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Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field 127

Posted by timothy
from the give-your-mom-an-easter-bokeh dept.
New submitter katiewilliam (3621675) writes with a story at Hardware Zone about a new feature that Google's working on for Android phones' built-in cameras: the illusion of shallow depth of field in phone snapshots, which typically err on the side of too much in focus, rather than too little. Excerpting: "The Google Research Blog [note: here's a direct link] revealed that there's quite a fair bit of algorithms running to achieve this effect; to put it in a nutshell, computer vision algorithms create a 3D model of the world based on the shots you have taken, and estimate the depth to every point in the scene."
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Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

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  • by smchris (464899) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @04:05PM (#46796127)

    But I absolutely, totally LOVE depth of field. Screw the art school graduates. I bought a large screen digital tv for the illusion of a window upon the world.

    I would like to think -- I sincerely HOPE -- that artificially inducing audience "focus" by depth of field will be as quaint as silent movie captions in 50 years.
     

  • Re:"subject" (Score:4, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday April 19, 2014 @05:03PM (#46796389) Homepage Journal

    Can boken be overdone? Sure. A 1mm think depth of field is overdoing it, but so is shooting at f/16 everywhere. But even a thin DoF and the right can result in some magical results

    Just because you know what you're talking about, and we're among friends:

    It's bokeh, with an 'h'. And it refers to the character [wikipedia.org] of the blur, not the blur itself. If you've got an image, say f/3.4, a hipster might say "nice bokeh" to you, but he means that you have a good lens, not that you've selected a good aperture. And then he might also suggest you make a "glisse" print. ;)

    And, of course, shallow depth of field is a huge fad, and there's an entire generation of kids who won't ever be able to tell where they were in any of their childhood pictures. *That* will seem very "early 21st century" in a couple decades.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @06:23PM (#46796745)

    Because often, what you can't see is as important as what you can. Imagination is important. Composition is important, and emotion is important.

    Right, the thing is though theres more going on to depth of field than just "This part of the image in focus, and that part out of focus". I mean its definately a useful effect because it pretty much defines what part of the photo your supposed to be looking at, but good shallow DOF really is quite an amazing effect down well and terrible when done bad.

    On my 50mm lens (I recomend a 50mm to ANYONE whos playing with SLRs. Its a cheap lens, handles great in low light and very easy to take attractive photos with) the depth of field also interacts with light so you see these great specks of light all through the background and other esoteric effects that really enhance the effect. If I just put the background out of focus with a blur, it'd be just.... well blury.
    Finally its not a linear blur either. Some parts are more in focus than others and this adds to the effect because its how your eye does it too.

    The test photo in the article just makes it look like someones put a lasso tool on the model, inverted it, then just done some sort of blur on the background. Its just not the same as the DOF on a real wide apearature camera.

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