GIMP/Brightness & Contrast – Wikibooks, open books for an open world


Only a few photographs from the digicam could have excellent brightness/distinction and most can profit to some extent with modifications in Gimp. Most don’t notice how highly effective these changes could be in making your photograph look skilled and to offer it that further pop. A precise description of all of the gimp instruments mentioned under would transcend the scope of this tutorial and the main focus will likely be extra on ideas or why the instruments have which means. For those who want extra particulars of how these instruments work, it’s instructed to learn the official Gimp guide.

Some changes are extra creative, subjective and there are trade-offs. Distinction provides a picture depth, however an excessive amount of distinction can conceal necessary particulars within the shadows and highlights. However generally that is okay if it contrasts effectively along with your goal topics. Typically talking, most brightness/distinction points come about from capturing within the course of the solar wherein you may get robust shadows AND highlights that are tough to repair with out the superior strategies mentioned under. A digital digicam just isn’t pychic and does not know the proper exposures for every sub-element of your photographs whereas sustaining general brightness/distinction, so it does make quite a lot of errors.

Refinement Strategies[edit]

Notice, whereas a few of these strategies work as marketed, a few of them “go too far”. Beneath are some good methods to “throttle down” or refine the consequences and to acquire passable compromises.

Layer Transparencies[edit]

Put your corrected layer on prime of your authentic layer. Slide the transpancy from 100% left till you acquire a passable consequence.

Excessive Bit Depth[edit]

Gimp 2.eight solely helps 8bit channels. That is very notable for these of us curious about colour correction, for even when our authentic picture was solely 8bit, 16bit operations dramatically cut back rounding errors. This exhibits up as misplaced knowledge/particulars and gaps within the histogram, particularly with repeated operations and layering. To get round this, you might need to use Gimp 2.9 or G’mic from the command line.

Utilizing HSV Safety Layers[edit]

Every picture could be subdivided by Hue (which colour), Saturation (how removed from black & white it’s) and worth (or brightness). If for instance, you solely need to alter the brightness with ranges, you possibly can duplicate your base layer. An authentic saturation layer on prime will protect the bottom saturation. A Hue layer wil protect the unique hue. The ‘colour’ mix mode will protect hue AND saturation, which is able to guarantee solely the brightness will change.

Normal Strategies[edit]

[ Colors > Brightness-Contrast”>edit]

The fundamentals. Not a foul place to begin however usually too all or nothing (an excessive amount of collateral harm).

[ Colors > Levels”>edit]

A step extra superior than Brightness-Distinction. Typically enough for many colour correction points espcially hazy or white stability issues. You image, pixel by pixel is displayed as a histogrm with the brightest pixels to the fitting and the darkest too the left. Oftentimes, your image is not going to use the total brightness spectrum it ought to be utilizing (flat wanting photos). The remedy is to maneuver the black triangle to the fitting till they get to the sting of your histogram mountain vary (or often just a bit into the histogram). Then transfer the white triangle (brightest pixels) to the left till it connects with its mountain vary. Lastly transfer the gray triangle (within the center) round till your midtones look proper.

Notice, you could carry out “normalization” on the person colour channels utilizing the identical principal which is usually a good technique to appropriate for colour casts.

The draw back with ranges, is it’s usually too all or nothing for brightness/distinction correction.

[ Colors > Curves”>edit]

One other step extra superior than ranges. This lets you do all the pieces ranges can however over extra factors. Typically talking, you need to pattern part of the image you need to appropriate. Then alter the curve accordingly (hold it considerably clean). Regardless of the extent of management right here, this too could be too all or nothing and lots of photos will profit from extra sophisticated correction strategies.

[ Colors > Normalize”>edit]

This can stretch the histogram to destroy deadspace to supply good white stability and will not destroy any colour knowledge. That is often very secure and a precursor to different operations…however oftentimes it’s too passive.

[ Colors > Auto > White Balance”>edit]

In contrast to normalize, this can chop weak knowledge to supply a pleasant white stability. Typically this works effectively, however generally it does not. It additionally corrects colour as effectively. I imagine this is similar operation as Colours > Ranges > Auto. Typically talking I want guide ranges over the auto capabilities until I have to do batch operations (one of many main gimp batch plugins helps auto ranges).

Utilizing Alternatives[edit]

In reality, your image is basically composed of many subpictures every with their very own particular person wants for colour/brightness/distinction correction. An excellent trick is to solely choice the topic you need to colour appropriate for. e.g. You are taking an image of a raft in shiny daylight. The rafters are hidden within the shadows and method under-exposed, whereas the sky and sections of water are method over-exposed. Doing brightness correction on the entire image will little question make a large number of the water and environment. But when you choose the raft and its occupants first, you possibly can obtain very precise and satififactory corrections to reveals the topic with out washing out the environment. The draw back is that making precise alternatives could be tough and time consuming.

Duplicate Layers & Mix Modes[edit]

By duplicating your layer and making use of various mix modes, you possibly can obtain highly effective results.

The ‘mild part’ will usually with a replica make the picture brighter:

  • Display screen
  • Dodge (stronger)
  • Addition (strongest)

The ‘darkish part’ will make a replica layer on prime darker.

The ‘distinction part’ will (with duplicates) make the darks darker and the sunshine ligher (add distinction, until the picture is inverted however that may be a later story):

  • Smooth Mild
  • Overlay (stronger…commonest mix mode for photograph enhancement)
  • Onerous Mild (strongest)

A way for strengthening this impact is to make use of many duplicate layers. Two duplicate layers set to overlay present extra distinction than only one.

A way for weakening these results is to make use of partial transparencies (proper under the layer mode)

Overlay Distinction Layer[edit]

One of many extra easy and customary methods to offer your picture pop. Duplicate your layer and set the highest layer to overlay. This can present extra distinction and may give a pleasant look. It’s possible you’ll need to insert a management layer on prime to guard saturation (duplicate base layer, transfer to prime and set to saturation in mix mode). This system is not going to work effectively if in case you have underexposed shadows and over-exposed highlights as they are going to exaggerate the issue.

Utilizing blended Black or White Layers[edit]

Inserting a strong black, white or generally gray layer is usually a good compontent in brightness correction.

  • Insert a white layer and set the transparence to be 50% to brighten the layer (or black layer to darken)
  • A white layer set to overlay will brighten the picture with an emphasis on brightening the brights.
  • A darkish layer set to overlay will darken the picture with an emphasis on darking the darks.

Distinction Masks[edit]

The thought of a distinction masks is to cut back blownout areas whereas concurrently brightening under-exposed shadows. It is a very efficient method for lots of novice out of doors photographs. In case your image does not have shadow/spotlight points, this will unfortinitely make an image look much less 3d and extra flat (you might be lowering distinction in any case).

  • Manually. Duplicate your layer. Choose the highest layer. Desaturate (utilizing luminosity). Invert. Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur (I like radius of 10px). Offical Tutorial. Usually overlay will increase distinction, however as a result of the picture is inverted, the other occurs.
  • FX foundry > Photograph > Enhancement > Distinction Overlay (I like blur = 10 and opacity = 100%)

Luminosity Masks[edit]

It is a very high-profile method utilized by nature photographers. The gist is that you simply sub-divide an image into say 2-5 alternatives based mostly on lightness. You then carry out curve corrections individually on every choice or masks. Nice technique to shield say a sky whereas including that element again into the shadows. An excellent conceptional (albeit photoshop) background on Luminosity Masks could be discovered right here.

  • You’ll be able to acquire tonal areas utilizing thresholds and layer masks
  • You’ll be able to generate luminosity masks utilizing the “Luminosity Masks” plugin. This solely provides you three masks although and the broaden/contract instrument just isn’t intuitive.
  • Menu > Filters > G’Mic > Enhancement > Masks Creator. Sees fairly highly effective, however is obscure. Instance and a few background right here.
  • Manually desaturate/invert/distinction. Good however solely provides you three tonal layers. Instance.

Tone Mapping[edit]

This reduces world distinction whereas rising native distinction. That is oftentimes excellent! Instance, I take an image within the woods…usually the sky is overexposed and the bushes underexposed. This balances the sky and offers it a nicer darker blue. Then it brightens the forest stream, however retains and enhances native distinction so say the bark on the bushes actually stands out.

  • Superior Tone Mapping Plugin: Hyperlink. Very good. Related impact to a distinction masks…however maybe does not get well as a lot element from the shadows and does not add as a lot in saturation.
  • Handbook Techniqe. Youtube Video Good outcomes with robust saturation. Is tweakable.
    • Make two copies
    • High Copy, Desaturate (luminisot)
    • High Copy, Invert
    • High Copy, Filters > Blur GaussianBlur (10px)
    • High Copy, cut back layer opacity to 65%
    • Merge prime two layers
    • Use new hybrid layer on prime to mushy mild
    • Throttle through the use of the opacity slider
  • G’Mic has a pleasant one. G’Mic > Colours > Tone Mapping (a lot of choices)

[ Filters > Eg > Shadow Recovery”>edit]

Easy method for including element to underexposed shadows

Utilizing Mid-tone Choice Layers[edit]

This protects the intense darks/lights whereas performing distinction operations on the midtones (most apt to be your topic).

  • Duplicate your photos
  • Auto normalize (delicate however secure white-balance)
  • Proper click on prime layer and create new layer masks from gray scale model of that layer. Edit the layer masks with curves to offer it a pulse form (0->255->0). This can now solely choose the midtones of your prime layer. Now choose the highest layer itself (not the masks) and play with ranges/curves. Now you can enhance the distinction of the midtones safely. It is a poor man’s luminosity masks.

Border Common Trick[edit]

  • Duplicate
  • Colours > Information > Border Common (3,four as choices)
  • Colours > Coloration to Alpha
  • Overlay (strive 50% opacity)

S Curve[edit]

That is principally a way to enhance distinction utilizing curves and is just like duplicating a layer and setting that to overlay. Go to Colours > Curves. Place one level in the midst of the slope. On the fitting half, put one other level half technique to the tip (1/four the whole distance). Then place some extent within the first forth of the road. Drag the purpose on the far proper to spice up the highlights. Then drag the purpose on the far left facet down to spice up the shadows. This boosts general distinction, however can can harm already exaggerated shadows/highlights and won’t present localized distinction. Nonetheless, not a foul trick for an image taken in good tonal vary.


The premise is that you simply take two photos of the identical scene and use the nice brights from one image and the nice shadows from one other. As many digital cameras fail to provide sufficient tonal vary particularly in sunny situations, this is usually a nice trick if the photographs had been taken with completely different brightness settings. You’ll be able to successfully get the perfect of each worlds. The primary trick is to verify the 2 photos line up precisely (you should utilize partial transparencies of your prime layer to realize these). As soon as they line up, you in essence delete the dangerous part off of the highest layer utilizing a normal choice (some ways to do that). A pleasant method to do that is with a tone mapping (see plugins above for methods to get good tonal alternatives). For those who google the topic you may discover a lot of plugins and methods that may allow you to with the method. For those who solely have one image you possibly can nonetheless carry out a “poor man’s” HDR utilizing a distinction masks (or tone mapping masks).


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