Fix blurry photos with SmartDeblur

Your smartphone has more technology per square inch than anything humans have ever created, so why do 3 out of 10 pictures you take still come out blurry and unusable? If you have blurry pictures that you would like to fix and be able to use, then check out free software SmartDeblur, a one-click fix for blurry images that can produce excellent results.

But first, know this: if you have a blurry photo, you are at a disadvantage and you shouldn’t expect magical results.Your photo is not going to come out perfectly crispy and clean no matter what you do to it. The good news is that depending on what you want to use it for, you may be able to get excellent results with SmartDeblur. It is certainly worth trying, as the learning curve is practically nonexistent, and this program is essentially a one click affair. You can experiment with various settings, of course, to find what looks best to you.

SmartDeblur Screenshot

My First test:

The following is a picture that I fixed with SmartDeblur AND, for control purposes, treated with a  ‘sharpening’ filter in another software. Note that I cropped the image in order to better fit the width of this blog.

The settings used were 51×51 Kernel size, and 75% smoothness. I don’t know what these mean but I tried various values and these seemed to be the best to me.

The original image:

Original image - blurry

After fixing with SmartDeblur:

Deblurred with Smartdeblur

Not magic, as you can see, but definitely better.

The control: treated with a sharpening filter in another program:

Control - sharpening filter

The result here was better than I thought it would be, but to my eye not as good as deblurring with SmartDeblur.

My second test:

The settings were as above.

The original image:

Original Blurry 2

After fixing with SmartDeblur:

Deblurred 2

Yes, it’s grainier, but a significant improvement.

How to use: a quick guide

  • (Optional) You may want to go to the settings tab in the upper left first thing, to set how big you want the image to be (the program sets a default resolution that is probably smaller than your original). You may also want to set the iterations count or leave as is; the higher the count, the higher the quality but the more time it will take.
  • Go to Kernel size in the upper right. You can experiment with this setting; 50×50 seems a good value to start with.
  • Set the smoothness in the smoothness dial. You can start with anything before deblurring and simply click ‘apply new smooth’ afterwards to experiment with different values.
  • Click the aggressive detection checkbox if you want. Not sure what this does, but I am guessing aggressive is better but more processor intensive; try it both ways.
  • Finally, click ‘Analyze Blur’ to start. It doesn’t look like a button but it is.

The verdict:

If you’re a Photoshop wiz that has figured out how to use a batch of filters in succession to reduce blurring, this program is not for you (although I would love to hear from you and get your opinion on the results). Rather, it’s for the rest of us who don’t work with images for a living and wouldn’t mind running a few pictures in this tool to see what comes out. My guess is that many (though not all) will be generally happy with the results.

The one thing I would say, in retrospect: I realize that the photos I used to test this software were not as blurry as some of the photos showcased on the website. Theirs are a lot blurrier, and the difference between the originals and the deblurring results are more marked than what you see here, so it’s possible that this program in fact does a better job than what you see above. Test it out for yourself (and let us know what you find out).

[Thanks go to reader ‘Brockman’ for the tip about this software].

Download the beta version tested here via this link (Windows). Note that the latest, non-beta version of this software is not freeware. You can learn more about it on the SmartDeblur program page.


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • http://carbonize.co.uk Carbonize

    Looks to me like their solution is basically to just sharpen up the image a lot which will reduce the blurring but results in lots of noise.

  • Samer Kurdi

    yes, but it does something else (smoothness?), as it can give you a slightly better result than sharpening alone (see my first test above).
    :)

  • Anatoly Nechaev

    There are 4 posts by author on the subject of this program, including mathematical analysis of the algorithm:
    http://habrahabr.ru/users/yuvladimir/topics/

    It’s in Russian though, but may be G.Translate will help.

  • Anatoly Nechaev

    Just now found author’s site in English:
    http://yuzhikov.com
    There are 2 articles that seem to be a translation of first articles on habr.ru.
    There’s also a github project:
    https://github.com/Y-Vladimir/SmartDeblur

  • Jod

    I agree, sharpening an image is the kind of magic that I am always surprised to see but I always end up discarding, this “debluring” thing has something that’s appealing to me as well.

  • redsnappa

    Why is this software listed here? It is not freeware. It puts watermarks of the final image unless you pay £25.00.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Hmm.. The reason is that the beta version we reviewed was offered for free but that apparently is no longer the case. I will either take this post down entirely in the next few days or post a download link to the freeware version reviewed above, both options not quite ideal.

    • SamerKurdi

      I got permission to post a link to the freeware beta version I tested (bottom of the post above).

  • xrobwx

    Norton Safeweb blocks this and reports its a malicious site:malicious domain request.
    It did not do that the first time I went to the site and downloaded the file a few weeks ago but now it does.

  • Chloe

    I’m trying to zoom in on a picture to read a sentence but it blurs can you help?