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Local Contrast Enhancement v1.2 (2008-12-24)


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This plugin (LCE for short) allows to clarify flat or hazy looking photos. It also adds depth or three-dimensional look sometimes. For most of photos you won't need it, but sometimes it's very useful: for distant landscapes or clouds for example. By default the effect is very subtle - to provide enhanced, but still natural looking result.

Menu location: Effects > Photo.

Download as part of my plugin pack.




Updated to version 1.2 (2008-12-24)!

Changes: few UI and code optimizations.

Updated to version 1.1 (2008-08-31)!

- Compatibility fix for paint.net 3.36


Amount - percentage of contrast to be added

Radius - width of contrast detection area

Smoothing - reduces the effect gradually at extreme shadows and highlights, to avoid overprocessed look or color clipping.

Amount 10-30 should be sufficient for natural result.

Radius should be chosen according to image size. There is no rule here but generally: the larger the image, the greater radius you may need. 60 is about optimal for screen size image. 90 or more for large (>3MP) images. 30 for web size images.

Smoothing at default setting 5 prevents color clipping in extreme shadows and highlights. Increasing it mutes the effect in shadows and highlights even further. Reducing to zero turns shadows/highlights preserving off.


Similar effect was possible with Sharpen+ plugin, but this one is specially configured for contrast enhancement and is twice faster.

Contrast is applied to pixel's brightness only, preserving original hue and saturation.

Try also special contrast effects: with several (3-4) passes at reducing radius and growing amount (for example Amount/Radius: 10/60->20/30->30/10).

Below are some links to tutorials describing the LCE technique using Photoshop's Unsharp Mask.

This plugin does the same, but avoids color shift and clipping problems noted in those pages.

<!-- m -->http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutori ... cement.htm<!-- m -->

<!-- m -->http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototip ... -mask.html<!-- m -->

<!-- m -->http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutor ... ment.shtml<!-- m -->

<!-- m -->http://www.lonestardigital.com/photoshop_quicktips.htm<!-- m -->

(note: radius 50 in Photoshop is about equal to radius 100 in Paint.NET)



lce-sample1.jpg1st pic - original

2nd pic - LCE, defaults

Resized to 40% for web sample.




1st pic - original

2nd pic - Advanced Greyscale plugin: R 100, G 50, B 0

3rd pic - LCE, 4 passes: Amount/Radius 10/60->20/30->30/10->40/5 (Smoothing always 5).

Resized to 33% for web sample.

Remember the look of good old b/w photos?

Enjoy! 😎

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Thanks, Tanel, for another excellent plugin!

I've used your Shadow/Highlight plugin to effectively recover details in many photos with horrible exposure settings. Tried using this Local Contrast Enhancement after the Shadow/Highlight plugin and found that the photos looked even better.

Thank you!!!

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Take it to the or a PM, please.


The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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