iCorrect EditLab 2.0 By Pictographics
Great Color Made Simle

Professional-quality color correction and editing made simple is the easiest way to describe the capabilities of iCorrect EditLab 2.0, the newest software plug-in from Pictographics. Whether working with scans or digital photographs, this plug-in can assist in automating the image-correction process through a simple four-step process. In fact, iCorrect EditLab 2.0 is so powerful that even novice users can obtain spectacular results that would typically require a much more in-depth understanding of Photoshop and color correction to achieve. Functioning as a plug-in, iCorrect EditLab 2.0 requires the use of Photoshop (Version 4.0 or higher), Photoshop LE, PhotoDeluxe, Photoshop Elements, or JASC Paint Shop Pro 7. Windows operating systems currently supported are Windows 98, 2000, NT 4.0, or XP. Macintosh users have compatibility from OS 7.1.1 to OS 9.2.

How It Works
iCorrect EditLab 2.0 performs an automatic analysis of your image, and walks you through four easy steps to correct the image in order to achieve the desired result. Besides some standard controls for manipulating color balance, contrast, and saturation, the plug-in utilizes some interesting technologies that allow you to correct images using reference or memory colors. These memory colors in the case of iCorrect EditLab 2.0 are skin tones, skies, foliage, and neutrals. The logic behind this "correction method" is that many users know what certain colors should look like, and when the user clicks on a particular part of the image that represents one of these memory colors, iCorrect EditLab makes the necessary changes to ensure that these tones are properly corrected. This proprietary memory color correction ability is the key component that sets this software apart from other plug-ins or Photoshop's own "out of the box" capabilities.

Installation And Documentation
Installation is simple. I tested the Windows version of iCorrect EditLab 2.0 and the program simply installs in a folder on the hard drive. To complete the installation the user must drag the iCorrect plug-in to the Photoshop plug-ins folder. Once the user restarts Photoshop and enters the correct serial number, iCorrect EditLab 2.0 is ready to use. The program also ships with a well-written 21 page electronic manual in PDF format for easy printing or on-screen viewing. Pictographics offers an online tour of the product on their web site that also explains how the plug-in works.

The Interface And Workflow
Using iCorrect EditLab 2.0 is a simple process. Once the plug-in is launched, you are presented with a dialog box that shows a preview of the image, and the toolset that the plug-in offers. The interface shows the current image and the effects of the edits you are making, and the plug-in renders the changes to the original document once you are satisfied with the results in the preview window. The plug-in allows you to make edits manually, or have iCorrect EditLab 2.0 make them automatically.

One valid reason to use manual correction would be to maintain a selective color cast in an image, perhaps an evening glow that I wouldn't particularly want to neutralize. However, for most images where I would desire neutral color, I found that the automatic corrections work extremely well for the vast majority of images.

The ability to process both 24 and 48-bit RGB images in iCorrect EditLab 2.0 allows you to scan images (or shoot images with a digital camera) that produce greater than 24-bit files. Performing image manipulations on these high-bit files is always the preferred workflow for maintaining maximum image quality. iCorrect EditLab 2.0 tools are made to work in a specific order. The four major steps in the process of correcting your image are as follows.

You simply make the optimal adjustments to the image in each editing stage. There is a numeric read-out that gives you RGB or HSB information about the pixel values in the image reflecting their before and after manipulation values. You can also check and uncheck the preview box to toggle corrections on or off so that you can see the extent of the corrections at any given point. In each of the four stages in the editing process, you can reset the current tool, or reset all of the tools that have been used and completely start over on the current image without closing and re-launching the plug-in. iCorrect EditLab 2.0 also works either on the entire image, or on a selection that was defined prior to launching the plug-in. You can also specify whether the edits that are being performed should be applied to the entire image, or if they should just be applied to the current selection. There is a zoom feature that allows you to view the image at 100 percent magnification if you want to use the color sampler tool within a large image using greater precision when choosing pixels, and the sampler tool itself can be configured to take single point, 3x3, or 5x5 readings.

Arguably the most powerful part of the program is the last step. In this step, you can click on any "memory" colors such as skin tones, skies, or foliage in the image. The program does not require that you do this, however, if you are working with an image that has these attributes, iCorrect EditLab 2.0 can provide some pretty amazing results on a consistent basis. In the fall foliage image, I was able to perform a series of edits to correct the color balance easily and quickly, as well as selectively edit certain hues accurately so that the scanned image more represents the original scene.

Performance And Versatility
Based on the amount of calculations iCorrect EditLab 2.0 must make, I found it to be surprisingly fast at rendering the corrections to full-size image files. The testing platform was a Windows 2000SP2 computer running an AMD Athlon 1400MHz processor. I had dedicated 785MB of RAM to Photoshop 6.01. Each image may take varying amounts of time to correct as more corrections may be necessary on certain images. I timed the corrections to the full-resolution 110MB file I edited and the processing took just over 11 seconds. Smaller graphics files are handled very quickly, usually within a few seconds.

One nice productivity feature of iCorrect EditLab 2.0 is a separate accessory program that is included called Color CircuitQ. If you are using iCorrect EditLab 2.0 and find that you have settings that work for a series of images, you can save the settings as a color circuit file from within iCorrect EditLab 2.0. Color CircuitQ allows you to apply this color circuit to batches of files so you can automate the process of correcting many images very quickly. Color CircuitQ also has sharpening and noise reduction filters that can also be applied in this automated process. Depending entirely upon your workflow, this automation can greatly enhance your productivity if you have many images that require the same types of corrections.

iCorrect EditLab 2.0 should fit the needs of many users very well. Although I enjoy editing images in Photoshop myself, the type of mundane color correction chores that iCorrect EditLab 2.0 handles so well are something I won't miss performing manually. The timesavings gained by this plug-in can easily be justified in any type of working environment. Furthermore, iCorrect EditLab 2.0 also handles most of the calculations involved in making the corrections no matter how intricate, so even relatively inexperienced users can get great-looking images.

There is only one area that strikes me as a possible limitation of iCorrect EditLab 2.0 and that would be the plug-in's inability to handle CMYK files. In all fairness, and after I discussed this issue with Pictographics' knowledgeable support personnel, this isn't a function that Photoshop's plug-in architecture handles. The answer is to simply edit in RGB, and convert to CMYK after the image is processed with iCorrect EditLab 2.0. The only reason I bring this up is for any users scanning directly to CMYK, you will lose the ability to use this program unless you convert back to RGB.

iCorrect EditLab 2.0 is available as a free-trial demo from www.picto.com. The plug-in is available to purchase either electronically for $99, or through physical shipment of the CD for $109 plus shipping costs. Pictographics can be reached for questions or information at their web site or by phone at (952) 894-6247.