Yesterday we were talking about the Pixel feature drops, the new updates that Google releases for the Pixel range. The first feature drop has already reached the Pixel 3 XL and it includes a very interesting novelty that reaches Google Photos. Is named ‘Blur background’ and allows us to convert almost any photo of people into a photo with portrait mode.
Until now, in the editing options of Google Photos we could adjust the amount of blur of the portraits shot with the Pixel, but if the photo had not been taken with the portrait mode there was nothing to do. With this option it is possible apply the blur afterwards, although we took it with the automatic mode. That’s how it works.
How to blur the background of a photo without portrait mode
At the moment, it appears that the option of ‘Blur background’ is only reaching the Google Pixel as part of that update or ‘Feature drop’ we were talking about. If you have received it, your Pixel will notify you and will show you a screen like the one you see on these lines, where there are also other news, but we are going to focus on Google Photos.
The first thing to know about ‘Blur background’ is that we cannot apply it to any photo, but the button to apply the effect only appears in some. We have found that it only works with photos with people, but not all of them. For example, we have not been activated in full-body photos or others in which the face was not well framed. Oh and very important, works with photos taken with any mobile, not just with the Pixel.
‘Background blur’ only works with photos of people and in which the face is well framed.
If the photo is suitable, the button with the text ‘Blur background’ appears at the bottom. Pressing it leaves us choose the amount of blur and, once adjusted, save a copy of the image. Google Photos applies more or less blur depending on the image and the truth is that it is usually quite right, but as we said it is possible to adjust it to our liking.
About the result, in general it is quite good as long as we do not put the blur to the maximum. There are cropping errors, especially in hair areas, but very correct portraits can be achieved by playing with the amount of blur. Here are some examples with the before / after: