The Plugin Site ( released version 2 of its FocalBlade plug-in for Mac OS X. It’s a sharpening plug-in for Photoshop and other compatible applications.

FocalBlade 2 also reduces noise and produces blur, soft focus and special effects. It supports one, two and three pass sharpening workflows, incorporates modes for various tasks and experience levels offering interactive explanations for each feature. FocalBlade even batch process images with the help of actions or scripts.

FocalBlade 2 purportedly renders 10 to 100 times faster than version 1 (depending on the used settings and CPU). It supports multiple sharpening workflows and various output devices. FocalBlade 2 is now fully scripting aware and supports smart filtering in Photoshop CS4 and CS5.

FocalBlade 2 achieves better sharpening effects with less artifacts through improved edge masking and halo reduction. It now allows sharpening radiuses of up to 32 pixels. To further reduce sharpening problems three colors can be chosen to be protected from the sharpening effect. The new Softproof feature, which simulates the sharpness of prints on screen, helps users achieve sharpening results without test prints.

Lab and CMYK images are processed by FocalBlade 2 without having to switch to RGB mode and back. The upgrade also reduces color noise, adds grain, zooms the preview up to 3200%, benefits from several user interface enhancements, including a Navigator tool for displaying an image area, and contains other new features.

FocalBlade is a plug-in that can be used in various graphics applications, including Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. It’s also available as a 64-bit plugin for Photoshop CS5 for MacOS X. It works with RGB, grayscale, lab and CMYK images with 8-bit and 16-bit per channel.

FocalBlade 2 is available for MacOS X and Windows. The regular license sells at US$69.95. The academic/educational license costs $39.95. A demo version that renders a watermark is available for download.