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I am interested in removing extraneous objects from an image. More specifically the situation is that there is a series of images of a particular background. In each image there are objects in the foreground, however these objects differ across the series of images in terms of their location. Note that some objects always exists in the foreground. The background is static. An example might be a busy tourist spot and you want to remove the people or tourist buses from the image.

I'd like the software to take the series of images and as much as possible reconstruct the background.

Is there software available that has this capability? If so what are the steps necessary to use that functionality? Similarly if anyone knows a lot about image processing, are there any image processing algorithms that could handle this? Thanks.

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This is a great question for the Photography SE! A practical use would be to set up a camera on a tripod at a busy tourist attraction and take multiple shots while people move around, then stitch all the empty areas to show the place without the madding crowd. –  Gnubie Oct 24 '12 at 17:45
    
Software requests are off topic as per the FAQ. Now, if you want to know methods of doing this, as @Gnubie mentioned, you could try Photography.SE. –  Ben Richards Oct 24 '12 at 18:15
    
@sidran32 I did review the FAQ before posting. Where does it say that software requests are off topic? Anyway I will take your word for it. –  Antonio2011a Oct 24 '12 at 21:51
    
@Gnubie Yes I had a number of applications in mind. That being one of them ! –  Antonio2011a Oct 24 '12 at 21:54
    
@Antonio2011a They count under "shopping recommendations", even if it's free software. –  Ben Richards Oct 24 '12 at 22:03
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closed as off topic by Ben Richards, 8088, Canadian Luke, soandos, Nifle Oct 25 '12 at 6:49

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4 Answers

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According to http://www.pcworld.com/article/200184/digital_focus.html , some versions of Photoshop can do this automatically:

Load all the photos into Photoshop and then choose File, Scripts, Statistics. Change the Stack Mode to Median, and then click Add Open Files. Finally, click OK. That's all you need to do. Photoshop will think for a little while (depending upon how many photos you supplied), and you will end up with a photo with no tourists, almost like magic.

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Thanks for your research. This is the kind of solution I was looking for, so I've marked this as the answer. –  Antonio2011a Oct 24 '12 at 22:02
    
If there's a Mode option, that might be even better. But these other-than-mean averages are key. –  Ben Voigt Oct 24 '12 at 22:22
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The Content-Aware Fill feature in Photoshop CS5 or later can do this. To use it, you select the unwanted object using the lasso tool or any other technique, then Edit > Fill > Content-Aware. Photoshop will replace the selection with a background image interpolated from nearby background imagery.

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Do you need it done automatically?

If not, you could import each image as a separate layer in Photoshop, The Gimp or any image editing software with layers (and preferably, layer masks). For each layer, erase (making transparent) unwanted parts, or apply a layer mask and make the unwanted parts transparent (this method is more reversible). Hopefully, there are no common transparent parts in all layers! Finally, flatten/merge the layers.

Tutorial: http://digital-photography-school.com/taking-photos-in-busy-tourist-destinations-with-no-people-in-the-shot

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If you're using Android or iPhone, check out Scalado Remove App:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/14/scalado-remove-clears-up-your-photos-we-go-hands-on-video/

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