Quickly Remove People With These Three Affinity Photo Tools

by Aug 10, 2022Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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3 Easy Affinity Photo Tools For Removing People from Photos

In this tutorial, we look at three easy tools for removing people from photos using only Affinity Photo.

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Today everywhere is busy. It’s extremely rare that you have an opportunity to photograph a popular location without people. Even in the evening scene below, people were constantly wandering into the frame.

Example image of Bruges showing unwated people to be removed from the frame

This was the clearest shot that I managed to take. But look more closely and you will still find people wandering in the old square.

Image section magnified to 100% showing unwanted people

Rather than become frustrated, we can turn to the tools in Affinity Photo to remove the unwanted individuals. Let’s look at how with the first of these, which is the Inpaint command.

Using the Inpaint Command to Remove People

To use the Inpaint command requires only two steps:

  1. Select the area of the image you want to repair.
  2. Apply the command.

Step 1 – Draw a Freehand Selection

To create a selection of the people to remove we, will use the Freehand Selection tool (sometimes called the Lasso tool because of its icon). You will find this in the Affinity Photo Tools Palette which is usually on the left of the interface.

The Freehand Selection tool in Affinity Photo

After clicking the icon to choose the Freehand Selection tool, you will see the options appear in the toolbar, along the top of the interface. To the left-hand side are three options where you can choose the “Type” of selection you want to make with the tool. The first of these (on the left) is the freehand option and the one that we will use.

We can now draw roughly around the people we want to remove from the photo, to create a selection.

To do this, click on the image at the starting point of the selection. Then whilst continuing to hold down the mouse button, draw around the area with the people. When you release the mouse button, Affinity will complete the selection.

Don’t worry about being precise. You often get better results using a rough selection.

Here’s an example of a selection being drawn (1) and the completed selection (2).

Creating the freehand selection in Affinity Photo

When you release the mouse button, the selected area appears surrounded by an animated dotted line that we call Marching Ants.

Step 2 – Removing the Selected People

The next step to complete the repair and remove the people is to use the Inpaint command. To do this click the main Affinity Photo Edit menu at the top of the screen, then select the Inpaint option. After a moment, the selected area of the image is replaced as in the following example.

Image section after removing unwanted people using the Inpaint command

You can then remove the selection using Deselect option in the Select menu.

Whilst there is some repetition in the repair, this is unlikely to be obvious when viewing the entire image. If it is, you may want to try touching up the area using the next tool.

Using the Inpainting Brush to Remove People

Whilst the Inpaint command often achieves an excellent repair, it suffers from being destructive. This means the changes are applied directly to the image layer. This is one advantage of using the Inpainting Brush as it can be applied to a separate layer to the image.

Add a New Empty Layer

We will start this repair by adding a new empty layer to apply the repair to. You can do this using the option “Select | New Layer” from the main Affinity Photo menu. You will then see a new empty layer appear in the Layers Studio Panel.

The next step is to select and configure the Inpainting Brush to use this new layer.

Configuring the Inpainting Brush Tool

You can select the Inpainting Brush in the Tools Palette on the left of the Affinity Photo interface.

Selecting and configuring the Inpainting Brush Tool

After selecting the Inpainting Brush you will see the options appear in the Affinity Photo toolbar along the top of the screen. The furthest right of these options is a dropdown where you can select either “Current Layer” or “Current Layer & Below”. This dropdown controls which layers the brush will use when making the repair. We need to use the “Current Layer & Below” option.

Removing Unwanted People Using the Inpainting Brush Tool

After configuring the brush, you should click the new empty layer that you added, in the Layers Studio Panel. This ensures the new layer is selected and is where the brush will paint the repair.

To begin painting, click with the mouse and whilst continuing to hold down the mouse button, paint over the people you want to remove. When you release the mouse button, Affinity Photo applies a repair to the selected area, removing the unwanted people.

Using the Inpainting Brush Tool to remove people from the photo

Here you can see the repair in progress in the left image and the completed repair on the right.

Using the Patch Tool to Remove People

The final tool we will look at to remove unwanted people from photos is the Patch Tool. This is good for removing larger people in the image. Like with the Inpainting Brush Tool we can use the Patch Tool to make the repair to a separate layer.

To see how to use the Patch Tool, watch this short video which also demonstrates the other tools in this tutorial.

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Summary of 3 Tools for Removing Unwanted People From Photos

In this tutorial we’ve covered three Affinity Photo Tools that make removing unwanted people from a photo easy. These are the:

  • Inpaint Command
  • Inpainting Brush Tool
  • Patch Tool

Each of these tools can produce good results when used alone. But, for more tricky repairs you may need to combine two or more tools to refine and improve the repair. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you should only use one of these great tools.

Another good use for the Inpainting Brush Tool is to remove unwanted tripod shadows as I explain in this article.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Affinity Photo Tutorials page.

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