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You can easily get rid of flaws with the Smart Erase tool. You erase unwanted objects by brushing them with the Smart Erase Brush enabled, releasing your cursor, and then watching as the object is removed for you. You can also make a selection, and then apply Smart Erase to achieve your goals.

I have recently returned from vacation, and with me, I brought home a few thousand photos. Many of these showcase some realities that I don’t need to remember. I’m talking trash, power lines, graffiti, advertisements, stuff like that. But I have no fear! I can remove unwanted objects from my images by selecting or brushing them and using the Smart Erase function.

Smart Erase will analyze the image and predict how to best fill in the brushed or selected area with the most likely, natural background.

Before I go crazy, it’s worth mentioning that you can only remove an area covering 25% or less of your image. Smart Erase is designed for touch ups, rather than a complete overall of half an image.

I begin by selecting the image I want to manipulate in the File List pane in Manage mode. Then enter Edit mode.

Open Edit Mode

Once in Edit mode, there are two ways I can approach removing objects from my image: brushing or selecting.

Brushing

To erase using the Smart Erase Brush tool, I just press the Smart Erase Brush button at the top toolbar, or press CTRL + E. Smart Brush Icon

Smart Erase Brush

I can change the size of the brush's nib width by moving the slider at the top of the image panel, or by using my mouse wheel.

Nib Width

Then I brush the object. As soon as I release the mouse button, bam! Smart erasing is applied.

Brush

Generally, I get the best results when I brush outside of the limits of the object I’m trying to erase. For instance, with this powerline, I don’t painstakingly brush only the line. I used a larger brush and ham-handedly go over it. This will help ACDSee to analyze what background Smart Erase needs to blend into.

Brush Results

On the other hand, obviously, it erases best when the background is solid, simple, free of patterns, without a lot of color variation. So, if I try to brush something where the surrounding area is more complicated, with greater variation, it may require some clever handling. Therefore, I use some discretion as to how ham-handed I should be. The only way to figure this out is through experimenting. So, as I just exhibited, some things just need a quick once over. While others can be more complicated.

Walkway

Brush On

If the object is not entirely gone or doesn’t look quite right, I keep brushing over the area and releasing the mouse button until I get the results I’m looking for.

Results

However, sometimes it can surprise you. For instance, did you know this pic used to have another lady in it?

Missing Lady

Surprise!

Surprise

So sneaky…

Selecting

To erase an object using a Selection tool, I need to choose how to make my selection. Some work better for this case than others.

I recommend the Freehand Lasso, which involves simply dragging a line around the object, and then when I let go of the mouse button, it auto-completes.

Lasso Tool

In other words, the end of the line connects to the start. This helps with making a really loose selection so that ACDSee has more background information to work with.

Lasso Selection

Once I’ve made a selection, I go to Select | Smart Erase. Or use SHIFT + ALT + F.

Smart Erase Menu

Smart Erase Menu

Then I repeat as many times as is necessary to get the results I want. This may involve changing the selected area. To make another section, I choose Select | Deselect. And then select anew. I find that often making a smaller selection the second time around can lead to more variance in the fill, which results in a natural look. Here it is again after a couple smaller selections, followed by the Smart Erase command. Would you know there was once a big stick there if you hadn’t seen it yourself?

Results

Before and after

Ta da! Smart Erase wins the vacation photo struggle!

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