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How it works

PhotoCleaner performs the sequence of operations that are usually done manually using some general-purpose image-editing program like Adobe Photoshop. The main difference is that PhotoCleaner does it automatically without having you to learn a sophisticated user interface and waste a lot of time repeating each step manually. You could adjust the enhancement settings or turn any of these processing steps on and off.

The following steps are performed when the image (or multiple images, when the batch mode has been selected) is enhanced, assuming that all checkboxes on Settings pane are checked:

  • Resizing
  • Auto-rotate (if digital camera has orientation sensor)
  • Levels adjustment with optional color correction
  • Color saturation
  • Reveal shadows
  • Noise reduction
  • Vignette
  • Sharpen
  • Add caption
  • Add frame

In addition to these automatic steps, the following manual operations are available:

  • On the Original tab:
    • Rotate
    • Red-eye
    • Crop
  • On the Result tab:
    • Save
    • Copy to clipboard
    • Print

Resizing. PhotoCleaner provides an ability to specify both the width and the height of the enhanced image. Obviously, you cannot arbitrarily modify both width and height because the image will become distorted (for example, circles will turn into ellipses). That is why the width and height values in PhotoCleaner specify the “bounding box” into which the enhanced picture will fit. For example, specifying 800 for both width and height will mean that all pictures are guaranteed to fit the square 800x800, so wide pictures will have the width of 800 and tall pictures will have the height of 800. The picture below explains the concept further.

PhotoCleaner performs “resampling” instead of just “resizing” - it means that the image is recreated with new dimensions, Obviously, if you want to enlarge an image the results will be not very good - no software can absolutely correctly deduce the information that is not present in the original image, but downsizing the images produces much better results (in most cases even better than original image). However, it depends on the resampling algorithm. PhotoCleaner implements one of the most advanced algorithms – Lanczos resampling.

Auto-rotate. Some modern digital cameras have the orientation sensor. It means that the camera “feels” if it was rotated to make a vertical shot and it records the direction of the rotation inside the digital photograph file. PhotoCleaner is able to read this orientation information and rotate the image accordingly. It means that you could make the shots in any orientation (upside down if you wish) and then just turn on the Auto-rotate flag when processing your images in PhotoCleaner. All images will be rotated into the correct position automatically.

Levels adjustment with optional color correction. This is a procedure that should be performed with every picture downloaded from a digital camera or scanner. Basically, it means making “blacks” black and making “whites” white. This step fixes such problem as too light or too dark images. It could be done with or without color correction. If the color correction is on, then the level adjustment is done with each of three basic color channels (red, green, and blue) separately. It usually helps when the image for some reason has an unnatural hue that was introduced by the camera, post-processing, or the scanner. If the color correction is off then the level adjustment is done only with the "darkness" component of the image - this way the colors are preserved.

Color saturation. One could argue on this, but many digital cameras produce pictures that are not colorful enough. The color boost will not work well with every picture, but most of the shots will benefit from this effect. And remember - you can always turn it off!

Reveal shadows. This is an important step that could drastically improve many pictures, especially those with a high contrast. It works similarly to a fill-in camera flash – it brings out the details in dark shadows, but it does it without blowing out the highlights. Good candidate pictures for this step are portraits and pictures shot in bright sunlight.

Noise reduction. PhotoCleaner includes a noise reduction algorithm that eliminates noise on flat areas of the image, while trying to preserve edges and details. Noise reduction takes considerably more time than other processing steps, so it is turned off by default.

Vignetting. It is a trick known for ages - in many cases a photo becomes better when a photographer makes it slightly darker around the edges - it makes the center of the photo to jump out. However, this effect should be barely noticeable to work.

Sharpening. Sharpening is the most important step that should be done almost with every picture as a final touch. Photo Cleaner implements the smartest algorithm - un-sharp masking and applies it only to the "lightness" component of the image without distorting the color information. Use the amount of sharpening that looks nice to you, and remember to sharp more when preparing images for printing.

Adding caption and frame. Add framing and captions are bonus features that could dramatically change how your pictures look. Try adding frames to some of your pictures - you will be amazed! You can use some special symbols in the Caption textbox: {c} will be converted into ©, {f} will be converted into the image file name, and {d} will be converted into the image date.

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