Shake Reduction in Adobe Photoshop CC

If you haven’t heard about the new Camera Shake Reduction feature coming to Adobe Creative Cloud members this June in Photoshop CC, it is a new filter that will analyze your photos to detect and correct blurring due to a shaky camera. Yes you read that correctly, it can make a shaky/blurry photo LESS shaky/blurry. It’s an awesome new feature that can be used to enhance photos under low light conditions or taken with slow shutter speeds. Check out the official teaser video below:

This can have huge implications, everything from enhancing precious photos of your loved ones, to crime analysis and forensics. Speaking of which, did you know Adobe does some amazing work with law enforcement and image forensics?

Like any other curious individual, I wanted to test this out on my own, with my own photographs. So, I broke out my camera, set it to have a slow shutter speed (for intentionally blurry photos), and started walking around and taking pictures. I was completely blown away by the outcome.

Let’s take a look at the results…

In all of the following examples, the image on the left is the original. The image on the right is the enhanced/corrected image. The only changes that I have made are camera shake correction and minor color/contrast corrections. I have not used any other touchup/enhancement or alteration techniques. It’s amazing how much detail was able to be pulled out of the original blurred images.

First, let’s take a look at an office building. The enhanced image has much more detail, including brick textures, more readable/discernable content, and while it has some minor artifacts, it is a huge improvement.

Click to view full size image
Click to view full size image

Now, let’s look a little bit closer… If you’ve already glanced at the image below, you’ll see that I was able to extract the license plate from a car that just happened to be passing at the time I took the photo.
aligncenter office-license-plate
Seriously, this is real. All of those “image enhancement” sequences that you’ve seen in crime and sci-fi movies and TV shows (which you’ve probably rolled your eyes at) are now a reality. Still don’t believe me? Take a look at this video I put together for a closer look.

Note: I edited this down to the “short version”, in reality it took a lot more trial and error and permutations of the shake reduction tools to achieve the final result.

That’s not all, I was able to extract detail about other items in the photograph. For example, You can now see enough detail to identify the light bulb in the street lamp.

office-lampYou can even make out the faint outline of the bicycle and arrow on the “bike lane” street sign behind the car.
office-sign

Pretty cool, right? Now, let’s take a look at another example. Again, the blurry image on the left is the *original*.

Click to view full size image
Click to view full size image

You can see that the enhanced image is sharper and has more detail. Let’s look a bit closer…

In the original image, did you see that guy in the blue shirt standing walking towards the white van? Yeah, neither did I:

window-person

Or, could you tell what kind of cars were in the parking lot? I know I couldn’t in the original, but I can make a much better educated guess in the enhanced image:

window-cars

OK, let’s take a look at one more. In the enhanced photo on the right, you can see much more detail… everything from the brick patterns, to street signs, to details on people and objects.

Click to view full size image
Click to view full size image

While you still can’t read the entire law office sign, you can certainly see more detail in both the sign and the surroundings.

.

street-sign

You can also make out much more detail on people, doorways to buildings, flowers, and leaves on the trees.

street-people

Again, The only changes that I have made are camera shake correction and minor color/contrast corrections. There have been no other modifications made to these images.

All of my test images have fairly significant shake blurs. Due to the extreme amount of blur, there are some visual artifacts. Any images that have a less extreme blur will have fewer artifacts, with enhanced clarity.

You can reduce artifacts and improve the final output quality by experimenting with the Camera Shake Reduction options. You can create multiple regions for estimating blur, and adjust trace bounds, smoothing, and artifact suppression for each. You’ll likely need to experiment with the settings and try different permutations to achieve optimal results, but you’ll be amazed by the outcome.

Camera Shake Reduction Options
Camera Shake Reduction Options

It’s important to understand that while it can “work miracles” on some images, the Shake Reduction feature will not correct all blur in all types of images. If the blurring is because your image is simply out of focus, this probably won’t help. Again, it is intended to correct blurs caused by a shaky camera situation.

If you’re wondering how to get this feature, just go over to creative.adobe.com and become a Creative Cloud member today! Photoshop CC will be available in June, and you’ll be notified.

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  • craig smith

    There are similar programs as good as Adobe, and you don’t have to have that nasty recurrent cloud hanging over your wallet !

    • http://tricedesigns.com/ Andrew Trice

      Craig, for many, the switch to Creative Cloud is actually cheaper than perpetual licenses. At the cost of $49.99 per month, it would take over four years to cover the cost of CS6 Master Collection ($2,599.00), and during that time you will get all the updates as soon as they are available, no longer needing to pay for upgrades. Not to mention, you get the creative cloud file synching service, TypeKit fonts on the desktop (individual font licenses would be over $25,000), Behance prosite, etc…

      We recognize that this solution is not perfect for everyone, and are working to remedy that (see update here: http://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/our-move-to-creative-cloud-an-update/ ).

      The transition to Creative Cloud enables Adobe to create better tools at a more rapid pace, to provide more value to our customers. And, it is important to also keep in mind that you own your content, we make no claim of ownership to anything synched in the could. You can do whatever you want with your content.

      • Michael Burr

        I just want to say, I’m extremely thankful for the creative cloud. I’m not kissing ass… I really am thankful for it. If it weren’t for the creative cloud I would never be able to afford to use the adobe software that had previously been out of reach to someone like me for so long. If you all want to listen to these naysayers … that’s fine, you can try to give them whatever it is that you’re looking for…. but please, for the love of all that is holy, keep the creative cloud option for the rest of us.

        • http://tricedesigns.com/ Andrew Trice

          Thanks Michael! We’re glad you like it. Don’t worry, it’s not going away!

  • http://tricedesigns.com/ Andrew Trice

    Since I’m getting comments on other social networks, I wanted to echo this here, inline in the original blog post: In less extreme cases, the Shake Reduction feature can make slightly blurry photos very clear. These examples are an extreme case – I was literally shaking the camera violently when I took these photos. I intentionally made the photos very blurry to see how much I could restore from it. If you look at the license plate example, you can see how much detail I was able to pull out of the blurred image. In less-extreme blurred images, the results will have less artifacts.

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  • fdefewfd

    honestly who spends time on such crappy photos?
    they are worthless before shake reduction.. they are worthless after shake reduction…

    it´s nice play… but for 90% of all photographers… i BET…. this feature is useless.
    i will still throw away blurry images. i have not enough time to waste it on bad images.

    • http://tricedesigns.com/ Andrew Trice

      This was done as an example to show how extreme the shake reduction can be. Less blurred photos will have a better professional production value. This can be incredibly useful in forensics or restoration projects.

  • markelliot2002

    Well thank goodness Adobe didn’t forget the “10%” of the photographers like me. I recently went to to some pics I had shot hiking the North Shore of MN and it was a lifesaver for the photos that had ‘shakes’. These photos appeared to be fine on my camera lcd screen, but when I got home I was sorely disappointed. So thanks for a great new feature.