I’m so bright my father calls me Sun!

(well, maybe he spells it differently)

That brings up an interesting question: how bright is too bright?  With people, being bright is a good thing.  It helps in overcoming all sorts of problems.  Social skills can help here, because very bright without social skills is not good.

Today’s cool tool, the Lightbox image editor, has social skills.  It is very bright, yet does not offend.

The problem can occur when you want to bring out details in the darker places yet not wash out the light places.  Picasa has a slider for brightness, but it affects all levels equally.  Lightbox’s slider is smart, and brings up dark places without overpowering the light stuff.

Here is a picture of a deer drinking out of our bird bath, from 2AM one morning in October.

Here’s what you can do with Picasa’s slider

And the Lightbox’s effort:

Lightbox is smoother, more fine-grained.  Lightbox has kept what colors it could find, and retained the fluting in the pedestal of the birdbath.  The difference is more readily apparent in daytime pictures, where some parts of the picture are bright and some aren’t. Here’s a twilight picture that captures the sky nicely without doing justice to the ground.

Picasa can bring out the green of the grass, and show the pitchfork in the lower right, but it does it at the expense of the tops of the trees and the color of the sky.

Lightbox keeps the treetops and the sky color, while showing the green of the grass.

I like Picasa, and for lots of pictures its single-flavor brightener is sufficient. But when you need expert help, it’s Lightbox all the way.

An earlier post about Lightbox, before the Cool Tool Tuesday series started, is here.