The Side Panel

The settings here are organized into groups. To expand or collapse a group, click the arrow in its header. Right-click a group’s header to see a list of all groups. Uncheck any group in the list to hide that group. Some groups contain sections that start out collapsed. Click the arrow next to such a section’s name to expand it. When any setting in a group is changed, a checkmark and an arrow are shown in that group’s header. Click the checkmark to deactivate that whole group. Click the arrow to restore the settings in the group to their defaults.

Double-click the name of any setting to restore its default value.

Auto-Enhance

Click the Auto button [A] on the toolbar to automatically enhance exposure and colors. It makes these enhancements by changing settings; you can then also change these settings yourself at your leisure.

White Balance

  • White Balance – this control lets you choose from among several predefined values. The default setting here corresponds to the one stored in the picture by the camera.
  • Eyedropper – use this to set white balance using an eyedropper. Click with the eyedropper on a pixel in the preview that should be neutrally-colored. The program then balances the picture so that pixel has a neutral color.
  • Temperature – this lets you control white balance by shifting the picture on the blue-yellow axis.
  • Tint – this lets you control white balance by shifting the picture on the green-purple axis.
  • Note – during eyedropper-based white balancing, the hue and white balance values are only updated after the preview is generated.

Exposure

  • Exposure – use this to correct exposure by up to +/- 4eV. When this is moved into the negative values, blowout protection is activated.
  • Contrast – controls the overall contrast of the final picture.
  • Lights – controls the amount and intensity of light tones in the picture. When you move Lights into the negative values, blowout protection is automatically activated.
  • Shadows – controls the amount and intensity of dark tones in the picture.
  • Clarity – changes local contrast at contours in the picture.
  • Dehaze – dehazes a hazy picture or adds haze to a picture.
  • Automatic – click this button to make Zoner analyze your picture and set suitable values in the Exposure group.
Controls for “ZPS 16” processing (see the Processing group):

Underexposure method – this sets the method by which the program handles the missing information for the brightest areas when darkening the picture. This setting is utilized when you bring Exposure into the negative values and when you apply HDR to bright areas. It offers three methods:

  • Linear – mainly useful for portraits. It darkens the picture in a natural way. In overexposed areas, it grays the picture. This method takes no special steps to stop blowout (loss of detail from overexposure). To create detail in overexposed areas, use the Lights control.
  • Vivid Colors – this method is useful for landscape photographs. It preserves brightness in areas with blowout, and non-linearly darkens the brightest areas, while increasing their contrast and saturation.
  • Contrast – this method works similarly to Vivid Colors, but it does not increase colors’ saturation, and it increases the contrast for a smaller range of brightnesses.
Controls for the ZPS 17 process:
  • White point – sets the brightness level that should become pure white in the final picture.
  • Black Point – sets the brightness level that should become pure black in the final picture.

In the ZPS 17 process, the Exposure sliders are organized in such a way that moving them into positive values always brightens the picture, while negative values always darken it.

Blowout protection tries to reconstruct the picture in places where detail has been lost in one or more color channels. This brightness reconstruction is relatively good, but because color information in such places has been lost, the final color may not match the original picture.

Color

The Grayscale checkbox sets whether the picture will be processed in color or in black and white. The contents of the panel change based on your setting here.

Controls for color images:

  • Hue – this lets you shift colors by adjusting hue.
  • Saturation – this lets you set color saturation.
  • Vibrance – this lets you set color saturation in a way that respects the existing saturation of colors in the picture – low-saturation colors are affected more.
  • Color correction – use the slider in this section for mild HSL-mode color correction. For greater convenience you can use an eyedropper to set what color to shift.

Controls for black-and-white images:

These controls offers two methods: Manual Channel Mixing and Automatic. In the first method, use the Red, Green, and Blue sliders to set how strongly each channel influences the final picture. The default settings corresponds to the values that are normally used for grayscale conversion. In Automatic, use the Toning slider to control the channel sliders indirectly. Watch the main preview window to judge the best value to use.

Tone Curve

Use the tone curve for fine control over the brightness levels in a picture. You can edit the curve by dragging the handles on it to new positions; these set the path that the brightness curve should take. To add new handles anywhere on the curve, click in the place where you want to add the handle. Right-click over a handle to delete it.

The horizontal axis shows input brightness values. The vertical axis shows output values. The curve must always be continuous, so you cannot move points completely freely. Shifting the curve’s endpoints changes the input values for the white point and black point, just as if you were using the Levels function. By shaping the curve into an S-shape, you can make complex adjustments to the picture’s contrast.

Starting from the ZPS 17 process, brightness can be set independently for the red, green, and blue channels.

Sharpen

This works the same as the Unsharp Mask within the editing window for Sharpen.

Noise Reduction

  • Brightness – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s brightness element.
  • Colors – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s colors.
  • Noise Reduction – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s brightness element.
  • Col. noise reduction – this sets the amount of noise reduction in the picture’s color element.
  • Suppress color stains – use this to eliminate large color stains that remain after removal of colored noise.

Effects

Vignetting

  • Strength – use this to set the effect’s strength.
  • Radius – use this to set how quickly the picture brightens/darkens inward from the corners.

Unlike antivignetting, vignetting in ZPS is only applied after a picture is cropped.

Add Grain

This works like the Editor’s Add Grain filter.

HDR

The controls here are identical those for the HDR function in the Publish menu.

Lens

Lens Profile

Use the Lens Profile controls to apply Lens Correction Profiles (LCP). These serve to automatically correct geometric defects, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. Zoner does not supply any such profiles, they can be downloaded for free on the Web for certain lenses. Select a profile and then use the Warp, Chromatic aberration, and Vignetting options to set what defects will be corrected using the profile.

Manual Correction

Expand this section to show controls for manual correction of optical defects:

  • Barrel Distortion – this sets the amount of barrel distortion correction applied.
  • Antivignetting – use this to either suppress unwanted darkening at the edges of a picture (i.e. vignetting) or to do the opposite – to add such darkening e.g. in order to emphasize content in the middle of the picture.
  • When there is no chromatic aberration in the center of a picture and it becomes gradually stronger towards the edges, you can fix it using the Red-green and Blue-yellow sliders. By using these to “push” the color channels towards each other, you will fix the defect.

Camera Profile

Use these settings to apply a DCP profile to a picture. These profiles correct colors and tonality. Although Zoner Photo Studio does not include any such profiles, they can be downloaded for free on the Web for certain cameras.

Processing

Zoner Photo Studio X uses a new RAW development process. But for better compatibility it also enables development of pictures using the process from older versions. When an image is loaded, the program automatically detects which version the picture was processed in, and the appropriate processing is set automatically, ensuring that the picture will be processed the same as it was in the original version. The processing version used can be changed later at any time.