Image enhancement - the basics

Photo by Gimp Savvy

Many digital images need some sort of mild tweaking before they look their best. We will take a look at a few basic techniques needed to enhance the image before it is being printed or output in any other way.

Usually one of the first things to do is to adjust color balance. Although image sensors in cameras are designed to produce colors that match those we saw in the original scene, the results depend as much on the accuracy of your exposure as the different characteristics of the CCD.

Natural light present in the scene plays another mayor part. Light from midday sun for instance is much bluer than evening sky or tungsten light.

Then there is brightness and contrast. These  work in much the same way as they do on television. Brightness controls the overall brightness of the image while contrast adjusts the difference between darker and lighter areas.

Since many raw images tend to be a bit soft, it will be necessary to use sharp mask. This should be the final step before outputting the image as other manipulations after sharpening can introduce unwanted artifacts. Different images need different levels of adjustment and moderation is the key to achieving a correct final image.

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