I’ve never got on with the dark arts of Adobe Photoshop, despite numerous attempts to teach me the last time I had an employer. But even I have to admit this is a pretty cool use of AI.

The latest beta of Photoshop has a feature called Generative Expand. This uses artificial intelligence to create a scene around the image to your chosen aspect ratio. This essentially lets you uncrop a picture — even if what’s added to the image is actually AI’s best guess at what might be there.

“Suppose your subject is cut off, your image is not in the aspect ratio you want, or an object in focus is misaligned with other parts of the image,” writes Adobe’s Pam Clark in a blog post introducing the new feature. “You can use Generative Expand to expand your canvas and get your image to look like anything you can imagine.”

This is an example Adobe includes in the post. The fake content is created as a different layer, so it’s easy to nuke it if you don’t think it looks right for whatever reason.

While Generative Expand will work without any additional guidance, if you want to include something specific, you can add that as a text prompt and watch the AI introduce it. 

Of course, sometimes an image will be cropped for a reason. A picture of a beautiful, pristine beach may have been cut off early because of the unsightly dead seagull in the middle of it. Photoshop won’t think to add in said cadaver (unless, for some weird reason, you ask it to as a generative prompt).

Is that a problem? Only if you believe everything you see online. And given Pixel phones have had a Magic Eraser for removing photobombers and other unsightly details since the Pixel 6, you should probably already assume that the old adage that “the camera never lies” is severely in need of revisiting.

Image: Matan Segev / Unsplash