Hell is other people, in your pictures. Meandering strangers have been the bane of photography since people stopped painting their vacations and started photographing them.
With Remove, imaging technology company Scalado brings us one step closer to a world in which our photographs aren't so much record of where we were as they are a representation of what we would have liked that place to be.
Remove is a photographic tool for smartphones that allows for the ex post facto removal of errant moving objects -- cars, people, tumbleweeds from smartphone photographs. Given the ease with which ex lovers can now be removed from your snapshots (or, more optimistically, the ease with which you can perfect that photo of your special someone), HuffPostTech's Captain Gadget notes that having the technology debut on Valentine's Day, of all days, is "pretty perfect."
According to DroidMatters, Remove works by taking multiple shots during each shutter click and using those frames to create a composite image in which only the stationary items are left, i.e. you still have your girlfriend smiling in front of the Taj Mahal, but you don't have all of those tourists who were milling around her.
Remove also allows users to erase intrusions manually, since you might want to leave the better looking tourists in the picture. According to Phandroid, after taking the photo, keep the camera focused on the subject and touch each moving object in the photo that you want removed.
All frames of each picture are saved in the app, so if you ever decide that you removed too much or too little you can go in and re-tweak any version of any picture, reports Myriam Joire at Engadget. Joire, who spent some hands on time with the app, had some issues with slow responses in the UI, but mostly liked the app and found it "intuitive." (Check out Engadget's full review and photos here)
While the prototype Engadget used was in the form of an aftermarket app built for the Android OS Gingerbread, according to Phandroid, Remove will not be coming to customers as an application, but instead will be licensed directly to partner phone manufacturers, which include Sony Ericsson, Motorola and HTC.
It's unclear whether this technology will be available for iOS devices. At the time of this writing, Scalado had not responded to The Huffington Post's request for comment.
SlashGear reports that Remove uses a similar technology to Rewind, a group-photo taking tool, that the Swedish company released last year. According to the GSMArena blog, with Rewind the camera takes multiple shots with each press of the shutter button and then allows the photographer to make a composite image that combines each person's best picture.
According to a Scalado press release, Remove will be showcased February 27th to March 1st at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.
If you want to take your image-editing skills a few steps further, Lytro may be for you. The camera, which won the Best of Innovations Award for Digital Imaging at the Consumer Electronics show, has been praised as the "first light field camera that allows consumers to instantly capture interactive, living pictures and then focus them AFTER they are taken." According to Lytro's website, by "captur[ing] the entire light field," Lytro creates "living pictures" that allow users to refocus their photos after they've snapped them. For even more photo fun, check out this technology that allows 3D objects to be seamlessly added to photographs after the fact.