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OnOne Focal Point software Review

Being the self-conscious type, Gary Wolstenholme is always selective about what he draws focus to. He hopes Focal point from OnOne Software should be just the job.

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System requirements
WindowsOnOne Software Focal Point
  • Windows XP with SP2 or Vista
  • Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework or higher
  • 32bit operating system supported
  • 64bit operating system not supported yet
  • OpenGL capable video card with 128Mb VRAM (256Mb recommended) at 1024x768 or higher
  • Version: 1.1.1
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher
  • G5 or Intel Core Processor(s)
  • Universal Binary - Supports PowerPC & Intel Processors
  • OpenGL capable video card with 128Mb VRAM (256Mb recommended) at 1024x768 or higher
Common to both Operating Systems
  • Photoshop CS2, CS3, or CS4
  • Photoshop Elements 5 or 6 (Windows)
  • Photoshop Elements 4.01 or 6 (Mac OS X)
  • 1Gb of RAM (2 or more Gb recommended)
  • 50Mb disk space
  • Adobe Flash Player 9
  • Internet Connection for auto-updates
OnOne software boast a wide range of Photoshop compatible filters for a range of tasks including interpolation, framing and other common editing tasks. Focal Point is a new filter from the same stable, which aims to reproduce the look of special effects lenses such as the popular Lenbaby, without adding any weight to your camera bag.

Focal Point isn't the only Photoshop add-on available to recreate this kind of effect, AlienSkin Bokeh Filter, reviewed on 23rd March 2009, is the main competition and costs around £45 more.

OnOne Software Focal Point
Adding Planar Blur can be tricky.
In Use
A insect-shaped controller allows you to change the effect generated by adjusting the length and angle of the arms in relation to the square in the centre. I found this control quite intuitive once I had gotten used to it. It did take me a while to get the hang of though.

If you really can't get the hang of this control method, all aspects of the blur effect can be adjusted manually using the sliders on the right-hand-side.

For those requiring a quick-fix, some prestes are provided, but these mainly deal with different kinds of vignettes. A few more varied presets would've been appreciated.

OnOne Focal Point 1.0: Results
With the correct image, Focal Point can be used effectively to help concentrate attention on your subject. Although the results are good, I didn't find them to be a replacement for actually using a special effects lens, such as a lensbaby, more that this filter would compliment the kit of someone who is after that kind of effect, but with the control of being able to creat the effect afterwards, and to take the picture using your own autofocus lenses.
OnOne Software Focal Point
Before any blur is added.
OnOne Software Focal Point
After blur gives the effect of a small aperture.
OnOne Software Focal Point
Before the blur is added.
OnOne Software Focal Point
After the blur is added.
OnOne Focal Point 1.0: Verdict
For those who hanker after the selective focus effect, but can't stand the hassle and expense of having to use a specialist lens for the job, this filter may open up some new creative possiblities. It's certainly cheaper than one of those lenses too, so it will also suit those on a budget.

OnOne Focal Point 1.0: Plus points:
Simple and straightforward to use
The effect is well-rendered and quite realistic
Cheaper than a specialist lens
Noise can be intruduced into the blur to match the noise in higher ISO images

OnOne Focal Point 1.0: Minus points:
Planar Blur effect is difficult to master
Although cheaper than a lens, it's still quite expensive
Still not really a substitute for the real thing





OnOne Focal Point 1.0 costs $159.99 (roughly £99) direct from OnOne's website:

OnOne Focal Point 1.0

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Paul Morgan 21 19.7k 6 England
12 Aug 2009 9:04PM
I prefer the effect in camera, this software is a actually dearer than three of the cheapest lenses capable of this or similar effect.

The Lensbaby original, 2.0 or Muse are all so much better.
digiphoto 20 40 12 England
17 Nov 2009 9:01PM
I cant agree as far as cost goes,I have just bought Onone Plug-in Suite 4 which includes FocalPoint.Genuine Fractels,MaskPro,PhotoFrame,PhotoTools and PhotoTune,of which PhotoTune is the weakest. For 250 that makes each Plug in about 41.I doubt I will use PhotoTune much but that only brings the cost of the 5 I shall use to 50 each.
Whether it is better than "Lensbaby" I cant comment as I haven't used it,but from the results I have seen on this site leads me to think FocalPoint gives you more control over the type , amount,and placment of blur you can achieve. And it is not hard to use it took around 15 min to master the basic handling with the included tutorials included in the actual programme so they are always on hand if you need help. Tony.

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