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Tutorial for AI Generative Remove in Lightroom

Updated: Jul 10

Learn how to use this powerful new tool to simplify the removal of unwanted objects

At the time of this writing and the companion video's release, AI Generative Remove has come to Lightroom - across all the Lightroom apps, including Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop - as an Early Access feature. Although it's not technically finished, the results can be quite amazing.

Watch my full video tutorial (also available without ads for my Patreon members) for using Generative Remove or scroll down for a written overview. Although the video and screenshots are based on Lightroom Classic, the tool operates more or less the same across all the apps.

What Is Generative Remove?


Unlike the existing remove/heal tools in Lightroom, which simply used existing pixels within a photo to remove an unwanted element, Generative Remove uses - if you'll pardon the buzzy catchphrase - the power of artificial intelligence to actually generate new pixels to address more complex scenarios.

That last part is important: for a variety of reasons, it doesn't make sense to use Generative Remove for simpler needs, such as removing small objects, or dust spots from a sky, for example. To start with, the tool currently requires an internet connection to harness the AI backend on Adobe's servers. This means there's a delay while the image is processed both locally and in the cloud to provide the best results.

All the "legacy" remove tools - Content Aware, Heal, and Clone - operate locally on your system, without the need of an internet connection.

Secondly, although not a concern during this Early Access period, eventually Generative Remove will fall under Adobe's credit system for AI tools. What this will look like when the tool is fully released is unknown but, but it will be something to keep in mind when that day comes (learn more about the credit system here).

The New Remove Panel


With the addition of yet another tool comes a bit of an overhaul of the Remove panel as a whole. Beyond the addition of the new remove tools section (which includes both Generative Remove and the legacy Content Aware remove tool), Adobe has also (finally!) moved the Visualize Spots toggle into the panel itself, instead of having it hidden in the far bottom corner of the screen when working with any of the remove tools.

A screenshot of the Remove panel in Lightroom Classic
The new Remove panel in Lightroom

As you can see in the above screenshot, there's the Early Access tag along with checkboxes for Generative AI and Object Aware. By not selecting the Generative AI box, Lightroom will use the legacy Content Aware tool instead of the new AI-powered Generative Remove.

The existing Heal and Clone tools work exactly the same as before. Simply click on either the band aid or stamp icons to access them.

Object Aware Removal in Lightroom


Although the default of all the remove tools in Lightroom is still based on using a brush to make your selection, a very nice new addition for Generative AI and Content Aware is the ability to simply paint around an object you wish to remove, which works almost exactly the same as the Object selection feature within masking.

Screenshot of using the Remove brush to make an Object selection in Lightroom
Making a simple object selection with the Remove brush tool
Screenshot of the Remove tool object selection in Lightroom
After analyzing the selection, Lightroom creates a mask on the object it detects

Refining Remove Masks in Lightroom


In addition to the handy object detection feature shown above, you can also refine your Remove masks (whether using an object mask or not). You can easily add or subtract from the mask by using the provided Mask Refinement brush.

Screenshot of the Mask Refinement options for the remove tool in Lightroom
New Mask Refinement options for the remove tool
Screenshot of Lightroom's new remove mask
Refining the Object mask to add the truck's shadow to the mask

Once you've made your refinements, if any, simply click Apply and Lightroom will go to work, using Generative AI if you ticked that box or Content Aware if not (this is one area where different apps may operate a bit differently, automatically generating results without having to hit Apply).

Generative AI Variations in Lightroom


When using the new AI-based remove tool, you're not simply stuck with whatever result you may get. Initially, you'll have three variations you can cycle through to see which one works best.

Screenshot of Generative AI variations in Lightroom
Cycle through three variations at a time by using the provided arrows

If you aren't happy with any of the provided results, you can hit the Refresh button to generate three new options; you can do so as many times as you need (keeping in mind this may "cost" credits in the future... how Adobe will handle unused variations is unknown at this time).

If you realize your mask wasn't quite right, you'll notice in the above screenshot that the Refine option is still available, as well.

How Good is Generative Remove in Lightroom?


Results can be mixed but, overall, I have been very impressed with Generative AI in Lightroom. Here are some sample results that I walk through in the video:

Before and after comparison of Lightroom's Generative AI results
In this example, I was able to not only remove but also replace some elements, such as the subject's tie
Before and after comparison of Lightroom's Generative AI results
Not only was I able to convincingly remove the woman and two dogs but, for fun, I changed the man's face, too
Before and after comparison of Lightroom's Generative AI results
Probably the most impressive result from the video, achieved by using multiple Generative AI selections

Learn All My Tips & Tricks for Generative Remove in Lightroom


Hopefully, at this point, you have a decent understanding of what the new Generative Remove tool is, and how it works... but I definitely recommend watching my full walkthrough video, including some tips and tricks, to get the most out of this powerful new feature in Lightroom.


Michael Rung

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