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(47,780 posts)
Wed May 10, 2023, 03:33 PM May 2023

Google introduces Magic Editor, to make your photos REALLY lie


Google’s latest Photos trick is a feature it’s calling Magic Editor, which uses generative AI to let you make major edits to a photo without professional tools. The company revealed the feature at Google I/O 2023.

Google shared a couple examples of Magic Editor in action that are both pretty cool. In one, a photo of a person in front of a waterfall, Google entirely moves the person further to the side of the photo, erases people in the background, and makes the sky a prettier blue. Watch this GIF to see it all happen:

-snipping; check article for GIF-

In another photo, Magic Editor scoots a child on a bench closer to the middle of the photo, which generates “new” parts of the bench and balloons to the left to fill in the space. In this example, Google again makes the sky more vibrant. Check it out in this GIF:


It’s impressive stuff — and a logical next step from photo features like Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser. It’s also not quite perfect given leftover artifacts like creases from the bag strap in the waterfall photo and a misplaced shadow under the bench in the second. But perhaps most importantly, it’s just the latest opportunity to think about what a “photo” even is anymore — a question that’s become ever more common given things like the iPhone 14 Pro’s ramped-up sharpening and Samsung’s faked Moon photos.


Just what we needed - more tools to create real-looking images that aren't real, to make people more and more skeptical of all photos and videos.


(14,816 posts)
1. A gift to Trump, MAGAs, and world-wide fascism.
Wed May 10, 2023, 03:37 PM
May 2023

Just what we needed. Another technological advancement to be weaponized.


(13,180 posts)
4. I missed that, thanks.. Alas I'm a iPhone/Mac kinda guy. I wonder if Apple will come out with
Wed May 10, 2023, 03:54 PM
May 2023

a similar program... Like I said this would be good for a quick and dirty instead of opening up photochop..

Ms. Toad

(33,024 posts)
5. It's just the equivalent of handing a point and shoot camera to someone
Wed May 10, 2023, 04:41 PM
May 2023

who can't handle a digital camera.

Tools to accomplish all of that are already available in Photoshop and Paintshop Pro.

As far as things like lightening the sky or making it bluer there is a continuum - but, basically, people have been doing that for years in either the camera (by film choice, filters) or the physical or electronic darkroom.

Creating parts of the bench or filling in background when you move someone around in the picture are standard tools of photo restoration - again, things which have been done for years.

This just makes it accessible to people who don't have the inclination or skills to use the existing tools.

Once you move into the realm of creating things that did not exist (or even that did, but no reference currently exists), the artist should be honest about the nature of the art, since it is no longer purely photography.

There's nothing inherently evil about a tool which makes processes easier - the risk comes when people claim that the image was what was actually captured by the camera. That risk has been around for decades. I restored an old photo for my mother in the early 2000s. I scanned it and then straightened the image. When I did that it created a blank triangle in one corner, which I filled in with grass. I'm pretty skilled using (then) Paintshop Pro. I've created faces, added people to pictures, removed distracting objects, filled in gaps created by cracks in the photo, etc. When I share I share artwork that goes beyond standard camera/darkroom work I'm explicit about what I've done. But nothing requires that - it just seems to me it is a matter of integrity.

This new tool doesn't inherently change anything - aside from making the tools which can be used both to create art and to deceive accessible to more people.

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