I spent some time with Auto FX's Cliff Weems and asked him about Mystical Focus.
What sets this Mystical Focus apart from other options on the market?
There is another release on the market that seems to have a similar "focus." How does Mystical Focus compare to Alien Skin's Bokeh release?
When Bokeh was launched, the reaction from some parts of the market were "I can already do that in Photoshop." Can people make the same comment about MF?
What was the toughest part of this development?
Who's the primary market for this package?
That's it for the interview with Cliff Weens of Auto FX.
I've been working with Mystical Focus for a week and a half now, trying out the various filters.
The effect at the top of this posting was accomplished in less than a minute. It uses the Radial Focus, which has a "global effect." An Ellipse can be applied to change the effect of the blur on the image.
The filter applies with lightning speed and I have been utterly delighted with how quickly professional effects can be applied and then customized to suit the precise parameters of the project.
There are eight Focal effects simulating a really broad spectrum of results.
The really interesting options are presented under the Atmosphere Menu. Here are six outstanding options that add the kind of stuff you expect like "Grain and Noise" to stuff you never expected like Highlight Smear and a Vignetting option guaranteed to blow your socks off.
Here is a filter set that hits a home run in areas like ease of use, and application speed. The interface is intuitive and extra Auto FX touches like instant explanation of the control your cursor is resting on eases the learning curve very significantly.
It's a package designed to save you time, vast amounts of it, even as it delivers genuinely clean and easy-to-customize results.
Overall rating: 9/10
You owe it to yourself to take a hard look at Mystical Focus. It's one of the best new filter sets on the market. It's selling for $149. You can get an additional 10% off using a time limited code.
If a rich relative has died, or you are casting about for something worthwhile to "invest" that income tax refund money in, you may even want to consider the whole Mystical Suite, composed of Mystical Lighting & Ambiance 2.0, Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 and Mystical Focus. This suite is marketed for $399.00 and qualifies for the 10% discount.
Auto FX makes some of the most inventive software around for graphic designers and photographers. Take a few minutes to download the demo version. And let me know what YOU think, okay?
As Weems said, the real power of this package, in addition to the speed and specialization of the effects, is in the ability to blend them. Layers can be created within Mystical Focus and then blended and combined with other effects from the Atmosphere menu OR any of the other Mystical Suite effects. As you can probably tell: I really like this whole package.
Find all the goodies at www.autofx.com
A FINAL NOTE ABOUT REVIEWS: I don't make anything for recommending or reviewing the software on this site. I don't get a commission and you will notice there are NO banner ads for any of the software companies -- even the ones I like. I know times are tight for a lot of us in the design/photography field and it's important that you be able to trust someone to tell you what they REALLY think.