On applying the Digital SHO as with all the others, a default adjustment is applied. However in the Pro version of this Plug-in there is a fair degree of control, the main ones being Detail, Threshold and Saturation. In the standard version the control is more limited being Shadow Brightness and Colour Intensity.
The control dialogue windows in all the plug-ins is too large and my 14400x900 laptop screen it was filled from top to bottom. In many other plug-in dialogues Iíve used the window is much smaller.
DIGITAL SHO Pro version dialogue
The Before & After control is common to both the Pro and Standard versions though the Pro has a Threshold option which allows you to see changes dynamically in the preview window the threshold settings. White areas are mapped to the highlight slider and black areas to the shadow areas. It is therefore possible to alter the weighting applied to different tonal range.
The image sample I used was one where the fill in flash was not enough and the shadows needed lifting. The default application seemed to give a good result (see below), though I did notice some halo effect round the shoulders of the men, which was not present when I applied the Shadow Highlight tool in Photoshop. Not only this but as can be seen the sky area and background has been altered considerably at the default setting.
My own particular preference for tools of this genre is Shadow Illuminator Pro from Intrigue Technology (www.intrigueplugins.com
). Using this with its default setting had less lightening effect on the sky and background and no evidence of the halo effect round the shoulders.
When one considers the price being asked for the Pro version of this plug-in, $99.95 and $49.95 for the Standard version, compared with $39.95 for Shadow Illuminator, one has to ask if its good value for money.
In this particular instance (above), the Shadow Highlight tool in Photoshop CS2 has done an acceptable job. Itís not my favourite tool for this job and not everyone has the benefit of Photoshop CS2, nor a similar solution in other imaging programs. However, when a plug-in costs as much as, for example, Corel Paint Shop Pro in its entirety, Iím sure many will be put off.