Photoshop’s Brand New Depth Blur Feature Needs a Lot of Work

With the latest batch of updates, Photoshop has added a new feature to its array of neural filters: depth blur. Very much in beta, this tool has potential, but there’s clearly a lot of improvements required before it becomes worth using.

Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect runs you through the new feature that arrived in the latest update of Photoshop, and while the depth mapping functionality will bring lots of possibilities, it’s clear from this beta version of Depth Blur that Photoshop has a lot of work to do before it becomes useful to photographers working with high-resolution images. Dinda shows that existing tools within Photoshop can create far better results, and it’s possible that Adobe’s engineers will seek to merge these techniques to create improvements.

While Dinda’s experiences show the current limitations, Adobe’s potential to harness machine learning will only expand, particularly as more images become available. If you're wondering why Adobe has decided to roll out a beta feature that is still so far from producing good results, it's probably because its machine learning needs to figure out what works and what doesn't — notice how the dialog box asks you each time if you're happy with the results. The neural filters depend on this feedback to improve.

While it’s easy to scoff at these early efforts, it’s quite possible that in five years you will struggle to differentiate between an image shot at f/1.4 and the same scene shot at f/5.6 with some depth blur applied. Whether this will merely increase the number of images with an insanely shallow depth of field or if it has a practical application for photographers remains to be seen.

Could this technology make super-fast lenses a thing of the past? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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5 Comments

Blood Lord's picture

This guy looks like a living photoshop. Does he run neat image on his face at max settings or something? Anyway, me personally, I won't touch this with a ten foot pole. Basically what is happening right here is the death of digital photography. Now, you might be wondering, what is wrong with that? What is wrong is that it's not unique anymore. Photographers are over shooting, over editing, and over delivering... and it is not good for anyone who wants to shoot digital like we always have. It is basically the commoditization of photography. These digital tools are getting so sophisticated they will make anyone with an iPhone into a fashion photographer. In response I predict the high end of the market will backlash into film photography and it might even trickle down to a lot of upper middle class and middle class weddings. Does this mean film will reestablish itself as the defacto shooting method of everyone everywhere? No. Film will gain in popularity among advanced amateurs and professionals and some hipsters, but for the most part the iPhones will dominate. I predict that Nikon goes out of business, and it is possible that Canon also sells off their camera division because nobody will be buying this gear once joe schmoe can one up them with their iPhone. The only thing an iPhone can't do is shoot film so naturally, the elitists will jump on that bandwagon again. The special brides can have their film weddings and the losers will hire Joe Schmoe with the magical iPhone featuring built in real time Photoshop editing that automagically builds a web gallery as you shoot and projects an AI edited slide show onto the wall of the reception hall... All for a low monthly fee of $50 a month. Hooray for Joe Schmoe, he finally won. The rest of us with braincells left will go back to shooting film and living normal lives. I mean, I hope I am wrong but, I'm usually not, LOL. Bye, bye losers.

Simon Miller's picture

You sound like a loser. Manufacturers of furniture? What is wrong with a hammer and a chisel?These CNC machines are taking all the skill away. Manufacturers of cars how dare you use robots instead of an English wheel and a hammer? SatNav replacing maps? Where is the fun in that? Manufacturers of cameras how dare you bring the devil with your digital sensors when film was just as good......? Bye Bye luddite loser.

Blood Lord's picture

Boy do you sound butt hurt! Are you that mad bro? My opinion on your little digital toys is that offensive to you huh? I said you all WON! Joe Schmoe is the champion with his magical iPhone!! Hooray for you and Joe Schmoe!! That fact that I think film will be the artists choice because it is more in touch with the real moment in which the photographer was inspired to hit the shutter button makes me a luddite?? How dare I!! What a lunatic thought! BTW, I probably will not start shooting film in large quantities because it is too dang expensive but I WILL bust it out here and there just to make a point... you digital doofuses are ruining photography!!!

Christopher Boles's picture

Another gimmick. I can see where this could work for weddings and portraits, beyond that I can't see any benefit. I have noticed that CBS has been using this on their golf shots of the players. The effect works there. What I do see is PS getting to many tools in the crib, so it becomes cumbersome. Perhaps the tools can be spun off into an "after-effects" standalone?

Blood Lord's picture

Yeah, this would be great for weddings... if you are ******* *******. By the way that says FUCKING RETARDED.