The Holy Grail of image processing is the ability to take blurry images and make them usable. Adobe demoed this technology last year and I expect to see it integrated into Photoshop in the near future. In the meantime there is a piece of software called Blurity! that claims to do the same thing, and the examples on their website are impressive enough. When I found out about this software I made a note to do a review of it. Normally I will contact the manufacturer of the software, discuss the features, talk about how to talk about it, and maybe ask for license key if one is needed to fully demo the software out. Also, if a product fails to live up to expectations or has some problems, I will talk to the manufacturer and provide feedback and then discuss posting a review or waiting for an update to address my concerns. This post is going to go into my experience in learning about and trying out Blurity! and what irritated me enough to write an article about it.
Blurity! sells for $49 (on sale for $39 right now). Right off the top this seems like a fairly steep price. Photoshop Elements, which is an extremely robust piece of software, sells for about $69 (Walmart price on day of this writing). A $20 difference in price between a complete, full-featured image organizing and editing tool and a single purpose tool with limited functionality. I would certainly argue that Photoshop Elements has well more than $20 worth of more features. Yes, I understand that Adobe is a huge company that will make their money on volume, but even at $39, Blurity! provides very limited functionality. A minor issue is that Blurity! is only available for purchase with a credit card, there are no options for Google Wallet or PayPal.
Poor Large Image Support
After trying several images that were resized to 900px wide and getting fairly poor results, I tried a full size image from my camera at 5184 x 3456 pixels and got a warning that the image was large and might not work. It most certainly did not work. It puked all over itself. Nowhere did it tell me what the optimal size image but too small didn’t see to do much and too large doesn’t work well.
This is where my frustration hit the tipping point. I understand that a company wants to prevent software piracy but I also believe that if you are going to provide a demo, it actually needs to show what the software can do. Blurity! takes this to extremes by plastering “Unregistered” over your image so much that you actually can’t tell if it actually worked our not. Maybe it did great, but the image quality being completely destroyed by the watermark does not allow you to see if your image is improved or not. I can’t even begin to get excited about a piece of software that I can’t tell if it does anything or not. After a number of attempts, I finally found that using a JPEG at 2048px wide and selecting the hot spot properly did result in a significant improvement but it is really hit or miss depending on the image and where you can position the hot spot box. The software needs some minor improvements to be really functional, but then you have to overcome the price.
If you can’t hold a camera still or don’t own a tripod and fixing your images is worth almost 50 bucks, then Blurity! may be the software for you. If the company behind Blurity! is surprised their sales aren’t better, well maybe its because they have priced themselves out of the market and their demo version is horrible. Maybe I am wrong here and $49 is the perfect price point to recover that magic photo of Aunt Betty. Let me know what you think in the comments.