RE:Vision Effects has released SmoothKit 2, a set of nine special purpose filters that complements the basic blurs provided by host applications. SmoothKit's emphasis is precise control on the filtering process, with no compromise on image quality.

The plug-in allows users to blur without blurring over edges, sharpen with much less ringing, intelligently reduce small image defects, reduce jaggies, blur with per-pixel direction control, and z-blur using greyscale depth images, according to the company. Many of its filters have per-pixel controls, allowing you to vary the amount of blur or the direction of the blur, and many other controls, at each pixel.

Version 2 adds a new Z-Blur filter for depth of field effects using depth maps from 3D systems. Floating point support within After Effects 7.0 or later has been added, as well as optimization to take advantage of After Effects's region-of-interest and other smart rectangle processing. There is also better multiprocessing support, according to RE:Vision Effects.

The upgrade gains the ability to use splines to control the direction of the blur at each pixel, and adds a sharpen feature, with a mode that reduces ringing and other artifacts and compositing alpha handling modes, which include "grow alpha" (blurring without creating inner transparency on large blur kernels). A new blur filter mode option, Bloom, better preserves highlights.

SmoothKit 2 is available for Mac and Windows systems and supports Adobe After Effects 7.0 and up, Autodesk combustion 4.0.5 and up, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 and up, Apple Final Cut Pro 5.1 and up, Boris Red 4.0 and up, and Eyeon Fusion 4.04 and up.

Full versions are priced at $119.95 (around £61). Render-only licenses are priced at $23.99 (£12).