Unless you are a professional photographer, very often a good photo will get spoiled by blur! Whether it’s because something was moving very quickly or because of camera shake, blurry images are useless.
However, it often happens that you simply cannot recreate the moment captured in this blurry image and sharpen or sharpen the image is worth it. Fortunately, there are many tools that can be used to tackle this problem.
Image enhancement programs like Adobe Photoshop have great tools to help sharpen blurry images, but they are not free. In this post, I’ll share a few Photoshop techniques to help you blur your photo. If the image really matters to you, then Photoshop will give you the best results.
In addition, I will also mention a couple of other programs that you can use if you don’t have Adobe Photoshop installed on your computer. Skip to previous methods 1 and 2 if you are interested in other programs. The other programs I mentioned are also not free, because I have found that all free photo editing programs basically have one sharpening option, which almost always works terrible.
The programs below are specially designed using customizable algorithms to produce sharper images with minimal degradation in image quality.
Photoshop Method 1 – Use an additional layer
This method is quite simple and works very well for sharpening images. For example, take a look at this photo with one side blurred and the other sharp.
Look at the right (pointed) and left sides. Do you see the difference in the trees and in the person going down? Here’s how to do it.
First open the image in Photoshop and press CTRL + J to duplicate the background layer. Be sure to click layer 1 in the Layers panel.
Then go to Filter, then Other and select High Pass. The higher the value you set, the sharper your image will become. However, if you set it very high, the image becomes grainy. I set the size to 10 pixels.
Don’t worry if your image looks like it was covered in dark charcoal, we’re not done yet! With the new layer still selected, set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and adjust the Opacity to whatever you think makes the image better. The default is 100%, but you can get better results at 50% or another value, so just play around with this value.
This is it! Your image should now be much sharper! Unfortunately, if your image is very blurry or caused by very fast motion, you probably won’t notice much of a difference.
The best results are when the image is simply out of focus because the camera has focused on the wrong object or something similar. Here are the before and after images that I tested with this method:
Photoshop Method 2 – Vibration Reduction Filter
The above method was an easy way to sharpen a photo in Photoshop. An advanced technique is to use a new jitter reduction filter. To start using this filter, click Filter, then Sharpness, and then Shake Reduction.
A window will appear with an image on the left and several options on the right. Photoshop will automatically try to determine which part of the image to look at to correct the blur. You will see this section in the image as dashed lines.
This is called a blur trail, and by default there is only one. Ideally, the blur trail should be the part of the image with the most contrast around the edges. Therefore, if one part of the image is bright and the other is dark, the blur trail should include the edge. In the example above, the default frame is around her face, which is fine but not perfect.
You can adjust the margin by dragging corners and resizing. You can also click on the center circle to move it. If your image is really big, you can also create multiple traces of blur in case the blur effect differs in different parts of the image. To create another blur trace, simply click and drag to start drawing another frame. I created two blur traces to see if the results are better.
In my tests, I found that sometimes the default settings produced better results than when I changed the blur of the traces. In other cases, I felt that adjusting the blur traces improved the images, so you’ll have to really experiment with all of the options to get the best results.
Here is the final image from Method 2, which in my opinion looks slightly better than the results from Method 1. Obviously far from ideal, blurry images can rarely be turned back into crystal-clear images.
Blurity is a Windows or Mac program designed only to remove blur in photos. According to my tests, it did a great job and I understand why they charge $ 79! It’s definitely worth spending that much only if the image really means a lot to you, or you have a lot of blurry photos to fix.
I also ran the program through VirusTotal and it came out clean, so you don’t have to worry about spyware etc. you MUST complete before you can start using the program.
Anyway, once you get past this, just click the Open Image button and then click anywhere in the image that has a good example of object blur.
After you select the area, simply click the “Process” button and a preview of the fixed blurred image will be generated. Here is the result of my test image with a watermark still in the image.
Apart from the watermark, the program actually fixes blurry images very well, and it’s better as it is quite expensive. To get good results and a little cheaper, check out the program below.
Another good program designed only for blurry photos is SmartDeblur This one will set you back $ 49, but again, it works really well. After downloading and installing the program, you need to click the “Open” button below to select your image.
You can then tweak a few parameters such as the size of the blur or the type of blue (out of focus blur or Gaussian blur), but I recommend just setting the defaults first to see what the program does. You can also select an area if you like, or just click on “Blur Analysis” and the program will analyze the entire image.
You may need to increase the anti-aliasing parameter afterwards because I found that the default settings make the image quite grainy. Here is my result for the same test image using a blur size of 100 Ã— 100 and analyzing the whole image:
So, you have several ways to fix blurry images using software. As I said before, all the free tools I tried worked terribly, so I didn’t even mention them. If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!