Bokeh effect, a.k.a. portrait mode, is one of the quickly rising fads in smartphone photography. Making a subject pop might be easier with dual cameras or some Google algorithm magic in the case of the Pixel 2 phones. but selecting that subject manually in an image is actually a chore. Even Photoshop’s automatic smart selection tool is no match for complicated scenes. So what could Adobe do to make life easier for its users? Why, use machine learning and artificial intelligence, of course!
Adobe has actually jumped head on into the AI space when it announced Adobe Sensei late last year. Since then, its cloud-based AI platform has powered some of the new features found in its creative suite, like finding related stock images, matching fonts, and others. Soon, “Select Subject” for Photoshop will be added to that list.
In a way, Select Subject will function similar to what Google has been doing in many of its recent photography-related projects and experiments. It will use computer vision and machine learning to identify the background, differentiate the foreground elements, and select what the AI thinks are the image’s subject or subjects. Adobe is confident that even images with complex backgrounds or multiple subjects are no match for this new Sensei tool.
Obviously, it’s not perfect. There are times when Select Subject either misses out on some details, like clothes or hair, or erroneously selects things like shadows. Even Adobe itself says that it’s a great starting point, emphasis on starting. You’ll still have to fine tune the selection. So, no, that Magic Wand isn’t due for a retirement yet.