Adobe Lightroom has made some significant advances in recent years, including the recent introduction of the Generative AI tool. Photoshop has always done better for complex healing or spot removals, but this might be about to change.

Lightroom’s new Remove tool, more specifically, Generative AI, has yet again raised the question of “how much longer is Photoshop needed”.

That’s a question for another time, but in this Lightroom Generative AI review, we’ll take an in-depth look at just how good this tool is, how you can use it, and what you need to be aware of.

What is Generative AI in Lightroom?

Lightroom’s Generative AI can be found in the Remove tool (previously known as the Healing tool). Here, you’ll find the three modes: Remove, Heal, and Clone.

Generative AI is found in the Remove Mode.

How to Use Lightroom Generative AI

In simple terms, Generative AI uses Artificial Intelligence to remove unwanted objects from your photos. The tool will analyze the selected area and replace your unwanted object(s) with something that blends with the surroundings.

Now, normally, you shouldn’t be able to see that something has been removed from the photo. However, the Generative AI tool isn’t perfect yet. During my testing, I’ve had it remove my object just to replace it with a bench, signpost, or an animal that can best be described as a mix between a dog, sheep, and wolf. Luckily, there are ways to work around this. More about that later.

What Objects Can You Use Generative AI For?

You can use Generative AI to remove distracting objects from your photos, whether a person who walked into your photo, a trashcan placed in the forest, a car, or anything else.

Keep in mind that Generative AI is slower than the other removal tools in Lightroom. For that reason, I do not recommend using it for basic dust spots. The standard Remove tool will do just as good of a job with that.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the quality of the replaced area isn’t as good as the original photo. Quite often, you’ll find it slightly blurrier or, in some cases, grainier than the rest of the image. The bigger the area, the more prominent it becomes.

How to Use Lightroom’s Generative AI

Using Generative AI in Lightroom is easy. Simply select the Remove Tool, choose the Remove Mode, and check the Generative AI box.

Next, you can adjust the brush size by using the Size slider or the wheel on your mouse. With the brush size selected, just brush over the object you want to remove. You can choose to add or subtract from the selection if needed.

Lightroom Generative AI Mask

When your selection is ready, click Apply, can Lightroom will run its algorithms. This can take some seconds. Lightroom will now present you with three different variations. You can scroll back and forth between these to find the solution that did the best job. If you don’t like any of them, simply hit Refresh, and you’ll be presented with three new variations.  

Spot Removal vs. Generative AI

I briefly mentioned earlier that Generative AI is slower than the standard Remove mode. Because of this, it’s unnecessary to use it for simple dust spots that aren’t overlapping complex backgrounds.

Let’s instead take a look at how the two perform when doing a more complicated removal job. For example, will either of them succeed in getting rid of the building in this photo?

Lake in Dolomites with Cabin

There is a fair bit of texture both in the mountain behind the house and the hill itself, as well as in the reflection. Let’s see what happens when we use the standard Remove mode:

Lightroom Remove Mode - After

Well… The hut is removed, but we’ve gotten some strange soft spots that really don’t blend well with the background. I wouldn’t call this a success. You might get away with it if it’s just for Instagram, but it’s pretty obvious when looking in any larger format.

Lightroom Remove Mode - After

So, is Generative AI better than the Remove mode?

Lightroom Generative AI - After

I think the results speak for themselves. I was actually shocked when I saw them. The house is removed, and it’s nearly impossible to see that it was there before. Only if you zoom in to 100% or more can you see that the area is slightly softer than the rest, which can be easily fixed by adding some local sharpening through a Lightroom or Photoshop Mask.

The winner: Generative AI

Spot Removal in Lightroom vs. Photoshop

My final question is how Lightroom’s Generative AI compares to Photoshop’s Remove Tool and Generative Fill. Let’s compare the three by using the same photo as before.

We’ve already seen the results from Lightroom’s Generative AI, but I’ll refresh your memory:

Lightroom Generative AI - After

Next out is Photoshop’s Remove Tool:

Photoshop Remove Tool vs Lightroom Generative AI

Again, I am blown away by how easy it has become to remove objects from our photos. From afar, it looks good, but zooming in, you’ll notice some soft spots and repetitive patterns. For the best results, you need to go over the areas that look a little “funky” a few times more with a smaller brush.

The advantage of Photoshop’s Remove Tool is that the resolution remains the same in the selected area. This is not the case for Generative AI or Generative Fill (though hopefully, this will change in the future).

Generative Fill is our final contestant. Let’s see how it did:

Photoshop Generative Fill vs Lightroom Generative AI

We saw that the Remove tool resulted in some soft spots and needed a little extra work. That’s not the case for Generative Fill. Straight out of the box this looks as close to perfect as I can imagine. By scrolling through the Variations, I found that the third option did a slightly better job in the reflection than the first.

So, which one is best? It’s a close call. In this case, I find Photoshop’s Remove Tool to be the obvious loser. It’s pretty much a dead race between Generative AI in Lightroom and Generative Fill in Photoshop. For complex jobs, I’d lean towards Photoshop due to slightly better possibilities of refining the results.


I feel like this has been happening a fair bit lately, but yet again I’m blown away by how advanced certain tools have become. The days of spending hours removing spots or objects from your photos are gone.

Lightroom’s Generative AI is an excellent tool for removing any unwanted objects from your photos. It performs just as well as Generative Fill in Photoshop. For some, this is an even bigger reason to leave Photoshop behind and stick to Lightroom only.

Generative AI can and should be used for any complex removals. It’s far superior to the standard Remove mode, as well as the Heal or Clone modes.

For simple dust spots you should continue to use the Remove mode, as it works faster and does an equally good job for that purpose. However, as soon as your dust spot covers areas with a lot of texture or detail, use Generative AI instead.

My only question now is: what’s next?