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Improving Contrast in your Photos Using Lighting and Contrast Enhancement Technology

2012-03-13 22:15:47 GMT

ACD Systems’ patented LCE (Lighting and Contrast Enhancement) is the driving force behind the Lighting tool in our ACDSee photo editing products.

LCE analyzes and maps the dark and light areas of your image, creating tonal “exposure zones”, which allows adjustments to be applied selectively to each zone, either automatically or totally controlled by you. LCE can help you increase exposure and rescue detail from underexposed photos, increase contrast and vibrancy, correct uneven lighting, and reduce the effect of atmospheric haze. Check out this LCE overview video .

For the pros in our midst, LCE technology can make it simple for you to stretch the dynamic range of your photo, making it appear more like the scene appeared to the human eye rather than what your digital camera is able to capture. These natural High Dynamic Range (HDR) results can be produced with just one image, from any digital camera, using the Lighting Tool in ACDSee Pro 5.

LCE

The actual adjustments you need to make to get HDR results will vary from image to image, but here’s a quick step-by-step on how to adjust contrast using Pro 5’s Light EQ:

Light EQ works like a sound equalizer but with light. You can adjust brightness and contrast of different tone bands independently using a slider for each tone band. A graph shows the amount of brightening or darkening applied throughout the tonal range. The gray areas in the graph are suggested boundaries for adjustment to avoid clipping and loss of detail, and turn red to indicate where you have adjusted the sliders far enough to cause clipping.

  1. Select an image (ideally RAW) where the original scene was one of high contrast
  2. Open the Lighting Pane in Develop mode and select Light EQ
  3. Brighten sliders (top): Drag the sliders up to increase the brightening in each tonal band. The sliders on the left affect dark tones. The sliders on the right affect bright tones. Moving a slider changes the amount of brightening only in that particular tonal band in the image.
  4. Type a number into the number boxes and increment them slowly to make precise adjustments.
  5. Darken sliders (bottom): Drag the sliders down to increase the darkening in each tonal band. The sliders on the left affect dark tones. The sliders on the right affect bright tones. Moving a slider changes the amount of darkening only in that particular tonal band in the image.
  6. Graph: The graph indicates the amount of brightening and darkening applied throughout the tone range of the image. The portion of the graph above the horizontal axis corresponds to brightening, while the portion of the graph below the horizontal axis corresponds to darkening. When both brightening and darkening are applied within the same tonal band, contrast is increased. The area between the top of the brightening graph and the bottom of the darkening graph indicates the relative increase of contrast throughout the tone range of the image. You can click on the graph or on the image and drag the double-pointed arrow up or down to brighten or darken.
  7. Tone bands: Drag the slider on each tonal band to adjust areas of the curve.

You can also use the Lighting tool in Auto or Advanced mode.

Where else can I find LCE?

With varying levels of complexity and functionality, LCE technology is built into all our ACDSee photo editing products. Find LCE in ACDSee Pro 5, ACDSee 14 and ACDSee Pro (Mac). You can also get it in a standalone app for your Mac (ACDSee Photo Flash) or iPhone (ACDSee Camera Flash).

Try LCE for yourself! Get a great deal on ACDSee products during the “This is Your Lucky Day” promotion, now through March 21.


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