Image sharpness redefined: Adaptive deconvolution

piccure+ is a new application capable of correcting optical aberrations and camera shake that cause a lack of sharpness in your images. It integrates seamlessly as a plugin (filter) into Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop® Elements and Lightroom®. It can also be called directly from within DxO Optics Pro® and PhaseOne CaptureOne®. piccure+ also works as standalone including RAW converter – everything starting from 79.99 USD*.

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Correct optical aberrations and camera shake like never before

piccure+ uses a novel method that essentially inverts the optical processes that cause images to look blurry. With the help of piccure+, your equipment can now be upgraded with a mouse click. piccure+ is useful for both expensive fast lenses as well as economic zoom lenses. You will often be able to match the sharpness of lenses costing several thousands of dollars with equipment costing a mere fraction of that amount, and finally get that “crisp” touch with your prime lens wide open. No other solution gives your equipment a similar upgrade. The improvements get more substantial with increasing image size: many lenses cannot match today’s sensor resolution of up to 36 or even 50 megapixels. Only with the latest and best lenses, and ideally with a camera mounted on a tripod will you directly benefit from these large sensor resolutions. In all other cases, piccure+ can help you make full use of your sensor.

FEATURES

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    Lens+ engine

    Lens+ is a real world novelty revolutionising image sharpening: thanks to a sophisticated set of algorithms and the latest deconvolution routines it is now possible to correct images for lens softness and chromatic aberration the most common errors to affect image sharpness. Lens+ recreates a virtual flawless lens, estimates the optical aberrations and reverses their effect. Your pictures will thus become significantly sharper.

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    Motion+

    Motion+ gives photographers the possibility to account for camera shake in the post-processing. Professional photographers find this feature compelling as especially micro-shakes can be corrected. The powerful algorithms can furthermore correct medium or severe camera shakes.

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    No Lens Profile needed

    piccure+’s innovative approach has the great benefit that optical corrections can be made for every lens/camera combination. Even images from less popular digital cameras, analogue cameras, etc. can now be corrected. We don’t charge extra for expensive equipment

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    Easy to use, powerful, developed for professionals

    A powerful standalone application with an easy-to-use batch functionality and full RAW support are also available – no third party software needed. piccure+ also supports a wide range of ICC color profiles and thus accommodates your needs for color managememt: sRGB, AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB are fully supported. piccure+ is highly optimized through full multiprocessor support and leverages CPU intrinsic functions. It has an efficient RAM management: it will not clog up your system but free up RAM immediately.

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    Seamless workflow integration

    piccure+ fully integrates into your workflow: it works as standalone, a plugin for Adobe® Photoshop®, Lightroom® or Photoshop Elements®. It seamlessly integrates into the batch functionality of Adobe® Photoshop® and Lightroom®. In addition to that it can be called from DxO Optics Pro or PhaseOnce CaptureOne. Leverage our capabilities without altering your workflow.

REQUIREMENTS

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    Windows

    Windows 7 or later
    4 GB RAM and Dual-core; 8+ GB and Quad-core recommended;

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    Macintosh

    Mac 10.6.8 or later
    4 GB RAM and Dual-core; 8+ GB and Quad-core recommended;

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    Plugin-Version (Plugin and standalone versions are installed)

    Adobe® Photoshop® (CS4 or newer), Adobe® Lightroom® 3 (or newer) or Adobe® Photoshop Elements® (version 7 or newer). DxO Optics Pro® 9 or later, Phase One Capture One® 8 or later

Don’t lose 40-80% of your sensor resolution to lens softness

piccure+ is primarily aimed towards professional photographers shooting 20+ MP RAW images. However, many photographers don’t know that they lose 40-80% of their sensor resolution to lens softness. Even the latest lenses often cannot match the resolution of modern camera sensors. DxOLabs (famous for their camera and lens tests) evaluated many of the most recent Nikon lenses with the following results (sensor resolution vs. Perceptual MPix). In addition to that, most high-res DSLRs use an optical low pass filter (OLPF) to reduce anti-aliasing and moiré effects and thereby also reduce image sharpness quite significantly. In the end, not much of your cameras 50/36 MP may be left actually…


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    The quality of fine detail sharpening is amongst the best I’ve seen. In many examples, it just looks as if I’m now seeing the limits of sensor resolution much more clearly.

    Keith – Northlight Images UK

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    I found Piccure+ an excellent tool for those of you craving “a greater grip on reality.” It was able to enhance a number of images in my collection that I’d abandoned because the results I could obtain through Photoshop or Lightroom just didn’t live up to my expectations.

    Paul Burwell, Outdoor Photography Canada

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    piccure+ does real math with your original images as they come out of camera to make them sharper and cleaner. There isn’t a serious photographer out there, who cannot benefit from piccure+

    Ross, The Photo Video Guy

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    In practice I found that piccure worked very well, often better and more quickly than the shake reduction in Photoshop CC […] It’s definately a valuable tool to have available in your toolbox

    Stan Sholik, Rangefinder Magazine


How is it any different from the competition?

There are two main differences: 1) piccure+ fixes errors specifically for the image at hand. There are significant copy-to-copy variations in both lenses and camera bodies. This limits the effectiveness of “lens profiles” that are only specific to your lens model, but not to the actual lens you got, let alone to your camera body. 2) piccure+ uses a process called deconvolution to reverse the blur. This is much more complex than the classical “unsharp masking” operations and can correct complex blurs (e.g. coma, spherical aberrations). It’s extremely difficult to do well.


piccure+ complements your existing tools

It may appear that piccure+ aims to replace your Adobe® Lightroom®, DxO Optics Pro® or Adobe® Photoshop® software solution – since all promise a lens correction module. But be reassured: piccure+ has different strengths, and although it can be run in standalone mode, it complements the above tools nicely.

We know that many of you use Adobe® Lightroom®, Adobe® Photoshop® CC, DxO Optics Pro® or PhaseOne Capture One®. This is why we have optimized piccure+ to integrate seamlessly as a plugin to ensure that your workflow changes are minimal. piccure+ can even be called directly from DxO Optics Pro® and PhaseOne CaptureOne®. Our handbook provides details on how to integrate piccure+ efficiently in your existing workflow (e.g. Actionscript support). The larger the optical aberrations are, the less useful your current tools will be. Find out more using this Link.

Unlike most investments in photography, this investment will not render your current equipment obsolete. In fact, the opposite is the case. All your lenses and images will receive a significant upgrade that could be worth several thousand dollars. Our software supports every camera and lens because it does not rely on any lens profiles.

piccure+ works by automatically identifying the optical aberrations of your lens, and reversing the effect, thus recovering the image without all the lens softness and chromatic aberrations. piccure+ significantly increases image sharpness. If you are inclined to invest $3,000 in a new lens—hold off and let piccure+ give your old equipment a second chance.

The technology behind piccure+ is completely different from current software solutions. Instead of applying unsharp masks to make an image appear sharper, or rely on lens profiles that may not work well for your copy of a lens, our software solution determines your equipment’s actual optical aberrations and reverses them through a process called deconvolution. NASA has used a similar technology to rescue one of their most prestigious projects—the Hubble Space Telescope.


Correct optical flaws

The Lens+ engine determines a “virtual lens” for each image: the optically flawless version of your lens used and reverses the effects of lens softness and chromatic aberrations. With sophisticated deconvolution routines as used by military and space agencies significantly better images can be achieved.



Correct camera shake

The Motion+ engine is the further improved version of the world’s first commercial camera shake reduction functionality. It can not only correct medium and severe camera shakes, but even detect and reverse micro-shakes and thus improve image sharpness drastically.



For professionals

piccure+ was developed and optimized for professionals: it works as a standalone with full RAW support or integrates as a plugin for Adobe® Photoshop®, Lightroom® and Photoshop® Elements. Action scripting is supported, just like ICC color profiles (e.g. ProPhotoRGB). A powerful denoising routine will further improve the quality of the result. You will not need to adjust your workflow – piccure+ integrates seamlessly.


Examples: piccure+ is very versatile

Great for landscape and architecture photographers

Photo by Mihai P

piccure+ is a great tool for landscape and architecture photographers: not only can you counter diffraction and thus increase image sharpness – you can also reverse the effects from micro-shakes that can affect image sharpness. Micro-shakes can be caused by vibrations of the camera. In addition, piccure+ can correct optical aberrations even from TS lenses. Generally we recommend the settings “Lens+”, “Micro/Normal” and “Quality+” for landscape and architecture photography. Diffraction can usually be corrected with the setting “Micro”.

Great for wildlife photographers

Photo by Soren Nielsen

You have been waiting for hours for the perfect shot – and yet it did not come out as crisp as you wish it did? Wildlife photographers face difficult situations. They work with long focal lengths, fast moving subjects and need to show a great deal of persistence. piccure+ can really be a great addition for any serious wildlife photographer: counter small camera movements with the camera shake reduction to get crystal clear shots. Correct complex optical aberrations (e.g. color fringing, CA) with the Lens+ module. Shooting with an extender to get the focal length you need? No problem: piccure+ can correct optical aberrations and sharpen your image even when using an extender/teleconverter.

Get it right in macro-photography

Photo by Yvonne Spaene

Macro-photographers often modify their equipment to their needs (e.g. reverse lens) or even build it up by themselves to get as close to the subject as possible. When shooting fast apertures, lens softness can often be a real problem. piccure+ can improve the sharpness of your images with the Lens+ engine by determining the optical aberrations individually for your lens – no calibration required. We usually recommend the settings “Lens+”, “Micro or Normal” and “Quality or Quality+”. You may switch on Denoise (e.g. 5-10).

Don’t waste a shot in action/sports photography

Photo by Yaroslav Segeda

You risk everything for the right shot – you deserve the quality advantage of piccure+. Get the best and most natural sharpness for your images and eliminate all traces of optical imperfection. You shoot with the fastest lenses and with high resolution cameras – this is exactly what piccure+ was optimized for.

Get the most out of your scans/vintage images

Photo by Christopher Boswell

Even your scans can be corrected with piccure+. Our software does not need any lens profiles and can cope with aberrations from vintage lenses. Generally we recommend the setting “Strong” and “Quality+” in the “Lens+” mode for the best results if the image suffers from blur.

piccure+ gets the most out of your premium lenses

What is the best lens with a fast aperture worth if you can only use it beyond f5.6? Even though many lenses are real masterpieces when it comes to sharpness around f5.6, ray benders (lens designers) have to fight physics really hard to get decent results at fast apertures. It is not their fault – it’s simply physics. Only through excessive R&D and expensive components is it possible to get “sharp” results for fast apertures. You may have been disappointed how much your premium lenses deteriorate at open aperture – however, with piccure+ you can now get the quality you really deserve. It is the most advanced tool in computational photography and delivers the best results for premium lenses at open apertures.

Source: Trust-your-eyes.com

Before and after. Testchart by www.trust-your-eyes.com. Lens: Meyer Optik Goerlitz Orestegor 300mm, Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III,




 

Getting started in 3 easy steps

You can consider piccure+ being a ‘RAW converter with extended sharpening capabilities’. We would always recommend putting it at the beginning of your workflow. There is a detailed handbook available (Menu/Handbook). You can also download it in the Download section.

1. Downloading and installing piccure+

Go to the top of this page and download piccure+. After the download, you will need to install the program. Usually the software will download into the default “Download” folder. If you cannot find the downloaded installation, search for “piccure” in your Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows). In some cases, your browser may prohibit you from downloading a program from the Internet. In that case, please check your browser settings.

> In Windows, please close all Adobe programs prior to installing piccure+. In addition, make sure you are logged in with Administrator rights.

> If you’re on a Mac, you will need to double click on the downloaded program. This will cause a new drive to be mounted. Go to that drive (it will be on the left side, right below your hard drive in the Finder window). Double click on the file piccure-a3.mpkg, and follow the instructions on the screen.

2. Running piccure+

Standalone

If you are using a Mac, run piccure+ by opening the program in the Applications folder. The standalone application is called piccure+.

In Windows, you can run piccure+ by clicking on Start/Programs/piccure+/piccure+.

The standalone application is capable of processing RAW images as well as processing batches of images. We recommend using the standalone version if you have a large number of images to process and would prefer to have the images processed overnight.

Plugin

Run Adobe® Photoshop®/Lightroom® or Adobe® Photoshop Elements®. Open the image you would like to correct. Then select Filter/Piccure+/Run piccure+….

In Lightroom® click Photo/Edit in/Piccure+ and save the current photo as a copy, ideally TIFF, 16-bit.

3. Processing images with piccure+

Standalone

Simply add images to piccure+ by dragging them into the main window. You can choose different processing settings for every image. We recommend you use the default settings (Lens+, Denoising activated) in case you are not exactly sure what caused the degradation in image sharpness. Then click Process. You may change the target folder for the processed images by clicking Save as. All processed images will be saved with the string “_picc” added to the filename. By clicking Process, you can start the image processing. Once an image is finished, you can double click on the image and compare the result against the original image.

Important: The image will be saved with the extension “_picc” in your local “Documents/piccure/Projectname” folder.. You can change the target directory on the user interface (bottom left) in the “Batch” mode (four rectangles). The image will be saved in the same image format as the input file.

Plugin

piccure+ will correct the image once you have opened the file. You can choose different processing settings, but we recommend you use the default settings (Lens+, Denoising activated) in case you are not exactly sure what caused the degradation in image sharpness. Simply click Process to start improving your image.

Hint: if you are concerned with a specific section of the image (e.g. corners or main subject) we recommend that you zoom into that section and then click Preview. The processing will be significantly faster since only that section will be processed. In order to apply piccure+ to the entire image, click Process.

Feel free to join our Webinars to learn more about using piccure+ (Link). The Basic Webinar gives you a general introduction.

FAQ

How do I integrate piccure+ into my worflow?
We recommend to use piccure+ at the very beginning of your workflow – ideally import the RAWs through
piccure+ or work directly on the imported RAW files. We recommend shooting in RAW, since JPG introduces compression artifacts and cameras often artificially sharpen JPGs. We also recommend not to apply any cropping and or adjustment to the brightness, color,… Use piccure+ at the very beginning of your workflow.
A quick note on using piccure+ in conjunction with other software solutions. This is absolutely no problem. You can pre-process the image before using piccure+ with the following operations:
> Process the RAW file
> Correct chromatic aberrations (thus saving piccure+ processing time)
> Correct vignetting
> Correct lens distortion
> Correct noise with DxO PRIME (several users found the results very good)

Please do not:
> Sharpen the image (e.g. SmartSharpen or “Correct Lens Softness”)
> Crop the image

What is the best workflow in Adobe® Lightroom®/other programs and how can I apply the geometric distortion correction?
Please see the handbook on on “Integrating piccure+ into Adobe® Lightroom®/DxO Optics®” for more information (Handbook)

How can I save the images in the standalone? There is no saving option?
In the standalone version all images are stored automatically to a newly created project file folder and have the extension “_picc” added to the filename. The location of the folder can be changed by clicking on “Save as” in the bottom left. The “Save as” option will only be available in the Batchmode (when you see the little Thumbnails). RAW files will be automatically converted into TIFFs

I have a single file – why can’t I simply click “Save as” in the standalone? What are the projects for? Why do I need them?
The idea behind the standalone program and the projects is that a large number of images can be processed automatically. If you are interested in only processing one image at a time, we would recommend to create one project for all your images (e.g. create a project called “My Images”). Drag images one by one into that project – just when you feel about processing them. You do not need to create a new project for each individual image. The resulting image will then automatically be saved into the project folder. The standalone version is intended for batch processing large sets of images. You may find the plugin version more convenient for processing individual images.

Why can’t I delete an images from the project list? Do I really need to process them all?
Simply uncheck the box – and they won’t be processed. Single images currently can not be deleted from a project list.

How can I correct chromatic aberrations?
Correcting chromatic aberrations is possible in Lens+. In order to do so set the “Optical aberrations” to “Strong(CA)”. The setting “Normal” will not correct chromatic aberrations. If you use the setting “Strong(CA)” we also recommend to set the Quality to Quality+ (see next question).

How can I get the best quality?
Choose “Quality+” as the quality setting. For Lens+ this option is hidden. To make Quality+ accessible click “Menu/Advanced Lens+”. For Lens+, the combination “Strong(CA)” and “Quality+” will show the best improvement in many cases – but take the longest.

Why can’t I select the lens I am using? What lens-profile are you using?
piccure+ does not use any lens/equipment profiles. The optical aberrations/camera movement are determined from the image itself.


Troubleshooting

Windows: If the installation fails (e.g. DLL missing) or you can’t see piccure+ in the filter menu, run the installation again, select Repair, and follow the instructions.

Lightroom®: Occasionally after running the piccure+ installer, the software may not be installed correctly in Lightroom®. This may be caused if the Store Presets with Catalog option in Preferences is checked. In order to uncheck this, go to “Edit > Preferences > Presets” OR “Lightroom® > Preferences > Presets”. Then uncheck the correct box.

piccure+ uses sophisticated algorithms that dynamically adapt and does not rely on any profiles or the like. The advantage of this approach is better image quality. Among the disadvantages are less robust image correction, longer computation time, and an increase in digital noise (unless denoising is activated).

While piccure+ allows you to rescue many of your blurry images, it won’t do the trick in the following cases:

> Image is out of focus (similar to the way things look without your glasses)
> Objects are moving within the image, but the camera was steady
> Night shots where only lights are visible
> Noisy images (ISO >1000 – depending on the camera)
> Usually piccure+ will not work very well with images from smartphones due to the compression artifacts

Support

Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions or run into problems. However, we would greatly appreciate it if you took a look at the handbook before submitting a support ticket. The handbook can be downloaded here (Link) or simply accessed through piccure+. To submit a support ticket, please send an email to: support@piccure.zendesk.com.

Adobe®, Photoshop®,Photoshop® Elements and Lightroom® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.


Video Tutorials

(Please note: these are recordings from the Webinar; The coupon does not exist any longer)

piccure+ Basics

> Technical background information: What are the reasons for blurred images? What can piccure+ do?
> Introduction user interface and workflow
> Explanation of Lens+ functionality (correct optical aberrations)
> Explanation of Motion+ functionality (correct camera shake)

piccure+ Workflow

> General advice for efficient workflows using piccure+
> Integration in Photoshop
> Integration in Lightroom

A quick note on using piccure+ in conjunction with other software solutions. This is absolutely no problem. You can pre-process the image before using piccure+ with the following operations:
> Process the RAW file
> Correct chromatic aberrations (thus saving piccure+ processing time)
> Correct vignetting
> Correct lens distortion
> Correct noise with DxO PRIME (several users found the results very good)

Please do not:
> Sharpen the image (e.g. SmartSharpen or “Correct Lens Softness”)
> Crop the image