Focus 2 Pro

Bokeh creates beautiful soft backgrounds, thus calling attention to a very shallow area of sharp focus in the foreground. However, what are photographers to do when they’re unable to capture this effect in camera, when the light isn’t right, when the wish for bokeh becomes an afterthought, or a missed opportunity? Enter Macphun Software’s Focus 2 Pro.

Picture Rescue 2

You know that feeling when you’re almost certain you’ve lost photos on your memory card? It’s frustrating and, in some professional situations, can be panic inducing. There are many tricks to trying to recover photos from your JPEG, TIFF, RAW, or movie files, but for simplicity’s sake, Picture Rescue 2 from Prosoft Engineering can recover all of these file types, and more.

Photo Mechanic 5

Photo Mechanic originally served to help photo editors quickly sift through the hundreds of photos they get on their desk each day. With Photo Mechanic 5, you can tag, color-code, and star-rate photographs, but its most powerful feature, Variables, allows you to automate metadata writing and routing of your photos to specific locations.

Extensis Suitcase Fusion 5

Extensis Suitcase has been around for what seems like forever, and it remains one of the first programs that graphic designers think of when deciding on a font manager.

HDR Expose 3 and 32 Float v3

HDR Expose has already proven itself as a go-to choice for high-dynamic range image processing, and with version 3 out the door, an already great app is even better.

Piccure

Piccure is a plug-in for reducing camera shake blur, the same issue that’s addressed by the new Shake Reduction filter in Photoshop CC. As with Shake Reduction in Photoshop CC, the usual caveats apply: this won’t help images that were not focused correctly, and the more obvious the camera shake, the less effective it will be. In short, don’t expect miracles.

Lightwave 3D 11.5

In the world of 3D modeling (virtual or otherwise), NewTek’s LightWave 3D continues to be the standard for professionals. The latest update (11.5) takes this software to new heights, with features that are over-and-above many designers’ wish lists.

Flame Painter 2

Flame Painter 2 is a unique program that’s not for everyone; however, creatives will find loads of excuses to play with this application. Flame brushes are just one small segment of the process, and the control and precision you have using these esoteric elements will make you feel bad for folks trying to do similar things any other way.

TimeTracker

For creative professionals, tracking time spent on projects is a necessary fact of life. In an ideal world, your computer would track the time you spend on projects, and you could then adjust the numbers to account for mistakes, and include additional time spent on noncomputer tasks. If you spend most of your billable time in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, InCopy, or Flash, or in Microsoft Office, CreativeWorx offers exactly that possibility with their TimeTracker system.

PSKiss BlackMagic

Adobe has a color-to-black-and-white conversion feature in Photoshop and Lightroom but recently, there’s been a growing number of third-party conversion plug-ins. Now, enter BlackMagic from PSKiss with a different approach: It’s a set of more than 50 distinctly different, black-and-white Lightroom presets and brushes to convert color files to black and white.

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