Sagelight 4.0 pre-release Beta available

Sagelight 4.0 pre-release Beta

I am happy to announce the release of a beta version of version 4.0.

Still Easy to use, and much more powerful

The new additions to Sagelight have been written with the same philosophy as previous versions — powerful tools that can be learned just by experimenting with them in real-time.  Of course, it can help to know what is going on (like the histogram, for example), but Sagelight’s design means you can just get a feel for what things do and go with it.

This beta of Version 4 contains a lot of new developments for Sagelight, including a lot of SSE4 code that (when detected) will run in place of SSE2 code.  Most computers support SSE4 these days, and it will make Sagelight noticeably faster.

Version 4.0 is to be released in two pieces, and this is part 1.

Why two parts?

It turns out that so much was developed for version 4, that it makes sense to do it in two parts, not only to get it out sooner, but to also get feedback to help drive the development with what’s working — for example, some new ideas on simple masking have been installed into this version, and if it is well-received, then it will be put into other areas a well.

Where to get the Beta Version

Since this is the first release of the beta, write me at and I will send you instructions and a link.  It can just be run in place of the current version of Sagelight without installing. I would certainly appreciate feedback, bug reports, etc.

Or, in a couple days I will post a general release that can be run by anyone with a license for version 4.0.

Main Features in this Beta Version.

Power Curves

Power Curves is a way to do curves manually.  In one sense, nothing really special since many advanced editors have this capability.  But, Sagelight has added a few new things to the curves to make them more useful:

  • Speed.  With instantaneous feedback for most curve types, you can experiment at a visceral level to get what you want.
  • Easy curve selection.  A lot of effort has been put into making the curve selection as easy as possible.  All curves display, and you can select curves easy with a smart algorithm, rather than losing your flow by having to leave the curve canvas to select a channel (which you can also do) .  The canvas area/curves window can be dragged out to expand into a larger area so that you can use detailed curves.
  • Multiple Color SpacesRGB, XYZ, C*I*E LAB, YCrCb, Hunter LAB, HSL, HSB, C*I*E LCH,Yxy LCH, YCrCb LCH, Hunter LCH and RGB LCH color spaces are available.   Overkill?  Not really.  Each space has a very definite use (also see the next section), with a surprising usefulness for Yxy LCH color space. (the above example was performed in C*I*E LCH space)
  • Chroma Channel. Each channel has an additional Chroma Channel (*unless implied by the color space, such as HSL, HSB, C*I*E LCH).  This adds a lot of power and flexibility to curves.  For example, instead of RGB space, it’s called RGBC space with the extra Chroma channel.  This gives a lot more power for curves by allowing you to adjust the saturation on a curve.  The problem with curves has always been that they are limited — you perform curves to increase or decrease contrast and specific areas; the color changes and you can’t see the result as easily.  With the Chroma Channel, you can adjust the light, individual color channels, and the saturation all at the same time.
  • Histogram.  The Histogram can display the histogram for each color space. It can also display the output RGB (pre-conversion).  Since the image is going to be converted back, this allows you to see overflows in the post-conversion to RGB.


Much development has gone into the Sagelight Vibrance algorithms.  New saturation methods were developed for Sagelight 4.0 revolving around faithful color reproduction and limiting overruns.  Out of that came Vibrance with the following features:

  • Deep Colors.  Sagelight Vibrance can deepen more colors than traditional vibrance.  Deep Blues, Greens, Reds, and other colors are made much deeper.
  • Vibrance Control. Since Sagelight Vibrance is a superset of Saturation, you can decide how much Vibrance vs. Saturation to put into your image.  This means you can control the vibrance and how it affects your image.
  • Less Noise.  As a superset of RGB saturation developed for Sagelight, Sagelight Vibrance causes much less noise than typical vibrance.
  • Skin-Tone Avoidance.   Sagelight’s Vibrance comes with an easy way to avoid Skin Tones.  Many times, a picture looks great with vibrance added — but not when skin tones are affected.  With Sagelight’s Vibrance, you can easily control where the vibrance touches your image.

Power Saturation & New Saturation Methods

Introducing Sagelight Perceptual Saturation, True Color Saturation, and Hybrid Saturation.  Three new saturation methods designed for perceptual and accurate color reproduction of colors while preventing overruns with high-contrast colors like reds.  The default saturation in the Quick Edit Mode and Kayak/Pro Quick Edit Mode are very useful, and the Power Saturation can give you even more control over your color.

Sagelight’s Power Saturation includes:

  • Perceptual, True Color, XYZ, C*I*E LAB, Hunter LAB, Hybrid, and HSB color spaces. Why so many?  Some color spaces are better for certain things.  C*I*E LAB Saturation, for example, works well with skin tones, where XYZ saturation tends to go to the warm side of things which can be great for landscapes.
  • Control.  Traditional saturation methods can’t give you everything you’re looking for.  Every image is different.  Power Saturation allows you to control the fullness and deepness of the saturation to get much better color from your image.
  • Overrun Protection and true light.  The Perceptual, True Color, and Hybrid Saturation modes are designed to deepen the color of your image and to avoid overflows — i.e. where reds turn into one solid color, for example.
  • Avoid Skin Tones/Masking.  As with the Vibrance, you can void skin tones to get great color out of your image without it looking fake due to over-coloring skin tones.

Easy Masking

Masking is  a very powerful tool in editing.  But, masking can also be hard to understand and use.  Sagelight 4.0 introduces a new Easy Masking concept to help make masking easier.  In the Power Curves, Saturation, Vibrance, and Vibrance Curves, you can use the Easy Masking to quickly select and avoid colors or to avoid skin tones.

Power Box Layers (Vibrance, Definition, Darken, and Smart Contrast)

Introducing the Power Box.

The Power Box Layers are a set of very powerful layer tools that simply add Vibrance, Definition, Darken, and Smart Contrast controls right on top of the Quick Edit or Kayak/Pro Quick Edit controls.   Just press the Power Box button and you suddenly have the following real-time layer controls:

  • Smart Contrast. Set a range and an amount, and you have a contrast tool that will stick with the midtones and avoid the highlights and shadows.  You can set the range to move more towards the midtones are into the the highlights and shadows.
  • Definition (2 Layers).  You can use the Definition control to provide local contrast or to sharpen your image.  You can set the strength and the radius.  Two layers are provided — Most of the time, a layer with a small radius and one with a larger radius makes your picture look great.  Or, you can use one layer to sharpen your image and the other to provide definition. The 2 layers can be switched back-and-forth.
  • Darken.  Darken works by darkening your image.  It’s a lot like the Smart Contrast, but it only goes in the darken direction.  You can select Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights to decrease, as well as a range and a feather for very nice stark effects. Darken can be used in place of the Smart Contrast or with it simultaneously.
  • Vibrance. With one slider movement, you can instantly add color and depth to your image (the above image was created by using the Darken and Vibrance Layers).  The Vibrance function gives you more control, but the Vibrance Slider in the Power Box Layers is very powerful.

Kayak/Pro Quick Edit Mode (an advanced version of the Quick Edit Mode)

Introducing Sagelight Kayak and the Kayak/Pro Quick Edit Mode.  Kayak is the working title for the high-end, very professional side of Sagelight.  The previous Pro-Quick Edit mode was just the beginning.  Where the Quick Edit Mode represents the fast, powerful, and easy side of Sagelight, the Kayak/Pro Quick Edit Mode represents the higher-level and even more powerful side of Sagelight.

In addition to updating the Kayak/Pro-Quick Edit Mode with a real-time histogram and Image Info Window, the following has been made available:

  • LAB and HSL color space.  You can easily switch between the LAB and HSL color spaces to perform all applicable Kayak/Pro Quick-Edit functions.  These spaces are very useful.  The settings between each color space are retained, so you can see the difference between the settings as you switch between them.  The Power Box (except the vibrance) works in the LAB and HSL color spaces as well, which can be very useful.
  • Manual Curves.  The Power Curves work here, too, in RGB, HSL, and LAB spaces.  You can also perform auto-balancing and other functions in the curve box.
  • Overflow Indicator.  You can press a button and it will show you graphically where you have lost data in your image due to overflows (blown out highlights) and grounded shadows — information you can’t get back once the image is applied or saved.  You can use this in real-time to adjust your image to remove the overflows.
  • Blackpoint and Whitepoint Sliders.  Very useful for RAW file adjustment, these sliders are “Smart Sliders” as they change the order of their implementation depending on the slider position.  This means that you can use these sliders to make adjustments to the black points and white points of your image when other controls may cause overflows.
  • Loadable and Saveable profiles.  As with the Quick Edit Mode and other functions, you can loads/save control settings.
  • Auto White Balance features. You can select a point on the screen to set the white balance, or you can have Sagelight calculate it for you.  This allows you to use the other controls (such as the Power Box) to bring out the color in  your image without color casts.
  • More RAW Support.  The RAW functionality has been advanced and reworked to deliver even better initial images without causing overflows (i.e. blown-out highlights) or shadow loss (black-point loss).
  • Luminance Protect features.  The luminance in your image is protected as much as possible as the color balance (i.e. white balance) is adjusted.
  • True Color Saturation (same as True Color Saturation in the Power Saturation controls)
  • Shadows Visibility Layer.  Adds a temporary layer to show the shadows of your image.  This allows you to work with the shadows in a brighter environment to take care of noise and color casts that normally wouldn’t be seen.


Various, UI adjustments, multiple-monitor friendly UI, multiple channel display support, RAW file EXIF Support, latest RAW file support, loadable/saveable profiles, Pixel Info Window, More Photo Filter and other blending modes, black-and-white image support functions, Vibrance Curves, SSE4 support, Manual Curves in the Quick Edit Mode, and various bug fixes.


Well, that’s it for the next couple days until I release the general beta (I’m going to wait for any bug reports from this current beta before I release it).  As I said, this is part 1 of 2 releases before version 4.0 is fully released and the sale ends.  Let me know what you think!

10 thoughts on “Sagelight 4.0 pre-release Beta available

  1. WOW, you’ve been busy. Looking forward to trying some of the new features on some recent snow photos.
    Thank you for all your hard work.
    Steve P.

  2. Sheer Delight, Rob.
    Been looking forward to this upgrade with great anticipation.
    In my opinion your editing software is absolute best and not only friendly for professional photographers but also FOR average person like me.
    I am very lucky to have come across this program about a year ago.
    It seems to be a well kept secret, do you have an affiliate program.LOL

    Thanks for developing a superb editing tool that even us normals can use to make good photos into stunning ones.


  3. For most uses, I can see V4 being quite overwhelming. For example, 7 different color spaces may give the ultimate flexibility but how do I know which one to choose ? Experimenting with each one would take a lot of time. Reading the help files just adds to the confusion, with many terms requiring even further explanation. While tutorials are obviously essential, there needs to be an easier way to wade through the masses of new options … wizards perhaps ?

    Rob has done an amazing job of building in his wealth of knowledge. There just needs to be a way for the rest of us to easily use it.

    • With the color spaces. I just finished doing all of the help. In the Power Curves section, I discuss which color spaces work well for what kind of editing. For example, XYZ turns out to be great for color toning, and Yxy LCH (which was a surprise) has an amazing quality for working with managing highlights and shadows.

      As soon as I get the beta out for general download, I am going to start doing a number of blog posts and videos on these and other aspects of version 4.

      I think experimenting is the way to go, but I get what you mean. What I want to do is to do very specific examples for each type, and then the experimenting is a little more directed. I mentioned the XYZ mode, for example; blind, it might not make as much sense as with an example to set the tone (no pun intended).

      Version 4 has the ability to load profiles that can also pop-up internal web-pages and images, so I will be posting some of these profiles that you can load with set curves and such that will also pop up a web page that explains what the use is. It will take a little time to do all that. With some of the other modes, though, like C*I*E LAB; that’s mostly added for completeness (in the sense of being an editor with multi-color-space functionality without C*I*E LAB mode doesn’t make much sense!), though the saturation (i.e. the Chroma Curve) has some nice qualities, especially with skin tones. On the other side, the example with the flower was done in C*I*E LCH mode, which is extremely useful!

      Until I get the blog posts & profile out, I would suggest that RGB, C*I*E LCH, HSL, and HSB are good ones to experiment with, and XYZ if you’re familiar with the color space.

      I’ll be interested if you think the help I just added will help out in terms of making sense of it all.


    • Oh, great. I am glad to hear that — part of the delay was the masking I added into the Power Curves, Vibrance, etc. — I did notice that masking out skin tones with the vibrance is a great effect, since the skin tones just start to look too unrealistic once vibrance is applied more than just a little.

  4. I’ve noticed that as soon as I click the Kayak button, the image changes. I assume this is because of the application of “85% auto levels” ?
    How does this compare with:
    1. Pro color balance
    2. Remove Color Cast
    3. Auto Levels and Auto Color
    Why are these 3 menus separated and how do they differ ? Do I need to use “3” as well as “2” ?

    • Yes, it changes because of the Auto Levels, which is — most of the time — slight because of the 85% mixture (as opposed to 100%). I thought about making it an option (and perhaps I should put it in the general settings options, at least), but it turns out to make most pictures look better, in my mind and for the ones I try, so I left it in as automatic.

      It’s a softer approach than the Auto Balance (through the Quick Edit Mode) because the Kayak/PQE doesn’t want to make decisions for you like the Quick Edit Mode, so you can press Balance which does a softer balance than the Auto Balance. Also, it intends to be mixed with the White Balance controls, so it is softer. The White balance is preset when you come in, but it leaves the Strength Slider to 0 so you can manage it yourself.

      In the new version, you can do the same as the Auto Balance in the Quick Edit mode by launching the Curves Window and then selecting “Auto Level + Color” through the options menu (also try “Gra y World” which works well, too). I put it there, because you can manually decide how to deal with the white points (i.e. you can back them off or make them deeper). But, it turns out to be working so well, I might bring it out as a button.

      On it’s most basic (default) level, the Auto Levels combo box performs black/white point adjustments only, where the Pro Color Balance, Remove Color Cast, and Auto Levels and Auto Color adjust the midtone areas to neutralize the color.

      I hope that helps!


  5. Thanks Rob.

    Another thought. In processing photos, there are two general categories:
    1. To make them look realistic with good lighting and backgrounds that didn’t exist in the original photo.
    2. To “enhance” the photo by changing colors, the funky HDR tone map effects, crazy filters and whatever.

    I process hundreds of photos and they are all in category 1. I’d suggest that this is where most people have their needs. I have many unposed, “snap” shots where I don’t have time to get lighting etc exactly right. Commonly shots have cluttered backgrounds, strong shadows, back light.

    It would be very helpful to separate in some way, “basic” category 1 functions (like fill light), from the heaps of category 2 stuff.

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