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Home / Tips and Tricks / Using the Paint 3D Magic Select tool to edit photo bombers from your photos

Using the Paint 3D Magic Select tool to edit photo bombers from your photos



Yes, with Adobe's expensive Photoshop application, you can magically remove people and objects from photos. But did you know that a simple version of the same tool is hidden for free in Windows 10? Let's introduce you to Paint 3D's Magic Select tool and show you how it's used.

I'm a fan of simple, free tools that do not require installation or setup, and Magic Select is one of my favorites. You would think that Magic Select is included in the Windows 10 "Photos" app or even in Paint, but no – Microsoft hoped that someday we would work on all 3D objects, not 2D photos, and Magic Select for the Thankfully, in Paint 3D it's as easy to edit a 2D photo as in Paint. However, you will need to ignore most of the UI to do this.

What Magic Select Can and Can not Do

What can Magic Select do for you? Two things. First, you can pick and drop a photo or an object from a scene and place it against a completely new background – or simply give it your own photo as we did here. (We used a publicly available photo of Flickr just for demonstration purposes – we hope the couple are very happy with each other!) You can see the original, followed by the edited photo.

  Couple at the Pond Flickr / Cara Neil
  Pond works on a IDG / Cara Neil

The original photo was credited to Cara Neil's Flickr for free. The second photo was edited by Mark Hachman of IDG, including the trimming and moving of the woman into a separate part of the scene.

Second, when you remove a person or an object from a scene, Magic Select algorithmically complements the backdrop that was behind the person or object. In this scene, it would be technically easier to cut the man out. However, we used Magic Select to demonstrate the limitations of the tool.

  Couple photo Flickr / Cara Neil
  Paaredit 2 IDG / Cara Neil

The original photo was credited Cara Neil, on Flickr, in the public domain. The second photo was edited with Paint 3D by Mark Hachman of IDG.

You'll probably quickly notice the limitations of Magic Select: If you're trying to edit a complex image that has many small parts to add and remove, select Magic Select and Paint 3D really fights. Just keep it and you will be much luckier.

Dive in!

How to Use Paint 3Ds Magic Select

The easiest way to edit your photos directly is to use the photo app to open your saved photos; or open the folder on your PC where you can archive your photos. Right-click on the file and scroll down to Edit with Paint 3D . In photos, this option is not immediately available. Click once with the left mouse button to preview the photo, then right-click on it. Go to submenu Edit and Create and then to Edit with Paint 3D . ,

Paint 3D was developed considering 3D dioramas. However, if you open an image with the link Edit with Paint 3D the 3D setup will be bypassed and you will be taken to the 2D editing tool. If you want to edit a photo, you should be ignoring most of the Paint 3D interface anyway.

  Paint 3D Magic Select Begin Edit Mark Hachman / IDG

When you edit a When shooting with Paint 3D, you should probably focus on the Crop tools and Magic Select.

It's not entirely clear how Magic Select works. Adobe's Magic Wand and Magnetic Lasso tools have historically searched for strong color and lighting differences to detect edges and distinguish objects. Magic Select seems to work in a similar way so that a well-lit photo with a clear distinction between objects will give the best results.

Make sure you've sized the photo to fill the screen. The slider for the zoom setting looks awfully rough. Then click Magic Selection in the menu bar.

  Paint 3D Magical Selection Step 2 Select Hachman / IDG

Select the object you want to select with the Margin tool. Surround the object as best you can.

Magic Select prompts you to drag a rectangular border around the object you want to mark. Approach the object you want to focus on, as this will help teach Magic Select what you want to do. Then click Next .

  Paint 3D Magic Select Step 3 Mark Hachman / IDG

Here, the Magic Select tool has algorithmically selected the white hub from the black background and outlined it in blue. But wait – there is a piece of the plug that Magic Select has not discovered!

If you're lucky, Magic Select may well recognize it on the first try and highlight exactly what you want to cut out of the scene in a halo of blue from the scene. In many cases, however, you have to provide support. You can tell Magic Select to remove an unwanted part of the image, or add something that it did not know it contained. As suggested in Microsoft's animated tool, try hovering over the area you want to exclude or include.

(A drawn circle is an excellent way to tell Magic Select what to select, but it is not. This is a real shame because it can create tiny areas of the photo – something like islands – that belong to are small to wipe out one at a time.)

  Paint 3D magic, choose step 4. Mark Hachman / IDG

I dragged a diagonal across the plug (using the "Add" button) was selected), and Magic Select correctly guessed what I was looking for. However, this is not always perfect and you may need to add or subtract from the scene.

A tip: If you want to trace your steps back, use the Undo or History tool in the upper-right corner, not the Back button. It seems to work more effectively.

  Full Nerd Editing Mark Hachman / IDG

Here's an example of how Magic Select just can not understand it properly (zooming to see the details). Could you spend 15 minutes tweaking everything? Sure, but in these difficult cases, you may want to try something like Adobe Photoshop instead.

When you are satisfied with your choice, simply drag the object from the canvas to the virtual 3D space next to it.

Here are some options. If you want to paste your edited object into a new scene, you must cut it out in Paint 3D and paste it into a new image. (I've just inserted a USB C hub into a beach scene below for fun.) Magic Select and Paint 3D can not reproduce the lighting effects and color matching to convince your eye that there's a huge USB C hub on it located beach. However, the edge detection is excellent and the finished image will probably look pretty good. You can change the size and shape of your virtual object as you like and continue playing with the other tools in Paint3D (Sticker! Text!).

  USB hub on the beach Mark Hachman / IDG

Magic Select and Paint 3D can handle a well-defined, well-lit simple object very well.

It's no surprise that Paint 3D and Magic Select do not do nearly as good a job on the background it is "painted" on. to fill in the background in which an object was edited. On the one hand, there is a tendency to leave a "ghosting" or "halo" effect, along with any shadows cast by the object or person. In some cases, they are removed by reusing Magic Select for the rest. Sometimes what is left can not be repaired without sophisticated tools.

  USB hub ghosting Mark Hachman / IDG

Removing an object from a scene can create a ghosting effect with halos, shadows, or other artifacts. Sometimes an extra round of Magic Select editing can also remove them. Sometimes it can not.

Nothing that produces Paint 3D and Magic Select will withstand scrutiny. As you zoom in on the edited photo of the couple watching, you can see the repeating pattern in the forest images in the background where the image of the man was. Since the scene uses bokeh as a clue to focus on the foreground, your eye may not notice it immediately.

It's a shame that Magic Select is not included in photos and you essentially need to open two separate apps. Take advantage of the comprehensive photo editing capabilities of Windows 10. Keep in mind that the Windows 10 Photo app already has a small Arsenal of tools that let you refresh your photos: color filter, red-eye correction, portrait mode, and dust-removing spot corrections. Magic Select goes one step further and removes or adds parts of a scene. This is probably not required for most of your photos. But to eliminate this annoying cousin who has photobombed your birthday photos? Sure, why not?


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