FocusFixer is an invaluable tool for anyone who takes digital photos with a half-decent camera. It needs no technical knowledge to get stunning results, and is thoroughly recommended. Don’t take our word for it – find that failed gem of a photo and use the trial version (15 uses or 15 days) on our cover CD.
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How many times have you taken a photo with a digital camera and found that the main subject is out of focus? Perhaps the camera focused on a closer item, or the depth of field was such that the main subject appeared soft. If this has ever happened to you, I’ll bet you’ve tried Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask, possibly on just a selected region, with limited success. Now there’s a better solution. FocusFixer, an OS X Photoshop 7-compatible plug-in, does just what it says; it largely gets rid of focus blur in a photo. Using a scientific model of how blur is formed in an image, it achieves a result that Photoshop alone cannot. It works best when applied to a selected part of a photo rather than the whole image, and is not intended for motion-blurred pictures or for those adversely affected by JPEG artefacts. It also requires a decent quality image in the first place – although decent results were obtained from photos taken with a Sony DSC-S70, an average 3.3-megapixel camera. FocusFixer couldn’t be easier to use. Working on a selected part of a photo, the filter has just one slider for amount of blur and a preview window. Adjusting the slider shows the result immediately, although the preview really doesn’t do justice to the final result – which is often little short of astonishing. There’s an interesting by-product too. Soft edges often appear when resizing an image with Photoshop’s bicubic interpolation. As long as the level of softness isn’t too great, FocusFixer does a decent job of countering this – useful when outputting large prints; although the likes of Genuine Fractals PrintPro will probably do a better job but at a price.