Shooting portraits in direct sunlight can be pretty challenging, and those harsh shadows on the face are likely not something you’ll want to see on your model’s face. Well, if you’re not up for old-school solutions, artificial intelligence comes to the rescue. A group of scientists has created an algorithm that removes all those unwanted shadows in a matter of seconds.
The shadow removal AI is a joint project by researchers from Berkeley, MIT, and Google Research. Interestingly enough, they trained the algorithm to recognize the shadows by adding them to images that didn’t originally have them. From here, the AI was able to recognize the unwanted shadows in photos and remove them when it detects them.
But not all shadows are unwanted. While developing the AI, researchers distinguished between two types of shadows: foreign and facial. Foreign shadows are those made on our face by foliage, hats, or any other “foreign” objects. Facial shadows, as the name suggests, are those that our facial features make in the harsh sunlight. The AI was trained to remove the foreign shadows, but only soften the facial ones. If both types were completely removed, the results would look unnatural.
While the shadow removal and softening functions quite well, there are still some situations when it doesn’t look as good. Sometimes the AI doesn’t process all the shadows, and sometimes it overprocesses facial shadows so the results look weird. But as the algorithm gets trained further, it will get better.
The researchers say that this AI could be great for portrait photos, which definitely is the case. I can see applications of this AI in various image editing programs in a few years’ time. But as some folks point out in YouTube comments, good shadow removal could also mean a huge deal for photogrammetry.
[via Mirrorless Rumors]