Battle: Photoshop vs. Blurity for motion blur

Whenever the topic of photo deblurring comes up, there are inevitably comparisons to and questions about Photoshop’s built-in tools.  As discussed in an earlier post, things like unsharp mask do help to improve the apparent sharpness in certain situations.  In fact, for out-of-focus blurs, the results produced by unsharp mask and those produced by Blurity can be quite similar.

Not so for motion blur.  Blurity blows away the other approaches when removing motion blur.

For motion blur, unsharp masking and tools like “Smart Sharpen” are nearly useless. They attempt to improve local contrast to increase perceived sharpness, but that trick doesn’t work very well with motion blur.  Even in Smart Sharpen’s motion blur mode, it cannot restore the detail obscured by the blur.  Blurity, on the other hand, creates an actual model of the blur, so it is able to adapt to complex movements and transformations.

Here’s a real-world image that suffers from motion blur:

Blurry mug

Blurry mug and watch (click to enlarge)

I captured this image of my Seiko watch and favorite mug on my desk with my Canon A1100IS camera.  (Full disclosure: I switched the camera’s built-in optical image stabilizer off in order to get a good demonstration photo.  Also, the image has been rescaled to be 3.0 MP to improve blur modeling, which is a trick I’ll cover in a future article.)  It’s about a half-second exposure, and the blur is obviously quite severe.

Ordinarily, you might turn to something like Photoshop to try to fix a photo like that.  Ok, we’ll give that a shot.

Here’s the blurry image sharpened with Photoshop’s Smart Sharpen filter (motion blur setting, 64px length, 135 degree angle, 100% application):

The mug photo, with Photoshop Smart Sharpen

The blurry photo, with Photoshop Smart Sharpen applied (click to enlarge)

That didn’t help much.  The watch face is still unreadable, the mug is still fuzzy, and the photography gods are still crying.

We can do better.  We have Blurity.

Here’s the same image again, this time deblurred with Blurity:

Same photo, deblurred with Blurity

Same photo, deblurred with Blurity (click to enlarge)

Incredible!

The difference is even more stark when zoomed in.  Blurity managed to recover an impressive amount of detail:

Detail of deblurred watch

Detail of deblurred watch. Note the legibility of the watch face.

The text on the mug is clear, and the second-marker hashes are crisp on the watch face.  It’s even possible to read the numbers on the sub-dials on the watch face and the date in the watch’s date window (it says “3” because I forgot to set it forward at the end of February).  Isn’t that amazing?

For comparison, here’s a close-up of the original blurred watch face next to the Blurity deblurred watch face:

Watch face comparison

Close-up of the original blurred watch face (left) and the Blurity deblurred watch face (right)

I think you’ll agree that Blurity handled this image much, much better than Photoshop.

Not all blurs can be removed, but if any automated tool can do the deed, it’s going to be Blurity.  And of course, it’s always free to preview the deblurring.

Categories: Imaging | Tags: , , , , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. If you need help with a launch/acquisition…

    Cool, nonetheless.

    -jim