thinking outside the box
Brighten Up Your Day!


In the following photo, the students are unfortunately in shadow, as the bright building has caused them to be too dark.  So I’ve used the Shadow brightness control to brighten the darker area, plus the Highlights brightness control to reduce the over-exposed bright building. As a final edit I cropped most of the building away to focus more on the students.     Here’s another example. It’s not clear why this image was so badly exposed, perhaps the bright lights in the background. But using a combination of Brightness control and Shadow brightness has brought back a lot of hidden detail (I suspect any more brightening will cause too much noise to appear in the darker areas - but this is certainly a big improvement).     There are two major issues with the next image. Firstly the right side of the building is in shadow - this was a single fix setting of the new Shadow brightness enhance to a value of 90.     The second issue is that this wide angle shot shows a typical perspective problem – the building leans away from the observer. This was fixed using the automatic perspective correction tool: These two simple changes made a huge improvement. This final example demonstrates the wider power of Photo & Graphic Designer or Designer Pro. The bright sky has caused the whole image to be under exposed, which was fixed by the new Shadow brightness control. The ‘leaning back’ effect, common when photographing tall buildings with wide angle lenses, was fixed with the perspective correction feature. Finally, using Magic Erase and the Clone tool I’ve removed some of the cars and people.

Whole Photo or Region

As with all photo enhance effects you can apply the effect to the whole photo - as I’ve done on the above examples. Or you can apply the effect to any part of the image by using the mask and region tools: This set of tools allow you to paint a region (or a mask) on the photo. After this if you switch to the Enhance tool and apply any enhance effect it will be applied to that region only. Or, if you using a mask, it will be applied to the whole image excluding the masked area.  You can use the Feather control to blend the edges.

Effect Strength

Even more powerfully, with an active region, you can switch to the Transparency tool to adjust the mix of the effect with the original image. You can even have a graduated blend of the effect by simply dragging across the region in the Transparency Tool.

Try it!

If you don’t already own Xara Photo & Graphic Designer or Designer Pro X, you can download the free trial version of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer or Xara Designer Pro X  to try it with your photos. More guides to editing photos in Xara. 1. Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing in Xara  The basics of opening photos, zooming, sizing photos, and saving. 2. Summary of the Photo Tools  A summary of the tools on the Photo Tool fly-out menu. 3. Photo Enhance options  An overview of the ‘work-horse’ range of Enhance options. 4. Changing colors in photos  How to select and enhance or adjust specific colors. 5. A real-world example  Combining many of the techniques described above, to transform a poor photo. In addition there are more detailed guides covering other photo tools: Intelligent Photo Rescaling and Zooming Erasing Backgrounds and Combining Photos Brightness Levels and Color Balance Panoramic Photos For more tutorials by Xara and third parties, check out our Resource index, which offers a searchable and browsable list of movies and tutorials created  by Xara and third parties.
1 Enhance Perspective Correction
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