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.