Windows 11 can enhance your video calling experience with AI-powered Windows Studio effects like background blur. Here’s how to use them.
Windows 11 keeps gaining new features, including what Microsoft calls Windows Studio effects. They were designed for the age of remote and hybrid working, letting you enhance your experience in video calls by applying certain effects to your camera and microphone, so you look and sound your best during video calls regardless of if you use a laptop with a built-in webcam or any of the best external webcams.
Using Windows Studio effects is pretty straightforward. There are two primary ways to access Windows Studio effects, either through the Settings app or the Quick Settings flyout. Let’s take a closer look.
What are Windows Studio effects?
As we previously mentioned, Windows Studio effects let you apply certain filters and effects to your camera and microphone to improve the way you look and sound during video calls. Theys require a neural processing unit (NPU), a special chip that wasn’t present in many processors until recently. The most surefire way to get an NPU is to buy an Arm-based device, such as the Surface Pro 9 with 5G or the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s. Some effects may also be available on Intel or AMD processors, though they also depend on the camera hardware you have.
Currently, there are four primary Windows Studio effects — three for the camera and one for the microphone. Here’s what they are:
- Automatic framing: As the name suggests, this feature makes it so the camera frame adjusts automatically to keep you in focus.
- Background effects (blur): This feature lets you blur the background elements in the camera view. You can choose between a standard blur or a softer portrait blur.
- Eye contact: This camera effect compensates for when you’re looking at the screen, making it appear as though you’re making eye contact with other people on the call.
- Voice focus: This microphone effect filters out background noise to ensure your voice is heard clearly.
Using Windows Studio effects in Quick Settings
The easiest way to use Windows Studio effects is in the Quick Settings panel, though this is a relatively recent method. You’ll need to be running Windows 11 build 22621.1344 (released on Feb. 28) or higher, which you can get by looking for updates in the Windows Update section of the Settings app. If you do have this version, you can follow these steps:
- Click the notification area icon group to open Quick Settings. This is the area with the network, battery, and sound icons.
- Choose Studio effects.
- By default, you’ll see the camera effects first. You can enable the ones you want to use, and a camera preview is shown at the top. You can also choose between a standard or portrait blur.
- Click the microphone icon at the top to switch to the microphone effects.
- Enable or disable Voice focus here.
Once you’ve chosen your settings, you simply click outside the Quick Settings panel to dismiss it, and you’ll be ready to go. If you don’t see the Studio effects option on your PC, you may need to add the button manually. Click the pencil icon at the bottom of the Quick Settings panel, and then click Add and choose Studio effects. If you still don’t see the option, your PC likely doesn’t support Studio effects.
This is definitely the easiest way to use Windows Studio effects, but you can also use the full Settings app.
Using Windows Studio effects in the Settings app
The other way to access Windows Studio effects is through the Settings app, though it’s a little more convoluted since the camera and voice effects are in different places. To enable the camera effects, follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app.
- Choose Bluetooth & devices from the menu on the left.
- Click Cameras.
- Select the primary webcam on your laptop. It will have a different name depending on your device.
- Enable the effects you want to use.
- Check the preview at the top to see how it looks.
Once that’s done, you can also enable voice focus, but it’s on a different page. Here’s how to do it:
- In the Settings app, choose the System section on the left.
- Click Sound.
- Under Input, select the microphone you want to use, and click the arrow next to it.
- Make sure the Audio enhancements dropdown menu is set to Microsoft Windows Studio Voice Focus.
- Enable the Voice Focus toggle.
That’s all there is to Windows Studio effects, at least for now. If you’d like to go back and disable these at any time, you can.
Windows Studio effects are only one of the features added in recent updates, so make sure to read about everything new in Windows 11 version 22H2 if you’d like to learn more. If you’d like to learn about other Windows 11 features, check out how to use touch gestures on Windows 11 PCs with a touchscreen.