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Is Photoshop’s New Depth Blur Tool a Game Changer?

Updated feature creates a bokeh-like blurred background effect
Photo of Depth Blur in Photoshop

One of the updated features in Photoshop 2022 that has caught the attention of many photographers is Depth Blur, a filter that simulates the background blur or bokeh effect you get from using a lens with a fast aperture. But is Depth Blur 2.0 in the new Photoshop really a capable substitute for a high-quality lens that can produce a shallow depth of field on its own?

That’s the question that software expert Unmesh Dinda addresses in the below video where he “stress tests” Photoshop’s revamped Depth Blur tool, which is part of Neural Filters.

“This time around, there are major changes like processing on-device instead of the cloud, and way more refined results among many other additions,” says Dinda, who was less than impressed with Depth Blur in past versions of Photoshop. “But still, the question remains, can we finally use it now? That’s what we will find out in this episode.”

Dinda also pits the new Depth Blur in Photoshop head-to-head against Luminar’s Portrait Bokeh AI to see how it compares.

With the previous version of Depth Blur, the limitations included extremely long wait times “for every little change,” inaccurate masking, inconsistent results, and a general difficultly to get the feature to work at all.

“In the video, we’ll find out have they overcome these limitations and how much better is this? And can we actually finally use it in our workflows? Stay until the end because we’re going to cover some of the biggest concerns that you need to watch out for.”

In his review of Depth Blur, Dinda tests for focus ability, image quality, speed, grain, tint, halos, hard edges, bokeh quality, and its ability to select more subjects. In short, he calls the potential of the new Depth Blur in Photoshop 2022 “insane” but says he still has some reservations. Watch below to see all of Dinda’s tests and to hear his final thoughts on this revamped tool.

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