Learning is Motivating: Dynamic Contrast and Tonal Contrast Tools

I began the year with a text from my sister, Wendy Retzer asking if I wanted to participate in John Acuff’s 10-Day Do Over Challenge. Having not heard of the challenge I asked for more information, looked it over and decided to give it ago. So far it’s been a fun, thoughtful challenge! If you’re ready for a DoOver I’d recommend giving it ago!

Day 5 is spending a few minutes to identify what motivates you! I discovered that Learning Motivates me and today I felt motivated to learn something.

Photos get better through editing. Great photos get better and bad photos can often become “not so” bad photos. One editing tool that I often use is Perfect Photo Studio from OnOneSoftware(It can be used as a stand alone app or as a plug in to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop). Specifically the Perfect Effects portion of the suite. There are two tools that I have struggled to figure out when and where to use them.

Dynamic Contrast and Tonal Contrast.

Dynamic Contrast has its own group of separate effects and the Tonal Contrast effect is inside the Tone Enhancer group of effects.

Here’s an out of the camera image on a gray cloudy day at Disney’s California Adventure:

Straight of the of Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III ISO 400 Focal Length 25mm Aperture f/4.5 Exposure Time 0.0002s (1/4000)

First edit in Adobe Lightroom 5:

Lightroom 5 Edits: Exp: +.25; Contrast: +27; Highlights: -100; Shadows: +50; White: +10; Black: -27; Clarity: +63; Vibrance: +36

Dynamic Contrast Filter Added in Perfect Photo Effects 9:

Dynamic Contrast-Normal

Tonal Contrast Filter from Perfect Photo Effects 9:

Tonal Contrast Filter Added

Screenshot from Perfect Photo Effects 9:

Screenshot showing the tools available to fine tune the Dynamic Contrast tool

Screenshot of the Tonal Contrast tool:

Tonal Contrast Options

This exercise is less about which image looks better and more about how the tools work. I’ve discovered that the Tonal Contrast filter gives me more options to fine tune the image in terms of darkness and lightness of the image. Dynamic Contrast appears to work in a slightly different way in that it works on the whole color range of the histogram. But i’m not entirely sure right now… I do feel it was easier to brighten up the image and keep the cloud detail with the Tonal Contrast tool. My thought process going forward is use Dynamic Contrast when I want to sharpen up the whole image and am satisfied with the overall  exposure. Use Tonal Contrast when I want may need to also enhance the exposure a bit as well.

As I was looking for info about these two tools I found this quick video from Matt K talking about using the Dynamic Contrast tool and when not to use it in Perfect Photo Effects. Be careful using these tools on People!

I do use Perfect Photo Studio 9 for most of my images and I do receive a small referral fee should you choose to give it a try using any of the links on this page. Just click here to give it a try!