Point Sources

When an image gets out of focus, a point source of light (a small shiny object) becomes a circle of light as shown in the following examples.  If you are lucky enough to have a point source in your photo, you can measure the diameter and enter that figure for the “Blur Width”.

Example 1
Point source example
Point source example

This medicine bottle in the background of a photo has light reflecting off it.  This is a point source which has become a circle when it became out of focus.  The image on the right has zoomed into that point source, and shows that the diameter is about 18 pixels (the distance between the black dots).

Note that we have placed the black dots approximately in the middle of the blurred edges (i.e. between the blue dots).

Example 2
Point source example

This image of some trees in the background of a photo has a point source.  If you look carefully, it is in the bottom left of the image.

Example 3
Out of focus photo showing point sources
In focus photo showing point sources

Sometimes you can have a point source bonanza as shown here.  Here we have two photos, one taken out of focus and one taken shortly afterwards in focus.  They clearly show the “circle effect” for point sources.

Example 4
Blurry license plate (before)

Here is another difficult one.  There are three point sources in this blurred picture of a car’s license plate.  Can you see them?  The diameter of the point sources determine the Blur Width setting to use in Focus Magic (see Tutorials).

"Focus Magic is a remarkable piece of software. It's an honest-to-God real sharpening algorithm that works as a stand-alone program or a Photoshop plug-in. I'll spare you the math about how it works. What's important is that this is not a mere edge-enhancement routine like most so-called sharpening filters; this one actually undoes the blur."
Ctein (Photographer & Author)
Photographer, artist, author