Smart Lighting: Framing tool not being so selective in PL4-Elite?

According to DxO:
“The framing tool allows you to specify as many to be preserved areas as necessary, which can be one or more objects or different areas of a portrait.
The medium density framing tool focuses Smart Lighting’s action within the frame without affecting the overall rendering of an otherwise balanced image
The framing tool on an area with extended dynamic range tells the Smart Lighting to preserve it and to take action on the rest of the image”

However, when I am processing a RAW (with a subject - big bird, but no faces) and have Smart Lighting set to spot weighted,medium and have framed a portion of the bird, when manipulating the intensity slider, everything within the picture (not just the non-framed part) changes with the slider. But, according to DxO (see above,) this should not happen. Just that part of the image that is outside the frame should change, but not the framed part. Am I not interpreting correctly, or is there something wrong? Thanks.

Yes, it’s a mystery that DXO seems unwilling to reveal. Marketing names (‘Smart…’) are all very well. But they’re a marketing deficit (IMO) when they obscure the effect on aspects of the image that are important to users.

As far as I can tell, the ‘smart lighting’ control is some sort of non-linear compression of ‘levels’ across the range of luminance in an image. The ‘frame(s)’ may be used to determine, singularly or in sum, the desired ‘central point’ (as in a typical ‘levels’ adjustment) and the ‘Mode’ seems to affect the rate of compression of other luminance ranges. So it’s a bit like directing the software to rebalance the overall levels setting the luminance levels within the frame to (say) ‘middle-grey’ or, more likely, to some other calculated median range.

There may be other things going on, too. But the available information from DXO is quite confusing. For example, the ‘help’ in the Smart Lighting panel claims that the ‘Mode’ setting is available only for ‘Uniform’ adjustments. Of course, that isn’t actually the case: the ‘Mode’ remains active in “spot weighted” mode and appears to be a shortcut for setting ranges of ‘Intensity’ (you can see the slider change as you select among ‘modes’).

Still, I have been using PL for only a few months so these are just my sort-of-initial guess.

I hope DXO will come ‘cleaner’ on this control ( but I’m not holding my breath).

Like this it is correct. :slight_smile:

As always, presets are only a starting point. And the moment you alter the slight/medium/strong preset with the intensity slider, the description changes to custom.

I wonder, where you stumbled over “The medium density framing tool” (to maybe mix it up with ‘medium preset’ ?). – Checked the recent PL4 user guide (PL4_manual_EN.pdf / p.92-95), which is about

  • the general use of the Smart Lighting Tool
  • use of Spot weighted tool = recognizing faces → then not affecting the rest of the pic …
  • use of Spot weighted tool = not recognizing faces

but didn’t see “medium density …”.

As you proved yourself, the intensity slider changes (corrects) the midst for brighter / darker tone
– similar to moving the middle of the Tone curve tool

  • up towards the left corner
  • or downwards to the right one.

The ?-Help is a slightly misleading (PL 4, 5).
Screen Shot 10-26-21 at 05.33 PM
→ Mode is available with Uniform and Spot Weighted

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What you do with placing boxes is creating some pinpoints on the “tonecurveline”.
Not exacly the same but you can select some area’s and when you change contrast or lumininosity levels it tries to keep them leveled on the orignal spot on the tonality line.
Pick a bright area and a dark area and then push exposure compensation.
You will see highlight getting compressed in order to keep the box on the brigth part within the Dynamic Range wile shadows and midtones get raised.
Same with contrast sliders.
It’s not a local area tool. It is a form of dynamic range tool.

Here it is:

You are right, my bad: Although set to medium, once doing the framing and sliding, it changes to Custom. Nonetheless, even when something is framed under these conditions, moving the slider effects the whole picture and not just the area within the frame. I believe that is not supposed to happen even when not doing faces…as the tutorial says.

So, to directly answer my question, does the area within the frame change when intensity is manually changed? According to the tutorial it shouldn’t, but in my case it does. After moving the slider, every part of the picture changes with it?

When it sees a face yes, then it takes the face as “centre” of the exposure and often lights up the shadows on the person.
No face? No, then it are just “pinpoints” like on a tonecurve.

  • That’s what I tried to explain – the intensity slider influences the complete pic,
    except black and white point … → watch the histogram.

  • [ Mode Medium ] showed in the screenshot by @m9k is a preset (Intensity = 50).

So, I suggest you start with Mode set to Slight / Medium / Strong (Intensity = 25 / 50 / 75)
and then after choose bright and dark areas in your pic, where you place the rectangles.
You can change the size of those ‘markers’ or move them around, while watching the complete result.

Don’t confuse these ‘frames’ with local adjustments, which can serve to (only) enhance certain spots.

Yes, it takes some practice, but very soon you see how to shape your pic. And of course Selective Tone and Fine Contrast … assist you too.

When you are ready to control black and white point, you might do so first and adjust them with the Tone curve tool. – Just keep an eye on the equivalent warnings below the histogram as after adjusting contrast and saturation you might have to correct the black & white point again.

Honestly, I appreciate your help, but just don’t think I’m getting it. When in framing mode, I expect that which is framed doesn’t change as I move the slider…but it does. Perhaps, it does and that is what I don’t get after reading the tutorial. I have placed frames on a light and a dark area, started at Medium, watched the histo change as I moved the slider, and watched everything in the pic change at the same time??? I think I’m hopeless with this one.

Adam, all is fine!

It’s just, that those ‘frames’ are no local corrections (also described in the manual).
BTW, I purposely downloaded the recent English version of the user guide, but missed the correct pages

DxO Smart Lighting

  • PL 4 → PDF p. 95-98 // print p. 92-95
  • PL 5 → p.107-109.

Please check, what’s written there about

  • DxO’s Uniform mode
  • DxO’s Spot Weighted mode

And forget, the adjustment would only be effective within the ‘frames’. :slight_smile:

With what you decide to put in the ‘frames’, you can direct / control the overall tone and contrast,
a bit similar to “Shadow/Highlight” in other programs – well somewhat.

Thanks, Wolfgang…Got it!