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On the Subject of AI - Remini


Paco
 

I'm tying this to Jorge's post on AI because you need to see this to realize how fast it has been developing. I came across the REMINI app via Unmesh Dinda's YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8HFN4y1WVw) where he reviews it.

Check it out and be amazed.

Paco


Dan Margulis
 



On Dec 18, 2020, at 7:26 AM, Paco <paco@...> wrote:

I'm tying this to Jorge's post on AI because you need to see this to realize how fast it has been developing. I came across the REMINI app via Unmesh Dinda's YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8HFN4y1WVw) where he reviews it.

Check it out and be amazed.

Paco had sent me a link to this privately and I had a look at it yesterday. It seems like a great use of AI but, since the video concentrated on the things it does impressively it makes one wonder about how effective it is elsewhere.

The video is good because the guy is not a spokesman for the product. He also makes clear that he is guessing as to what it is doing behind the scene, but what he is suggesting is what I would guess as well.

The app sends the image into the cloud for “enhancement” and then returns it. The first example is an unbelievable improvement by conventional retouching standards. The subject’s eyes are plugged because the image isn’t well-focused at her depth, and a miraculous cure is found. A standard retouching move would to to lighten the whites of the eyes, but this way is much better.

The speculation is that the cloud software recognizes that these are eyes that need improvement, checks its own library of similar eyes and morphs one into an approximation of the original eye. The clue is that the shape of the eye becomes subtly different, noticeable to professionals but probably not to clients. A similar move to correct lips in another image wasn’t as successful, but it recognized a pattern in fabric that called for contrast enhancement, which it accomplished well.

These tasks require non-trivial computing power, which is why we haven’t seen such beasts in the past. But they’re certainly useful now, at least in some cases.

I’ve written about AI color correction for better than 25 years now. Even as early as the late 90s, Linotype-Hell had an offering that was pretty good at analyzing color. Adobe’s offerings aren’t bad; I always keep a copy of what they do in reserve, in case I decide to blend the color into whatever I produce. None of these are/were particularly good at contrast enhancement, and they don’t/didn’t attempt to do anything locally with, say, the subject’s eyes.

Luminar tries do something of the same thing and is an interesting approach as well.

We’ve reached a milestone here. If we think of the Equalize or the Auto Tone commands, why, these are strictly speaking AI at work. Occasionally they can do as well or better than a skilled human, but it would be idle to suppose that they or their more sophisticated successors could do so at all consistently. These newer packages have crossed that bridge; they *can* do certain things better than humans can, most of the time.

I’ve been getting rid of old magazines and scanning my writings for prosperity. In January 1997, I wrote an eight-pager entitled “Automatic Color Correction: How Good Is It?” in which I evaluated three AI packages on a suite of images, saying

An amazing assertion, theirs: the computer, after all, has now idea of whether [a given image] portrays an attractive model or a toxic waste dump. Yet by analysis of the digital infomation, they expect to be able to find the clues that will enable them to improve the image, whichever one it happens to be.

To add a touch of realism, I added myself as a fourth contestant, but to make things more competitive, I limited myself to using the eyedropper tool to set highlight and shadow. Granted that restraint, I didn’t win every time, but would have been the winner overall.

How times have changed. But there comes a time when one must bow to the inevitable. I alluded to that at the top of my 1/97 essay:

The captain said to John Henry:
I’m a-gonna bring a steam drill roun’
Gonna bring my steam drill out on the job
And whup that steel on down, down, down,
Whup that steel on down.

Dan