March 14, 2011

Fixel LightIT, Contrastica, EdgeHancer + Coloritivity

AE Scripts recently released 3 Pixel Bender plug-ins from Fixel: LightIT, Contrastica, and EdgeHancer. These sorts of image-processing filters are always interesting, though in some cases it's hard to determine advantages over the plethora of filters already built into Adobe tools.

For example, it's not clear how Edgehancer differs from Sharpen Edges unless you give it whirl. Unfortunately there's no trial version. There is a difference though, when you find you want fine control and don't want to mess with a gaggle of procedural masks made with Find Edges and other filters. It is clear that Fixel tools are all 32-bpc, GPU-accelerated, and compatible with both After Effects and Photoshop CS4+.

Below are some descriptions based on the promotional materials, plus a quick demo video below for each filter.

Fixel LightIT is a local color correction plug-in with a novel algorithm that's based on non-linear masking to identify the shadows in the image. LightIT applies an optimized operation for correcting the colors in the shadows regions, without affecting the other tonal ranges.

Fixel Contrastica, which also features a novel algorithm, can enhance and boost local & global contrast. Contrastica enables you to control the contrast all over tonal range (Shadows & Highlights) to reveal hidden details.

Fixel EdgeHancer too uses a novel algorithm, which unlike “classic” sharpeners, emphasizes the edges exclusively instead of increasing the contrast of the surrounding pixels.

Update: Fixel has added another Pixel Bender, Fixel Coloritivity, a 5 way tinting filter.

Update: Topher Welsh gives them a shot in a review at his website,
-- and later Fixel summarizes benefits of their filter in an AEtuts comment, "By default, Adobe chooses the simple way to do things.

Shadows / Highlights – Simple linear masking + Curves.
USM – Apply Gaussian Blur and subtract.
Contrast – Linear Function coefficient.
I can go on… We tried to do things differently with superior method for each solution.

LightIT isn’t linear, hence it creates less “Halos” and has more subtle and natural result.
Contrastica has a special function to add contrast, try its extreme values to see different it is. You can also use it to add saturation to colors very differently from the classic saturation slider.
EdgeHancer uses special Algorithm both for detecting edges and enhancing them. Sharpeners work on the pixels to the right / left of the edge. This one works on the edge itself."

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