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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DPP Solutions: Alien Skin Bokeh 2

Powerful software that lets you simulate a wide-open aperture and limited depth of field

This Article Features Photo Zoom

It happened quietly and subtly. One day, no one had ever heard the term, and the next, it was appearing on lens spec sheets as though it had always been there. Bokeh has gone from an obscure Japanese word to a term that has caught on with photographers, art directors and photo collectors, and has become part of their daily lexicon.

The word refers to the blurry areas in a photograph, of course, and one of the reasons it has become so ubiquitous is because Alien Skin Software developed its Bokeh software to rave reviews a few years ago. Now a new version, Bokeh 2, has been introduced, and it builds on the abilities of the previous version.

At the heart of Bokeh 2 is the ability to apply the effect with a fine degree of control. If you have a photograph with an annoying background that you wish had been completely soft when you shot it, the controls and sliders in Bokeh 2 can help you make it look like it was shot at ƒ/2 rather than ƒ/22.

The software works with Photo-shop CS5, and now it’s compatible with Lightroom 2 and above, which makes it possible to batch-process images en masse fast. You’ll particularly appreciate that this is a program with an interface that was created by photographers as opposed to software engineers. Controls are logically named, and effects are logically applied. For example, there’s a control that lets you specify the number of aperture blades and the amount of blade curvature you’re simulating.

Overall, Bokeh 2 gives pros a powerful tool for making subjects pop out of a cluttered background without having to reshoot. It’s easy to use and let’s you apply as much or as little control over the effect as you want.

Contact: Alien Skin Software, www.alienskin.com.


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