Add a 3D effect to your shots with Google Camera and Depthy

by: Bogdan PetrovanApril 22, 2014


Google’s newly released Camera app comes with a nifty little feature called Lens Blur. The feature lets you select areas in a picture that you want to defocus, to imitate that special bokeh effect that you typically see on shots taken with high-end cameras.

To make Lens Blur work, Google is adding a depth map to each shot, which, as it turns out, can be used for more than just selective defocus.

Polish developer Rafał Lindemann created Depthy, a tool that uses the depth map in Lens Blur shots to add a parallax effect to your images.

So far, it’s more of a proof of concept, but the code is open source and freely available, meaning that it’s just a matter of time until someone creates the first app (live wallpaper?) based on Depthy.

Not all shots are perfect. Here’s one that I made, showing the limitations of the concept.


For now, you can upload your Lens Blur shots here to see the effect in action. The tool works on PCs and mobile devices and lets you change the perspective to the shot using the mouse or by tilting the phone. You will need to take the shots with Google’s Camera app (Android 4.4+ required) and then open them up in Depthy.

For the record, HTC is doing something similar with the 3D effects of the One (M8), which make use of the dedicated sensor depth on the back of the phone.

  • MasterMuffin

    Pretty much useless for now, but cool I guess :D

  • Rob Triggs

    Love it, you should all check out the cursor controlled version on the DEPTHY website, the wobbly gifs don’t quite do this effect justice. This needs to go into a gallery app, it would be very cool to tilt your smartphone and have the image adjust slightly.

    • Colby Leong

      Will the effects still apply if I transferred the picture to another device?

      • Rob Triggs

        As it uses depth map information from the image, other apps could certainly create similar effects of their own.

  • Tom Z

    I couldn’t get it to work. I downloaded a photo from Google+ I know was taken with lensblur and the website says no depth map.

    • AnishP

      Seeing the same issue

  • Adi

    Well done! But is there any way to save it? Or to use it as for my google+ photo/background. Gifs can be used in G+ profiles and it looks quite good.

  • acashe42

    DEPTHY??? Just buy 3D Image Live Wallpaper from the play store. Has a great parallax effect and can use any picture or wallpaper.

  • Android Developer

    Something is really weird with the Buddha gif animation.

  • Nice one Boqdan!

  • YellowDevil

    Is this a feature on the M8’s camera?

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  • Lizzie McVeigh

    Pretty neat. How do you save as a GIF???