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Lightroom AI Finds People, Faces, Eyes for Faster Photo Editing

One of AI's first successes was analyzing photos. Adobe is using the technology in deeper ways in Lightroom and Photoshop to ease photo editing drudgery.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
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2 min read

Lightroom's AI-powered masking tool now automatically selects different people in a photo. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe's Lightroom software uses new AI technology to select objects, people, clothing and facial features in an attempt to make photo editing faster and more powerful. The technology can remove some of the drudgery of photo editing, picking out portions 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 said Tuesday at its Max conference. The new tools for selecting objects and people expand earlier AI tools that select subjects and skies.

Adobe's new AI scene analysis technology shows how fast artificial intelligence technology is advancing to speed up tasks once completely out of reach of computers. AI, trained to spot patterns after examining huge amounts of real-world data, behaves much more like human brains, escaping the confines of rigidly programmed if-this-then-that instructions. AI is revolutionizing everything from detecting fraud to generating art.

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

An Adobe Lightroom screenshot shows how the image editing software can automatically select just a face

Lightroom now has AI-powered 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.

Adobe

The new Lightroom also includes other selection tricks. It can isolate specific individuals. With a scribbling gesture over a photo's subject, you can guide the AI to do a better job selecting tricky subjects. And an updated healing tool option automatically selects an element and replaces it with imagery 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 automatic masking tool has been retrained to select a longer list of elements in a photo, including plants, roads, mountains and water.
  • One particular AI tool has been trained to distinguish hair from other elements of a scene, an especially difficult and time consuming selection process if done manually.
  • Photoshop gets a one-click delete and fill feature that uses AI to select an item then replace it with imagery selected from elsewhere in the photo. That process previously took several steps.