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Re: contrastmaster settings in detail

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:13 am
by HaraldHeim
Some good observation you made there. But I have the impression that you are trying too hard to be logical here. I think a more intuitive approach is more promising. The various sliders can have quite different effects on different images, so I think it is best to observe the effect of each slider and adjust it as you see fit for a certain image.

Some sliders are set to 50 as the default value, because at zero they would produce a too weak effect or even side effects. So just start with the default values that each slider has after pressing Reset and adjust them.

Ok, here are some comments:

DETAIL lower = large detail, higher = small detail
*would be easier to remember if it could act like 'radius' in other two tabs, where its the exact opposite on slider....
I thought of turning the Detail slider into a "Radius" slider, but then there would have been too few values for the small details and too many values for the large details. This would made a "Radius" value much less useful and it would have reacted a bit strange.
STRENGTH lower = reduce noise?, higher = increase noise?
*is there a better way to describe 'strengths' action exactly, sound like a 'small details' enhancer...?
I think the text on the help tab sheet describes this slider quite good, but I can repeat it here in case you did not read it yet: The 'Strength' slider influences the strength of the effect. In contrast to the Intensity slider it has a more subtle effect. It can e.g. be used to avoid artifacts without decreasing the effect intensity. If the Detail slider has too low values, using the Strength slider may not make much difference.

RANGE lower = small details, higher = large details
*how does range differ from radius exactly, perhaps a better way to describe it....?
Again Range is similar to the Radius slider, but it effects more the edges and outlines than flat areas.
BOOST * how does this differ from intensity because it sounds the same in the description?
Yes, it is similar to the Intensity slider, but affects shadows and highlights a bit differently. You can use it to additionally amplify the contrast effect or you can just keep it at the default value of 50.

SOFTLIG *is 50 the true null?

A value of 0 produces no effect, but we chose a default value of 50, because it produces a good balanced look for most images.

* i wish there was a way to know what was null for each slider as in 0 or 50 or if theres no true null....that way people can start from scratch and slowly incrementally begin dialing in...

If you press Reset, you will get the default value for each slider. That is the value to start from.

* for things like STRETCH, which needs to 'see' the whole photo in the window in order to correctly adjust, it would be nice if the coding could allow the plugin to zoom out fully to see the big picture, do the math, than zoom back to the % the user was viewing at to see the correct results, since otherwise the user has to manually zoom to FIT, do the slider, then go back to the proper zoom and place....
Yes, you are basically right. We will fix it in a future update.

Say what?

Posted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:17 pm
by MyronGochnauer
I appreciate the importance of not being over-technical about the settings.

ContrastMaster uses three central ideas to organize its effects: 1) Dynamic contrast; 2) Adaptive contrast; and 3) Local contrast.

Of these three, only the third has any helpfully intuitive meaning for most photographers. Whether we are film or digital photographers, we can easily understand how "overall contrast" is different from "local contrast".

But "dynamic" and "adaptive" suggest no specifically photographic meaning or use, even though they are common words. What the devil makes a contrast adjustment "dynamic" or "adaptive" as opposed to anything else?

ContrastMaster desperately needs a clear description of what these two contrast changes are, expressed in a way that clearly links what they do to the name they have.

If I want to change the contrast within small areas --- i.e. "locally" --- without changing the overall contrast --- the overall span of the histogram --- I know what to do: choose to modify "Local Contrast".

If I want to... [do what?]... I choose the "Dynamic Contrast" tab.

If I want to... [do what?]... I choose the "Adaptive Contrast" tab.

I invoke a PhotoShop plugin because I think my image can be improved in a particular way: less noise, better color balance or saturation, more or less sharpness, more open shadows, etc. I don't just start experimenting with everything I have in my plugins folder. So, what "needs" would get me to try ContrastMaster "Dynamic contrast" or "Adaptive contrast"?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:31 pm
by HaraldHeim
All three effects produce similar results, but would it be better to call them Local Contrast 1, Local Contrast 2 and Local Contrast 3?

The first two effects (Dynamic and Adaptive) are effects that are not found anywhere else this way, so it no surprise that you do not know them. So try them and see if you can make any use of them.

All three effects work similar for some images and very different for other images. It is also a question of taste if you like one more than the other.

As I said you would use all three effects for improving local contrast. So just try them on a few images and see which one you like best. Then use that one in future if you do not like to experiment a lot.

When updating the manual again I will try to provide some test images that demonstrate the differences between the three main effect. I hope that will help.