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Adobe demos Image Deblurring, adds surprising clarity to cloudy photos (video)

Image Deblurring at Adobe MAX 2011
Image Deblurring at Adobe MAX 2011

Little known fact: Adobe's mission statement is to ruin the fun of every "enhance" meme by turning that punchline into a reality. Always looking to present at least one mind-blowing demo at each of its MAX conferences, this year's showstopper was Image Deblurring. In brief, it's a Photoshop plugin that uses "intense computation" to calculate the motion trajectory of the camera as its shutter was open. The system can then use said "blur kernel" to figure out just what went wrong and appropriately sharpen the image.

Unfortunately, the only video we've seen so far of the trick in action is itself very blurry, and the plugin isn't powerful enough to fix those capturing the magic. What we can make out from the video seems impressive in its own right, and the loud cheers picked up by the mic suggest that's the apt response.

No one on stage would say when we could see this hit the consumer version of Photoshop, so for now just enjoy the not-so-science fiction trickery. If you want to cut to the good parts, check out the "deblurred" scene at 1:18, text captured by a phone camera at 3:34, and portrait of Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch at 4:52. Alternatively, just check out the whole video below, featuring on-stage commentary provided by TV-celebrity--there-because-he-can-be Rainn Wilson.