With Neural Filters a huge part of Adobe’s recent Photoshop release, I decided to dive in and take a look for myself at what works … and what doesn’t.

What’s a Neural Filter?

Neural Filters have their own menu and dialog box; they’re separate from the other filters. The reason for this, and what makes them so different, is that they utilize Adobe’s artificial intelligence called Sensei, the power behind a lot of remarkable features that have made it to Adobe products over the last few years.

The ability of Sensei to recognize faces and objects is extraordinary and has helped with identifying images when uploading to Adobe Stock, for example. Taking this power and adding it to a filter was something I was very excited about … but I’m not sure it lived up to my expectations.

Who are the filters for?

That said, I don’t believe I am part of the demographic that these filters are aimed at. The filters themselves feel like they have come across from Photoshop Elements, in that they take a lot of the decision-making and creating away from the user. That’s not a bad thing if you are wanting to click and go, but for those with real knowledge of Photoshop, its layers and workflow, the majority of these seem unnecessary.

I’m not going to discount all the features here — far from it. There is some real power at work and a good starting point for many projects. The Colorize filter is extraordinary and for many jobs may be all that is needed to color a portrait. At the very least, for the professional restorer, it is a very strong starting point.

Once a fan-boy…?

After reviewing my video I realized that I was being quite negative about the new filters, perhaps more than I should be. But I put this down to a little bit of disappointment.

The Smart Portrait filter is very good, but in my mind takes too long when much of what can be done can be done in the standard Liquify filter.

This, I believe, is the crux of my issues. Why would I want to use this new filter that takes three times as long? It just doesn’t make sense to me. There are elements in this filter that I will probably use from time to time but only when I have the time.

It is issues like this that make me realize that I am not the person these filters have been aimed at, and that I may be more of a Photoshop snob that I’m happy to admit! However, it’s a brand-new demographic and I look forward to making tutorials for this them.

All your apps in one place

With all that said these new features are things that I am doing on my mobile device using several different apps so it is nice to be able to see them in one place, to use them as a part of my existing or new workflows.

Using Photoshop rather than the apps is more secure and to have a one-stop-shop can only be a good thing. Let’s just hope it speeds up a little.