This is the 2nd half of an article on Picture Window Pro image editing software.
The 2nd half focuses on two of Picture Window Pro’s most innovative features. First, the 3-Zone Adjustment (under the “Gray” transformation menu), and second, the Workflow feature, Picture Window Pro’s approach to automating repetitive actions. Warp, for rapid and intuitive correction of perspective distortion is also covered. Finally, all is wrapped up with my conclusions.
Please be sure to check out some of the other important features and advantages of Picture Window Pro in the “1st half” of the article.
Selectively applying brightness adjustments to different parts of an image can sometimes be a lot of work. Especially when one needs multiple masks to make customized brightness changes in several different parts of the image. Picture Window Pro’s “3-Zone Adjustment” can often make quick work of these complex edits. It does this by automatically building masks for different luminosity ranges in the image: highlights, midtones, and shadows.
This image, of my son Brian and his girlfriend’s dog Chloe, needs a lot of work. Chloe, from the “reality” of my memory, is a very white, just-washed, dog, but the original exposure leaves her much too gray and “dirty-looking,” plus some detail is lost in her white forehead. Likewise, Brian’s face is much too dark. Thus, we have at least 3 complex areas to edit – 3-Zone Adjustment to the rescue!
Before - Several problem areas
Selecting the 3-Zone Adjustment from the “Gray” transformation menu opens this dialog box. The push buttons at the top toggle between several views of the image: Z - luminosity zones, M - masks (for highlights, midtones and shadows), B - before, and A - After.
Three-Zone Dialog Box
The tabs at the bottom of the dialog box reveal all the slider controls for each luminosity range (highlight, shadow and midtone), and for blending the zones. The sliders for blending are shown above. The sliders for the luminosity ranges also include: Contrast, Brightness and Saturation. Those are the most important changes applied to each luminosity range.
Immediately below the histogram, triangular sliders enable fine adjustment of the boundaries between highlight, midtone and shadow. Here we see the 3 luminosity zones adjusted for this image.
Three Luminosity Zones - Highlight, Shadow and Midtone
The next three figures show the automatically generated masks for the highlights, shadows and midtones. The Contrast, Brightness and Saturation slider settings are applied using these masks.
Shadow Mask (Wooh - that looks pretty weird!)
Here is the final result of the 3-Zone Adjustment.
Final Result - Clean, White Chloe Dog with all detail retained, correct skin tone for my son (whiskers emphisized!), and darker shadows (Social Note: Chloe really is that friendly - she is one sweet puppy dog, and still growing!)
Quick and easy! I hope you agree that the final image captures these two buddies in a much better light.
Workflow - Macros
Picture Window Pro’s Workflow feature makes building macros to do multiple complex edits applied to many images quick, easy and very visual. Building flexible user friendly macros uses many of the same tools found in the transformations menu. Each step of a Workflow can be tested, refined and perfected until it’s “just right.” And it’s simple to modify any step of a saved Workflow to handle a new situation.
This simple example illustrates the power. Three-hundred (300) + already edited images needed to be cropped, resized, sharpened and saved for use on the web. A great job for the workflow below. The Workflow was built and tested on one image and saved. Then the whole batch was loaded into the Workflow dialog - click on GO - a few short minutes later all 300 were processed, with no errors.
Workflow dialog illustrating a macro using cropping, resizing, sharpening and saving.
Much more complex Workflows are just as easy to build, test, save and reuse using most of the dozens of transformations available to Picture Window Pro users: Color, Geometry, Gray, Sharpen…, Special Effects, and others.
I’ve used this same Workflow several times since then, and I’m sure it will be used often in the future, especially when gobs of images from new events need processing fast.
Correcting perspective distortion is also quick and easy with Picture Window Pro. Just select “Warp” from the “Geometry” transformation menu, drag the control points to get the grid lines parallel to the image features that you want to be vertical (or horizontal), and you’re done.
I happen to like this wide view of the many stacks at Sloss Furnaces with those stacks pointing away from vertical, but to please the many critical eyes of my fellow APS members, I now have a version with the stacks vertical. I’m sure everyone will love it!
Using Warp to Correct Vertical Perspective Distortion
This quick summary of a few examples of Picture Window Pro’s wealth of capabilities just scratches the surface. I’ll be happy to entertain your questions about the program.
Picture Window Pro really is a superb editing application for photographers. It was built by a legendary programmer with only photography in mind. It has been refined and expanded with truly useful tools and features for over 20 years. But it’s not “bloated” with hard to use features that you don’t need; it’s for photography, not other stuff.
In the ten+ years I’ve used the program (starting with v. 4.0 back in 2005) Picture Window Pro has kept up with every advance in cameras, and has kept up with, and often surpassed other companies’ new features. And it has stayed easy to use, fast and powerful.
All this is just my opinion, but don’t take my word for it. Try it. Download Picture Window Pro for a trial (the trial is a fully functioning version), test it out and see for yourself. You’ll save lots of $$$ too.
But if money is no object, you love confusing interfaces and tons of “features” you never use (and never will),…
Nah, nobody’s like that!
Jim Harrison, President
Atlanta Photographic Society