ContrastMaster works with dozens of graphics applications including Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, Photo-Paint, IrfanView and PhotoImpact under Windows. For accelerated rendering it supports hyperthreading as well as multiple processors and cores. ContrastMaster works with 8bit and 16bit RGB images.
ContrastMaster offers three local and four global contrast adjustment methods as well as various masking, saturation and brightness options. The three local adjustment methods allow you to dramatically improve contrast in small image details without blowing out highlights or damaging the image. You can apply these three methods separately or use various options to mix them together for even better results.
The four global methods (S/H-Contrast, Stretch, Equalize and Polarize) work on the tonal range of the image and help to improve the result even further. There is also an option for changing the brightness of the image. The masking options let you conveniently remove the ContrastMaster effect from an image area where you do not want to have it applied, e.g. skin areas, a blue sky or a wall. This can be done with the help of shadow/highlight and color masking options. Additionally, a saturation mask feature lets you improve saturation without oversaturating the image.
ContrastMaster offers three sophisticated methods for enhancing contrast in small image details. They are called Dynamic, Adaptive and Local. In fact, these three methods utilize five algorithms in total, because the dynamic and adaptive methods each use another algorithm for certain control settings. Each of these algorithms adjusts the contrast of image details in its own special way, which makes ContrastMaster useful for different types of images and allows you to produce a variety of effects and looks.
Each of the three methods lets you adjust the size of the image details that are affected, the effect intensity and the way the contrast is adjusted. Additionally, the Dynamic Contrast methods lets you avoid artifacts or noise without lowering the effect intensity, the Adaptive Contrast methods automatically adjusts image details of different size at the same time, and the Local Contrast methods lets you independently increase and decrease the contrast in image details as well as influence the brightness character of the effect. Each of the three methods also offers special shadow/highlight adjustment options as part of the algorithm.
ContrastMaster offers six modes from the simple Novice mode to the sophisticated Expert Mode. Whereas Novice and Expert mode let you apply all contrast effects at the same time, the remaining four modes let you apply each of the three local effects and all the global effects individually. Moving the mouse over a control displays a detailed explanation in the Help box, so you don't need to read the manual before using ContrastMaster.
Each of the seven tab sheets offers a button menu with various local presets for quickly applying useful settings. Furthermore, there is a global preset feature that allows you to save and reuse useful settings later. Several global presets are already delivered with ContrastMaster. There is a FX Values check box on the Prefs tab for using strong instead of medium effect intensities as the defaults. That way people who mainly want to produce special effects with ContrastMaster do not need to readjust sliders all of the time. ContrastMaster also lets you adjust up to three different effect settings at the same time and switch between them by using the Preview tab sheets, so you can experiment with different effect settings and conveniently compare them without leaving the ContrastMaster dialog.
You can also use ContrastMaster to give a single photo the look of a HDR image while avoiding the overhead of HDR photography. With its masking options you often do not need to create selections or layer mask for selectively applying the ContrastMaster effect, which saves you a lot of time. ContrastMaster also offers special features that are not found in most other tools, e.g. spilt views, logged settings, 17 histogram types, own defaults, blown highlights detection, rendering time estimation, novice/expert modes, local presets and preview tab sheets.
Availability & System Requirements
ContrastMaster is available for Windows. A Macintosh version is planned for the end of the year. ContrastMaster sells at $69.95 (Regular License) or $39.95 (Academic/Educational License). It can be purchased at http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/. A demo version can be downloaded at the same URL.