The still photo world was abuzz this week with news of a new service,, that would automatically remove the background of a shot using artificial intelligence. The demo shots were built around tricky removals, with fine hair being one of the most annoying parts of a composite, and the company is already allowing users to upload test images, with a max resolution of 500x500.  


What happens to still photography often quickly moves on to motion photography. Rotoscoping, or roto, work is one of the most common tasks we undertake in visual effects and color grading work, and even with a well shot green screen, it can add a ton of time to the process. While cutting a clean key is obviously harder in motion than in an individual still frame, it's easy to see the possibility of scaling this technology up for integration into tools such as After Effects, Fusion, or Nuke for automated background removal.

Even more amazing, of course, is that none of these samples were even on a chroma key backdrop; this AI system is designed to cut out, cleanly, real-world backgrounds with just a click.


The upside for post is obvious in terms of time saved. The drawback to automated roto, of course, will be fewer jobs for human beings. Roto was once the classic "intro" job to working in VFX and post, i.e. start doing roto, learn a ton about workflow, watch how others do more complex things, and earn a living while developing your craft. 

While we're a long way from top-level artists having their jobs replaced by AI, it is worrisome to think about the "climbing the ladder" jobs becoming automated, making it even harder to break into the industry than ever before.

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Source: Petapixel