I’m a big fan of small, nimble, focused applications that just work, and Maxim Gapchenko’s InPaint Pro qualifies on all counts. Inpaint is an application—a graphics utility, really—designed to do one thing: remove unwanted elements from your photos.
What is It?
Inpaint can be used to repair old photos, remove watermarks, remove unwanted objects, do digital facial retouching and erase wrinkles and skin blemishes, remove date stamps, and so forth, and it’s really straightforward and easy to use. Fun even. I got caught up in the potential quickly.
How Does it Work?
The way Inpaint works is that its photo restoration algorithms reconstruct a selected image area using pixels near the area boundary as a reference.
I didn’t find Inpaint Pro to be a speedster either starting up or in executing its functions on my 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook with 4 GB of RAM, but neither is it objectionably sluggish, and once it’s open you can get down to business quickly. Open the image you want to doctor via the navigation menu or drag & drop, and you’re good to go. Basically, you just use the slider-resizable selection tool to highlight in bright orange the element to be eliminated, adjust the size of the selection area box, and click the InPaint button in the toolbar. 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 to address any spots that got missed in the initial highlighting, but that’s pretty much it.
Starting modestly, I decided to try removing the temporary permit sticker in the windshield in this photo of a ’53 Ford F-200 I owned a long time ago.
I got the desired result in a few seconds and with one try.
Time for a more ambitious test. The bright orange tarp in the foreground of this shot of my erstwhile ’73 Dodge Polara is a distraction, although processing that large an area of the image would be a challenge for InPaint Pro’s capabilities.
Pretty much the same drill as with the registration sticker in the Ford photo only on a larger scale. The similarity in color of the subject matter and the highlighter cause me to miss a few spots on my first attempt, but they were easily and quickly touched up with a few more supplementary highlighting strokes.
I would say that the result in this instance was less successful, but still think it improves the picture. However, for proportionally smaller areas, inpaint Pro can yield excellent results, and that’s arguably what it’s intended for.
Is it Contagious?
I really took to this little app right from the get-go, noting the lack of speediness and somewhat indifferent (but still amazingly good) results when removing larger elements. One other thing I don’t like is that InPaint Proquits when you close the last open interface window, which is Windows, not Mac, behaviour.