PhotoDemon 7.0: new Adjustments and Effects

November 7, 2017

New features Tanner (PD developer) 5 Comments

(This is part of a series about PhotoDemon’s 7.0 release. For the full set of 7.0 release articles, visit this page.)

Even though new adjustments and effects weren’t the focus of this release cycle, there were plenty of opportunities to make improvements. A full list of adjustment and effect changes would require ten more articles as long as this one, but suffice it to say that in one way or another, every filter in the project has seen at least minor performance improvements, and many have received top-to-bottom overhauls. Let’s spotlight a few of the more interesting changes.

New Effects

…Now that I see this list in its entirety, I guess I did add quite a few new effects to this release. Yikes!

Effects > Noise > Anisotropic Diffusion

Effects > Pixelate > Color Halftone

Effects > Pixelate > Crystallize

Effects > Distort > Donut

Effects > Noise > Harmonic mean

Effects > Noise > Mean-shift

Effects > Nature > Metal

Effects > Pixelate > Mezzotint

Effects > Stylize > Outline

Effects > Stylize > Palettize

Effects > Artistic > Plastic Wrap

Effects > Stylize > Portrait Glow

Effects > Edge > Range filter

Effects > Nature > Snow

Effects > Blur > Symmetric nearest-neighbor

Improved adjustment tools

PhotoDemon’s old Shadow/Highlight tool was pretty darn poor. I feel bad that it shipped in its original state, so for 7.0, the entire algorithm has been reworked. The new results are so much better that I’ve promoted the tool to the main Adjustments menu, because I find myself using it all the time.

Here’s a quick before/after example – notice how much detail the tool recovered in the shadowy portions of this image, particularly the tree trunks:

Shadow/highlight recovery tool on a standard 24-bpp JPEG

Best of all, RAW photos aren’t required. The sample image above is a standard 24-bpp JPEG c/o Bing’s “image of the day”.

Another adjustment tool that really needed an overhaul was the old brightness/contrast tool. Brightness and contrast were among the first invented digital photographic adjustments, and as technology has improved, so has our knowledge of their limitations.

To help new users who rely on this tool (instead of the more capable Levels or Curves tools), I’ve borrowed a page from the Photoshop playbook and added two modes to PhotoDemon’s Brightness/Contrast tool: a “legacy” mode that uses the traditional algorithm, and a “modern” mode that uses the 3rd-party LittleCMS library to produce a much more intuitive result. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the new brightness/contrast tool’s results, when setting “brightness” to +75 and “contrast” to +50:

Notice how the modern algorithm retains the overall lighting scheme of the image, while gently modifying only the relevant colors. The legacy tool, by contrast (pun intended), completely wrecks the lighting.

No more bad “one-click” effects

In previous releases, PhotoDemon provided some silly “one-click” effects. These effects offered no user-controllable options, which also meant no preview window where you could experiment before processing the full image.

In this release, all remaining one-click effects have been rewritten as fully customizable, pro-grade tools. Here are some examples of old one-click filters that are now full effects:

Effects > Artistic > Film Noir

Effects > Stylize > Antique

Effects > Nature > Atmosphere

Heavily improved or rewritten tools

As part of overhauling PhotoDemon’s UI in this release, each tool needed to be revisited to ensure the new interface worked correctly. This gave me a nice opportunity to revisit, expand, and optimize various tool options. While there are too many changes to fully discuss, let me highlight some of the tools that have seen large improvements.

Effects > Noise > Add noise

Image > Rotate > Arbitrary

Effects > Distort > Correct distortion

Adjustments > Histogram > Equalize

Adjustments > Photography > Exposure

Effects > Blur > Motion blur

Effects > Light and shadow > Sunshine

In addition to new features, many tools received significant performance enhancements. For example…

  • Image > Rotate > Arbitrary is 2x faster
  • Adjustments > Color > Replace Color is 2x faster
  • Effects > Stylize > Vignetting is 3x faster
  • Effects > Nature > Fog is 4x faster
  • Image > Rotate > Straighten is 5x faster
  • Effects > Light and Shadow > Cross-screen is 6x faster
  • Effects > Blur > Motion Blur is 10x faster
  • Effects > Pixelate > Fragment is 20x faster

And those are just the improvements I wrote down! Almost every tool in the project should be faster than it was in 6.6, despite many tools offering new features and improved quality.

Return to the main PhotoDemon 7.0 release announcement

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  • John Casperson Nov 18, 2017

    I have been using PhotoDemon for some time but have been somewhat frustrated by lack of documentation.
    It is my go to Print setup and the RAW editing is really appreciated as II it accomodates my poor vision.
    Looking forward to the new release

    • Tanner (PD developer) Nov 30, 2017

      Hi John. Thank you for the feedback. I apologize for the lack of documentation. Now that version 7.0 is out (and the program’s interface is finally standardized), documentation is much more feasible than it was in the past. If all goes well, I hope to include a full manual with the next major release.

  • Frank Dec 02, 2017

    This is a really cool release, congratulations.
    Two requests: Zooming in the preview window when adjusting settings for the effects. This would be particulary useful when using some adjustment tools where fine detail is important (like noise redution). The other thing is separate color balance for shadows, midtones and highlight.
    Thank you.

    • Tanner (PD developer) Dec 02, 2017

      Thank you for the kind words, Frank. Those are two great requests. I’ve added both to my to-do list!

  • Al Feb 06, 2018

    Thank you Super work. Congratulations!


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