Adobe’s Lightroom software uses new AI technology to select objects, people, clothing and facial features in an effort to make photo editing faster and more powerful. The technology can take some of the hard work out of photo editing, picking out parts of an image pixel by pixel.

The new technology is available in Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and the smartphone versions of the photo cataloging and editing software, the company announced Tuesday at its Max conference. The new object and people selection tools expand on the previous AI tools that select objects and the sky.

Adobe’s new AI scene analysis technology shows how quickly artificial intelligence technology is advancing to speed up tasks that were once completely beyond the reach of computers. AI, trained to discover patterns after examining vast amounts of real-world data, behaves much more like human brains, avoiding the confines of strictly programmed if-this-then instructions. AI is revolutionizing everything from fraud detection to art generation.

Analyzing photos is one of the earliest successes of AI technology. Training data carefully labeled to highlight pupils, lips, eyebrows, hair, clothing, or other features can teach an AI model to isolate elements of a photo that you might want to brighten, whiten, or otherwise fix.

Lightroom now has AI-based tools to select faces, eyes, lips, teeth and other parts of a person for more precise editing. Here, the selected area is shown in red before editing.


The new Lightroom includes other selection tricks. It can isolate specific individuals. With a scribble gesture on the subject of a photo, you can direct the AI ​​to do a better job of selecting difficult subjects. And an updated heal tool option automatically selects an element and replaces it with images from elsewhere in the scene.

Also at Max, the company’s conference for creative professionals, Adobe announced related improvements to its venerable Photoshop image editing software:

  • The Auto Mask tool has been retrained to select a longer list of elements in a photo, including plants, roads, mountains, and water.
  • One particular AI tool is trained to distinguish hair from other elements in a scene, a particularly difficult and time-consuming selection process if done manually.
  • Photoshop gets a one-click erase and fill feature that uses AI to select an element and then replace it with images selected from elsewhere in the photo. This process previously involved several steps.

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