updated 02:45 pm EST, Sat February 16, 2008
SmoothKit 2 adds new blurs
RE:Vision Effects recently unveiled SmoothKit 2, a set of plug-ins designed to smooth images with user-directed controls, and feature-sensitive methods. The kit consists of nine filters which allow the user to blur images without blurring edges, sharpen with less ringing, reduce image defects, reduce jaggies, and more. A newly added Z-Blur filter provides depth of field effects using depth maps from 3D system. SmoothKit 2 sells for $120, and is available through RE:Vision Effect's website.
The new version adds more aggressive multiprocessing support, and floating point support for After Effects 7. SmoothKit 2 also takes advantage of After Effects' region-of-interests, as well as other small rectangle processing.
SmoothKit 2 is able to use splines to control blur direction at each pixel, while the new sharpen feature can be customized to reduce ringing or other sharpening artifacts. The new Bloom blur filter is designed to preserve highlights, and the new compositing alpha handling modes include "grow alpha" blurs, which allows the user to blur without creating inner transparency on large blur kernels.