Step By Step Guide

 

Correcting the Whole Image

1. Switch to "Brightness/Contrast Pro" mode with the Mode comb box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.

3. Adjust the Brightness slider. If blown highlights (uniform white areas) appear, reduce the value of the Brightness slider.

4. Adjust the Contrast slider. If the value is too high, some areas in the image will become too dark. If the value is too low, the image will appear too gray.

5. Carefully adjust the Amplify slider if you are not satisfied the effect. You may need to readjust the Brightness and Contrast slider if you use a too high or low value for the Amplify slidier.

6. If necessary you can use the Local Contrast slider to compensate a low Contrast slider value or to remove a hazy effect. For that purpose, slowly increase the value of the Local Contrast slider and observe the effect.

7. Adjust the Radius slider to modify the local contrast effect. Readjust the Local Contrast slider if necessary.

 

Correcting Shadows and Highlights


Starting

1. Switch to Shadows/Highlights Pro mode using the Mode combo box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.


Adjusting brightness and contrast to see the effect

3. Increase the value of the Brightness slider of the Shadows tab sheet until the dark areas in the image become more visible without getting too bright.

4. If the shadows look too burnt, try a negative value for the Contrast slider. If they look too gray and flat, try increasing the contrast.

5. Carefully adjust the Amplify slider if you are not satisfied with the effect. You may need to readjust the Brightness and Contrast sliders if you use too high or low a value for the Amplify slider.


Using Auto Mask for adjusting the shadow mask (Skip to step 11 if you want)

6. Start with the "Very Deep" setting in the Shadow Depth combo box of the Auto Mask tab sheet. Try the various Shadow Depth settings to see which best reveals the shadow areas without brightening the highlight areas.

7. Choose "Low Contrast" or "High Contrast" from the Image Type combo box. Depending on which setting you choose the next combo box will be called "Shadow Shift" or "Anti-Alias".

8. Choose one of the settings from the Shadow Depth or Anti-Halo combo box. If you choose too high an option for Shadow Depth the borders between the shadow and highlight areas might be too dark. "Method 2" in the Anti-Halo combo box effectively reduces halos, but can have a negative impact on the appearance of some images. If that's the case, try Method 1. If there are no improvements, turn Anti-Halo "Off".

9. Starting with the "Very Fine" setting in the Details combo box, cycle through the options to find which produces the best results for your image.

10. Try all options from the Color Filter combo box. "Green" will work well in many casesby removing greenish areas from the shadows and adding them to the highlights. If you want to add green areas in the image to the shadows, please select its opposite color "Magenta". Other images may need another color filter.


Fine-tuning the mask (Skip to step 19 if Auto Mask worked perfectly)

11. The Auto Mask tab sheet is a good place to start for adjusting the shadow mask, but in some cases you will need to switch to the Fine-Tune tab (see step 18) to improve the mask even more. Tip: Clicking on the label of one of the Auto Mask features, will switch the focus to its combo box. You can use the Tab key to switch between the Auto Mask combo boxes - Tab will move you down one box, Shift+Tab will move you up one box. Use the left and right arrow keys to move up and down through the options in the combo boxes.

12. If necessary use the Threshold slider to define the border between the shadows and highlights even more precisely.

13. Keep the Range slider to zero unless you want to partially affect the highlights with the shadow correction, too. That is usually necessary for images that don't have strict shadow/highlight borders.

14. The Shift slider lets you shrink the shadow areas to create a smoother transition between shadows and highlights or to reduce halos. Lower values usually work best.

15. The Anti-Halo slider is for reducing halos in case the Shift slider doesn't help. However, it can also reduce the quality of the correction, so use with care.

16. The Radius slider has an effect on the size of a halo and the diffusion of the light. It can also be used to create a smoother transition between shadows and highlights.

17. The Color Filter slider lets you exclude or include image areas of a specific color from the shadows or highlights. Setting it to a green value will exclude green objects from the shadows and include magenta ones in the shadows. At the same time it will include green objects in the highlights and exclude magenta objects from the shadows. The same is true for all other colors and their opposing colors.

18. Try the N, P, S and H buttons to see the mask that you have created. Having one of them activated while adjusting the mask can be helpful.


Readjusting the effect

19. After you have followed these steps you may want to readjust the Brightness and Contrast sliders on the Shadows tab again.

20. If the shadows have been brightened too much, the edges of image objects may appear too flat. You should be able to recover these details with the Local Contrast and Radius sliders. In other cases better results can be achieved by using lower values in the Contrast slider to reveal more darkened areas and adjusting the Local Contrast slider to add back contrast.

21. If you notice that the lifted shadow areas have a color cast, please switch to the S-Color tab and try the four sliders at the top. If the shadow areas contain an almost gray or white area, try the following: Click on the A button and then click on the almost gray or white area in the shadows. If that doesn't work, try again or Shift click the S-Color tab button to reset the controls of the S-Color tab.

22. Adjust the Saturation slider if the shadows look too gray or too colorful. Try the other options of the combo box on the left of the slider to avoid color noise or oversaturation.


Correcting the Highlights

23. Some images may require that you also adjust the highlights to make them better match the lifted shadows or to make them less bright or faded.

24. Switch to the Highlight tab sheet and use the brightness, contrast, color and saturation controls as you used them for correcting the shadows.

 

Using Virtual Studio Mode

Starting

1. Switch to Virtual Studio Pro mode with the Mode combo box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.


Adjusting Brightness and Moving the Spot

3. Increase the value of the Brightness slider of the Spots tab sheet until the default spot in the image becomes visible without getting too bright. Because the Brightness slides affects ALL spots, Brightness should always be set for the brightest spot. Less bright spots can be achieved by selecting each spot and adjusting the Intensity slider. Please see point 11.

4. Click on the cross of the spot and drag the spot to a place on the image that you want to change.


Adjusting the Spot

5. If you want to create a shadow spot instead of a light spot, please use a negative value for the Intensity slider on the Spot Mask tab sheet.

6. Adjust the Size slider until the spot has the right size.

7. Adjust the Ovality slider if you want to spot to only cover an oval area. After that use the Angle slider to rotate the spot if necessary.

8. Adjust the Hardness slider to make the center of the spot brighter. You may want to readjust the Brightness or Intensity slider after that.

9. Use the Reflection slider to make the spot less or more bright on certain image areas. If the spot produces halos, reduce the value of the Reflection slider or use the Shift and Ant-Halo sliders from the Reflection tab sheet. You can fine-tune the reflection properties of all spots even more on the Reflection tab sheet.


Creating a New Spot (Skip steps 10 to 12 if you don't want a new spot)

10. If you want to add another spot, please click on the image in the preview where you want to have it. When you add a new spot, it will have the same properties as the last spot created or adjusted.

11. Adjust the Intensity slider on the Spot Mask tab sheet if you want to have the spot less bright than the previous spot. If you want to have the current spot brighter, please increase the value of the Brightness slider. Please see step 3.

12. Repeat steps 5 to 9.


Readjusting the General Effect

13. After you have created as many spots as you need, you can simultaneously readjust the brightness of all these spots with the Brightness slider on the Spots tab sheet.

14. Try the other sliders on the Spots tab sheet as well as the sliders on the S-Color tab sheet.

15. You may also want to readjust the reflection effect on the Reflection tab sheet.


Correcting the Background

16. For some images you may also want to adjust the area outside the spots. That can be done with the controls on the Back and B-Color tab sheets.

 

Changing the Color of an Image Object

1. Switch to Colors Pro mode with the Mode combo box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.

3. In the preview please click on the object in the image that you want to colorize. Please click again on another area if you want to include it as well. Shift click an image area to remove it again.

4. Switch to the Colors and C-Color tab sheets and adjust selected image area as you wish.

5. If the image object or areas aren't corrected or colored as you want it to, there are several possibilities. You can use the Impact slider from the Color Mask tab sheet to intensify the effect. Additionally you can set the Brightness, Contrast, Adjust, Red, Green, Blue and Saturation sliders to more drastical values.

6. If necessary, switch to the Back and B-Color tab sheets and adjust the background areas.

 

Selective B/W Effects


Making the whole Image B/W with the exception of one or two colors

1. Switch to "Color Replace" mode with the Mode comb box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.

3. Set the Saturation slider from the C-Color tab sheet to -100.

4. Activate the "Invert" check box from the Color Mask tab sheet.

5. Click on the color in the preview that you want to keep colored.

6. The image will now appear B/W with the exception of the areas with the selected color.

7. Use the Impact slider to make the colored area stand out better.

8. If you want to keep another color, click again on a new color in the preview. If you want to remove one color and make it B/W again, hold down the shift key and click on it in the preview.

9. Again try using the Impact slider to emphasize the new colored area if necessary.

10. You can adjust the B/W effect by choosing another option from the Saturation combo box or by using the Adjust, Red, Green and Blue sliders from the Color tab sheet.

 

Making the one or two colors in the image B/W

1. Switch to "Color Replace" mode with the Mode combo box at the top.

2. Click on the Reset button to undo all previous changes.

3. Set the Saturation slider from the C-Color tab sheet to -100.

4. Click on the color in the preview that you want to make B/W.

5. The color will now appear almost B/W in the preview.

6. Use the Impact slider to intensify the B/W effect.

7. If you want to make another color B/W, click again on a new color in the preview. If you want to make that area colored again, hold down the shift key and click on it in the preview.

8. Again try using the Impact slider to intensify the B/W effect if necessary.

9. You can variate the B/W effect by choosing another option from the Saturation combo box or by using the Adjust, Red, Green and Blue sliders from the Color tab sheet.

 

Using LightMachine as a Masking Tool


Obtaining the shadows and highlights as separate transparent layers

1. Duplicate the image on a new layer in your graphics application.

2. Run LightMachine.

3. Adjust the sliders in LightMachine as you wish to create a certain mask.

4. Activate the S button and press OK. As a result you will have the shadow areas on a layer. All other image areas have become transparent.

5. For receiving the highlight areas on another layer please repeat step 1 to 4, but use the H button in step 4.

6. Please keep the original background image, because some areas may be transparent on both shadows and highlight layers.

7. Now you can selectively adjust the shadows and highlight layers with the tools of your graphics application or with other plugins. You can also use LightMachine's Brightness/Contrast (Pro) mode on both layers.

 

Using the LightMachine mask as a layer mask

1. Duplicate the image on a new layer in your graphics application.

2. Run LightMachine.

3. Adjust the sliders in LightMachine as you wish to create a certain mask.

4. Activate the P button in LightMachine and press OK. That will give you the shadow/highlight mask as a B/W image on the layer.

5. Now you can use the LightMachine mask as a layer mask by again duplicating the image as a new layer, adding a layer mask and copying the LightMachine mask into the layer mask channel.

6. Now you can selectively adjust the image with the tools of your graphics application or with other plugins. You can also still use LightMachine's Brightness/Contrast (Pro) mode.