New Blur Filter in Photoshop Works Incredibly on Portraits

Some of Photoshop's most recent updates have added some incredibly powerful editing tools. This new blur filter not only works amazingly well on landscapes images, it is stunning on portraits as well. See how to use it here.

I have to be honest and say that sometimes, I'm really confused by Adobe's roadmap, particularly when it comes to Lightroom and Photoshop. I've made no secret in the past that until very recently, I barely ever used Lightroom, as I grew up using Photoshop and never felt the need to dabble in Lightroom at all. However, some of the additions to Lightroom in the last couple of years have been very impressive, especially its powerful new masking features. That had me thinking that Adobe was lagging on Photoshop, but the neural filters that Adobe keeps releasing and updating are absolutely outstanding when you understand how to use them effectively. 

And that brings us to this great video by Glyn Dewis, in which he introduces you to the new Depth Blur filter in the Neural Filters panel. It is still in beta mode and you will have to update to the latest version of Photoshop to access it, but once you've got it, it is extremely impressive straight off the bat. As Dewis points out, most people will typically use it for landscape images because it helps you add selective blur that you can control with pinpoint accuracy on specific parts of your image. It almost acts as a post-production aperture change, if you will. But it also works extremely well on portraits, as Dewis illustrates perfectly here. Give the video a look, and let me know your thoughts.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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Neural Filters have the potential to make a major effect on photo editing, but Adobe have a way to go in managing Memory etc. - I am getting some weird things happen if I use Depth Blur more than once without rebooting. The explanation of the coastal scene was clear & accurate - as normal. Alas the portrait was hurried and would have confused me if I had not already had a go with this feature. My vote for the future would be to start with the depth map.

So in other words, something like what one would get with a wide aperture lens. Ok.

Not really. Shoot that at f.12 with let's say a 50mm and not all the subject will be sharp and in focus. Sometimes it's not possible due to the laws of physics to do all in camera. This method gives you so much more control/ Its just another processing technique like dodge and burn that has been used for ever.

I used this neural filter last night on some family outdoor portraits to blur the background and keep the focus on the subjects. I found if you go too far you get almost a 3D effect where the subjects look like they are out in front of everything. Very strange but interesting. Thank you for the explanation of all the controls, and now I have a better understanding of what can be done with the filter.

Superb, no nonsense instructive video.

Another post that just redirects to a video. Which is click bait and a waste of time. Fstoppers - please - in your article's title - add the word VIDEO or some such thing so people don't have to waste their time if they don't want to.

It's a very good video, straight to the point with no added crap.

Glyn Dewis is great. Very good at explaining things and a nice guy also. His books and videos are great (and his backdrops). I know youtube drives some presenters to go all click baity and doing things they probably wouldn't ideally like to do. I like the way Glyn keeps it real.

Nice one, great video and great presentation. I shall certainly seek you out for more tutorials.