Friday, April 4, 2014

Part TWO: How to get Bokeh Imaging on Mobile

This is the second part of the Bokeh expose with mobile apps. As you can recall in the last article, we examined what Tadaa SLR on iOS could do. So is there a better app? I will let you be a judge of that.

Using AfterFocus for Mobile

Let's dive right into this shall we? AfterFocus app is available for both iOS and Android and it rocks. The reason I say this is simple. It has everything you need to render a fake bokeh effect as good as you'd see on a full frame DSLR. But to get it right, it takes some work. 

Painting over the mask

When you start up the app, used the SMART option instead of the manual option. This means that the app will identify and isolate the areas in your pictures by carefully locking on to the selected areas. To select, just draw lines over it. It is that simple.

You need to mask the focused area by painting the area out as seen in Red with White lines. This tells the app that the area identified should be isolated. The edge detection capabilities of AfterFocus is astonishing. After painting over the focused area, you paint over the mid-ground area as seen in Grey. The background is marked with just black lines. Then you are done. 

Again the trick here is to think in 3D, the shallow depth of field will render everything outside the focus area in a blur. Lens blur works the best in this case.

select the type of blur you want for your image

You can vary the amount of blur on the image with the intensity bar. 

select bokeh for aperture and you're done!

You have lots of choices for Aperture, as you can see, it can be in different shapes but don't let that confuse you. Just select the Bokeh effect and you're done. 

AfterFocus final rendering

Original Image that is untouched

Tadaa SLR final Rendering

Bokeh Conclusions

Examine closely the three images. Look at the original and then look closely at both the final renderings on Tadaa and AfterFocus. Look at the thumb area of the figurine. You'd see that Tadaa failed to edge detect the background whereas for AfterFocus, you only needed to add a line to inidicate it was the background and it automatically isolated the focused area. What's more AfterFocus also successfully detected the head and hair area of the subject, which remains in focus.

Needless to say, AfterFocus wins hands down in this bokeh competition. These results may not have the creamy bokeh that comes with DSLRs but suffice to say, apps can only get better in time. 

I think we can expect to see even better bokeh type apps in the future. With Octo-core devices, the gentle art of bokeh can be realized even without a fast lens or a DSLR. 

The next step is really the live-view processing offered by dual camera modules. A dual camera module will make the process much easier and it's coming your way soon in 2014.


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