Adorama News Writer
December 4, 2008
Alien Skin has just released Bokeh, a Photoshop plug-in that lets you manipulate focus and control the quality of blur in images. Named after the Japanese term describing the quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image, Bokeh can be used to realistically increase the amount of background blur, add blur selectively for creative vignetting, and create tilt-shift effects. The software is available now for approximately $190.
For details, read the Alien Skin press release:
Alien Skin Software Announces Bokeh Lens Simulation Plug-in for Photoshop
Press Release 11/21/08
Alien Skin Software today announces the immediate availability of Bokeh™, its new lens simulation plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop Elements. Photographers use Bokeh to draw attention to their subject by manipulating focus and depth of field after the shot has been taken. From changing the depth of field to placing a radial sweet spot and adding a vignette, Bokeh has many tools for realistic blurring and altering the mood of a scene. Bokeh is the first software based on mathematics sophisticated enough to produce a natural blur and creamy highlights.
“Bokeh is the Japanese word for ‘blur’ and is a photographic term that refers to the visually-distinctive appearance of the out-of-focus areas in a photograph,” said Terence Tay, the lead developer of Bokeh. “Alien Skin’s Bokeh plug-in provides photographers with the creative freedom to manipulate the aesthetic quality of bokeh, including the ability to create heart and star-shaped bokeh highlights.”
Making the Subject Pop
A busy background or shooting with a narrow aperture can distract the viewer from the photographer’s subject. Bokeh can draw attention back to the subject in multiple ways. If the photographer selects the subject in Photoshop, Bokeh can blur the background to give the realistic impression that the shot was taken with a lower f-stop. This decrease in depth of field gets rid of visual clutter. This capability is useful for any photographer, but particularly for the many cameras without full-frame sensors.
Limitless Creative Freedom
Bokeh provides a flexible radial sweet spot for gradually softening a scene everywhere except on the subject. This effect could be achieved with expensive tilt-shift lenses, but is more easily done after the shot using Bokeh.
Vignette darkening can be used to draw the eye to the subject, change the mood of a scene, or simulate a low-end Lomo camera. Bokeh provides full control over the vignette, including feathering and shape tools such as the radial sweet spot.
The photographer has a wide range of control over the shape of the simulated aperture in Bokeh. This shape has the most noticeable effect on highlights. Everything from the number of blades to blade curvature to the creaminess (photographic term for softness) of highlights can be manipulated. Bokeh is so flexible that it can even render heart-shaped highlights.
Accurate Lens Simulation
Bokeh is the only software that accurately simulates the distinctive blurring and creamy highlights of real lenses. The engineers at Alien Skin Software performed careful experiments with lenses famous for their bokeh highlights, such as the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Macro. The result is a photo-realistic look, in contrast to the unnatural blur from other software.
Pricing and Availability
Bokeh sells for $199 USD. Online or physical delivery is available through the Alien Skin website. A real live human (imagine that!) can take orders or answer questions at 888-921-SKIN (7546). Bokeh is also available worldwide through stores, catalogs, and resellers.
Bokeh is a plug-in and requires one of the following host applications:
* Adobe Photoshop CS3 or later
* Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0.1 or later (Macintosh)
* Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 or later (Windows)
* Adobe Fireworks CS4
* Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2
Microsoft Windows users must have at least a Pentium 4 processor or compatible and Windows XP or later. Apple Macintosh users must have a PowerPC G5 or Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later. A monitor with 1024x768 resolution or greater is required.