Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mini Review: onOne Software Focal Point 2

Mouse over to see the image without the focus bug, mouse out to see the focus bug
onOne Software FocalPoint 2

onOne Software’s FocalPoint is an application that you can run directly from Aperture or Lightroom without owning Photoshop to add lens blur and vignetting to your image. It’s very powerful because it can emulate a lot of great lens blur effects (from expensive lenses) and you can control the effect.

I last reviewed onOne Software’s FocalPoint 1.0 product in early 2009 when I compared it to AlienSkin Software’s Bokeh. Since that time Bokeh hasn’t evolved that much, but Focal Point has improved quite a bit. Both products are good, but I find the user interface of Focal Point to be far superior.

The main reason I prefer FocalPoint now is because I have a lot more control of what I do and the powerful focal bug makes it much easier to get the look I want quickly. However, as good as the bug is there’s still the problem with part of my image getting blur that I don’t want so that’s where the handy FocusBrush comes in where I can easily remove the parts where I don’t want blur and add it where I do. It’s simple masking which can easily be done in Photoshop, but for Lightroom users this support being built in the product means you are limited. For Photoshop users it’s also means that you don’t have to visit Photoshop to just do a blur effect.

Use Focal Point to control your viewers eye

In the sample photo below I’ve used FocalPoint to blur out the distracting mud on the ground and draw the viewers attention more to the yellow tulip in the center. I’ve also done a little Photoshop work to remove some other distractions and applied Nik Software’s Tonal Contrast filter (in Color Efex Pro 4).

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after
After post processing (hover (or tap on iOS) to see the before)

If you hover your mouse over the photo above (or look at the photo below) you can see the difference it makes in blurring the edges and adding a vignette. No longer are your eyes flying off the frame, but instead they keep getting bounced back into the center of the photo to the tulip where you want their attention to be.

Mouse over to see after, mouse out to see before
Before post processing (hover (or tap on iOS) to see the after)

For those viewing on mobile devices, I’ve included the before version, but if you are using a mouse you can hover over either photo to toggle between before and after. You can also tap on the photo to toggle on iOS (but you must tap a different photo to toggle back).

This is just one example, but you can imagine anywhere you have unwanted background you could use FocalPoint to make it become less visible in a natural kind of way. You can also use FocalPoint to create the toy city effect like this:

Overall it’s a fun product that is a nice stand alone product or addition to have when getting the other great Perfect Photo Suite 6.1.

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Conclusion

This product has been around awhile, but I’ll admit that I hadn’t been using it much. Now that I’ve taken the time to rediscover it, I look forward to adding it back to my digital workflow. Download the free trial here and try it out for yourself!

Click the links below to see my other onOne Software product reviews:

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2 comments:

Murray Parker said...

Ron, my name is Murray Parker. I have been following your blog for some time now and just finished reading Printing 101 after buying an Epson printer 3880 that you recommended. I also bought an X-Rite i1 Display Pro, that you recommended and last night I bought the ultimate version of Nik software. By the way, there was no problem using your code. My question is, I have an Imac 27" computer. Should I try to calibrate this monitor (heard there was a lot of trouble in doing so) or should I get another monitor like you recommend for example the NEC series. I don't want to become very frustrated with my iMac which I love if I can't get it properly calibrated. Thanks for your time
Murray

Ron Martinsen said...

Murray, please send me an email with your question. My contact info is on the About tab and on my portfolio web site's contact page.