AI vs Manual Editing Which Is Better For Background Removal

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The photo editing industry is constantly changing. New techniques, tricks, technology, and much more often come and shake the crowd in waves. In recent years, the debate between AI and manual photo editing continues to be a hot topic. Mostly, when it comes to photo background removal. Since both methods offer unique advantages and challenges, which is better? Let’s jump into the world of AI vs. manual photo editing for background removal and find out.

Understanding the Differences Between AI vs Manual Photo Editing

When it comes to photo editing, people these days find two ways to go. One is AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the other is manual photo editing. Both methods have their own set of advantages and challenges. Understanding these can help photographers to make accurate decisions about which approach to use.

AI Photo Editing

AI photo editing is the process of using software that uses artificial intelligence to automate the editing of photos. This technology has advanced significantly in recent years. AI photo editors can now do a variety of tasks effectively compared to the manual approach. Let’s see some pros and cons of AI photo editing.

Pros of AI Photo Editing:

  • Speed: AI can process and edit photos at a speed that far exceeds human capability. This is particularly useful when dealing with large amounts of images.
  • Accessibility: With AI, even those with limited photo editing skills can achieve high-quality results. Tools and software come with presets and prompts to use them right at the start and get instant results.

Cons of AI Photo Editing:

  • Lack of Creativity: AI tools are based on algorithms and cannot be truly creative. It can’t interpret a unique vision for a photo in the same way a human can.
  • Over-Processing: Sometimes AI can overdo adjustments. It leads to images losing their natural appeal.
  • Limited Control: While AI is getting better at offering customization options, it still doesn’t provide the complete control over edits that manual editing does.
  • Varied Results: AI image editing for background removal won’t bring the dedicated result. Since it uses an algorithm, the result each time differs.

Manual Photo Editing

Manual photo editing is the traditional approach where a human editor uses software tools like Adobe Photoshop to adjust and enhance images. This method requires skill, experience, and creative skills. Here’s the scan through of pros and cons of manual photo editing:

Pros of Manual Photo Editing:

  • Creative Control: Manual editing allows for complete control over every aspect of the image, enabling the editor to bring a specific vision to life.
  • Flexibility: Human editors can adapt to unique situations and make subjective decisions that AI might not be capable of.
  • Detail-Oriented: Manual editing can address intricate details that AI might overlook, ensuring that every part of the image is edited to perfection.
  • No limitation:  There are no limitations with manual photo editing, providing the freedom to edit images in any desired way without the constraints of automated processes. 
  • Customization: There’s always room for customization and making changes on the fly to reach the ultimate perfection of image editing with manual editing because you have all the controls within.

Cons of Manual Photo Editing:

  • Time-Consuming: Editing photos manually is a time-intensive process, especially when dealing with large numbers of images.
  • Skill-Dependent: The quality of manual editing is heavily dependent on the skill and experience of the editor.

When to Choose AI background remover vs manual photo editors

The choice between AI and manual photo editing ultimately depends on the specific requirements. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Large Batches or Time-Sensitive Projects: AI photo editing is well-suited for situations where speed and efficiency are required. Like, processing large batches of images or meeting tight deadlines.
  • Consistent Editing Style: If maintaining a consistent editing style across multiple images is a priority, AI tools can be advantageous, ensuring uniformity and cohesion.
  • Basic Editing Tasks: For basic editing tasks like exposure adjustments, color corrections, or cropping, AI tools can provide a quick and efficient solution.
  • Complex or Artistic Editing: When dealing with intricate editing tasks or projects that require a high degree of creative expression, manual editing by skilled professionals is the better choice.
  • Customization and Precision: If precise control and customization are essential, manual editing offers greater flexibility and the ability to achieve highly specific results.

How Does AI Background Removal Work?

Remove background from an image with AI works by using algorithms and machine learning techniques to separate between the subject of an image and its background. This process is known as semantic image segmentation.  AI analyzes the image and identifies which pixels belong to the foreground subject and which belong to the background. Once this segmentation is done, the AI can then remove the background, leaving only the subject of the image.

Here's a more detailed look at how AI image background remover typically works:

Step 1: Image Upload and Analysis

When you upload an image to an AI background removal tool, the AI begins by analyzing the image. It uses advanced computer vision algorithms to detect the edges and contours of the objects within the image.

Step 2: Object Recognition

The AI then proceeds to recognize the main subject of the image. This could be a person, an animal, a car, or any other object. AI models are trained on vast datasets containing millions of images, which helps them learn to identify various subjects within different contexts and backgrounds.

Step 3: Segmentation

Once the subject is recognized, the AI segments the image by labeling each pixel. It assigns a label to pixels that are part of the subject and a different label to those that are part of the background. This segmentation process often involves deep learning models.

Step 4: Background Removal

After segmentation, the AI removes all the pixels labeled as background. This effectively isolates the subject from the background. Some AI tools also offer the option to replace the removed background with a solid color, a transparent layer, or another image.

Why Go for Manual Photo Editing over AI-driven Photo Editing?

While AI-driven photo editing offers speed and consistency, there are compelling reasons why some photographers and photo editors might prefer manual photo editing. Here are some reasons to scan through:

Attention to Detail

Manual image editing allows attention to detail. Since it is crucial for tasks such as background removal for e-commerce images. Skilled professionals who can identify and preserve subtle details in images that automated AI tools might overlook, gives a polished result. It is suitable for platforms like Amazon or eBay, where a crisp, white background is often required.

Creative Control

With manual editing, you have complete creative control over every aspect of the image. This means you can make artistic decisions that an AI might not be programmed to understand. You can decide to alter the mood of a photo by adjusting the lighting in a way that AI wouldn’t predict.

Understanding Context

AI-driven tools cannot often understand the context of a photo. A human editor, on the other hand, can interpret the image within its broader context and make editing decisions that align with the intended message or story the photo is meant to convey.


Manual photo editing offers flexibility that AI can’t yet replicate. If you want to experiment with different styles or push the boundaries of conventional editing, doing it manually is the way to go. You’re not limited by the algorithms.

Skill Development

For photographers and editors, manual editing is a craft that hones their skills. By practicing you develop a deeper understanding of photographic techniques and principles. It can improve your overall photography work. AI editing, while convenient, doesn’t offer the same learning opportunities.

Personal Touch

There’s something to be said for the personal touch that comes with manual photo editing. Each editor has their own style and approach, which can give the images a unique feel. This personal touch can be a significant factor in your images. Especially in fields like fine art photography or commercial work.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Yes, AI can be used for editing photos and offering features like object removal, background replacement, and image enhancement.

While AI significantly streamlines and automates many photo editing tasks, it complements rather than fully replaces the nuanced work of professional photo editors.

The best way to photo edit is which allow for precise and customized adjustments. Since there are various methods to adapt based on the demand of the photo and its complexity. For smooth precision, you can go for a manual approach, and for quick and concise results go for an AI image generator. It depends on the core criteria of your image.


The choice between AI background removal vs. background removal by hand from a photo editing service provider for picture background removal ultimately depends on the specific needs of the project at hand. For intricate details and a touch of creativity, manual editing still holds its ground. As technology advances, the future may bring a perfect blend of both. Right now, you can combine the efficiency of AI with the precision and creativity of manual editing. Keep experimenting to find your way through the new waves of your creative mind.

Luisa Bell is a skilled content planner and writer who has worked in photography and e-commerce content for over six years. With a passion for writing interesting stories, she is great at giving audiences information that sticks with them. Luisa is a great addition to the Masking Aid team because she is dedicated to her work and strives for excellence.