every possible scenario. It also allows you to reshape the masks by adding or deleting strokes. There is no other tool that I am aware of that contains this level of functionality. It is really quite extraordinary. It is not perfect, of course, but I look forward to the possibility of increased functionality over time.


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@mwsilvers rather a long time and the results are good from a distance but up close

and yes I am being “picky”.

So called AI works reasonably well for me because it is choosing from organic elements and then merging them back in to other organic elements, once mechanical elements creep in then it is a whole new game for both the algorithms and the user and it helps to have a template from which to copy elements from one image to another to effect a convincing repair.

This is Inpaint after three selections using the default selection area that it creates

and the default area that it creates which can be changed by the user to delete part of it or to actually create a new selection area elsewhere.

Being “lazy” I start with the default and if it drags in parts that I don’t want then I refine it. What I haven’t tried is to erase the whole default area and create a selection area elsewhere.

This is the default area from which the selection will be made

When DxO announced the tool changes during the Beta tests they were at pains to indicate that it was not an AI tool, either to temper expectations or to dodge criticism that such tools don’t work or …

I believe that it is not an either or scenario, there is no standard defined fix tools in InPaint although with some patience more could be achieved by making independent selections but that would be cruder to execute by comparison with PhotoLabs.

InPixio (and this is the tool embedded in their edit PhotoStudioProduct not their stand alone tool) doesn’t allow much control over when it starts AI removal but does offer standard tools as well.

This is one stroke from Inpixio which does take a while to complete the edit

but stroke 2 and the wheels are still on the wagon but

So what could be possible with user guided AI or possible just someone who knows how to use the product better than I do?

After Stroke 4 we have

Still a ghost image to be removed or fixed which could be way harder than it might seem but 4 strokes and about 2 minutes of AI time gets what you see (and from an unskilled operator).

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