Post-Process an Out of Focus Image

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by Cool G5, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Cool G5
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    Cool G5 New Member

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    The other day, I was in a park shooting & I captured one of my friend. Since I was shooting under AUTO mode the camera took time to focus & though it focused but on the wrong part. The image is great but sadly the subject being out of focus is of no use. Can it be post-processed so that I can make the subject in focus while washing out the background?

    Here is the image,

    [​IMG]

    Please download this & answer my query. I would be happy if you outline some steps to achieve the correction. I will be using GIMP on Fedora to do them.:(
  2. Steph
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    Steph New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    Unfortunately, if the subject is out of focus there is nothing you can do to save the shot in post-processing. Post-processing can do wonders but no miracles. Sorry!
  3. Andrew Sun
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    Andrew Sun New Member

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    The only way to fix it is that you should have taken another shot at that time. You should have seen it was focused on the wrong part through the LCD preview screen no?
  4. Dwig
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    Dwig New Member

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    The subject is out of focus to a rather large degree. Sharpening it can be done but won't really approach "looking in focus". The image can be improved, though. I suspect you are using the "washed out" phrase incorrectly (correct me if I'm wrong) and actually mean to blur the background, not make is very light.

    I managed to get a moderately decent image, better than the original at least, using Photoshop, specifically PS/CS4 but the steps are the same in any CS version. I don't know GIMP so I can't help with "translating" the PS steps or know if similar filters are available.

    in PS:

    1. duplicate the image on a new layer.
    2. sharpen the top layer as much as possible without creating noticable artifacts. I used Unsharp Mask cranked up a good bit.
    3. Mask or erase the background, leaving only the subject, on this top sharpended layer. Be very careful to use a soft edge to the makes that matches the overall sharpness of seen in the subject. I prefer to do this with a Layer Mask in PS rather than Erasing.
    4. Select the lower layer and blur it so that it is much softer than the subject. I used Gaussian Blue in PS.
    5. Since the sharpening in step 2 revealed a good bit of noise you need to add a matching amount of noice to the blurred lower layer. I used Add Noise in PS after zooming in so that the noise on the upper layer was easy to see.

    The big problem is that the blurred subject is smeared outward on the edges as a result of the blur. The above technique leaves a slight halo appearance around the subject where the blurred subject in the lower layer bleeds out further than the sharpened one in the upper layer. The only cure is to insert another laborious step between #3 and #4 above. In this step you need to retouch the edges of the subject using a tool like the Clone tool to clone some sharp background inward over the subject to eliminate the halo.

    In general, my results didn't really make the subject truely sharp. Bluring the background helps tremendously as your brain thinks the subject is sharper than it is when its so much sharper than the background.

    If you really wanted to wash out the background you could now lighten the lower blurred layer. Personally, I think that has a very negative impact on the image. Actually, darkening it slighty (I played with it using a Levels Adjustment Layer in PS between the two image layers) seems to help. An additional big improvement is a little judicious cropping. Don't do too much as you have no sharpness or detail to spare, but cropping off the top to get the subject's face away from the center of the image and perhaps a little on the edges helps tremendously.
  5. Sachphotography
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    Sachphotography New Member

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    I tried to work on it with NIK Sharpener pro. It wont help. If that program wont help there is nothing you can do. IT is the best one I have ever used and it wont do anything for that.
    Sorry mate....
  6. Cool G5
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    Cool G5 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Thanks for trying PP. :)
    I thought so the image is gone. Maybe next time I will get a perfect snap. The camera's LCD doesn't present the details clearly. I could hardly make out that it wasn't focused while shooting.

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