Google Pixel 6 Magic Eraser: If you think it doesn’t work, you are using it wrong!

One of the most interesting software features announced by Google for its new top-of-the-range, Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, is certainly Magic Eraser, also known as Magic Eraser in Italian software. Magic Eraser can completely remove unwanted people and objects from your photos.

Not everyone seems to have been impressed by the image reconstruction capabilities of Google’s new editing tool, however, to better appreciate its potential, you may need to make an effort to understand how this software works and what are the use cases in which it is suitable. its use.

What is Magic Eraser and how does it work?

Magic Eraser is a new function integrated within Google Photos and currently accessible only to owners of Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, at least officially. According to what was declared by the American company, this tool exploits the computational potential of the new Google Tensor chips to reconstruct, thanks to complex artificial intelligence algorithms (trained with a considerable amount of images through machine learning), the portions of photography obscured by people or unwanted items. All completely offline.

Although it is now clear that it is possible to use Magic Eraser also on smartphones equipped with other SoCs, the result obtained using the technique more commonly called “content-aware fill” (available on some other professional photo editing software) is certainly remarkable. What is particularly striking is the ease of use of the function and the speed with which the Pixels are able to process the result.

Magic Eraser works on every type of image, not just on photos taken by the new Pixel 6, however, at the moment you will need one of the two new Google smartphones to be able to find the dedicated button within Google Photos:

  • Open Google Photos
  • Select the image from which you want to remove people or objects
  • Tap the Edit button
  • In the list that will appear in the lower part of the display, scroll until you find the item Tools
  • In the list of available tools, tap Magic Eraser

Once the function has been found and selected, the smartphone will analyze the image in a preliminary search for elements to be removed, highlighting automatically and sometimes in a really accurate way what, according to him, could be eliminated to make the photo less “crowded” and more pleasant.

If people or objects are already highlighted, just a touch will be enough to delete all the suggested elements, otherwise, you can always touch them one at a time to delete from the photo only the subjects that are intrusive for you.

It may happen, however, that not all the annoying elements of the image are automatically detected by the software, in this case just circle the element you want to remove with your finger and let Magic Eraser do its magic in the selected area.

When does Magic Eraser work best?

The Google Photos Magic Eraser function certainly works best when disturbing elements are small or far away. For the software of the Mountain View company, it is much easier in such situations to guess the background behind the elements to be removed, having in fact only a handful of Pixels to color.

Excellent results are also obtained when the background has a repeated texture (such as the sea, a lawn, a brick wall, a tiled floor, etc …), which is easier to learn and replicate for a learning software system.

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Sometimes, when you know in advance that the software has been used, it is easy to see where Magic Eraser has eliminated elements. In other cases, especially looking at the image as a whole, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty that a photo has been modified.

The example that I wanted to report below and that I personally found really impressive, sees the protagonist Magic Eraser grappling with a painting (Odysseus – Longing for home, by Alexander Rothaug) photographed at an art exhibition I recently visited.

I was not expecting absolutely any kind of usable result and, if we have to be honest and look at the image in detail, the output certainly cannot be defined as perfect, however, Magic Eraser was able to replicate the artist’s style, reconstructing the image reproducing even the brushstrokes and the roughness of the paper, as well as recreating the stone in question including shades where Ulysses (Odysseus) was previously located.

When is it not recommended to use Magic Eraser?

I strongly advise against trying to use Magic Eraser on large subjects. Don’t think you can easily eliminate a person from a group photo or a foreground object that obscures much of the photograph, the results will obviously be disappointing. Any situation where the software has to recreate a large portion of an image has a very high probability of failure. Even when there are writings, signs, complex backgrounds such as cityscapes or passing cars behind the deleted subject, it is practically impossible to be successful.

Basically, Magic Eraser tries to guess which pixels to replace but is unable to see through walls or magically know information that the camera has not captured in the image file. The best way to use Magic Eraser is to practice a lot, learn its limits and understand how it works. Once this is done you will be amazed by the power and usefulness of one of the most interesting software functions that have come into the hands of ordinary users thanks to this generation of smartphones!

It is true that other manufacturers have previously included similar functions in their software (Samsung smartphones in the first place) and it is also true that with more advanced programs (Photoshop) and third-party applications (Touch Retouch, Snapseed, etc …) it is possible to obtain comparable if not even better results with the right technical knowledge.

In any case, Google should be applauded for making the use of the content-aware fill fast, practical and above all accessible to all, experts and non-experts, who with just a few taps on the screen of their smartphone can now take advantage of one of the solutions. most modern and useful photo editing software.

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