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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: The Plugin Site Released Version 1.01 of its Sophisticated Sharpening Tool FocalBlade

November 3, 2003 - The Plugin Site (http://www.thepluginsite.com) is proud to announce Version 1.01 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 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.

New in Version 1.01

FocalBlade 1.01 can now process huge images with very little RAM and renders up to 10% faster at low RAM. It features better sharpening, because it increases saturation and brightness less when sharpening. There are new Highlights and Shadows sliders on the Fix tab sheet for reducing the sharpening or blurring in the highlight and shadow areas. The White/Black Halo sliders work more precisely and also affect the surface area. Support for grayscale images (8 bit and 16 bit) has been added, too. Version 1.0 displayed a semi-transparent preview when applied on layers in 16bit mode in Photoshop CS. This problem has been fixed in Version 1.01. Smaller enhancements include the usage of the Alt key to move the preview image with the left mouse button, the improvement of the Undo button to remove or restore the sample area and an expanded Tips section in the manual.


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.

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 and for reducing the sharpening in the shadows and highlight areas. 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, Highlights/Shadows 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, use imprecise sharpening algorithms, 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 Monday, November 3, 2003 at 10:53 EST)

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