Photoshop update to let people fix photo blur

Adobe promises that a new version of its image-editing tool will be able to unwobble photos taken with a wobbly camera.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
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Photoshop will get a new filter designed to detect and correct blur from camera shake.
Photoshop will get a new filter designed to detect and correct blur from camera shake. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe Systems is building technology into Photoshop to take the blur out of photos.

The company demonstrated the upcoming Photoshop deblurring filter in a video today to promote its upcoming Adobe Max conference in May, where the company no doubt will announce the feature and others.

"Camera shake reduction is a tool that allows one to deblur an image that would have been otherwise lost," said Zorana Gee, senior Photoshop product manager, in the video. "It works really great for shots taken under low-light conditions or slow shutter speeds," she added, conditions where camera shake is more likely.

Since it's not yet time for Adobe to release Creative Suite 7, my guess is that the tool will appear as an update for Creative Cloud subscription customers. Adobe has said those customers will get new features when Adobe's finished writing them; traditional customers who buy perpetual licenses to software like the current Photoshop CS6 have to wait for CS7 for that sort of upgrade.

Blurry photos have been a problem for as long as there have been cameras, and researchers have been digging into deblurring techniques for years. Such techniques typically work by trying to figure out exactly how the camera moved, then to reverse the effect mathematically.

The shake reduction feature works as a filter on a selected area.

It remains to be seen how well Adobe's method works -- for example, how well it'll handle moving subjects, not just wobbly cameras, or how well it'll handle a combination of both. In any event, you're probably better off upping your camera ISO so you can avoid blurry photos in the first place.