Re-working an image file In addition to the basic modifications that may be made to an image file, some advanced modifications

may be cosidered. The two enhancement techniques to be discussed here involve modifying the brightness of certain objects, or modifying the brightness over certain regions of the image. These modifications are desirable more than one would expect, and can overcome shortcomings of the original image. First is a modification which is often desired to make facial tones match with a viewer’s expectations in relation to lighter background objects elsewhere in the image. The image may not have captured a good level of facial brightness, either being too light or too dark. Since facial tones are often a highlight of an image, they should be represented by appropriate brightness levels. Fortunately, we have at our disposal a means for modifying the gradation of shades from light to dark. Besides the ususal controls for brightness and contrast, which apply factors which are proportional to the level of brightness for everycodoed picture element (or pixel), we can also apply a nonlinear (gamma) factor. This alters the resultant gradations from light to dark so the steps will be either larger or smaller as you depart from white to darker shades, and eventually make up for these modified step sizes by the time you approach the darkest shades. Thus, if your source image has a person wearing a white shirt, their face would be expected to show a shade which is normal for that person’s complexion, neither too light nor too dark. The gamma-factor adjustment gives the user a means to compensate for these effects. A gamma-factor correction is available in an excellent freeware image application called Irfan View. Irfan View also has means for adjusting the levels of Red Green and Blue, as well as Brightness and Contrast. It is also good for converting images into other formats. The second modification is desired when uneven lighting was used when taking a picture. This commonly occurs when a flash picture reveals objects in the background that aren’t illuminated well. In the photo studio, a person who operates an enlarger can use a technique which has been called “dodging,” or “burning.” The process is the same, and it depends on the perceived goal of bring down the brightness of given region, or bringing up the brightness of a (complementary) region. It consists of noting where the photo paper will receive too much light or too little light to balance the resultant image, and waving an obect across the projected beam to reduce the “hot”spots in a desired pattern.

Fortunately, there are imaging applications that have developed a “layering” technique that in essence, overlays two layers, with the transparency/opacity of the upper layer determining how it alters the net result. This can be used in a manner similar to that used in a photo darkroom to obtain the desired result. An application program must be identified which provides the ability to select a “transparency” for the upper layer that matches the required need. This transparncy must have an opacity pattern that complements the needs of (compensates for the uineneven bightness of) the source image, so that the result will balance the brightness level over the entire image. Also, the user must have the latitude to select the range of opacity from the desired clearest to the desired densest (of the top transparency layer) for the image being modified. An application that can do these things and do them well is Photo Page made by Serif. This is a Publisher-type of application, and can be obtained a modest cost. It operates much like other publisher programs, but should not be depended on to: Do a quality job in converting a layout to an standard image format Make a satisfactory conversion from the layout to an HTML format. A user can take the steps of doing a screen capture of a desired layout which has the brightness modifications obtained by this layering technique by using ALT + PRNT SCRN and pasting the result into MS Paint, and proceeding from there with a quality image. It is left as an exercise for the user to determine how to use the software to modify a given image.