Sneak Peek: A Useful Focus Selection Tool is Coming to Photoshop CC on June 18th

A couple of weeks ago, we told you to mark June 18th on your calendars, because Adobe would be revealing “the next evolution of Creative Cloud.” Well, we’re still a few days away from the fateful keynote, but Adobe has given us a little teaser, showing us just one of the features that the Photoshop team has been working on for this major update.

They’ve dubbed the new feature “focus masks,” and it’s a new automatic selection tool that uses focus to determine what to select and what to leave out.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 9.11.24 AM

From the demo, it looks to be a pretty powerful tool that will definitely come in handy for photographers. Simply open your image, go to the Select drop-down, and hit Focus Area. From there, the software will automatically recognize which pixels are in focus and select those, leaving out any part of the photo that is out of focus.

You can see the feature in action in the sneak peek above. Once you watch it, let us know what you think of this neat new tool in the comments down below, along with any other features or capabilities you hope Adobe will announce come June 18th.

  • Polisonico

    These always work great in the demo and then you use it and never works… Shake Reduction I’m looking at you!

  • Peter “Pots”

    I have to admit that I do not do selections well, so the video and idea looks pretty good so far. I do agree that these things always look good in “demo.” but???

  • Jack B. Siegel

    From the video I can’t tell, but I would be interested in knowing whether there is a sensitivity slider. There are different degrees of focus. Depending on the circumstances, the photographer might want a very precise definition of focus in one case, but a broader definition in another.

    I also agree that these tools always work better when someone else is using them in a video than when I use them.

  • Mike

    I’ve actually achieved satisfactory results by inserting custom kernels based on the image (some brightness, some threshold, some clean up). One should use this tool while understanding that it cannot retrieve all the information, but it can reconstruct the correct lines.

  • Coca Cola Zero

    Automatically selecting areas in focus is a much easier problem to solve than automatically generating deconvolution kernels for shake reduction, so I suspect this will work a lot better “out of the box”; and IMO it is a welcome addition to the Photoshop toolbox.

    Selecting in-focus areas is really nice for things like selective denoising (you can denoise a lot more aggressively in the OOF area and not worry about losing image sharpness and the noise is always way more noticeable in those OOF areas), selective tonal contrast/”clarity” application (for the same sort of reason but with an inverse in the area you care about applying the action to), etc. Having the in-focus selection process be mostly automated will simplify a lot of people’s workflows.

  • Matt King


  • battlepriest

    Nice, but not something I’d use often enough to pay a premium for.

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  • Viktor Dite

    Just updated my PS CC 14 to 2014. In the changelog your described function is really mentioned, but i still can’t find it. Any idea why? I do only see “Color Range” there…