Restoring old family photos can be a pleasant waste of time, but an impressive new Photoshop tool has just arrived to speed up the task for those who prefer to do it with a single click.
Photoshop’s new Photo Restoration Neural Filter effectively automates many of the program’s tools, such as Content-Aware Fill, to help restore your old photos within seconds.
‘Neural filters’ is the collective name for Adobe’s AI-powered editing tools, which also include effects like Depth Blur (to artificially create shallow depth of field effects) and Colorize, which colors black and white photos.
But the new photo restoration tool looks particularly useful if you’ve recently scanned a bunch of dog-eared portrait photos. As you can see in the demo below, it can detect and correct scratches, while also working its magic on contrast, noise and color in the image.
All of these things are already possible in Photoshop, but the leap forward is the program’s ability to identify a photo’s problems and automatically fix them for you. This opens up photo restoration for those unfamiliar with Photoshop’s often mysterious menus.
Since most of Photoshop’s neural filters run locally on your computer, you’ll need a relatively recent machine to use Photo Restoration and these other tricks. Adobe says you need a Mac running macOS 10.15 Catalina (or later) or a Windows computer running Windows 10 (or later).
Adobe hasn’t said exactly when the Photo Restoration filter will be available for download, but we’ve requested an estimate and will update this story when we get a response. When Photoshop updates are available, the program will often prompt you to update your filters – so be on the lookout for a push coming soon.
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Photoshop neural filters only arrived in 2020, but these AI-powered tools have already grown significantly in number and versatility. The new Photo Restoration tool, however, might be one of the most useful so far.
It’s not the first program to deal with the growing demand for scanning old photos. Google’s PhotoScan app allows Android and iOS smartphone users to bring prints into their digital library and apply automated corrections such as de-gloss. There are other cloud-based services as well, such as VanceAI.
But the power of the Photoshop brand and its ubiquity means that its photo restoration tool has a good chance of being used more widely, particularly among beginners who aren’t familiar with all its tools and are looking for a one-click solution. The only downside is that you need the full version of Photoshop to use the feature – it’s not available in Photoshop Elements.
If you don’t want the program to be too heavy on your photo, there are adjustment sliders and checkboxes for tools like Face Enhance and Scratch Reduction that let you customize the look.
This is good news because while the Photo Restoration demos are impressive, some might find the end result a little too bold and contrived. Still, there’s no doubt the feature will improve over time, and it’s just the beginning of a new Photoshop ‘robot’ for those unfamiliar with the curves of their smart objects.