Intellihance Pro 4.0

"Image Enhancement The Intelligent Way"

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Type of Product
Intellihance Pro 4.0, by Extensis Corporation, is a valuable upgrade for photographers and designers who want to take the guesswork out of digital image enhancement. The program is a plug-in, meaning it works within other applications. Like other Extensis products, it works within such programs as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photo-Paint. This significant upgrade features a professional environment for quickly comparing, adjusting, selecting, enhancing and color correcting images. You can compare up to 25 different image enhancement combinations at once with multiple preview panes. Presets can be selected directly from the Photoshop menu bar; and images can be visually adjusted with PowerVariations. Enhancements can be compared on output devices by creating a test strip. What this all means in plain language is that you can use Intellihance Pro to make those underexposed, overexposed, underdeveloped, dirty, and just plain horrible photographs that you took and make them look better than the original, even professional. Price: $199.95, Upgrade $69.95. The application can be used on PCs and on Macs. Extensis has a variety of products: PhotoTools, PhotoFrame, Mask Pro, VectorTools, QX-Effects; QX-Tools, PageTools, Preflight Pro, Preflight Designer, BeyondPress, and Portfolio. For information on their products, see our other reviews of Extensis software. We use Extensis products extensively in our reviews. For this review, we used Extensis PhotoFrame and Adobe Photoshop for the section headings. Extensis has an excellent Web site were you can get information, examples, and tips on their products. You can also download demo versions of their products which you can experiment with, free, for a period of time. There are also free demos on the CD that contains Intellihance Pro.
User Level
Advanced Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced users. This is a great tool for anyone using Photoshop or Corel Photo-Paint. I would recommend users to have a basic grasp of these two programs, but it is an easy way for novices to learn to work with image enhancement and a wonderful compliment to any professional's digital tools. One important aspect of Extensis products is that they really are appropriate for a variety of users with different levels of experience. Intellihance Pro provides you with a range of options from completely automated (allowing the program to determine the best filter settings to enhance the image), to completely manual (allowing you to fine tune every setting).
  • Side-by-Side Enhancement Comparison (New)--Allows you to compare up to 25 different image enhancements at once side-by-side.
  • Total Imaging Control (Improved)--Analyzes images and then intelligently makes adjustments based on individual image attributes.
  • Instant Access to Individual Presets (Improved)--Presets appear in the Intellihance Pro submenu and can be accessed directly from Photoshop for instant application to images and selections without opening a dialog.
  • Intelligent Image Adjustment (Improved)--The program analyzes each image individually to determine what changes (if any) are required for the image to look its best, per your specifications.
  • Centralized Fine Tune Adjustment (Improved)--The program combines into one central location multiple tools for color correction and enhancement, so you can see how each change affects other changes and modify any adjustment at any time.
  • PowerVariations (New)--This mode provides a visual method for adjusting various image characteristics.
  • Split and Repeat Preview Modes (New)--The image preview can either be split across panes or repeated from pane to pane for maximum preview flexibility.
  • Test Strip Output (New)--The program has the ability to generate a wide variety of test strips, including preset comparisons and up to 25 different subtle PowerVariations changes at once, both repeating and single image modes.
  • Batch Process Capabilities (Improved)--Using Photoshop's Actions, users can batch process any number of Intellihance Pro presets, including Intelligent Adjustment presets, which analyze each image on an individual basis.
  • Fully Customizable Interface (Improved)--The program has dozens of layout options, keyboard shortcuts and unlimited zoom and pan options for positioning images precisely within the Intellihance Pro environment.

Installation: The process is quick and easy. You have the option of installing for Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photo-Paint. If you use both, you have to install it for each program. In Photoshop, the installation will add a file heading Extensis to the Photoshop interface, and selecting Intellihance Pro 4.0 from the menu will access the various enhancement methods that Intellihance provides. In Photo-Paint the entry will be located under Effects/Extensis.

User Guide: The 75 page User's Guide provides you with a good beginning into image enhancement. There is also a Quick Reference Card that outlines such items as: Tools, Modes, Preferences, Entering, Exiting/Saving, Zooming, Presets, and Working with Panes.

Interface: By selecting Presets from the Intellihance Pro menu in Photoshop, you can apply them directly from Photoshop, and there is no separate interface. Or you can choose the Intellihance Pro option and work within the Intellihance Pro workspace. The interface or workspace is clean, uncluttMenu Optionsered, and intuitive. There is a Menu Bar along the top of the window.Your image is displayed in the middle of the workspace in a Preview Area where you can you can view one group of enhancement settings (called a Peset) on your image, or simultaneously view the effects from as many as 25 different Presets at one time. This allows you to compare different settings side-by-side. You can view different sections of a single image in each pane (Single Image view), or have the same image area repeateInterfaced in each of the panes (Repeating Image view). An Active Pane will be indicated by a red outline around the border of the cell. Presets are available in the pop-up menu in each pane in the Preview Area, as well as directly from the Menu Bar in Photoshop. Settings displayed in the right corner are mode dependent, meaning that the type of Settings displayed is determined by which of the three enhancement modes is currently active. The three modes are: Intelligent Adjustment Mode--the program determines appropriate enhancements for the active pane based on settings that you select from pre-defined lists of common settings; Fine Tune Mode--allows you to tweak the image in the active pane to fine tune individual settings; and PowerVariations Mode--automatically applies equal variations of a selected setting across all the panes, using the settings in the active pane as the starting point. Three tabs located in the bottom-right corner of the workspace provide additional information about the image displayd. The Histogram tab shows a graphical representation of the color value differences between the original image and the enhanced image. The Info tab displays individual pixel values in a chart, allowing you to pinpoint a specific pixel to compare the before and after values. The Clipping tab allows you to view which pixels are being clipped in different parts of the image.

Overview of Methods: Intellihance Pro provides different approaches for enhancing images to accommodate different enhancement situations, from completely automated to completely user controlled. The following options are listed in order from most automated to most user-controlled.

From Photoshop

  1. Quick Enhance: The fastest and easiest way to enhance your images is to select the Quick Enhance Preset and let Intellihance Pro do all the work. Quick Enhance is available from the Extensis menu, without opening Intellihance Pro, or from within Intellihance Pro. I found this option useful when I wanted just a basic touchup.
  2. Other Presets: Intellihance Pro comes with 25 Presets already installed--each Preset performs a specific enfhancement function. Any of these Presets (and any Preset you save from within the plug-in) can be applied from within Photoshop by selecting them from the Extensis menu. They are also availabe within Intellihance Pro.

From Intellihance Pro

  1. Intelligent Adjustment: The Intelligent adjustment settings are used by the program tIntelligent Adjustment Settingso automatically analyze and adjust the image. They let you determine "intelligent" guidelines in plain English that describe how you want your image to look. Intellihance Pro then analyzes the image to match your chosen settings. The program can determine if an image is undersaturated or brightened, and automatically aBrightness Settingdjust the image to compensate. You have nine different types of enhancements that can be set, each with several preconfigured settings. Each setting also has a variety of different options, and any new combination of Intelligent Settings can be saved as a preset for later use. For instance, with the Brightness setting, you have five options. The image to the left shows the nine Intelligent Settings, and the image to the right shows the five Brightness options. The nine Intelligent Settings are:

    • Descreen--Images that have already been printed using a halftone screening process require special attention when re-used by scanning them. The Descreen option gently blurs the halftone dots, blending the indivdual colors used in printing.
    • Contrast--The Contrast settings are used to increase the contrast of images.
    • Brightness--The Brightness filter biases the automatic adjustment of the midtone of the image.
    • Saturation--Saturation is the amount of color within the image. The settings will increase or decrease the saturation based on the current setting.
    • Cast--The Cast filter is used to remove unwanted color casts from the image such as when underexposed film results in images that have a yellow, red, or green cast to them. It is also excellent for problems when a scanner is improperly calibrated or when a picture was taken under fluorescent lighting.
    • Sharpness--The Sharpness setting selectively sharpens any images that require it. Intellihance Pro recognizes image areas in terms of sharpness, affecting the least sharp areas the most, and the most sharp areas the lest.
    • Despeckle--The Despeckle filter removes noise, such as photo grain or scanner-induced noise, while preserving detail.
    • Paper & Ink--This filter prevents overinked/underinked areas when printing.
    • Dust & Scratches--Dust and Scratches removes Salt and Pepper Noise from your image without sacrificing detail.

  2. Fine Tune: This mode allows you to make manual refinements to the enhancement settings of individual images. In Fine Tune mode, you use controls associated with the samFine Tune Modee nine enhancement settings that are available in Intelligent Adjustment mode to individually adjust any or all of the enhancement settings. Each of the settings has different tools for manual adjustment. The image in the active pane is updated immediately as you change the settings. Fine Tune settings can be saved. There is also a Summary option, which allows you to display the individual values for all the settings that are currently applied to the active pane. The image to the right indicates the manual adjustment tools for the Brightness setting.

  3. PowerVariations: This mode allows you to compare the Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, PowerVariations ModeSaturation, Cast, or Color Balance of an image with different variations of that setting. With PowerVariations, each pane represents a percentage difference of a single attribute. For example, if Brightrness is being adjusted in a 3x3 layout, the center pane could be the active pane while four panes would represent 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% lighter and the other four panes would represent 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% darker from the new settings of the active pane.

View and Preset Options: Intellihance Pro provides two different ways to view an image and two different ways to view Presets. This really gives you control over your enhanchement options.

Single Preset--You can limit the display to a single Preset--no matter how maSingle Presetny panes are being displayed. If more than one pane is being displayed, the Preset for the Active Pane is displayed in all the panes. This can be useful when you want to see what changing the value of one or two settings does to the Preset.Multiple Presets

Multiple Preset--With this option, each Preset will be displayed in a different pane. The image to the right is an example of multiple presets with repeating preview.

Single Preview--The entire image spans across all panes. Perfect for compaSingle Previewring how different settings affect the entire image. The image to the right is an example of multiple presets with single preview.

Repeating Preview--The same image section is repeated across all panes. Perfect for comparing how different settings affect the same image region.

Test Strips: This feature is excellent for: creating a print sheet with different settings fTest Stripor testing printer or other output device calibration; testing monitor calibration between Macintosh and Windows; or to see how different enhancement settings will look when printed on a particular printer.

Personal Comments
Intellihance Pro 4.0 is a powerful program. The Presets are helpful. I especially like the Clean Up, Focus, and Flatbed Scanner Presets. My scanner tends to produce darker images than I like, and the Flatbed Scanner Preset adjusts my images. I also have a variety of printers that print the same image differently, so I can use Test Strips to get settings for specific printers, and then createPreview Presets to use for different output devices. It is not difficult to learn the basics of the program, but it does take time to get efficient at using the Fine Tune Mode and the PowerVariations Mode. It is well worth the the time, though. The variety of options at first can seem confusing, but as you get familar with Intellihance Pro, you will appreciate the ability to enhance your images with the various tools. The Presets take a matter of seconds to produce and really do make a difference in the quality of your images.
system Requirements
Processor: Pentium processor
Operating System: Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0
Memory: 32 MB RAM; 64MB recommended
Hard Disk Space: 8MB
256 colors required; 24-bit color recommended
Windows 95/98 or NT 4.0
Adobe Photoshop 4.0 or higher or Corel Photo-Paint 8.0 or higher

Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series