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The following is an unedited press release, shown as received from the company represented. We've elected to present selected releases without editorial comment, as a way to provide our readers more information without further overtaxing our limited editorial resources. To avoid any possible confusion or conflict of interest, the Imaging Resource will always clearly distinguish between company-provided press releases and our own editorial views and content.

Focal Blade's logo. Courtesy of The Plugin Site, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click to visit The Plugin Site. PRESS RELEASE: FocalBlade - Sharpen your Photos Perfectly Without the Usual Side Effects

July 29, 2003 - The Plugin Site (http://www.thepluginsite.com) is proud to announce the release of FocalBlade, a Photoshop-compatible plugin for sharpening your photos for screen display and printing as well as for producing great looking blur, soft focus and glow effects on 8bit and 16bit RGB images. FocalBlade lets you sharpen photos without amplifying noise or artifacts and produces impressive sharpening results even on low quality images. FocalBlade is the second product in our new PhotoWiz product line, which sets a new standard for photo correction tools.

FocalBlade features a range of automatic, semiautomatic and manual tools for sharpening photos. It is very easy to use as it offers interactive explanations for each feature, incorporates modes for various tasks (including a Novice Mode) and detailed step-by-step instructions in the manual. FocalBlade lets you sharpen photos quickly and also batch process images in Cloak mode. Moreover, FocalBlade offers numerous options for creating blur, soft focus and glow effects and for deblurring photos that are highly blurred.

FocalBlade screenshot. Courtesy of The Plugin Site, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Sophisticated Algorithms
FocalBlade's sophisticated algorithms sharpen images without ugly side effects and give the user a lot of control of the sharpening process. FocalBlade sharpens edges and surfaces in an image independently thereby allowing you to keep objects (e.g. sky, walls, skin and other even surfaces) soft while the overall photo is still sharpened. Unlike other tools FocalBlade doesn't produce halos at high radius settings and even provides sliders for suppressing the white and black part of halos independently. Additionally with FocalBlade you can set the pixel size of details that are sharpened. FocalBlade also lets you keep noise constant or even reduce it when sharpening a photo.

Plenty of Tools
FocalBlade provides three automatic sharpening options for achieving perfect sharpening results with different classes of photos. With Screen and Print buttons you can make FocalBlade automatically sharpen for screen display or for printing. There is also a semiautomatic sample area feature, which lets the user focus on an important image area and thereby apply the optimal sharpness to this area. Additionally there are several Split View modes that let you compare the original and sharpened version as well as visually perform sharpening with the help of preview stripes that present you with variations of the current settings. The manual controls include independent Sharpen and Radius sliders, a Soften slider, Halo Fix sliders, several masking options and a glow feature. FocalBlade also offers five different sharpening methods. Opening and saving presets for reusing certain effects is possible.

Why FocalBlade is Different
Unlike other sharpening tools FocalBlade sharpens photos without damaging them and even achieves impressive sharpening results on low quality images. Many other tools don't offer an automatic sharpening mode, add clearly visible halos, increase noise, remove the photographic quality of photos, damage edges, need a lot of experimenting to achieve a good result or are overpriced. FocalBlade doesn't have these flaws. It is flexible as well as very easy to use, saves you precious time when sharpening photos and is available at an
affordable price.

Availability & System Requirements
FocalBlade is currently only available for Windows, but a Macintosh version is planned. FocalBlade sells at $49.95 (Download) or $59.95 (CD Version including postage). There is an Academic/Student License for $29.95. It can be purchased at http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/. A demo version can be downloaded at the same URL.

Company Info
The Plugin Site is located in Nuremberg, Germany, and develops graphics, video and web software. We also created the ColorWasher, Plugin Galaxy, Plugin Commander, HyperTyle, Edge & Frame Galaxy, HTML Shrinker, Harry's Filters and Photo Galaxy products. We co-produced Alpha Magic with Hollywood FX and Pinnacle and also co-develop the FilterMeister plugin development environment with AFH Systems.

(First posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 at 17:30 EDT)

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