Pixel 6’s magic eraser crushes its competition: We compare it to Photoshop, Pixelmator, Apple Photos and Cleanup

One of the best features of the new Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is the ‘Magic Eraser’. It is a function that, through the use of artificial intelligence, offers in Google Photos the ability to remove objects, animals, people and much more from images.


As it is a function that comes to compete with the replacement tools that professional tools such as Adobe Photoshop 2022 or Pixelmator have had for years, at Genbeta we wanted to compare the results by doing basic editions and in few steps. We are aware that a professional can obtain much better results than those offered by our tests, which have been done in the simplest way, as it is the one offered by our reference function, the ‘Magic Eraser’ of the Pixels.





In addition to Photoshop and Pixelmator, of which we have used ‘spot fix’ and ‘content-aware fill’ and ‘repair’, respectively, we also wanted to try the web Cleanup.pictures, which we already talked about and with a feature (‘Retouch’) built into Apple Photos in macOS and perhaps the basis for a future iOS appearance of a ‘Magic Eraser’ competitor to the Pixel. Let’s see what the comparison holds for us in different scenes.

Sunset

For this image, we downloaded an image from Unsplash showing an individual from behind. The goal was to remove the subject from the image, and to make the background as good as possible. Let’s see how each software has done before deciding which one is the best.

Pixel 6 Sunset

Cleanup

Apple Photos

Edited with Apple Photos.

It wasn’t the most difficult image, but for certain elements, it wasn’t easy either. As an absolute loser, we have Apple Photos. He makes an erase that leaves a totally visible stain where there was a person before, and breaks the rock where it was.

Regarding the best, Cleanup should be mentioned. The website manages, with lower resolution due to its free plan, to generate the horizon very well, being the only one that leaves the line with a continuity that is as expected. In the clouds it does not act badly either, but it leaves a very uniform stain. My overall favorites are the Pixelmator and Pixel 6 images. They have flaws, but they do a good job. **Photoshop does it well, but it leaves a pretty sharp line with very visible color change. Like Pixelmator, it also cuts through the cloud.

The Pixel does a better job on the rocks that the guy in the original photo was standing on, but it generates an odd pattern in the water and sky. Pixelmator simulates water more naturally, though it leaves a speck in the sea where water should go, and features artifacts on rocks. In addition, on the horizon it generates several accented jumps.

The sky and the sea matter a lot, so we stayed with Pixelmator. Of course, for ease of use and agility, as we will review later, the Pixel and its ‘Magic Eraser’ are unrivaled.

Salamanca

The next thing we have analyzed is this photograph of Salamanca, taken with a mobile. The idea with the photo was to see how well the different tools replaced the group at the bottom right of the image. The goal was to make them disappear and leave the floor as natural as possible.

Original Salamanca

Original photography. Unedited.

Pixel 6

Editing on Pixel 6.

Salamanca Cleanup

Edited with cleanup.

Pixelmator

Edited with Pixelmator.

Apple Photos

Edited with Apple Photos.

The worst, from our point of view, is again Photoshop, which literally copies the table right above the people we want to remove. Something better is done by Apple Photos, but the artifacts and unnaturalness are still evident.

Cleanup seems to us the winning option. It is true that it leaves the floor smoother than it is, with hardly any texture, but it is the photo that introduces the fewest rare elements, and it would be credible to see it without knowing that it has been edited. Pixelmator also does a good job of trying to emulate ground patterns, though it falters more on colors. Finally, in third place is the Pixel 6, which tries to do something similar to Pixelmator, but in a less natural way and inventing textures worse and introducing more artifacts.

Valladolid

This is another image of us, from Valladolid. This is the kind of photo where we’d like to remove people spoiling our shot. The difficulty of this image is greater than the previous one, because although there is a lot of uniform area (sand), in order to cover all the individuals that appear, it is necessary to substitute a non-uniform background (fountain fences, fountain, etc.)

Valladolid Original

Original unedited photo.

Pixel 6

Edited on Pixel 6.

Cleanup

Edited in Cleanup.

Pixelmator

Edited in Pixelmator.

The losing option is Apple Photos, which leaves silhouettes with artifacts that make the subjects we’ve removed look like ghosts. At least in the reconstruction of the wall of the fountain, at the level of homogeneity, it does something better than Photoshop, which literally takes a bite out of the water on the left. Here it was done with filling according to the content, because with the punctual corrector the destruction was much greater.

On this occasion the winning option is the image generated by the Pixel 6. It is not perfect, not at all, and it leaves certain marks where it has been replaced, but the way of generating the wall of the source is much more natural than in Pixelmator, which triples the shield that in reality only exists once. While Pixelmator thinks there may be more than one, and copies it where it needs a wall, what Google does is replace the person with the color of the wall. There is also better work on the back bench and on the right fence, although both options have visible flaws.

Cleanup again resolved tricky parts of the image well, but left unedited chunks like the couple on the fence or even on the ground, which was the easiest part. Still, way ahead of the level of Photoshop or Apple Photos.

Boy from behind

This image represents something similar to the previous one. We stop to take a photo, and a subject means that the result is not exactly what we were looking for. Therefore, we are going to try to eliminate it from our photograph trying to reduce the damage.

Original

Original unedited photo.

Pixel 6

Repeating as the worst we have Apple Photos, which leaves a stain exactly the size of what we are replacing. As a surprise in this image, Pixelmator is among the worst, because to cover up the boy what he does is copy the lamppost on the right. Without reaching such a negative aspect, Photoshop does something similar, although maintaining a certain proportion in the balconies.

Cleanup in this photograph does it very well again, but the ‘Magic Eraser’ of the Pixel 6 wins in our opinion, leaving a somewhat more uniform background in the color part (although somewhat less in the white area). The impressive thing about this photo is that Google has been the one to suggest removing that person, and the AI ??has done it all by itself.

Ship

We arrive at what is probably the simplest photograph of the comparison, since the objective is to eliminate the large ship, which, as can be seen in the original image, has a fairly uniform background, the Water. Let’s see how the different functions perform.

Original

Original unedited photo

Pixel 6

Edited on Pixel 6.

Original Cleanup

Edited in Cleanup.

Pixelmator

Edited in Pixelmator.

Photoshop 2

Edited in Photoshop.

Original

Edited with Apple Photos.

Against all odds, the worst edition of this photo has been done by Cleanup, which is capable of the best, but also of the worst. In this one it’s a pity that Pixelmator left a pink outline where the ship was, and what’s worse, that he copied the flagpole reflected in the water, to the right of where it should be.

Going to the winners, this time we do have to talk about Photoshop, whose only flaw is to leave the area of ??the water where the boat was in a very uniform color, although we will only perceive it if we compare it with the original image. Therefore, the winner of this last photograph is the Pixel 6, because it has hidden the water very well, without leaving traces of the silhouette and stretching the pole very well.

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Genbeta’s opinion

After thoroughly testing each of the tools mentioned, and given the results in each image, the best technology, on average, has been the proposal with Google and its ‘Magic Eraser’ . Unlike the other options, it hasn’t had any serious bugs, so we can trust it in a large number of situations. Pixelmator is also doing great, sometimes achieving tremendously natural results. Even so, as a second option, I would stay with Cleanup, which although it is capable of the best and the worst, it is a real blast when it hits, which is very often. For $24 a year, not bad.

The big loser of the comparison is Adobe Photoshop, especially considering its focus on advanced users. Adobe is serious about bringing machine learning-based tools to the suite, but both ‘spot healing brush’ and fill are still missing. We are aware that the application is professional, and that it has functions to achieve much better results than what we have seen throughout the article. However, it was a comparison on how to achieve results at the user level, quickly and easily. And there, at the moment, it offers nothing that excels in two steps in something that is more complex than the typical actions on flat bottoms.

Photoshop has tools to far outclass its rivals. But it still depends almost entirely on whether as a user we have an advanced level. The rest do better when you want to delete something in one or two steps.

Apple’s option is also poor, but it’s not even something promoted by the Cupertino company. Still, if Apple wants to compete with Google in a future version of iOS, it has a lot of work ahead of it if it builds on the Photos feature. As a detail, it is paradoxical that with ‘Magic Eraser’ we are facing a mobile function that manages to surpass professional desktop alternatives. And it is not the only field where it happens. Another day we will talk about how mobile video editing is teaching usability lessons to lifelong programs.

Another fact that has made us opt for the ‘Magic Eraser’ of the Google Pixel is that it works very well not only erasing objects, but also suggesting what to delete, and even doing it all by itself, if you we authorize Then, if we don’t like the result, we can go back. As we also see in the video, we can manually select the area that we want to delete. Unlike other options, just by drawing the outline, ‘Magic Eraser’ guesses the entire subject.

That is, you don’t have to select the whole body, but only the edges. Really impressive. Now it only remains for Google to decide to offer it to all users of Google Photos, and not just the Pixel. It would be a good incentive for those on the free plan to pay. In any case, this Pixel experience is a warning from the mobile world to the desktop that the tables on feature innovation have long been turning.