Shady - Exposure Recovery

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A plug-in for the camera RAW image processing program Bibble.
Author: Sean Puckett (seanmpuckett@gmail.com).

Bibble 5 note: This is a Bibble 4 plug-in. It does not work with Bibble 5.

What does Shady do?

Shady allows you adjust shadow and exposure using a special amplification algorithm that reduces the effect of noise while still recovering usable detail. Shady really comes into its own when you set your camera to -1.0EV and then set Shady to recover the shadows at +1.0 -- suddenly you're shooting with real highlights and almost no loss of shadow resolution. More dynamic range and an "extra stop" for every lens you own -- almost for free. It's a killer!

Purchase Shady Professional Version Now

Windows, Linux and Mac versions included in the same download. Shady is now available for Windows, Macintosh (Intel and PPC), and Linux.

Shady: $20 USD

Already purchased, but need an upgrade? Click Here.

If you purchase this plug-in, you do so knowing it is not compatible with Bibble 5. I do not provide installation support for Bibble 4 plug-ins, and in purchasing them you do so at your own risk. Further, I do not guarantee that any Bibble 4 plug-in will be available for Bibble 5.

Sample Output

Shot 1 - Dirty Laundry - Five stops increase in overall exposure (original at ISO 400).

This is the "dirty laundry" shot. It doesn't get any worse than this. The image was badly exposed to start with, shot at ISO 400 and contains more noise than I'd prefer, and I'm pushing it five stops. Click on either image for a 100% crop. Yep, it's noisy as heck. But you can use it, and print it (remember this is a tiny portion of a 12Mpx image), especially if you refine the image with other tools to improve contrast and so on.

GoCart Raw Info

GoCart Shady Info

Shot 2 - Three stops increased shadow detail.

Who hasn't done this? Portraits in direct overhead sunlight. Either you reschedule the shoot, find another location or .... well... maybe you need these shots. Wedding guys, does "outdoor reception" make you shiver in your boots? Got you covered. BTW, the greenish tint is from the sun's reflection off the grass. Obviously not a professional shoot -- just an old file I had around to demonstrate shadow recovery.

Sunlight-Raw Info

Sunlight-Fixed Info

Shot 3 - Highlight recovery tint correction.

Shady HR NotFix Info

Shady HR Fix Info

Shot 4 - Works with JPG images too

Here's a tripod shot with two year old Fuji P&S camera -- JPG based. The ISO is 80 which means not much sensor noise, but it's still way underexposed. Let's see what Shady can do. Click for 100% crop (again these are small segments of much larger images so you don't feel cheated by how clean "web sized" images look).

Bay-RAW Info

Bay-Shady Info

Here's the finished Bay image at full size. I actually pushed the shadows up to 3.75 stops here, and then kicked in just a little bit of Ansel for more contrast. But that's it. Click through for 100% crop (original 6Mpix, so it doesn't look that great full size with the JPG artifacts, but you'd still get positive comments on this at postcard size). I had originally thrown this shot away for being way too dark.

Shady User Interface

Shady1.0 Info

Shady has two plug-in windows, Shady-Highlights and Shady-Exposure. The Exposure window is used for shadow and exposure adjustment. The Highlights window is used to fix highlight recovery tinting.

Shady-Highlights Window

This function is used to adjust the saturation of the brightest pixels in the image. It performs histogram analysis to locate the brightest luminance, then adjusts the saturation of that luminance (and, depending on the adjustment of the slider, some luminance below that level) to reduce tinting problems.

Desaturate Slider

Desaturates the brightest portions of the image. Higher values desaturate more. Useful for correcting highlight recovery tint problems.

Range Slider

Controls how much of the histogram is desaturated. Higher values desaturate more of the image.

Shady-Exposure Window

The settings in this window control Shady's shadow/exposure recovery. It is generally geared towards making images lighter, not darker, because that's what Shady is for -- allowing you to gather extra detail from the shadows.

Enable Checkbox

When checked, the plug-in can affect the image. When unchecked, disables the plug-in.

Reset Button

Resets all values to startup defaults. Useful for getting back to a sane place after experimenting wildly.

About Button

Reveal the plug-in version number, author and homepage.

Shadows Slider

Increase the luminance in the shadows. Some odd artifacts (halos) may be noticed when images are dramatically boosted. If these are objectionable, reduce Smoothness.

Range Slider

In general terms, how much of the image constitutes "shadows." Not a strict definition because shadows need to blend into the rest of the image to keep a natural look.

Exposure Slider

A simple linear exposure control that uses Shady's amplification algorithm. Will clip highlights, so be careful with your settings and check the histogram. (Yes, there are a lot of exposure sliders in my plug-ins. This is the only one that uses Shady's technology, though.)

Colour Slider

Reduces the apparent increase of saturation when shadow tones are made lighter. Depending on image content, may not be needed; use your best judgement. (Some things cannot be scientifically applied.)

A value of 0 here represents no reduction of colour. Negative values reduce colour based on how much change is applied to the image content. The default of -0.5 seems to work well in most cases.

Desaturation may not work very well on images that need a lot of white balancing within Bibble. This is an issue that will take some time to sort out.

Smooth Slider

Adjusts the mix of pure multiplication and Shady's amplification algorithm used. Smoother = slower, less noise, possibly more artifacts. 0.5 is a good balance. A setting of 0 bypasses the amplifier and thus Shady runs much faster (but with much more noise).

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