PercepTool 2™ is a Photoshop add-on suite that performs Tone Mapping and Perceptual Effect operations on digital photographs.
Compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms in 32- and 64-bit processing, it operates in Photoshop CS4 and CS5 (Photoshop Extended required for 32-bits/channel). PercepTool 2™ works with both B&W and Color images in 8-bits, 16-bits and 32-bits. Completely revised and updated, PercepTool 2™ includes a new interface for the Perceptual Effect routine that now includes Exposure and Contrast adjustments instead of using Photoshop tools.
The Perceptual Effect adjustment has been redesigned to operate faster and to protect the highlights. In addition, PercepTool 2™ now includes Equalizer™, a superior multi-contrast Tone Mapping interface. Included is a Histogram with both Levels and Ansel Adams Zone System scales. LiveView™, the ability to work on the image itself and not a preview, is unique to PercepTool 2™.
I invented PercepTool™ to solve the problems mentioned in B&W Printing, 2009, published by Lark Publications. Basically, the tool works with the luminance image we get from the camera and corrects it to look like the luminosity percept produced by the visual cortex of the brain.
The idea behind PercepTool™ originated in 1978 with Ed Land’s essay (see page 21 in the book) and continues with my ongoing research in lightness perception. At this point it is nearly impossible to create this percept effect manually in Photoshop. So, I set out to make a Photoshop plugin that would accomplish this difficult task with the most sophisticated tools available to us in digital imaging science. In the software, one click changes the luminance image into the luminosity percept of the visual cortex. For those of you making that one click, remember that the development time and research involved behind that click took 30 years. PercepTool™ is used in combination with one or two other Photoshop tools, most notably the Gradient Map.
How does PercepTool work?
PercepTool takes the image made in the digital camera
sensor (also called luminance image) and changes it into what
our brain actually perceives. The luminance image consists of 2 sub
(intrinsic) images: reflection and illumination. The
reflection and illumination images are separated from the luminance
image in the visual cortex of the brain, processed and recombined into
what is known as the percept, or the image that we actually
perceive. We call this image luminosity. Most of the changes
are due to differential recombination of the edges in the image and
optimization of tonal values.
Here is a demonstration of the process:
PercepTool for CS6
The Atlantic Light Works team is working slowly (unfortunately) to keep pace with rapidly improving knowledge and technology. We are working on an update for PercepTool that will include a Lightroom plugin as well as the one for Photoshop. This will take several months.
I have now included on this page a free Photoshop Action that will replace PercepTool for those of you who have upgraded to Photoshop CS6. It is not the same as the full version, but should do until we can get the full version ready for upgrade.