Photoshop team unveils “Living History Brush”

San Jose-based Adobe Systems has announced the addition of the Living History Brush, an innovative new tool for its Photoshop image editing software. The brush is specifically designed to simplify the retouching of images taken at historical reenactments.

“The Living History Brush is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series of market-specific image editing tools,” said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and chief executive officer. “It’s a creative spin-off of the same technologies behind the Clone Stamp and the Content-Aware Fill feature, but optimized for images that demand complete historical authenticity. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud.”

The Living History Brush automatically eliminates modern elements such as power lines, airplanes, mobile phones and even hairstyles by substituting historic equivalents or removing them with content-aware retouching. The initial release of the brush includes presets for the American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War. Additional eras, including Renaissance England and ancient Rome, are scheduled to be added in the next 3-6 months.

This stunning before and after comparison shows the Living History Brush in action.

This stunning before and after comparison shows the Living History Brush in action. (Photo: G. Smith)

“This will be a huge time-saver for both the design and the reenactment communities,” says Albert Roberts, a freelance graphic designer who also portrays a 19th-century British navy surgeon for HMS Acasta, a living history organization. “There’s nothing worse than getting a great shot of your reenacting buddies in painstakingly reconstructed uniforms, only to discover that someone was texting on his iPhone in the background.”

The details of the technology are proprietary, but Adobe has indicated that it combines specialized algorithms with databases of historical artifacts from leading museums, historic sites and academic partners, including the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery, Colonial Williamsburg, and Japan’s Kobe Fashion Museum.

The new brush is available to Creative Cloud users in the latest update of Photoshop CC, released this morning.

Narayen declined to comment on what other industries Adobe has under consideration, but widespread speculation on user forums suggests specialized brushes for healthcare, finance, and the hospitality industry could follow in the next 12 months if response to the Living History Brush is favorable.

The Living History Brush is an utterly bogus figment of Tom’s imagination. Happy April Fool’s Day!

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