Focal Point 2 is available both on its own and as part of OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite, a collection of image effects and tools which can be used as a Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture plug-in, but also works as a standalone application.
You can achieve very sophisticated depth of field effects with this program, but it does take some learning – that’s the only thing I’ve got against Perfect Photo Suite at the moment, the fact that I have to keep checking the manual to figure out how things work. I’ve never had this to quite the same extent with Nik (Google) plug-ins, but I want to keep an open mind because the Perfect Photo Suite plug-ins are an important, powerful and versatile Photoshop alternative.
I’m going to try it out on this shot I took of a boat on Sidmouth beach. It’s all right, but I want to create the feel of a larger format camera by throwing the background and the foreground out of focus.
01 The Perfect Photo Suite window
If you launch Focal Point 2 directly you can skip this step and go on to the next one. But if you launch Perfect Photo Suite first you’ll see this window, and you’ll need to click the ‘Focus’ button top right.
02 Focal Point 2 interface
When you first start Focal Point 2, you’ll see a ‘focus bug’ gadget in the middle of the shot and the surrounding parts of the picture will be blurred. The focus bug will vary in shape according to your last settings or the preset you choose. It looks complicated (not to say weird!) but I’ll show how it works in the steps that follow.
03 Changing the focus bug type
In the previous shot, the focus bug had a round shape, but to create the shallow before-and-aft defocus effect of a larger format camera (or a wider lens aperture), you need to swap to the Planar type using the drop-down Shape menu in the FocusBug panel on the right hand side.
04 The planar focus bug
The focus bug now has a square shape, and if you click it and hold the mouse button down, you’ll see a rectangular grid indicating the area the focus bug affects.