New Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6 Makes Faking Shallow Depth of Field Easy

Photoshop CS6 will have a new Iris Blur tool that lets you quickly add blur to an image that fakes a shallow depth of field. It’s a one tool-process that eschews the traditional methods of using masks, layers or depth maps.

  • lloyd

    I’m selling my DSLR and getting an iphone,

    DSLRs are dead, long live DSLRs!

  • Scott Mains

    you know what is great for creating a shallow DoF? f1.8! 

    Why bother trying to emulate a style from cellphone devices or P&S crap cameras. Throw a real camera where people actually control how they define the quality & quantity of light entering the sensor or film plane. 

  • Tomaslost

    I love photoshop but for fucks sake can’t people learn how to use a camera instead of faking the funk with apps and software. God forbid someone learns anything anymore. The movie idiocracy is slowly coming true. I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that real photography will be dead in 5 or 6 years and be replaced by programs that take all the knowledge of the past hundred years and stuff it into a $1.99 cell phone app:(

  • Alex

    Scott, can you really not see how this can be useful??

  • Hater

    I totally agree with your sentiment, but I think this method is actually harder than controlling DOF on your camera. As for iPhone photography, I for one cannot wait to lug around a tripod that costs more than my camera. Im especially excited about not having to worry about post-processing. 

  • Through Painted Eyes

    f 0.95 on FF is how I roll.

  • John

    Adaptive Wide Angle was just above this filter, anyone know anything about that?

  • Andrea McLaughlin

    These are all *just* tools. Sure they make it easier to do old tricks the new way. But the really magic will happen when photographers find other, totally unheard of, things to do with the Iris filter beyond what it’s made for.

  • Tadeo -_- **

    Neeeeee legacy lenses are not so expensive and can be mounted on any evil cameras a a not so high price. it is also limited to certain types of shots.

  • destroy_all_humans

    lytro just became obsolete

  • Mute

    This is emulating tilt/shift blur not depth of field.

    Notice that the example is a flat surface on a receding plane. If that was a landscape with a hedge or utility pole in the middle of the plane it would not be blurred correctly. Without some kind of depth map to tell PS where objects sit within the plane (as you can define with a complex selection and the lens blur filter) it’s not going to produce anything like depth of field.

    Alien Skin’s Bokeh plugin is the only thing I’ve seen capable of producing fairly realistic blur in PS (on highlights especially). It only supports simple selections though, so you need to create several iterations with an image that has multiple focal planes.

    If you want ‘impossible’ depth of field from your DSLR the best solution is a panorama of images, each a part of the larger scene combined to create a single image.

  • Pashminu Mansukhani

    This will be a very useful feature for industrial photographers like me. 

  • Pashminu Mansukhani

    This will be a very useful feature for industrial photographers like me. Check out the website

  • Karl R

    Beware… Not long after CS6 comes out, we will be flooded with a mass of badly blurred pictures… Just like the wave of horrible DRI Images that started a few years ago…

  • Geoffrey Froment

    Brace yourself, new ” artists ” are coming !

  • Håvard Fandrem

    Holy shit, people, relax! Instead of being happy because they actually tries to bring some progress, you all freak out, just because this is something you can do in camera. So what if you have a photo that you took with a small aperture, and you regret it in post? Now you have an easy tool to fix this.

  • Felipe Yang

    I don’t think you quite understand what lytro does. It retains the focus across the whole image and you select where to focus in post. This is adding blur to a specific point, two different actions.

  • gautch

    Doing it in post gives you more control. If its got a shallow DOF in camera then it is what it is. Doing it in post gives us options.

    With that said, this Iris Blur is just s Foux Tilt Shift. It too isn’t a good tool. Imagine something in the middle of that shot, then the Iris Blur isn’t going to work 100%, you’ll still need to mask things off.

  • Matt

    Change! Change!  Run and hide!!!

  • Steven Alan Worster

      I don’t think it will…

  • Through Painted Eyes

    don’t mess with me or I’ll whack you with my 0.95.

  • Brad Trent

    I really don’t understand all the negative comments about this. I mean, I ‘get’ that on the same week that Kodak announces they’re dumping their reversal film products there might be a bit of hand-wringing and nostalgic backwards glances at how we all did Business in the past, but please, gimme a break! If Adobe adding a filter that will make an in-focus image emulate one with shallow depth of field, why is that gonna change anybody’s life? if I envision a photo in my mind that for whatever reason can’t be done totally in-camera and Photoshop can help in making that idea come true, God love the software engineers for making it this easy! if you don’t think faking focus wasn’t possible until now, then you just don’t know your way around Photoshop…all this does it make it easier. And no, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna be losing jobs to a 20 year-old with an iPhone app, unless you’re such a pathetic photographer in the first place.

  • destroy_all_humans

    i think i do, and i’m correct, who wants to buy another camera when all they have to do is shoot in f16 or higher and add their own focus in post.

  • Felipe Yang

    You really think lytro is intended for pro use? That’s laughable. 

    Plus, shooting in f16 is not practical in low light. The fact that you have to load each photo into photoshop to get the desired effect is also very impractical. It may be obsolete for you but not for the people it was intended for.

  • Mute

    I’ve used the lens blur filter with complex masks to create fake/impossible depth of field in images. The only drawback of the filter was that it could not produce bokeh in highlights, just blur.

    This filter, unless there’s something more to it than we saw in the demonstration, blurs on a flat plane, like tilt/shift, so vertical objects will be blurred at the top but not the bottom.

    The only way, short of some kind of Lytro capture technology, to create a shallow depth of field in an all-in-focus image is to create a depth map showing the ‘depth’ of objects on the receding plane and modelling their shape facing the camera. The lens blur filter already allows you to do this, and combined with some tweaks using Alien Skin’s Bokeh plugin that can produce decent bokeh, the effect is good, but takes work.

    I’ll certainly check out this iris filter when PS comes out but I don’t see how shortcuts can be made. I assume the purpose of this filter isn’t depth of field but tilt/shift style blurring.

  • AversionTherapy

     This filter does not create depth of field. It does not recreate what the Lytro supposedly does.

  • destroy_all_humans

    umm, Thats exactly what it does.

  • destroy_all_humans

    Cant reply to you felipe, but how do you think the lytro works? Its really really terrible is low light. I’ve actually got to try it a month ago. It sucks and is just a toy. This plugin is exactly what pro’s need. Not a toy.

  • AversionTherapy

    It doesn’t. See my comment below.

    The demonstration showed a tilt/shift style of blurring (ie; blurring that has no regard for visual depth) on a flat plane. If the video had used, for example, this image: – there is no amount of tweaking the reticule that will get the tree in all in focus and the background/foreground in receding focus. At best areas directly behind the tree, between the branches, would also be in focus and areas outside of that would be blurred. That small branch at the bottom, hanging down, could be not defined as an ‘in focus’ area while the grass and hedge behind it are blurred.

    That tree could be anything, a person, a car, a teacup, and the same would be true. Unless your image is a flat, featureless, receding plane then this filter will not recreate depth of field.

    To create depth of field Photoshop needs a ‘depth map’ to define where objects sit within the image and their outline. The “lens blur” filter allows you to do this. See the description at the bottom of this page – – for an example of an image and a corresponding ‘depth map’. With the example image of the tree you could, with a complex selection, simulate depth of field using the lens blur filter in PS.

  • Alexander Lupascu

    alien skin bokeh kicks this new feature’s ass :))

  • Thomas Casey

    OR, you could use a shallow depth of field when you took the picture.