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Photoshop’s Generative Fill: An Experiment in Photo Editing

Experimenting with Analog Image Reconstruction Using Generative Fill

Adobe Photoshop recently launched a noteworthy update: the Generative Fill tool. This ingenious function has the ability to reconstruct large areas of photographs with striking simplicity and speed, a feature that has been capturing attention within the creative community. The Generative Fill tool is not solely a mechanism for filling gaps or replacing unwanted elements within an image. It offers the additional capability of combining two distinct images, thereby significantly extending their dimensions. This innovative feature provides artists with an entirely new realm of creative exploration and experimentation.

However, just like any powerfull tool, the Generative Fill should be used with care. A considered approach involves focusing on moderately sized sections of an image. This helps maintain the tool’s accuracy while allowing the artist to retain a more precise control over their creation. The aim is not to overwhelm but subtly enrich the original image.

To illustrate the potential of this tool, we employed it on a set of analog images. These photographs were captured by Dominique Musorrafiti between 2008 and 2011 in China using a wide array of cameras and films, particularly in Kunming, in the southern province of Yunnan. The images present a unique challenge for the Generative Fill tool, with their distinctive tones and textures representing the beauty and complexity of the locale.

Adobe Photoshop’s Generative Fill tool offers a fresh perspective in image manipulation, providing a unique way of enhancing existing compositions. It’s not about changing what was captured, but about giving artists the means to further explore their creative visions. This tool, with its capabilities ranging from completing image sections, fusing distinct photos together, or just adding a sprinkle of creative enhancement, unlocks a whole new spectrum of opportunities for those engaged in the realm of digital artwork. For instance, the integration of Generative Fill can seamlessly transform a straightforward image into a complex visual story, much like the process of image flip in photography where the perspective is altered for a refreshing outlook.

Now, let’s delve into the details of the Generative Fill tool and how it was applied to Musorrafiti’s photographs, demonstrating the tool’s potential in enriching visual narratives. Through the strategic use of this tool, elements within Musorrafiti’s images were not only enhanced but also imbued with new layers of meaning, showcasing how technology can amplify the storytelling aspect of photography.

The original photos were captured at a primary school in Kunming in 2011, using a Horizon Kompact camera and Lucky Super 200 (35mm) film. Subsequently, these images were merged in Photoshop employing the Generative Fill technique.

In this picture the effect was used to combine two pictures taken with a Lubitel 166+ camera and a Kodak PPN160 Film Expired 120mm on 11/2006. The image was taken in 2011, in Kunming.

The initial photograph featuring light leaks was captured using an LCA+ and a Fuji Film 35 mm in 2010. Meanwhile, the second picture is a result of a double exposure film initially begun with a Robot disderi 3. However, due to the toy camera malfunctioning, the film was finalized with an LCA+ camera.

Light Leaks in Analog Photography: Light leaks in analog photography refer to the unintended exposure of the film to light due to some form of gap or opening in the camera body. This could be a result of a faulty camera back, loose seals or even a poorly wound film. The result is an area of the photograph that has extra exposure, typically showing up as streaks or patches of bright, often differently colored, areas on the final image. While usually considered a flaw, some photographers exploit this characteristic intentionally for creative and artistic effects.

This image was shot at the Kingdom of the Little People in 2011 using a Mamiya RZ67Pro, a Kodak E100G transparency film, 120 mm, Xpro, and a 50mm Sekor lens with 6×7 back. This bizarre and controversial theme park was closed in 2015.

Xpro (Cross Processing) Film Technique: Cross processing (often abbreviated to Xpro) is a photographic technique where film designed for one type of development process is developed using a process intended for a different type of film. The most common form of cross processing is developing color slide film (which is normally developed using the E-6 process) in color negative (C-41) chemicals. This produces images with unusual, often unpredictable color shifts and increased contrast. It became a popular technique for its unique, stylized results.

Experimental alleys. The initial photographs were captured using a Horizon Kompact camera, paired with a homemade RedScale and Lucky Charm ISO 200 film, 35 mm, within a narrow street of an urban village in Kunming.

Red Scale Film: Redscale is a technique of shooting photographic film where the film is exposed from the wrong side, i.e., the emulsion is exposed through the base of the film. Normally, this is done by winding the film in backwards into an empty film canister. The name “redscale” comes because there is a strong color shift to red due to the red-sensitive layer of the film being exposed first, rather than last (the usual order) and the red layer is on the bottom, hence exposed first when loaded backwards.

The depicted images were captured with a Lubitel 166+ camera and Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 film, 120 mm, in a city-based village in Kunming, during December of 2010.

This photograph was taken not far from the Kingdom of the Little People in 2011 using a Mamiya RZ67Pro, a Kodak E100G transparency film, 120 mm, Xpro, and a 50mm Sekor lens with 6×7 back.

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The original photographs were shot in a village not far Kunming, using a Lubitel 166+ with a Fuji 64 T TYPE II Tungsten transparency film, 120 mm, Xpro.

The valleys in the mountains around Dianchi Lake near Kunming were dotted with sunflower and marigold fields. We didn’t miss the opportunity to take the following images using a LCA+ and a Lucky Super 200 (35mm) film.

The three original pictures were taken using a panoramic Horizon Kompact camera  using a Lomography Redscale 100 35mm, in 2010.

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This trio of initial images was captured in 2010, utilizing an Horizon Kompact camera and a Lomography Redscale 100 35mm film.

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The image showcased here was captured at Kunming’s Kingdom of Little People back in 2011, utilizing a Mamiya RZ67PRO and EIR Aerochrome Color Infrared film, 120 mm.

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Color Infrared Film: Color Infrared (CIR) film is a type of color film that is sensitive to infrared light, as well as visible light. When used with an infrared filter, it can produce false-color images where colors are dramatically shifted: healthy vegetation appears red or pink, and the sky can range from purple to deep blue. This type of film was often used in aerial photography for environmental studies, as healthy plants reflect infrared light, making it easier to assess plant health and growth.

This images was shot at Fuxian Lake using a Lomography Diana F+ camera and an expired Fuji 35 mm film in 2009. The photograph was then artificially enlarged using the Generative Fill tool.

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Original pictures: Dominique Musorrafiti
Topics: Generative Fill in Adobe Photoshop, how to use Generative Fill, Adobe Photoshop’s new tool, image editing with Generative Fill, enhancing photos with Generative Fill, Generative Fill photo reconstruction, Generative Fill tool experiment

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