When the Pixel 6 was announced, one of the most intriguing features that Google highlighted was the ability to digitally remove people and things from a photo. Dubbed as Magic Eraser, the option can “clean” your pics from passersby, random strangers, and unwanted objects that take away the attention from the main subject of your shot. It’s a neat trick, and many of us have been putting it through its paces to see how well it performs.
In general, Magic Eraser does relatively well. It correctly identifies distractions and figures out a half-decent way to replace them with what should be behind them. But you can also take over and manually select areas or objects to remove from the pic. This, of course, can lead to some unwanted effects. And a lot of silliness. The notch on Apple‘s new MacBook Pro can be erased in a second, so can your eyebrows, the platter holding your food, and so on. It’s incredibly fun — and a huge time-waste — to play around with this and see what Google’s algorithms will spit out. And bless their little machine learning hearts, they do scramble to come out with decent results.
I decided to spend a few hours trying to test Magic Eraser and push it to its limits. In this very serious, very scientific, very well-researched article, I will relay to you my findings.
Our verdict: The Pixel 6 is worth every penny
A very scary movie
I admit, this shot of yours truly in front of the Geneva water fountain was scary to begin with, but take out my face and it’s downright disturbing. Who’s inhabiting that jacket? Whose hands are those? And why is the jacket not falling apart? All questions we can’t possibly answer.
One colorful arrival
Barcelona’s famous Torre Glòries takes center stage in this maybe-ascending maybe-landing image that could very much be a colorful rendition of the famous Arrival movie poster. Let’s pray the aliens inside learn how to communicate faster.
In this brilliant feat below, you’ll see my genius ability to use not one but two of the Pixel 6’s camera features in tandem. Motion Mode blurs the background behind our cyclist and keeps him in focus to give a proper impression of speed. But by removing the front wheel of his bicycle, he looks even more frenzied. One might even assign the terminologically-accurate label of “zoomies” to that.
In a state of levitation
Speaking of levitation, I spent the better part of two minutes asking my husband to jump so I can capture his pic during this gorgeous twilight hour. He was jumping too low and I was missing the shot. Not anymore, though. Now, I can make him go off like a rocket, leaving the ground far behind him.
Although you could remove any facial feature from humans and pets, I think that’s a little distasteful, so I found my solace in inanimate objects. Like this Bugatti that’s feeling a little… blue, I guess. Take notes, kids, this is what happens when minimalistic design goes too far.
A flatter bump
Everyone has been lamenting the Pixel 6’s massive camera bump. You asked, we (uhm) delivered. Here is the Pixel 6 Pro, bump-less. This picture was taken six months post-partum. Baby and mom are fine, but the wide-angle did cause some trouble during the delivery process.
For continuity’s sake
Everyone loves clean lines, but sometimes the photographer (in this case, me) is inconsiderate enough to disturb those by placing objects in front of them. No more. This mistake has been righteously fixed while keeping both ice cream and background. I call this a win-win.
A very broken chair
We steer back to Geneva to ruin another one of the city’s monuments, this time the famous Broken Chair. Hey, it was already broken when I found it! But since its message about landmines hasn’t been properly understood by everyone, I thought an extra modification was in order.
Car without the cable
It’s called a cable car for a reason, until you look above you and realize there’s no cable. What? How? Worry not, my dear friend, as the world’s most renowned telekinesis specialist is on the case. Oh wait, he even moved the case. Sorry, we’re not sure anymore. We hope you know how to swim.
They might look cute and fragile, but flamingos are some of the strongest animals out there. I heard it on a podcast once, but feel free to waste a couple of hours reading about how their gangly legs can freeze overnight in lakes, forcing them to stay put until morning when the ice melts. Or you can look at this photo where their legs are so skinny they’re almost invisible, but the shadows are there to remind us of their presence.
Nature took over
The gardener of this beautiful house in Strasbourg’s Petite France will certainly hate me for this one. So many hours spent trimming and making sure all the leaves go around the windows only for me to come with my Pixel 6, draw a few squiggles on the screen, and ruin all the hard work. But look at this lush green covering, and even the upstairs wood has gotten jealous and decided to invade the windows too.
So you think you can dance
I love tennis, but have you noticed all the ridiculous moves the players make while trying to hit the ball? Oh, you haven’t. OK then, here’s an example of Dominic Thiem quasi-dancing. It’s all about timing and rhythm.
As you can see, the Pixel’s new Magic Eraser feature can be an infinite source of fun and mischief. While the idea of removing unwanted objects from photos isn’t new, the fact that it’s now so readily available means a lot more users will be able to try it out. It’s even more impressive when you consider that it works on your entire Google Photos library, not just pics taken by the Pixel 6.