Gilding The Lilly
In May of 2001 I reviewed a program called ICorrect Professional. This was a Photoshop plug-in that allows for the automation of various levels and colour balance settings. At the time I recommended the program quite highly, and I continue to use it frequently in my own work when I need quick results.
At the PMA trade show in late February, 2002 Pictographics announced a successor titled iCorrect EditLab. As good as iCorrect Professional was, iCorrect EditLab is better in almost every way.
After downloading iCorrect EditLab is copied into your Photoshop "Plug-In" directory. From that point on it is available from Photoshop's Filter menu. The program works with both 8 bit and 16 bit files.
There are four main tabs, seen above in the upper right of the main window.
Color Cast Black & White Point Brightness & Contrast Hue Control
Each tab controls a different aspect, as indicated above. Pictographics has produced a very fine online tour and tutorial so it would be redundant for me to repeat it here. I'll briefly point out though that the main screen has an "Auto" toggle. This lets the plug-in apply all of its automatic settings and to preview them on-screen. If you like what these automatic settings have done, simply click OK.
A lot of the time the program does as good a job this way as will 15 minutes of fussing with the usual Photoshop controls. If you don't like the complete automation you can choose each of the tabs individually and vary specific settings manually. Within each tab though you have the choice of lettering the program do its thing, or have fully manual control. This provides flexibility for the knowledgeable worker while still providing the automation that either a beginner or a pro in a hurry needs.
Each of the tabs is well designed, though I find the user interface of the Hue Control less intuitive than it might be. In fact, this control does much of what Color Mechanic does (another excellent plug-in), though I feel that Color Mechanic does this specific task better and with a superior interface.
One thing to note is that in the Brightness / Contrast / Saturation tab, if you make the adjustments manually you need to do them in the correct order, as the program will try and outsmart you and compensate for settings that it considers inappropriate.
One area where the program excels is with regard to its online Help function. Even without the excellent PDF format manual that comes with the download, the main program screen has a comprehensive Help screen, and as well, each tab has an individual Help screen that describes the basics of that tab's functions. Nicely done, and something that I wish other plug-in publishers would learn from.
In addition to the straightforward and intuitive interface there are some nice extras. Click anywhere within the preview window while holding down the ALT key (Mac=Option Key) and the image is zoomed. Click a second time while again holding down ALT and the image returns to normal size. This can make sampling specific areas of the image much more convenient and precise.
The color transformations performed within iCorrect EditLab are linked to Photoshop's RGB working color space. Therefore, the correction is made within a profiled, device-independent, reference color space.
The program is available for both Macs and PCs for $99.00, and can be downloaded from the Pictographics web site. A demo version that watermarks saved files is available for free download and testing prior to purchase. iCorrect Professional has now had its price reduced to $79.00.
I can recommend iCorrect EditLab highly as a worthwhile addition to your image processing arsenal.