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Hands-on: Removing photobombers and reflections with the Huawei P40 series

By Liu Hongzuo - 30 Mar 2020

Hands-on: Removing photobombers and reflections with the Huawei P40 series

Note: This article was first published on 27 March 2020.

The rear camera setup of the Huawei P40 Pro.

The convenience of taking stunning photos on your phone is partly why smartphone photography is a huge area of focus for both leading smartphone brands and rising market entrants. That said, there are limits to manipulating your shots once you've exhausted the smorgasbord of apps with filters, cloning tools, white balance correction, and spot correction features. Some edits, such as removing unwanted photobombers or cleaning up reflections in images, are just manually tedious or less convenient to enact on a touch-based interface.

The launch of the Huawei P40 smartphone series brought forth Huawei AI Golden Snap which was designed to provide easy photo-editing for conventionally tricky amendments. For starters, Huawei Golden Snap now offers two key AI-based photo-edit features, namely AI Remove Passerby and AI Remove Reflection.

 

Huawei AI Golden Snap

Per Huawei's online keynote on the evening of 26 March, AI Golden Snap uses the phone's AI capabilities to help recommend the best choice in a rapid-burst shot. AI Golden Snap is meant to be the beginning of Huawei's AI-enabled photo-editing suite, where they implement that capability throughout various photo editing features that, in turn, translate into better photo-editing results for the average shooter.

For starters, AI Golden Snap has two 'removal' features - AI Remove Passerby and AI Remove Reflection.

 

AI Remove Passerby

Traditionally, removing photobombers from photos require a basic understanding of desktop-based photo-editing software, possibly a tripod to assist the user in snapping multiple stabilised shots, and the patience to snap enough copies of the same framed subject. It's even tougher if the photobomber interrupts a shot that has live or human subjects since the right moment could be lost and your repeated shots may not be all identical.

Before AI Remove Passerby.Processing the image.After applying AI Remove Passerby.

So, in what better way can AI help us in this aspect? Huawei's AI Remove Passerby grants the user the ability to remove photobombers without the hassle or even the effort. To use it, one only needs to simply take a photo on their stock camera app, and tap the Edit button when previewing the shot. If a passerby is in the shot, AI Remove Passerby will show up alongside all the other editing features built into the stock app. The user would be a few taps away from a cleaned-up shot. We let you be the judge on whether AI Remove Passerby did a decent job based on the samples above.

Like all technologies and the features they bring, AI Remove Passerby has its kinks. We confirmed with Huawei that the feature only works on passersby and photobombers that are behind the subject, and not in front. To ensure that AI Remove Passerby works as intended, the shooter also must focus on the face of the subject, allowing the yellow focusing box to appear right before you snap your photo. Considering that the alternative could likely be the conventional tripod-assisted photo-taking via multiple attempts, we'd choose to have AI Remove Passerby for the convenience it offers.

 

AI Remove Reflection

Another 'removal' feature is AI Remove Reflection, where the phone reduces unwanted reflections in your shots. This is most practical when one is taking photos where glare commonly interferes with the result of the shot. Without AI Remove Reflection, one would need to be significantly more mindful of their surroundings to ensure their subjects are well-lit.

AI Remove Reflection takes away some of that mindfulness by automatically scrubbing out the vague reflections in your photos. It can be found in the same place where AI Remove Passerby is also located. Just like it's one-tap sibling, AI Remove Reflection automatically gets to work after you enable the feature when editing. Again, we leave the samples up to your judgement.

Before removing the person reflected on this laptop screen.After AI Remove Reflection.

There are caveats to using AI Remove Reflection to the best of its abilities. For starters, immaculate and overly-reflective surfaces, such as mirrors, do not trigger AI Remove Reflection as it perceives the reflection as an intended shot. Unfortunately, that also sometimes include other reflective surfaces, such as glass panes or silver furnishing. Your mileage may vary, but it should not take long for a Huawei P40 series user to figure out the best conditions for AI Remove Reflection to kick in. AI Remove Reflection also doesn't remove - it reduces - the reflection (as seen above). It's not as thorough as AI Remove Passerby in terms of getting the job done, but it still offers one less step in your overall filter-adding and photo-editing process.

 

Is this only available on phones from the Huawei P40 series?

These software features are presently available out-of-the-box when you purchase a Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, or Huawei P40 Pro+ smartphone. They are a part of the EMUI 10.1 software update, so older Huawei phone models such as the P30 or Mate 30 might have the opportunity to use it after updating their devices. However, Huawei is unable to confirm if older models are fully compatible with AI Remove Passerby or AI Remove Reflection.

If you're curious about the entire Huawei P40 series, check out our articles below: