I’m a fan of small, nimble, fast, and focused applications that just work, and Maxim Gapchenko’s Inpaint Pro qualifies on all counts. Inpaint is a program—a graphics utility really—designed to do just one thing: remove unwanted elements from your photos.
Inpaint Pro can be used to repair old photos, remove watermarks, remove unwanted objects, do digital facial retouching and erase wrinkles and skin blemishes, remove watermarks and date stamps, and so forth. It’s really straightforward and easy to use. Fun, even, with no steep learning curve to climb. I got caught up in the potential quickly.
The way Inpaint works is simple in context; its photo restoration algorithms reconstruct a selected image area using pixels near the area boundary as a reference. Inpaint’s Magic Wand tool allows you to select unnecessary objects or persons on a photo in literally seconds, so all you have to do then is to let Inpaint do the rest, filling selected areas with intelligently-generated textures pulled from surrounding image data.
Another use for inpaint is to quickly eliminate small spoiler flaws from otherwise good shots. Often we have older photos that are still important to us, but scratches, spots and tears accumulated over time and detract from nostalgic pleasure. Happily, the digital copy of a scanned old photo can be easily retouched with Inpaint. Just select problematic zones on the picture let Inpaint Pro do its stuff.
This shot of a 1963 Austin A60 that I had back in the late 1960s illustrates a case in point.
It’s definitely not high quality photography, probably shot with a Kodak Instamatic snapshot camera on Kodacolor 126. However, it could be improved with elimination of the unsanded Bondo filling some creases and dents.
I just opened it in Inpaint Pro, “painted” over the Bondo bits with the Magic Wand selection tool, clicked “Erase,”and the body filler was gone.
Basically, you just use the slider-resizable selection tools (Magic Wand, Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, and A Guide Lines tool for difficult areas where there are multiple backgrounds) to highlight in bright red/orange the element(s) to be eliminated, adjust the size of the selection area box, and click the Erase button. You can zoom in or out. A progress bar dialog will appear while Inpaint Pro does its stuff, and in a few seconds the transformation will be revealed. You may have to do a bit of supplementary touch-up selection to address any spots that got missed in the initial highlighting, but that’s pretty much it.
It’s still technically mediocre photographic quality with the A60 photo, but It has sentimental value being one of only a couple of shots I have to remember that car by some 45 years on.
I decided to also try removing the temporary permit sticker in the windshield in this photo of a ’53 Ford F-200 I owned a long time ago.
Again I just “painted” the sticker area with the InPaint selection tool, adjusted the box boundaries.
I got the result I wanted in a few seconds and with one try.
Inpaint Pro can be used to:
- Repair old photos
- Remove watermarks
- Delete unwanted people from photo
- Erase Power Lines
- Remove unwanted objects
- Digital Facial retouching
- Remove date stamps
- Erase wrinkles and skin blemishes
- Remove tourists from travel photos
- Fill black areas of a panorama
- Remove text or logo from images
- Remove moving objects from photos
- Easy to learn
- Completely non-technical to use
New features in Inpaint Pro 5.5 include:
- X2 Inpaint algorithm boost
- Added 64-bit support
- New method for donor area selection, now you can use all mask selection tools
- Now marker size change can be done by keyboard, click ‘[' to decrease and ']‘ to increase marker size
- Draw straight line using marker tool, just hold down the SHIFT key
- Interface improvements
- Added Load/Save Mask functionality, which allows to reuse same maskMinor bugs fixing
- MultiView feature excluded from Inpaint and released as separate product MultiView Inpaint
Inpaint Pro 5.5 is indeed faster than previous versions I’ve used on my 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook with 4 GB of RAM. It starts up promptly, and once it’s open you can get down to business quickly. One attribute I don’t like is that—a la Windows applications—Inpaint self-quits when the last open window is closed. I much prefer the Mac-like stay-open-in-the-background behavior.
Tutorials are posted on the Inpaint Website if some function isn’t intuitively clear.
I really took to this little app right from the get-go, and this latest update is the best yet.
Buy Inpaint Pro 5.5
Provides: Photo object removal
Format: Digital download
Developer: Maxim Gapchenko
Requirements: Intel Mac, OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor, 1,000 MHz processor, 256MB RAM
Availability: Out now