App removes wandering people from photos
By Ben Coxworth
February 14, 2012
It's kind of a funny thing, when you think about it ... even though it's normal to see other people milling about in public places, when we take photos of those places, we often don't want any of those people in our pictures. Ordinarily, this means standing around and waiting, then blasting off a shot in the split second when no one is within your frame - except perhaps the person you're taking a photo of. Swedish photography company Scalado, however, has now developed an alternative for use with mobile devices. It's called Remove, and appropriately enough, it removes those pesky "other people" from your photographs.
Remove works by initially taking a burst of shots in succession. By comparing those shots with one another, it is then able to identify which objects are stationary (the scenery, and/or your posing subject) and which ones are moving (those dang people). It then highlights the moving objects on a preview screen, and allows you to select which ones to remove. The end product is a composite photo, with the offending humans taken out.
Although a certain unwanted person may be blocking the background in one shot, that same bit of background will be visible in another shot - this little fact allows the app to fill in the background when it removes the person. Needless to say, Remove can't help you with bystanders who are standing still ... perhaps if it had a feature that used your device's speaker to yell "Hey buddy, get outta my shot!"
The app is presently still in the prototype stage, but a full version should be ready for a demonstration later this month, at the 2012 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It is reminiscent of a system being developed at the University of California, San Diego, that is able to remove pedestrians from Google Street View images.
The video below demonstrates how the app is to be used.