Give Your Photos a DSLR Look With AfterFocus

Having a smartphone has renewed my interest in improving my photos through various apps on the Play Store. It doesn’t matter that my phone’s camera doesn’t have the highest specs; the apps were good enough to hide that fact.

I’ve also tried just about every photography app that catches my attention, but end up removing most of them since they don’t seem to add anything that isn’t already provided by other apps. For a photo editing app to stand out, it should have one notable feature that others lack – and be absolutely excellent in delivering it.

AfterFocus is one of the new photography apps that does just that. In this article, you’ll learn about this app’s interesting features and how it stands out from the rest.

Keeping Your Focus

The app’s main feature is to let you specify an area of the image to have the camera’s focus, and create a contrast between that and the background. To achieve this effect without looking artificial, you should already be familiar with basic photography – if not, a little experimentation might be necessary before you get it right.

The app lets you apply the effect to an existing photo from your gallery, or to a new photo taken with the app itself. There are also two options for editing the focus on an image: Smart and Manual.

Smart or Manual Focus

Smart focus, which is the default, lets you specify both focus and background areas by drawing a line on the image and letting the app finish the job for you. Manual focus, on the other hand, lets you fill in the entire area you want focused, leaving the untouched area as the background.

I personally prefer the Smart focus option, as it tends to bring out a more natural effect compared to Manual focus. The screenshot below is an example of the Smart focus option; I’ve drawn a white line around your my focal point, and specified the background with a black line.

Using the Smart focus editing feature

With those steps, I turned the image on the left into the image on the right:

Dog photo on Smart Focus and Cross-process Filter

The Smart focus option is great for phones with smaller screens, since it’s easier for the user to draw lines than to fill in the silhouette of an image. However, you will not have as much control of the editing.

If you have a bigger phone screen and prefer more definition with an image’s focal point, you can try Manual focus, which allows you to fill in the focus area up to the last pixel. You can even zoom in and change brush size for more precise strokes.

Fountain photo in Manual focus

I was quite satisfied with both modes’ results, which I did not expect from the basic editing tools available in the app. Overall, I find that the Smart option is a quick and easy way to go about editing while the Manual option is a longer but more thorough process.

Other Features

There are also other tweaks you can do after editing the focus on an image. Filters such as Sepia, Black and White and X-Process can be added to the edited photo for a more dramatic effect. You can even choose Color Mask, which retains the colors of the focused image – but if you want great results with this mask, remember to use the Manual focus option. The image below is an example of a Manual focus edit with a Color Mask filter:

Cupcakes on Color Mask

One other feature I found useful is Faded Background, which eases the transition between focus and background areas. This is especially handy when editing in Manual focus if the line between focus and background is visible.

Applying blur effects or lessening blur on a photo is also possible with this app, with choices between removing or adding lens or motion blurs. This particular feature is a great way to remove unwanted movement on the photo while bringing the focus to a specific area.

All other effects and filters can only be used after using the Focus editing feature.

You can also adjust the edited photo’s image size when saving to SD card. Currently, the free version supports up to 800px. The Pro version supports up to 1600px.

Like all other photography apps, AfterFocus lets you upload images to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Conclusion

AfterFocus is a great addition to the multitude of photo apps in the Google Play store, and it certainly stands out with its focus-editing feature. While some apps try hard to give you everything, this app does the opposite.

Using the app, however, can prove a bit of a challenge for novices or may be too basic for the professional photo buff. There are several tutorial pop-ups that help as you go along, but these will not explain everything.

Navigation is a bit confusing and requires a bit of trial and error as some icons leave you guessing as to what they’re for. And I was disappointed to find that even though there’s an Undo button (which is great), there’s no Redo button.

AfterFocus is a new app so the choppy interface is a minor issue at this point. At the end of the day, the app does get the job done – and a great job at that. Once you get the hang of it, viewing the finished product can be truly rewarding. As a fairly advanced photo editing app, AfterFocus is not for everyone… and it doesn’t need to be.


Summary

An focus-editing tool for photos.

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