Auto Retouch – Artistic Editing Meets Composition

In the ever-evolving world of photography and digital imagery, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) continue to revolutionize the way we capture and enhance our photos. One such breakthrough for Digital Masterpieces is the introduction of Auto Retouch functionality in our apps, a powerful tool that harnesses the capabilities of AI to effortlessly transform ordinary snapshots into stunning works of art. With the touch of a button, AI-driven algorithms analyze and optimize various elements of an image, automatically adjusting colors, tones, and even erasing imperfections to deliver impeccable results. This marriage of technology and creativity has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for photographers and enthusiasts alike, offering a simplified yet effective way to elevate the visual appeal of their pictures.

As no moment is the same so are our needs to work on various parts of our photos and their composition different as well. When we take a photo, we do not just capture a person or a landscape but in tandem. That’s why we zoom in on that specific detail we want to highlight or make sure that the background doesn’t stand out more than a person or landmark we want to capture. 

Let’s look at the following image of my two children as an example. For this quick snap, I have decided to place them near the center of the photo so that they are in the focus. The background is very neutral to create some negative space, which aid the overall composition. This is additionally supported by a very very subtile depth of field effect. 

2 kids hanging out

This is an example of a watercolor style created with Waterlogue – one of the defacto standards for watercolor effects on the App Store.

When using artistic editing/filters we acknowledge that we want to go a step further in our imagination. It also helps me to give my photos an extra pop and turn boring background scenes into something more beautiful. But at the same time, most of the artistic filters do not care for composition but treat the image as one.

The resulting artistic image looks very flat, and we totally lose the
initial composition. The main subject merges with the background, heavily reducing the sensation of depth, destroying our composition. Instead, we want to keep the initial composition, since it increases the aesthetics, transports our initial creative idea, and we want to work with it.

Due to content adaptive filtering, our Waterbrush app already preserves the most important aspects that contribute to composition, such as contours, depth of field and depth cues like shadows. Nevertheless, it applies the very same style configuration for the complete image. 

Instead it would be beneficial, if the composition of the photo could be enhanced, for example by applying different levels of abstraction to the fore- and background. While this has been possible using our unique Retouch Tools, it was a more time-consuming process, since parameters such as Color Splatter, Details or Outlines had to be painted individually.  

With the lates update we introduce Auto Retouch, which will help you to stylize foreground and backgrounds individually automatically, drastically reducing editing time while enhancing the composition of your digital masterpiece.  

Here is a breakdown of the new Auto Retouch features:
Abstract Background

Abstract background ensure that your background is composed of more abstract thicker and  splashier brushstrokes directing the focus to the photo’s foreground. Details that would grab the users attention, such as the outlines of the desk in the left corner of the image or around the chair are removed, while the foreground remains untouched. This already slightly directs the viewers focus to the most important subjects of the photo, my kids.  

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Enhance Foreground

Directing focus to a photo’s foreground isn’t just about making sure the background is desaturated or more abstract, but about applying more finer details to the objects and subjects in the foreground. 

The Enhance Foreground preset adds these small, but important details. It is perfectly suited to improve the rendering of facial details, such as the eyes, but also does a great job with small details as the texture of the hat or the fingers.  

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Smooth Skin

Watercolor or oil painting effects often introduce additional textures, which are mostly needed to mimic the respective effect, but which might have a negative impact on otherwise smooth or evenly textured areas of the photo, such as skin.  

With the Smooth Skin Auto Retouch preset we introduce an effective tool that will tone down these effects for skin regions to ensure a smooth and appealing skin rendering. 

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Color Splash

Color Splash is beside Remove Background probably the most obvious Auto Retouch preset and it delivers what the names suggest. 

This desaturates the background leaving the foreground in color. This is especially useful when working with foreground with vibrant colors such as flowers or in cases when you both want to preserve the background but would like to direct attention to the foreground by use of color. 

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Erase Background

You can also go one step further and have the background removed altogether. This helps you save time with doing artistic processing in our app and then creating a cut-out outside of the app. This is especially useful if you want to create prints of specific objects and use them as stickers or avatars for instance. 

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The new Auto Retouch feature is easily accessible through the editing screen after you load your photo. We have tried to find the best configuration that will suit all of Waterbrush’s 31 unique styles. Nevertheless, we believe that even the best presets can only hardly compete with the creativity of a human. That’s why you can still use our unique Retouch Tools to implement your creative idea and refine the kick-starter Auto Retouch Presets. 

As we bid farewell to the traditional days of manual retouching, the advent of Auto Retouch functionality brings forth a promising era of convenience and artistic exploration. By automating the retouching process, these intelligent apps grant us more time to focus on our creative vision, allowing us to experiment, innovate, and push the boundaries of our photographic endeavors. While AI may never replace the human touch and the subjective decisions we make as photographers, it undeniably serves as a valuable assistant, enabling us to achieve professional-quality results with greater ease and efficiency. As the technology continues to evolve, we can eagerly anticipate even more sophisticated algorithms and features that will further enhance our ability to capture and share the beauty of the world through the lens of our cameras. With AI-driven Auto Retouch functionality at our fingertips, the future of image editing apps is brighter than ever before.