Artificial Intelligence Is Getting Insanely Good at Removing Shadows From Photographs of Faces

While Photoshop can do a pretty good job at removing shadows from faces, there’s a fair amount of legwork involved. One scientist has shown that neural networks and artificial intelligence can produce some very impressive results, suggesting that it will soon be a part of how we edit our photos.

Károly Zsolnai-Fehér of Two Minute Papers and the Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms, Vienna University of Technology, Austria, just released a video demonstrating how he has taught a neural network using large data sets to recognize and eliminate shadows from a face in a photograph. As detailed in the video, the neural network was taught by giving it photographs of faces to which shadows had been added artificially.

Given its effectiveness and the quality of the results, it seems only a matter of time before smartphones give you the option to remove shadows. In theory, you might even be able to switch on shadow removal while taking the photograph. 

Numerous university departments around the world seem to be pushing each other’s research to produce ever-improving results, with neural networks key to processing the data required to understand the image. If you’re interested in learning about how Zsolnai-Fehér is using neural networks, be sure to check out this video.

Will shadow removal soon be a one-click solution in Photoshop? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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15 Comments
microteck's picture

Yes, technology is very impressive. But who said a shadow is a bad thing? Sometimes it gives character to the photo. That's why it's important to know how to use your camera in manual mode.

microteck's picture

Manual mode simply means you should know how to take a professional picture with total control. Some people don't understand. But that is okay, because some people just like using their smartphone.

Jerry Suppan's picture

That is absolutely right Mr. Cool Cat! Some people DO just love using tgheir smartphones. Smartphone technology is advancing in leaps and bounds beyond the traditional behemoths of the industry which just wallow to or for in the same path year after year. Sales performance have been testimony to that as well as camera sales have been in descent mode, going down, down, down over the past 10 years. It's too bad the camera industry can not pick up some cues from the smartphone industry making it hugely successful over the traditional DSLR, MILC types. Algorithmic, computational-based photography is ramping up annually if not biannually. Manual control can also be done through smartphones as well if that is so desirable, but I sure love the convenience of advancements in computational photography. And what is the best camera for any event? The one you have with you. And that, is usually in my shirt pocket. The times they are a changin'.

microteck's picture

Everything you stated is true. But for many of us computational-based systems takes the fun out of photography. But hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

microteck's picture

Almost everything you said is true. But sometimes too much is too much. Some of us rather wait for a nice blue sky and fluffy white clouds before we take the shot. We don't mind a little more planning. You prefer the quick and dirty method of using Photoshop for sky replacement to take away the grunt work. Some of us prefer doing as much as possible in camera. We both have different ways. Just enjoy yourself.

microteck's picture

Isn't this fun Lee?

Best Regards,
Quick & Dirty

Ryan Luna's picture

spoken like an artist. Nothing wrong with that, but many photogs are in the business of producing images where there may not be time to mitigate shadow placement, (events and weddings come to mind).

Enrique Olivieri's picture

The more you add AI into photography, the less it becomes photography. I guess it's becoming an entire new form AI were you create an AI model and clothes. Check out @genv.agency on Instagram and you'll see where photography is probably headed, the models are not real on this Instagram page, they're all AI created.

Jerry Suppan's picture

"The more you add AI into photography, the less it becomes photography."

Welcome to the digital era in which anything is possible, even more so than before. Morphing in videos for another example. Whatever. ;-) I reckon is someone does not like the technology, they can choose to not use it.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

It would be great for family/friends get-togethers, events, and such.

jim hughes's picture

A great job of removing all the interest from a photo.