Selective Tone / Highlights too "broad"

You can add me to that list too, Mark …

John M

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Thanks John. @John-M is now added to the list.

@platypus and @JoPoV I don’t remember the titles of those old threads from a couple of years ago, but I will attempt to find them with a search.


You can add me too to the list of those who absolutly don’t want to loose current photolab behavior.
I used to recover highlights I couldn’t with other softwares with it.
But to the list too of those who would like to have possiblity to choose an other way sometime.

Yes, I would be amenable to adding a new option to make the sliders work like LR, provided that this will be an option and for those of us who like the sliders the way they are, are free to ignore this option.

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A sensibility slider.

There are a lot more, but here are two posts that I found that describe the basics of my procedure and my passion about this subject. I’ll continue looking.

Procedure part 1

and in the same thread:

Procedure part 2

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I think this is the main weakness and complaint. If they can add a narrow width “whites” slider that works kind of like the blacks slider and is tuned for highlight recovery I think it would solve a lot of the concerns.

They can leave the highlights slider as it is which satisfies existing users and existing edits from previous versions.


What exactly do you want a “whites” slider to do?

If it is just to reduce the white level in the brightest highlights, then you can just take a nibble out of the tone curve. You can either take the whole curve down subtly so that there is still a difference between what was pure white and the next tone down…

Capture d’écran 2022-03-21 à 14.43.39

… or you can make the brightest part the same level as its neighbour…

Capture d’écran 2022-03-21 à 14.46.30

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Go and vote here:

I am pretty sure that blacks isn’t the same as blacklevel.
Blacklevel has clearity/DeHaze functionality and blacks don’t that just stays out the absolute black level 0-5. Blacks is more “very deep shadows”.
Which is a good thing.
By wiggling blacks in selective tone and contrast you can manually lift details out the shadows. (which smartlighting can do in boxing mode less global. Smartlighting alters the tonecurve more in a hole range wile blacks only lifts deepshadows and does nothing in the upperpart.

That’s why i would like a combined contrastcurvetool inside the histogram on demand.
When you start to use more then one tool for tonality: exposure correction, smartlighting, selective tone, selective contrast, local adjustments you can get strange buildups of stacks of corrections pushing things of the grid or out of balance.
The moon and suntools in histogram arn’t enough they are indicators.
A full line which represents contrastlevels along the way would help.
Even better a luminance line and contrast line.

Yeah this is my experience as well. To me “highlights” behaves like “shadows” except for light tones. And there is no slider like “blacks” for white tones.

At one point I suggested a real “levels” tool like levels in photoshop but that worked on the full dynamic range available in the RAW but the idea was mostly panned and people said I was doing it wrong. :joy:

A good idea never clicks in in the first take!:wink:
So try again.

I stay with my point of don’t just add more, replace or fine tune excisting tools for better results. Too much choice freezes the brain i alway’s state.:grin:

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A levels tool would be fine, just like in Photoshop. Or if there’s a better levels too implementation out there, that. I’ve always been more a tone curves than levels guy (even in my pre-Aperture Photoshop ACR days) but levels are very powerful in expert hands. Levels are a pure tool (like tone curves) which allow creators to directly manipulate the core data of an image not a subjective interpretive tool.

Just don’t mess with the Selective Tone sliders. I’m against even adding a Lightroom preference for those sliders, as it will make even discussing image correction in PhotoLab 5 almost impossible (“PhotoLab Selective Tone sliders or Lightroom Selective Tone sliders?”). Self-defeating to constantly advertise the inferior feature of one’s largest competitor.


I think there’s a bit too much overlap in all the Selective Tone sliders but I’ve learned to live with it. The two that most people complain about the most are the highlights slider which at higher settings goes way too deep into the midtones, and the shadows slider which also goes way too much into the midtones at higher settings.

For many coming from other software, there is an expectation that the shadow slider will raise the shadows without having a major impact on the mid tones. Since I capture a lot of indoor low light images, many with significantly deep shadows, instead of the Shadow slider I often use local adjustments to extract deep shadow detail with minimum impact on the tonality of the surrounding areas.

Many of the regulars on this site seem to prefer the tonal ranges of the sliders in PhotoLab, and I have no problem with that. I do wonder though if that strong preference might be based mostly on years of familiarity.


Highlight slider 1

Highlight slider 2

Black slider 1

Black slider 2

The sliders add a slight gradient in each of the modified steps.
@StevenL: Note the issue with the black slider in image 4


Yes that’s true. In those years of familiarity one can perfect one’s technique to a fine precision(at least in one’s own mind :nerd_face: ). I’m very happy with using the ST sliders just the way they are, even if it is a very slow process. :grinning:

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Interestingly Capture one made substantial improvements to theirs a few years ago. They did so by adding two sliders and not mathematically changing the behavior of the other ones.

I would support adding one additional, 5th slider called Whites above “Highlights”. But don’t feel a strong need to change the other 4.

Levels is another discussion. I still want a levels tool. But don’t think I’m gonna get it.


Thanks for your feedback. I will forward your discovery to our teams.


I’ve just created a graph of luminance values taken from the left, centre and right of each of the stripes in the test pattern, showing the differences when the Black slider is boosted to +100 and the Highlights slider is cut to -100

Capture d’écran 2022-03-22 à 10.53.36

For the Black + 100 adjustment, the first stripe remains at 0, which makes me wonder why it is called Black, since that stripe doesn’t get altered in any way. Then, subsequent stripes do not change equally but, instead, as a series of gradients, which invoke a kind of “unsharp mask” effect where the edge nearest its next lighter neighbour is darker than its edge nearest its darker neighbour.

My guess is that this “sawtooth” curve is what is responsible for the anomaly next to the black stripe, as can be seen from the steepness of the peak between the first two stripes.

For the Highlights - 100 adjustment, only the leading edge of the white stripe is reduced only very slightly, before the next lightest stripe is affected significantly.

Now, to me, highlights include whites and yet that stripe is only affected minimally. It is no wonder that ex-Lr users and other are complaining that they want something to affect the truly white areas and not just the tones significantly less white.

Certainly, it seems every tone from top to bottom or bottom to top is affected just by adjusting one of these “end” sliders. What I think people are expecting is that only the top or bottom quarter of the range would be affected.

It also begs the question as to why the Selective Tone tool is affecting edge contrast at all?


What I would expect from a tool called Selective Tone is to have the same effect, without sharpening that curves like these would give for Blacks/shadows and Highlights…

Capture d’écran 2022-03-22 à 11.22.02

Capture d’écran 2022-03-22 à 11.22.34


Lightroom keeps white at 100% for a while, but when the slider goes beyond a certain point, white is lowered too.

Other than that, I’m not quite sure if testing with an artificial image is the right thing to do, even if DPL opens an artificial .tif or .jpg file… I see different effects, depending on e.g. if the file is RGB or not.