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This control works great if you have a fairly simple oval or planar region that you want apply your blur towards, but it has holes in real world applications such as the the situation below where we want to make my lovely expectant wife the focal point and ignore my daughter and the noise in the background.

In addition, using its strongest blur, still results in a blur that isn't super strong as shown in this image: FocalPoint is easy to use and offers a fantastic UI, but its spider control doesn't yield the best results for a shot like this. However, there is an added benefit to FocalPoint in that it offers some interesting presets for nice vignettes and the spider is great for offering control over the effect for a really slick border to your photo.

Click here to learn more about FocalPoint. Click here to see my new review for 2. Alien Skin Software 1. Here's a view of its crude user-interface: However, a big challenge although some would call it a benefit of Bokeh is that you must apply your selection of the area you wish to protect i. The results can be great if your selection is good, but if your selections are off as mine was in this example which was done with a fast quick mask selection then you'll have nasty holes without a nice feather like FocalPoint offers at least using the preset options: The result is that you end up with something that can be great if you take the time up front to make sure your selection is spot on.

This of course, makes it not much different than applying a lens blur in Photshop itself which makes you wonder what it is you are really paying for?

The answer it seems, is the magic settings that simulate some famous lenses known for fantastic bokeh. Alien Skin has decided to discontinue its discount, but you can support this blog by purchasing through this link. The settings I used were hexagon shape, a radius of 79 a total guess blade curvature of 14 previously used setting and the rest of the values were the defaults including the Uniform distribution instead of Gaussian - which didn't have a obvious difference.

Here's the result of the Photoshop version overlaid on the Bokeh version: The net result is that it is similar, but you might not be able to crank CS4 up high enough to get the same results as Bokeh. In fact, the results look closer to what I got in FocalPoint. As you can see the bokeh is pretty sweet, but perhaps not as smooth and exaggerated as the one created by Bokeh.

Conclusion When I analyze the two products together move your mouse in and out on the image below , you quickly notice that Bokeh is using the stronger blur that really does a decent simulation of the great bokeh you'd get from a high end lens: With that in mind, is it worth paying for the effect?

Then again, it is really easy to get results that aren't believable as its is more than just a good selection, but also knowing how to apply the appropriate gradient to feather the blur in the transition areas.

These details can only be done by understanding what these lenses do in real life, so that leaves the user with a gap in knowledge to do an accurate job if they've never actually owned the lens. Overall, I'd say that there's not much advantage to FocalPoint over Photoshop's Lens Blur filter, but Bokeh does offer a noticeable advantage in a much less user-friendly user-interface. Short of having the real thing, Alien Software's Bokeh seems to be the product of choice for simulating what some of the great lenses do, but if your goal is to simply use blur as an mechanism for guiding the users eye to your focal point, then Photoshop's Lens Blur filter should be sufficient for your needs at no additional cost.

Disclosure I was provided free copies of these products and will receive a commission if you use the links in the blog. Thank you for supporting this blog by using these links and the discount codes. This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies. If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes.

Either way, your support is greatly appreciated! This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site. The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity.

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Alien Skin Bokeh 2. OR Alien Skin Bokeh 2. Alien Skin Eye Candy 7. Photographers use Bokeh to draw attention to their subject by manipulating focus, vignette, and depth of field. Bokeh gives you the visual language of specialized lenses without the expense or hassle. Just drop a focus region over your subject and choose a preset or easily craft your own look.

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