Amy’s Blog: What a Difference Levelling Makes

I think that Amy is my great niece. She is the daughter of my niece. So, checking good old Wikipedia (here), that seems to make her my great niece (I wonder if ‘great’ should be capitalised so it would be like Great niece … hmmm, maybe not). However some people I consulted also seem to think that an appropriate term to use is second-niece. Even though it seems to somehow make me appear older, I think that the term ‘great niece’ rolls of the tongue a little easier.

My great niece Amy has started up a blog over at Blogspot. Her masthead is “A Vivid Memory”.

AmysBlog [Ctrl+Click on the banner to open Amy’s blog in a new Tab]

My post here is not actually really about Amy’s blog, but feel free to go and have a gawk at her site, as long as you come back here afterwards.

This post is actually about the difference that levelling can make to a picture. I have talked about levelling before, or “setting the black and whites” as it is sometimes called. If you want to find out more about doing levelling then refer back to my posts on that subject.

In Amy’s third post she posted a picture of a flower. To the knowing eye it is instantly obvious that this picture was not levelled. Following is the picture captured from the screen directly from Amy’s post.


It is most likely that this picture has been cropped from the camera shot, re-sampled down to make it smaller to post, and then posted.

Following is the same picture with the levels set.


Notice now that the has more contrast and more ‘snap’ to it. Well it does on my screen anyway.

Then if I apply a tiny bit of luminosity sharpening it come up like this.


Luminosity sharpening sharpens those colours at the top end of the luminosity range (i.e., the brighter parts of the picture).

Sorry Amy, but this was just such a great example to use to demonstrate the difference levelling makes to some pictures.

After you have done it two or three times levelling takes about 30 seconds to do.

Here is the transformation with the pictures shown side-by-side.


In order to fit this triplet into the 640 pixel width limit of my blog column I have had to down-size each picture so that I can fit them together across the page, and because I have also compressed them by 15 percent to keep the image under 100KB (for faster page loading), the impact of the changes that have been applied will have been diminished somewhat. However hopefully you can still see the slight changes with levelling having been applied for the middle one and then a tiny bit of luminosity sharpening on the final one.

Note: The starting point picture was screen-grabbed using PrtScn from Amy’s page. This means the picture I started with had much (over 50 percent, if not more) of the picture image information removed, as is the case for a picture being made ready for posting on the Web. If I had been able to start with the original picture out-of-the-camera, where much more of the picture information was still contained in the file, then the affects of levelling and sharpening would be even more dramatic.