As the dust settles on a dense Google I/O event, one new feature in particular has remained in my mind – Magic Editor. The evolution of Google's Magic Eraser technology, Magic Editor has a very real chance of completely changing the photo editing game.
This is no small update. Magic Editor allows you to make powerful changes to your images, using generative AI to fill in any gaps left behind. You can still remove unwanted parts of an image, just like with the previous generation, but that's now the tip of the iceberg.
Users can move subjects within the frame. That means you can truly make the subject the centre of the image, even if they weren't when the image was captured. Google's AI algorithm will take care of changes to the background, and the results on show were impressive.
Plus, if you're moving an object which overhangs the side of the frame, the AI will generate the rest of that subject, to ensure things remain looking natural. The demonstration used a child holding balloons, sat on a bench. When pulled into view, the remainder of the balloons and the bench were generated, with a successful resulting shot.
I'd be interested to see how this works with more complex subject matter. We've all seen the weird and wonderful images which AI can create, and there will surely be a limit to what the Editor can do before things start looking a bit janky.
Elsewhere, users can change the composition of the sky to remove cloud coverage. Cleverly, this also boosts the lighting of the rest of the shot, ensuring your image matches up with the sky you've created.
All-in-all, it's a massively powerful photo editing suite. So where does that leave traditional applications like Adobe Photoshop? Honestly, I think it could be the beginning of the end for them. Don't expect things to change overnight, but the ease of using an automated system is going to appeal to all but the most hardcore of users.
With future revisions and improvements, Google could conceivably offer a pro-level editing suite that is designed to be used by anybody. That could be a tough thing for Adobe to overcome. The end of the road? Maybe not. But it's certainly a turning point.