What is inpainting? A complete guide to inpainting

A guide to inpainting: beach pictures of a man and child.

Inpainting is a machine learning task that involves filling in the missing or damaged parts of an image, such as holes, scratches, or occlusions. Inpainting can be used for various purposes, such as restoring old photos, removing unwanted objects, or creating new content. In this guide, you will learn what inpainting is, how it works, and how you can use it for your own projects.

What is inpainting?

Inpainting is a form of image synthesis, where the goal is to generate realistic and coherent pixels for the missing or damaged regions of an image, while preserving the original context and style. Inpainting can be seen as a form of image completion, where the input image is incomplete and the output image is complete.
Inpainting can be applied to different types of images, such as natural scenes, faces, artworks, or text. Inpainting can also be conditioned on different types of information, such as masks, sketches, or text prompts. For example, inpainting can be used to fill in the masked areas of an image, to complete the sketch of a face, or to generate an image based on a text description.

How does inpainting work?

Inpainting works by using a neural network, usually a generative adversarial network (GAN), to learn the distribution of the image data and to generate realistic and coherent pixels for the missing or damaged regions. A GAN consists of two components: a generator and a discriminator. The generator takes as input the incomplete image and the optional conditioning information, and outputs a complete image. The discriminator takes as input the complete image, either real or generated, and tries to distinguish between them. The generator and the discriminator are trained in an adversarial manner, where the generator tries to fool the discriminator, and the discriminator tries to catch the generator. The training process aims to minimize the difference between the real and the generated images, and to maximize the realism and coherence of the generated pixels.

How can you use inpainting?

Inpainting is an open-source task that you can access and use for free. There are several ways to use inpainting, depending on your level of expertise and your needs.

  • If you want to try inpainting online, you can use the official website https://inpainting.ai/, where you can upload your own images and see the inpainted results. You can also browse the gallery of images inpainted by other users and artists, and get inspired by their inputs and outputs.
  • If you want to use inpainting on your own computer, you can download the code and the model from the GitHub repository https://github.com/inpainting/inpainting. You will need to install some dependencies and follow the instructions to run the model locally. You can also modify the code and the model to suit your own needs and preferences.
  • If you want to use inpainting in your own applications, you can use the Runway platform https://runwayml.com/, where you can integrate inpainting with other models and tools, and create your own workflows and interfaces. You can also use the Runway API to access inpainting programmatically from your own code.

Inpainting is a powerful and versatile task that can help you restore, remove, or create image content. Whether you want to use it for fun, for art, or for research, inpainting is a task worth exploring and experimenting with. Have fun and be creative with inpainting!


Q: What are the benefits of inpainting? A: Inpainting can have many benefits, such as:

  • Restoring old or damaged photos, such as removing scratches, stains, or tears.
  • Removing unwanted objects or people from photos, such as wires, logos, or photobombers.
  • Creating new content or variations from existing images, such as changing the background, the color, or the style.
  • Enhancing the quality or resolution of images, such as removing noise, blur, or artifacts.

Q: What are the challenges of inpainting? A: Inpainting can also have some challenges, such as:

  • Preserving the original context and style of the image, such as the texture, the lighting, or the perspective.
  • Generating realistic and coherent pixels for the missing or damaged regions, such as the shape, the color, or the details.
  • Handling large or complex regions, such as faces, text, or objects.
  • Dealing with ambiguous or conflicting information, such as multiple possible completions, or inconsistent conditioning information.

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