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fixed photographIntellihance Pro 4.2
Plug-In review

A Photoshop plugin for quickly fixing common image problems

Sometimes a quick fix to an image is all you want.

The Intellihance plug-in from onOneSoftware offers some simple image corrections that may be all you need if you don't want to delve too deeply into advanced Photoshop techniques.

Fixing Image Problems

There's a 30 day free trial available as well...

The Apple Mac version of the plugin is covered here, but the PC windows version works the same way.

Move your mouse over the image to see an effect of the Intellihance Pro 4.2 plug-in

photo correction with intellihance 4.2

A dark (underexposed) picture of an ant dragging a dead wasp back to its nest. The magnified version shows the results of a quick fix with Intellihance Pro.

What's in the software?

The plug-in was installed as part of the Plug-in Suite 3 package from onOneSoftware, although it's also available as a standalone plug-in.

You might wonder why someone with all the power and sophistication of Photoshop would not want to use its built in tools?. Well, as I've found when providing training services, sometimes it's just one person in the office who's the Photoshop 'expert' while other people are expected to 'just fix' the odd image.

Intellihance Pro just makes it easier for occasional users to get results.

I'll use some example images from one of my tutorials - these were taken several years ago with what was then (1998) a pretty good 1.4MP 'SLR' type camera - the Olympus CX1400. If you are curious, then the Photoshop Elements tutorials are freely available on this site.

  • Before anyone asks - I've been meaning to produce an updated version using something like Photoshop CS3 for a while, but paying work keeps getting in the way - maybe a project for the long winter evenings... ;-)

The onOne Suite installs an extra menu item that gives access to specific named corrections, or to the application itself if you want to try different options

Intellihance menu options

As you see, the corrections have names designed to give a reasonable idea of just what it is they will do to your image.

Note the tutorials link in the main menu. You also get an optional quick guide to using the software when the plug-in starts up.

In this latest version of the software there are also "Show me how" video tutorials.

startup of intellihance pro

I've started with an image that has a lot of detail in the darker parts of the room.

As a regular Photoshop user I can think of several potential ways to fix it, but that's because I use Photoshop nearly every day. If your company has Photoshop installed on one machine then the Intellihance approach -may- be a better way to help infrequent users.

There are also links to tutorials and information in the main menu, when the plug-in is running. In many ways you can think of this plug-in as an image adjustment program in its own right

The quickest way to see changes is a simple comparison of before and after, with two side by side images.

default plug-in screen

There are a wide range of 'built in' options you might want to try.

If it fits your screen better, then you can have the views oriented vertically. In the example to the right, the 'scanned colour photo' settings have been selected.

vertical alignment for fixing photographs

The numbered steps at the side are if you want to create your own specific fix for an image.

Underneath them is an information areas, which in this case shows a histogram, with the red part showing the results of the adjustment.

adjustment steps in Intellihance 4.2

All the adjustments can be selectively enabled. adjustment steps
Each one gives a range of options.

Do try them out, since I found that the results were not always what I initially expected.

They worked consistently, but it helps no end if you can have an idea of what it is you want to change and what you want to achieve.

Note that 'Normal' is not the same as 'Off'.

fine tuning image adjustments

If you have a bigger screen, then there are lots of different ways you can lay out the various adjusted versions.

This particular shows a range of variations in 'fine tuning' mode.

The sliders allow quite fine adjustments, although in this instance I've increased the amounts of colour correction by rather a lot, so as to demonstrate the effects.

multiple image views for image correction adjustments

In this case using the full size of my 23" wide monitor (up to 25 comparisons)

20 adjustment variations for photo correction

You do need to experiment (and read the tutorials) to get the best out of the plug-in, but I've included a few examples of different settings below

Here's a larger version of the original image.

The camera has correctly exposed the area round the sink, by the window.

There is lots of detail in the shadows, but it's far too dark

dark shadow detail in photo

My own 'fix' of the image.

Of all the quick fixes, the scanned colour photo setting gave the best quick fix.

Not my first pick either - but it worked...

My first choice was in fact the obvious 'Fix Dark Image', but as you can see below, it has brought out far too much noise in the shadows.

fixed photograph

dark image correction

The landscape setting didn't do too badly either.

landscape setting

While 'Fix light Image' was not too bad at fixing a dark image...

fixing light images

The histogram shows how the dark areas of the picture are being brightened, while you can use the info palette to get details about individual parts of the image.

The Sunset Saver version shows what happens when the saturation is raised too (look at the info)

sunset photograph adjustment

You can also see where the image is clipping after your adjustments (clipping is often something you don't want - but not always)

In the picture of the ant and wasp, small areas of blown highlights in the surrounding rock don't really matter

highlight clipping in images

The image I was looking at (also in the tutorials) is quite seriously under exposed.

  • The picture was taken on holiday in Southern France where I'd noticed the ant dragging the dead wasp along. Whereas now, I'd probably have the equipment with me to capture an image to make a decent A3 print from the scene, this is just a detail from a holiday snap ;-)

fixed photo of ant and wasp

The image is a bit noisy, but if you look at the original, you'll see it needed a lot of work.

original underexposed image

Notice the + next to the adjustment type. It just shows that I've altered a default adjustment step setting.

If you find a particular set of adjustments that you like then you can save custom settings.

You can also use these settings for batch processing of images. Your saved presets also appear in the main Intellihance menu, so you can run them without having to go to the trouble of opening the plug-in.

quick enhancement

The noise reduction that I've used with this photo can easily be fine tuned. altering noise settings
As can the sharpening applied to the image. altering sharpening settings

A bit more care with the settings, and it's not bad (for a web image)

Dead wasp dragged by ant

Conclusions

If you've looked at the examples above and thought "I could easily do that in Photoshop", then this plug-in is probably not aimed at you.

If you've got people in your office who sometimes want to 'fix' images, then consider how much easier (and cheaper) it would be to get them to use this software as opposed to some full training for using Photoshop.

I found the interface and design well suited for the casual user. With the extensive tutorials and help, the biggest problem most novices would have is trying to decide what is an improvement to an image, and what just makes it worse. That is a whole different skill altogether...

There is a 30 day free trial available - more than enough to see if it fits in your organisation's workflow.

Summary

Easy to use, and ideally suited to the occasional Photoshop user who doesn't have the need (or inclination) to learn all about Photoshop itself.

Available in both Mac and Windows PC versions. From OnOneSoftware at $160 or $70 for an upgrade version.

System Requirements

Windows

Mac OS X

Common:

Available Languages

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
Keith is always happy to discuss matters raised in his articles. You can Email Us Email Us
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