Image editing with Picture Window Pro:
by Norman Koren

Site map/guide to tutorials
Contact | News

Making fine prints in your digital darkroom
Understanding image sharpness and MTF
Image galleries / How to purchase prints
Photographic technique
Image editing with Picture Window Pro

A simplified zone system
Canon FS4000US 4000 dpi scanner
Epson 2450 flatbed scanner
Digital vs. film | Canon EOS-10D
Building simple web pages
updated December 23, 2003
View image galleries


Search WWW Search
Table of contents

for Image editing with
Picture Window Pro

Why edit images? | Picture Window Pro
The Picture Window screen
Image size and display
Image editing sequence
Example: Levels and Color
A quick guide to functions
Commands by operation
Making masks
Contrast masking
Tinting and hand coloring B&W images
Example: Sunset, Providence, Rhode Island

for the Making Fine
Prints series
Getting started | Light & color
Pixels, images, & files | Scanners
Digital cameras | Printers | Papers and inks
Monitor calibration and gamma
Printer calibration | Scanning | Basic image editing
Black & White | Matting and framing
Tonal quality and dynamic range in digital cameras

Color Management: Introduction | Implementation
Profiles with MonacoEZcolor | Evaluating profiles

 This page introduces Picture Window Pro and gives an overview of its functions and features. 

Introducción al Picture Window Pro 3 by Carlos E. Mora is an excellent Spanish language tutorial.

Why edit images?

The images produced by scanners and digital cameras are often quite good, but rarely perfect. They may suffice as records of a scene or event, but they seldom have the dramatic impact of a great print. If your goal is to make prints that go beyond simple simple records-- prints that capture the essence people and places, the sublety of still lives, or the grandeur of landscapes-- to create prints that stand as works of art-- you will need to make many adjustments, large and small-- to alter the brightness, contrast and color of all or parts of the image until it looks exactly right. You will need to edit.

Image editing is the heart of the creative act of photographic printmaking-- it is where you transform a well-crafted snapshot into a work of art. It is where you implement Ansel Adams' oft-repeated statement,

"The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance."
In his youth Adams was disappointed by camera shop prints of his mountain photographs-- they didn't convey what he saw and felt. That disappointment launched him on a successful quest to make prints that conveyed his feelings about the landscape he loved. He shared his knowledge in his Basic Photo series, particularly in The Negative and The Print, classics that are relevant to this day. Technology has transformed the means of image editing, but not the ends.

Adams realized that a print can never capture the tonal range of an actual scene, particularly a naturally illuminated landscape. A print has a maximum tonal range of no more than 100:1. Scenes have widely varying tonal ranges, often much greater. If you try to transfer a scene literally to a print, the contrast may be too low, resulting in a flat appearance. More often it's too high, blocking out highlights and shadows. Even if you correct the contrast (and do nothing else), you will rarely capture the visual experience of the scene.

Why? Because our eyes function differently when viewing prints and viewing scenes. As they move about a scene, they constantly adapt to differences in illumination using all sorts of cues not present in a print. The scene we experience is the result of numerous small and large adaptations. When we look at a print, our eyes hardly adapt. They grasp the print as a whole. In order to capture the feeling of a scene, those adaptations have to be put into the print. And to capture the artistic essence of the scene-- to reveal its essence-- we often have to go a great deal further.

In practice, this means if you photograph in natural light, you must dodge (lighten selected areas of a print) and burn (darken selected areas). When I started with photography I thought the master straight photographers (Alfred Steiglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock, and Ansel Adams, to name a few.) who practiced "pure" photography didn't do much dodging and burning. Wrong! They were consummate artists who understood the workings of the human eye. They worked very hard on their prints, balancing every element to maximize the visual intensity. They would have loved digital technology. As Paul Caponigro said in a 1973 workshop,

"If I were God, I would say 'Let there be light.' Then I'd never have to dodge or burn."
Some of the specific goals of image editing are

Picture Window Pro from Digital Light and Color

Digital Light & Color was founded in 1993 by Jonathan Sachs, co-founder of the Lotus Development Corporation and author of Lotus 1-2-3, one of the landmark programs of personal computing. When Jonathan left Lotus in 1990, he combined his formidable software skills with his passion for photography to create a digital photo editing program that has evolved into today's Picture Window Pro.

Picture Window Pro is an extremely powerful image editor that has every feature serious photographers require. Among them,

And it's affordable. $89.95 for the Pro version, which I recommend. A 30 day trial version is available for download.

The inevitable question will arise, "Why not Photoshop?" Photoshop is, after all, the dominant image editor in graphic arts. The answer: Picture Window Pro is less expensive, easier to learn and easier to use. And extremely powerful. Photoshop is intended for advertising and display. It has an enormous range of features most photographers will never need; features which make it difficult to learn and less than intuitive to use. As a result, a whole industry has grown up around teaching it; numerous classes are offered and over 400 books are in print. You can start making artistic prints of the highest quality far more quickly with Picture Window Pro. And if needs be, you can always open the files with Photoshop. I often talk to people who have tried digital printing but prefer the old-fashioned chemical darkroom. They have one thing in common: they've struggled with Photoshop.

Robert Schwiebert's eloquent comments sum it up.

I've been a Photoshop user for a few years and have accumulated a number of good plug-ins and actions to support my photographic workflow. In the past I had glanced a PWP, but didn't really take anything seriously except Photoshop. Then I spent some time reading your various articles that reference PWP's use, and I decided to download a demo copy to work with. After spending some quality time using the program I realized that, for photographic work, it provides all the capabilities of Photoshop plus my add-ons, and much more. It's hard to know where to stop in singing its praises: a clean and consistent user interface, fast image processing, exceptional documentation, 48 bit image support, lower cost upgrade path, ... I can really see why you promote it so much, and I hope it gets a more prominent place in the market. Anyway, the upshot is that I've officially retired Photoshop. It's very satisfying to have one high-quality, well-integrated tool that serves my photographic needs.

The Picture Window screen

The title bar (top row) contains the program name and version and the usual Windows boxes for minimize, maximize and close.

The second row contains pull-down menus: File, Edit, Transformation, Mask, Tools, Window and Help. Commands accessable through this row are summarized in the table below.

The third row contains icons for selected operations.

The workspace is everything below the third row. Only a portion is illustrated. It contains images and dialog boxes. The Levels and Color transformation, described below, is in progress.

Picture Window screen (reduced in size)
Images are edited by means of transformations, which operate on the entire image or portions selected by a mask, and by tools, which typically operate on small areas of the image, selected by dragging the mouse. Transformations create a new copy of the image; tools update the current copy.

A quick guide to Picture Window Pro functions, below, summarizes transformations, tools, and other operations.

Commands by operation, at the bottom, lists transformations by function (Color Balance, Contrast, History, etc.).

Image size and display

Window Info (right-click on image, click on Display Info.)The true size of a digital image is its pixel size, for example 5,749 x 3,740 pixels. You can see image size by right-clicking on the image and selecting Display info, or clicking on Window, Info... Digital images are also specified by their size in inches and Resolution in dpi (dots or pixels per inch). For example, the box on the left indicates 1.44 x 0.93 inches at 4000.00 dpi resolution. Don't be overly concerned by these numbers. They refer to film in the scanner, and have no effect on the monitor display or print size. Picture Window ignores them (you set the print size when you make the print), but some programs use them for setting print size. If you need, you can change them without changing the image pixels using the Resize transformation with Preserve:File size and proportions. Most of the time I ignore them.

When an image is opened, it is displayed at 1:1 magnification (one image pixel per screen pixel) if it's small enough to fit inside the screen; otherwise it is reduced to fit the screen. The amount of reduction, for example (1:8), is indicated at the top of the image window. Right-clicking on an image brings up zoom controls, several of which have icons: Zoom Out to Fit Screen , Zoom In and Resize (Expand Window), Zoom In , Zoom Out , Zoom to 1:1, Zoom to 1:1 and Resize. Use 1:1, or zoom in even more, when you need to examine examine imge pixels closely, for example, when you use the clone tool to remove dust specks or when you sharpen the image. Note that there are two options for zooming to 1:1. Zoom to 1:1 and Resize usually enlarges the window to fill the screen. I often use Zoom to 1:1 (no Resize), which has no icon, because it leaves the window unchanged, keeping tools and other windows uncovered.

Thumbnail Browser. Clicking on the Browse... icon opens a Thumbnail Browser on the left of the Picture Window screen, shown here on the right. Click on the Browse button to select the folder to browse. OPT allows you to select Tiny, Small, Medium, or Large images. Small is shown; I normally use Large. Thumbnails can be sorted by name, date, or size. The thumbnail display can be used for managing image folders: you can open or delete files as you please. The Browser window can be resized (widened) to display thumbnails side-by-side. Thumbnails are stored in a file named PW35.BrowseInfo (similar in function to Windows XP's Thumbs.db), which is updated when the Thumbnail Browser is opened or the folder is changed. Warning: Deleting a thumbnail deletes the image file itself. Be careful!

Thumbnail browser display
After several transformations have been performed, several image windows may be open. You can access the history of these images (a chart showing the transformation that created each of them) by clicking on the Windows tab in the Thumbnail Browser.

Image editing sequence

Image editing is typically performed in the following sequence. Each step involves a tool or transformation. The sequence is, of course, not rigid. I tend to follow it most of the time, but there always afterthoughts-- I'm forever finding dust specks I missed, especially after sharpening. Then there's that last tonal adjustment... Before you start, make sure your system is calibrated so your monitor conforms to generally accepted standards (gamma = 2.2 for Windows, etc.) and your prints match your monitor.
  1. Crop the image and make any other geometrical adjustments using transformations in the Geometry toolbox.
  2. Clean up the image-- remove scratches and dust spots using the Clone or Speck Removal tools.
  3. Adjust the overall brightness, contrast and color. A huge arsenal of transformations is available for this purpose: Filter and the Gray and Color toolboxes.
  4. Create masks if needed and adjust portions of the image.

  5. When tonal and color adjustments are complete, sharpen the image with Unsharp Mask. Use a mask to avoid sharpening smooth areas like skies-- sharpening increases grain. If grain is objectionable, consider using a separate program, Neat Image, to reduce it. It comes close to working miracles.
Transformations are applied in the following steps.
  1. Select the image to be adjusted (click on it).
  2. Select the transformation. This brings up a dialog box with sliders and other controls.
  3. To adjust a portion of the image, select a mask by clicking on the box to the right of the Amount: slider and selecting a mask image. The Amount: slider splits into two sliders. White (the masked area) defaults to 100% and black (the unmasked area) defaults to 0. You may need to adjust them appropriately.
  4. Make adjustments in the transformation dialog box until the Preview image looks good. The original and Preview images may be resized if necessary. With transformations that affect fine detail, such as Sharpen or Blur, I usually enlarge the Preview, and often the input image, to 1:1. I may move the amount slider from 100% to 0 and back to observe the effect of the transformation.
  5. Click OK to complete the transformation and close the dialog box. Click Apply to complete the transformation, keeping the dialog box open-- useful for continuing where you left off.
  6. The new image is named Untitled n, where n is an integer that increments in steps of 2 (1, 3, 5, ...). After several transformations, Untitled images can crowd the screen and gobble memory: 48-bit images scanned at 4000 dpi from 35mm film can be as large as 120 MB. You can access a chart with the history of these images (the transformation that created each of them) by clicking on the Windows tab in the Thumbnail Browser. You should name and save "keepers" and delete intermediate images you no longer need. It's a good idea to save an early, good version of an image, before you do too much processing. I usually save a version after I've cropped it, removed dust, and done some basic color adjustment, but before I've adjusted masked areas or done any sharpening, just in case I misjudge something along the way.
An example of a transformation follows. More examples can be found in Making fine prints Part 3: Image editing, Example: Sunset, Providence, and Tinting and hand coloring B&W images.

Transformation example: Levels and Color...

The Levels and Color transformation makes a good example. It's the Swiss army knife of transformations for adjusting color, brightness, and contrast: easy to use and versatile, though not as powerful as specialized transformations such as Brightness Curve (B&W) or Color Curves (color), which are my favorites.
Levels and Color transformation (example)
In the illustration above, the input image is on the upper left, the Levels and Color dialog box is on the lower left, the preview image is on the upper right, and the color picker (for Color Balance) is on the lower right. The preview image usually has less resolution than the final image so it can be calculated faster. It appears automatically if the Default Preview box in Preferences is set to Auto. If the Auto box is checked, it is recalculated whenever an adjustment is changed. Both the original and preview images are illustrated smaller than normal: they can be resized at any time.

The Preview, Apply, OK and Cancel boxes appear in most transformations. Preview is grayed out when Auto is checked. Apply performs the transformation (creates a full image), but leaves the dialog box open for further adjustments. OK performs the transformation and closes the dialog box. Full Range is specific to Levels and Color.  It sets Dynamic Range (the black and white pointers) so the so the minimum is 0% and the maximum is 100%. OPT allows you to set options, which may be specific to the transformation. The options in Levels and Color are generic: Reset and Probe Size.

Most transformations have an Amount slider to control the amount of the transformation. When no mask has been selected (the box to the right of Amount is pure white), there is a single Amount slider. To select a mask (a B&W image the same pixel size as the Input Image, used to select areas that receive adjustment), click on the box on the right of the slider. Available masks (loaded in PW Pro) can be selected, and a double slider appears, as shown on the right. The double slider allows you to control Amount separately in dark and light areas of the mask (gray is intermediate). The default is 100% adjustment in white areas and 0% in black, but it can be inverted or set as desired.

The adjustments below Amount are specific to Levels and Color. The Midtones slider and the black and white pointers below Dynamic Range control the midtones, shadows, and highlights, respectively. These controls allow you to adjust both brightness and contrast. Clicking the Full Range box on top sets the left (black) arrow to 0% and the right (white) arrow to 100%. I use Brightness Curve (B&W) or Color Curves when I want to perform these adjustments more precely, with a histogram display. Sometimes when Color Balance is used, you may want to increase the right (white) arrow beyone 100%. Clicking the Invert clipped pixels in preview box shows when you've gone too far.

Clicking on the Color Balance box brings up a color picker window, illustrated in the lower right. The Color Picker offers a number of options, including selecting colors by typing numbers in boxes or using standard filters (CC or Wratten designations). The Color Balance box affects mostly highlights. The Color Balance transformation has six boxes for adding or removing color casts from highlights, midtones, and shadows.

Color Space: can be set to HSV or HSL. These two spaces, which transform RGB images into hue, saturation, and lightness or value, are required for adjusting tones. (Lightening or darkening an RGB image presents the problem of how much to adjust each setting to keep the same hue.) You should be familiar with the effect of Color Space on saturation when you lighten or darken an image: HSV and HSL behave quite differently.

Last but not least is the Saturation slider. More options (Preserve Low, High, Low and High, and neither) are available in the Saturation transformation.

A quick guide to Picture Window Pro functions

This table shows highlights of available commands. I've omitted several; the entire list would be overwhelming. You may want to use the table as a reference and skip to the example below, illustrating the use of the versatile Levels and Color Transformation. I do most of my tonal and color adjustments with Brightness Curve (for B&W) and Color Curves (for color).
Standard Windows commands. Self-explanatory. New...,  Open... , Save ,  Save as..., Open Photo CD , Print...,  Print setup..., Close
Browse...  Display thumbnails. The thumbnails and width of the display can be resized as needed. The Windows tab displays a chart listing the open images with the history of the transformations used to create them.
Select Source... Select a scanner or digital camera (TWAIN interface).
Acquire...  Acquire the image via the TWAIN driver (scan or load from camera).
Preferences Select operating preferences (background, border colors, default directories, etc.)
Color management... Opens the Color Management Settings dialog box. Online tutorial: Color management.
Undo, Undo all, Copy (whole image), Paste (load whole image)

Adjust the
of the image.

Transformation.... Adjust the appearance of the image.
Copy .. Make a copy of the image.
Mirror/Rotate...   Mirror or rotate by multiples of 90 degrees.
Crop/Add Border...   Crop an image, add a border, or soften the edges. Can also rotate the image by small amounts and soften the border.
Resize...   Resize (resample) the image. Normally used to change pixel size, but there are a number of options, e.g., you can the image size in inches and dpi resolution without changing the pixels. Online tutorial: Image Resizing and Resampling Techniques.
Warp...   Rotate (in fine increments), crop, perspective correct, stretch, and warp an image.
Displace...   Shift or rotate the image (small increments).
Lens distortion...   Correct for lens barrel or pincushion distortion.

(Commands that affect tones in B&W images. All work with color images.)

Negative .. Invert the image.
Levels and Color...   Control color balance, brightness and contrast. The Swiss army knife of color/tonal adjustments: versatile and easy to use, but other commands are more powerful.
Brightness Curve...   Adjust the brightness curve (gray scale) of an image. The finest adjustment for brightness and contrast. I perfer it when Show histograms is selected. Online tutorial: Using Curves and Histograms.
Brightness...   Adjust brightness. Simple, but handy with a mask because you can simultaneously brighten and darken different regions. The Preserve options are Black, White, Black and White, or Neither.
Tint...   Convert a B&W image to color by setting different gray levels to selected colors. Replicates toning: sepia, etc. Used in B&W workflows.
Light Falloff...   Correct the light falloff in wide angle lenses.
Gamma Adjust...   Change the image gamma.
Combine Channels...   Combine three B&W images of the same size into one color image. The inverse of Extract Channel. The channels can be RGB, HSV, or HSL.

(Commands that affect tones and color in color images. Not for B&W.)

Balance... .. Add or remove a color cast. Separate controls for highlights, midtones, and shadows.
Curves...   Adjust color, tone, and saturation curves (HSV, HSL, or RGB) using curves combined with histgrams (powerful). Similar to Brightness Curve. Online tutorial: Using Curves and Histograms.
Saturation...   Adjust saturation in HSV or HSL color space. The Preserve options are Low, High, Low and High, or None.
Extract Channel...   Extract a channel of a color image: R, G, B,  HSV Hue, Saturation, Value, or HSL Hue, Saturation, Luminance. The inverse of Combine Channels.
Monochrome...   Convert a color image to B&W using a filter selected with the color picker. Equivalent to exposing B&W film with a filter.
Correction...   Allows you to alter a color without affecting the overall image. Same as the Color Mechanic Photoshop plug-in.
Chromatic Aberration...   Correct for lateral chromatic aberration (color fringing)
Change Color Profile...
Change the color profile associated with an image. Can change image data only, profile setting only, or both (default).
Compensate for pixel misregistration, which you can get in some cheap scanners.
Convert... Convert image type (8, 16-bit B&W, 24, 48-bit color, 1-bit binary)
Filter... Filter a color image, as you would during the exposure. Specify CC value, Wratten designation, or RGB values. Images can also be used as filters. Exposure compensation is available. Many options.
Composite... Combine images under control of a mask.
Gradient... Generates an image the same size as the current image filled with a graduated sequence of colors. Most useful for creating simple geometric masks (B&W images) with gradual gradation.
Blur... Blur the image. Several methods including simple and gaussian with adjustments.
Sharpen... Sharpen the images. Simple sharpen or Unsharp Mask with radius, amount, and threshold adjustments. Online tutorial: Sharpening Images.
Advanced Sharpen... new in 3.5! Blur the image, remove white or black specks, and sharpen it in a combined operation that optimizes image quality and detail. Offers more precise and flexible control than standard Sharpen...
Text... Add text to the image. Online tutorial: Text Effects.
Special effects...

(Generally produce non-photographic, artistic results. The list is not complete.)

Add Noise, Calendar (overlay a calendar on top of an image), Difference (between images), Edge (shows edge locations), Emboss (combine an image with its displaced negative; very artsy), Grid, Halftone, High contrast, Kaleidoscope (very cool), Posterize (a classic effect), Spiral (distort a circular portion of the image), Tile (quick way of making multiple images), and others.
Layout... Create an image consisting of a background page overlaid with one or more image panels. Online tutorial: Using the Layout Transformation.
Stack Images  new in 3.5! Combine images under the control of amount sliders or masks. A powerful way of expanding the dynamic range of digital cameras, when you can take multiple exposures (on a tripod).
Mask ....Select portions of the image to be affected by transformations.
Create a mask for selecting a portion of the image to adjust or to combine with another image using the Composite . Works with tonal and color transformations, sharpening, blurring, etc. This is a powerful and important tool. Making masks rapidly is the key to selective image manipulation-- dodging, burning, etc. Online tutorials: Creating and Using Masks | Dodging and Burning.

Readout tool Examine pixel values (RGB, HSV, HSL, or RGB Density).
Zoom  When activated, clicking on an image zooms it in, centered on where you clicked. Shift-clicking zooms the image out.
Scroll Use the mouse to scroll around the image (useful when the image is enlarged beyond the edges of its window).
Magnifier Opens a small resizable window with a magnified portion of the image.
Clone Copy pixels from one part of an image to another, or between imges. Adjustable Radius, Transparency, and Softness.
Paint Paint colors using a brush with adjustable Radius, Transparency, and Softness.
Line and Arrow Draw a line (without or with arrow heads) on the image.
Miscellaneous For retouching small areas. Includes Lighten, Darken, Increase Saturation, Decrease Saturation, Blur, Sharpen, Speck Removal, Smudge, Red Eye Removal, and Add Noise. These operations are performed with a brush with adjustable Radius, Transparency, and Softness. Each function has options for fine control. You can undo mistakes with Control-Z.
Commands for selecting and arranging image windows. Next, Bring Dialogs to Top , Arrange, Close All. Cycle through Windows is available as an icon only. (Control-Tab also cycles through windows.)
Commands for controlling image magnification.

Zoom options are available when you right-click on an image.

Expand, Fit (Zoom Out to Fit Screen) , Zoom In and Resize (Zoom In and Expand Window) , Zoom In , Zoom Out , Zoom Factor, Zoom 1:1, Zoom 1:1 and Resize.
Info... View image information (type, size, date, profile, etc.)
File comments... View or write file comments, saved with the file in TIFF tags, etc.
Open Electronic Manual, Getting Started, Contents, Search, and Glossary are self-explanatory.
Context brings up context sensitive help window for the current transformation.
Support Settings allow you to set some obscure but important settings that affect operation.

Commands by operation

Commands are listed alphabetically by operation (i.e., function name) (in blue) for operations that are frequently required, not obvious, or can be accomplished by several transformations.
Adjust Color balance
See the online Tutorial,
Color Balancing Techniques
Filter: Filter the image, as you would at the time of exposure.Specify CC value, Wratten designation, color temperature correction (in degrees K; 6500K leaves the image unchanged), or RGB values (using a color picker). Exposure compensation should be manually applied.
Color Balance: Add or remove a color cast. Separate controls for highlights, midtones, and shadows. Easy to use.
Color Curves: With Color Space: set to RGB, this gives the finest control of color balance using curves combined with histogram display. Online histogram tutorial.
Levels and Color: A single adjustment. Simple, but not very powerful.
Adjust a single Color without affecting overall balance Color Correction: An amazing transformation, identical to the Color Mechanic Photoshop plugin. Can be further refined with a Mask.
Adjust Contrast
Brightness Curve: (B&W images) or Color Curves: (V or L channel for color images). Best if Show histograms is selected. Shift-click on the upper bar to add a control point. Control-click to remove it.

The illustration on the right shows how Brightness Curve (identical to Color Curves with the V or L channel) is used to increase contrast. Curves gives tremendous control and flexibility.

The Curves transformations combine adjustment with histograms (plots of pixel value distribution, from 0 to 255). This is valuable because most fine prints have some pure black region; histograms show you the distribution of pixel values.

I use curves transformations for most of my color and tonal adjustments. Color Curves also controls hue and saturation in HSV and HSL color spaces; it is good for color balancing in RGB color space, though I usually use Filter.

.. Brightness curve dialog box & histogram (similar to Color curves)
Crop Crop/Add Border: Can also rotate the image by small amounts and soften the border.
Dodge or burn Large areas: Use any of the lighten or darken transformations (below) with a Mask.
Small areas: Use Miscellaneous toolsLighten or Darken. Be sure to set the desired options.
After several transformations have been performed, several image windows may be open.

File, Browse... or the Browse icon with the Windows tab selected shows the history of each open image-- its source and the transformation used to create it.

You should name and save "keepers" and delete intermediate images that are no longer needed, especially if consume lots of memory. (Right-click on the image and click on Display info to see the amount of memory used.) It's a good idea to save an early, good version of an image, before you do much processing-- before sharpening and operations that require masking.

Correct Lens aberrations and deficiencies Lens distortion: corrects pincushion and barrel distortion.
Light falloff: corrects light falloff at edges of wide angle lenses.
Chromatic Aberration: Corrects lateral chromatic aberration (color fringing).
Lighten or darken Brightness: Simple, but handy with a mask because you can simultaneously brighten and darken different regions. The Preserve options: Black, White, Black and White, Neither, are important.
Levels and Color: Allows you to adjust shadow, midtone, and highlight level.
Brightness Curve or Color Curves allow you to perform fine adjustments with the help of a histogram display. My favorite.
Perspective control
(view camera shift, rise)
Rotate (small angles) Warp, with OPT set to rigid.
Crop/Add Border. Angle can be entered in a box at the bottom of the dialog box.
(Use Mirror/Rotate for multiples of 90 degrees.)
Adjust color
Saturation: powerful and easy to use, with several options. All transformations in this section work with HSV or HSL color space.
Color curves: a little more powerful and complex: works with curves, displays histogram. I usually do this along with a lightness or value adjustment.
Levels and color: Simple, no options.
Soft focus A soft focus lens isn't unsharp or out of focus: it diffuses light from highlights into shadows. To approximate soft focus, click on Transformation, Blur..., then select a Gaussian blur with a fairly large radius (you'll have to do some trial-end-error to get the effect you desire). Click OK, then click on the original image and click on Transformation, Composite... Select the blurred image for the Overlay. Set Operation to Lighten, Alignment to None, and adjust Overlay Amount for the desired effect. Have fun experimenting with other operations and moving sliders. This is best done after dust removal but before tonal adjustments. You can achieve a similar effect without Composite by adjusting the Amount slider in Blur, but the result is a little less like a soft focus lens.
Undo Control-Z. You can undo mistakes with any of the tools, Clone, Paint, and Line and Arrow.

Next steps

This page introduced Picture Window Pro and outlined its capabilities. To review the basics of image editing, read Making fine prints Part 3: Image editing or the online tutorials, The Basics of Digital Images, the Tutorial chapter from the Picture Window electronic manual, and Nine Tips for Making Better Prints. The key to serious image editing is selective adjustment with masks. Making masks quickly is a vital skill. To learn more, read Making masks or the online tutorials, Creating and using masksand Dodging and burning.

For more depth, look at the advanced pages on image editing in Example: Sunset, Providence, Contrast masking (a very powerful technique for balancing contrasty images), and Tinting and hand coloring B&W images.


Images and text copyright (C) 2000-2013 by Norman Koren. Norman Koren lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in developing magnetic recording technology for high capacity data storage systems until 2001. Since 2003 most of his time has been devoted to the development of Imatest. He has been involved with photography since 1964.