Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PICCURE the Final Release

If you have been reading my post on 4th May on Piccure, you will know what it is and what it can do.

In short, it is an easy-to-use plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, piccure will allow you to restore your degraded photos produced by involuntary camera movements.

And from my test, it did the deblurring very well!

Last week, Piccure was released into the wild and you are able to purchase this plug-in here.

Piccure come in for Win7 and OSX, you can either purchase the Photoshop or the Photoshop Element version.

In New Zealand, the Photoshop plugin cost $127.98 NZD and $63.34 if you are using PS Element.
According to Imaging Solution, the maker of Piccure...

" The plugin for Adobe® Photoshop® has full multiprocessor support (2-4x faster than the Adobe® Photoshop Elements® version) and advanced quality settings. 

The version for Adobe® Photoshop Elements® does not offer multiprocessor support or advanced quality settings and is not compatible with Adobe® Photoshop®. 

The plugin was optimized for Win7, Mac OSX 10.7 or later."

To test the deblurring software, I thought I have the perfect "real world" picture!

This happy family picture was taken by me a couple of weeks ago and to my horror it is NOT sharp!

A quick look at the meta data told me that it was shot, hand held at ONE FULL SECOND, f8 with my Olympus OM-D and the kit lens!

Why a full second?  I made a boo boo!

I remembered I had my 1987 Metz 32CT3 flash on the OM-D as a fill-in bounce, I must have forgotten to switch my setting to "M"; on "A" (aperture priority), the camera set it's shutter speed to a full second because that was the correct exposure at f8!

Result? Massive camera shake!

 A crop from the above picture shows the classic "ghost image effect" caused by heavy camera shake. I was amazed the image is still viewable, at one second hand held exposure; image from lesser camera (without stabilizer) will be completely blur!!

The shaken picture was put through Piccure for Photoshop with the above setting. Notice how much sharper the picture on the right became? This is the before (left) and after view.

I was really impressed with the result! Piccure has transformed a rather soft picture to a really sharp one!

However I noticed, there are still artifacts in some area of the "fixed" picture. Take a look below...

Before (Top) and after (Bottom) Piccure.

My query was emailed to Piccure and I got a really fast reply...

Hello CY,

Please find our result and the explanation enclosed. 

I think piccure estimated the camera blur pretty accurately (so found out how the camera moved). The problem we now get is during the deconvolution (= reversal of the shake). 

Specifically: we have a bright blur (hand) before "black legs". 

Mathematically speaking those high contrasts and the blur make it really really difficult if not impossible to remove the camera shake without any artifacts remaining.

In comparison: the area where the pullover was "shaky" before the black background (see the right side) there are basically no artifacts left. The problem here is that information about the "dark legs" is lost in great parts due to the heavy blur. piccure can not recover "the true structure" of the "dark legs" because there is too much information destroyed because of the bright hands overlapping the dark structures...
The problem here at hand "is less about piccure not performing" and "more about signal processing and information being irrecoverably lost". 

We get similar problems for "night shots" - high contrasts can be a killer for camera shake reduction...
 I know this may not be a 100% satisfactory response to "what piccure should be able to do" - but a lot of information was lost forever in the picture - and even piccure can not recover it.

I hope my explanation helps...


That explanation is good enough for me :) But what if my customer is not happy? I guess I will have to spend hours cloning the artifacts out!

Famous Last Words...

I was impressed what Piccure can do to a blurred picture caused by excessive  camera shakes.

But I can't help but wonder who are their targeted customers?

Would professional photographers spend $127.98 NZD to fix their "shaken" shots?  But how often do pro shooter cock up?

With more and more cameras with built-in anti shake stabilizers, will there be enough blurred, shaken pictures to warrant buying Piccure?

Will the just announced Adobe Creative Cloud which includes a camera shake filter affect the sales of Piccure?

Questions, questions...

I wish Piccure every success!

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