After Focus

With the launch of the new HTC One (M8) and its Duo Camera, we'll be seeing a lot more photos taken with a shallow depth of field and a gloriously blurred out background. It's common to see on photos taken with proper cameras, but less so on smartphones. But it looks awesome when it comes out well.

Some use software or trickery to create the effect artificially. Nokia Refocus for example takes a selection of shots at different focal lengths to allow you to change the focus on the picture after you've taken it. There's also a pretty popular app here on Android, After Focus, that lets you get your blur on.

After Focus

It works very simply. You can either shoot a photo from within the app – still using the phone's stock camera app it seems – or choose one from your gallery. On the LG G2 I lost a lot of the cool scene modes like HDR shooting using the app, so I'd always recommend taking the pictures first if you're being ultra creative.

There are then two methods to helping you blur out the background while keeping your focal point nice and sharp. There's smart mode, and a manual mode. Smart asks you to define areas of focus and background and it'll figure it out. Manual lets you 'color in' all the areas you want to keep in sharp and mid focus.

It's actually pretty good at what it does, and it does blur out the backgrounds nicely. But, it's only as accurate as you are. And with my fat fingers that sometimes leaves distinct edges where I don't want them to be. It might be better with a capacitive stylus if you have one, but I'd recommend manual mode over Smart every time.

It's free to try out – you do get ads – so give it a whirl. If you're liking some of what you're seeing with the HTC One (M8) camera, try this out to artificially create something similar of your very own. If you've got any similar apps you recommend, drop them into the comments below!


Reader comments

After Focus creates your own blurry background photos, without a HTC One (M8)


And the After Focus being around the market for about two years doing a great job

Posted via Android Central App

Yup. Oldie but a goodie. Doesn't hurt to highlight these things once in a while though for folks a little newer to Android than some of us, especially when it can mimic a feature on the hot new device of the moment :)

The zoom feature as well as the different brush sizes do help when trying to cover an area using your finger. A stylus does help if you have it. I have been using this for a couple years now. I liked the free version so much that I wound up buying the paid version. Gotta help these developers out every once in a while. Do an app right and I'll most likely look to pay for it or "donate" to remove ads.

^ I second that. Used the free app for awhile & loved it so much I had to buy the Pro version.

I was always looking for a app to blrr background this is the best I think can you guide thanks I like this app.

Posted via Android Central App

I've used this app over the past year or two and love it. It's nice if you want to blur out clutter in the background or just make a cool focused photo.

The "background blur all the things!" gimmick will get old. HTC would have been better served to put an 8-12pixel ultrapixel sensor with OIS in the M8. But alas, blur all the things I guess. Then instagram them retro-style. Yeah, that's the ticket! Sigh.

Not it won't. Proper pro shots, especially portraits have been doing this for what now, over a hundred years?

Sent from my bathroom

But this is nothing like a proper pro shot - it's just a gaussian blur. It simulates a focal point but with no focal plane. It could work for portraits, but for shots like the sample with the two lego people, you get unnatural results.

Its called depth of field. Its not a gimmick. Well maybe it is when its not done with lenses proper, but its not going away.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

They're trying to simulate depth of field. I figured most people would know I understood that once they read my whole comment.

I figured wrong.

And to think, HTC installed a dual lens, ditched OIS, and has justified keeping the camera at 4mp for something that can be done with an app....

Posted via Android Central App

That was the point I was trying to make above, but then I got "schooled" on photography.

It's still a phone. And I still maintain it's a gimmick feature on a phone. Higher pixel count and OIS would have been a much more reasonable advancement for a phone, IMO. Blurred background is the purpose? Ok.

Couldn't agree with you more!

HTC actually listened to us bitch&moan about the (M7) not having expandable memory but DID NOT listen to us about needing more pixels. They also ignored us as we ignored the HTC EVO 3D ... sad really. heheheh smh

You weren't schooled on photography, you just had some words thrown at you from people who don't know what they're talking about. There may be cases where this app could prove useful, but a gimmick it is.

I just use photo shop on my note if I want to blur some thing. Far more useful than this app, but I'm sure this app works fine for what it does

Posted via Android Central App

The auto mode in After Focus is easier, but photo shop touch is fairly simple to use, much more user friendly and streamlined than photo shop is on pc.

Posted via Android Central App

Editing apps like this and others are why I think HTC dropped the ball on just giving us Ultrapixels with high resolution.

Shut up and take a small portion of my data plan! Oh - wait - I'm on WiFi.

Posted via Android Central App

Well it's been around for a while, and you have to be super-accurate to make something look great. But what really makes AfterFocus great it's the built-in filters. Seriously, there's like 4 or 5 of them I use more than Instagram ones before posting.

used AF for a few years now and can agree it's a great app, one of the few pro version apps I sprung for.

I will try it out! Thanks for the tip RD. The M8 had got me looking, but still not good enough to break my love affair with the moto x!

Posted via Android Central best phone available: moto x

Worth every penny!. Have been using this app for about 2yrs. Works flawlessly and does an excellent job at it.

I would recommend shooting with the
Phone camera and just transferring/sharing the image with the app.

Posted via Android Central App

Thank you. I knew there had to be something out there or developing since it was just software. This is the risk HTC takes for putting so much emphasis on software in its new flagship.

Posted via Android Central App