Images from the digital camera are not always convincing – they sometimes look flat, cast in color or the horizon is crooked. That doesn’t matter: you can easily improve your recordings on the computer in just a few simple steps; a free program is usually sufficient. So make the most of your photos, we name the ten most important tips for quick image corrections on the computer. Background remover is one of the best extra techniques for enhance the product image quality.
- 1. Cut away unnecessary edge
- 2. The automatic contrast control – always worth a try
- How to find automatic contrasts in various free programs (i.e. freeware):
- The Photoshop purchase programs from the manufacturer Adobe offer several contrast modes at the same time:
- 3. The useful view of the histogram control panel
- Not all free programs offer a permanently visible histogram control panel, but these versions play with:
- 4. Comfortable contrast correction by hand
- For Photoshop editions:
- 5. Contrast perfectly via gradation curve
- You can also work as with the function from Tip 4:
- Some, but not all programs offer you the versatile gradation curve:
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1. Cut away unnecessary edge
Saber away unnecessary zones at the edge of the picture – so your main motif appears larger and more striking. Portraits, flowers and many other motifs come out better if you simply cut off uninteresting parts of the picture. You can do this easily in all image programs and apps on your mobile phone with the exemption tool.
Optionally, you can also ensure certain aspect ratios when cropping: Specify the 3: 2 ratio in the settings for the crop tool, for example, or protect the original aspect ratio. Good to know: Cut away the edge right at the beginning of the image processing, only then will the further steps follow. The automatic contrast and histogram (see below) actually only work with the important image area, the excess edge is not even taken into account.
2. The automatic contrast control – always worth a try
Many pictures initially appear somewhat low in contrast. Before you experiment with contrast controls for a long time, simply test the automatic contrast correction. The automatic contrast is available in practically every image program, sometimes even in several
Variants: Depending on the command, you only improve the contrast or you change the contrast and color mood at the same time.
Sometimes the automatic contrast is too strong, then stop. But the automatic shows in any case how clearly a picture can still be upgraded.
How to find automatic contrasts in various free programs (i.e. freeware):
- Gimp 2.8.10: Colors submenu, Automatic
- Picasa 3.9: General optimizations, contrast (automatic) and color (automatic)
- Paint.net 4.0 beta: corrections, automatic
- Windows Photo Gallery 2012: Edit, Auto Adjust and Exposure
- XnView MP 0.64: Submenu Image, Color Change, then Set Color Automatically or Set Brightness Automatically
- IrfanView 4.37: image, auto-correction
- Pixlr.com in the Internet browser: In the editor area adjustments, auto-tone correction
- Ipiccy.com in the Internet browser: button Fix Image
- Snapseed 1.6 for Android and iOS devices: Automatic button
The Photoshop purchase programs from the manufacturer Adobe offer several contrast modes at the same time:
- Photoshop CC, CS6: Image main menu with auto tint, auto contrast and auto color as well as image, corrections, brightness / contrast with automatic button
- Photoshop Elements 12: Revise main menu with auto color correction, auto contrast, auto tone correction and intelligent auto correction
3. The useful view of the histogram control panel
What’s wrong with the picture? Is there no shadow or light? The histogram control panel, which can be found in most image programs, answers these questions.
- There are no rashes on the left in the histogram, so the image lacks very dark pixels.
- Not much happens on the right in the histogram, which means that very bright pixels are missing – overall, this photo has to look flat and lack contrast.
A recording with these properties can easily be corrected automatically. In the automatic results on the right, you can see that the histogram is now expanding further. The thin gaps in the histogram are typical for contrast correction and usually do not interfere.
Not all free programs offer a permanently visible histogram control panel, but these versions play with:
- Gimp 2.8.10: Windows, dockable dialogs, histogram
- Picasa 3.9: Histogram permanently visible in single image editing
- Windows Photo Gallery 2012: Histogram visible with the command Edit, adjust exposure
- XnView MP 0.64: View, show histogram
- Ipiccy.com in the Internet browser: Histogram visible with the Levels command
In all editions of Photoshop, choose Window, Histogram.
4. Comfortable contrast correction by hand
You don’t want to control the contrasts with an automatic system, but rather manually with a controller? The most convenient contrast control shows a histogram as you already know it from the histogram control panel. The function has a different name in each program. Here we edit a low-contrast image in the free Gimp program:
- Choose colors, values.
- The picture has too little bass? Drag the black triangle on the far left under the histogram – your photo will appear darker and more contrasting.
- Are there also very high brightness values missing? Drag the white triangle to the right below the histogram – the snapshot brightens and looks more contrasting.
- Are you still not satisfied with the overall brightness? Experiment with the middle, gray slider below the histogram.
Incidentally, the histogram in this dialog does not change until you click OK. If you want to see an absolutely current histogram for the current controller position, you need the histogram control panel from tip 3.
How to find the function in other free programs:
- Paint.net 4.0 beta: corrections, manual adjustment
- Windows Photo Gallery 2012: edit, fine-tune, adjust exposure
- XnView MP 0.64: Image, Adjust, Black / White Point
- Pixlr.com in the Internet browser: adjustments, levels
- Ipiccy.com in the Internet browser: Levels button in the Advanced area
For Photoshop editions:
In Photoshop CC, CS6 choose Image, Corrections, Levels. In Photoshop Elements 12, the command is Revise, Adjust Lighting, Levels.
5. Contrast perfectly via gradation curve
The method from tip 4 is already good. If you want to control the contrast and brightness even more precisely, use the gradation curve – the most popular contrast tool among professionals. Some application examples:
- Drag the top of the gradation curve up slightly. This way you only brighten up brighter areas of the image, the photo appears brighter. Shadows and extremely bright spots change little or not at all, so they do not create overexposure and do not lose very dark pixels.
- Drag the lower area further down if you want darker parts of the image to appear even darker. These first two changes work together as an increase in contrast. If, on the other hand, you want to work out more details in the image shadows, raise the curve in the lower area – dark areas then appear lighter.
You can also work as with the function from Tip 4:
- Drag the left end of the curve horizontally inwards: This way you create darker tonal values than before, the picture appears darker and more contrasting.
- Dragging the top of the curve horizontally inwards produces brighter tones than before; You get a brighter and more brilliant picture.
Some, but not all programs offer you the versatile gradation curve:
- Gimp 2.8.10: colors, curves
- Paint.net 4.0 beta: corrections, curves
- Pixlr.com in the Internet browser: adjustments, curves
- Ipiccy.com in the Internet browser: Curves button in the advanced area
- Photo editor by dev.macgyver for Android phones and tablets: Color curves button
- Photoshop CC, CS6: image, corrections, gradation curves