Contrast Enhancement Evolution. From ALCE, to NEXT, to SHAPE.

We currently have two contrast enhancer plugins in our product range. SHAPE was developed four years after NEXT, capitalizing on the experience made with many other plugins, especially Wow! Frequency Equalizer. SHAPE was also designed to work alongside or even improve NEXT. The two plugins are different in terms of behavior, color engine, and algorithm. However, what NEXT does can ben easily be reproduced in SHAPE but, not the opposite,

Introducing Wow! Pro 2 – Five Bands Frequency Equalizer and Decomposer

We have been working on Wow! 2 in the last months capitalizing the know-how achieved developing plug-ins like Shape and others. We set out to develop this new outstanding version by improving performance and all existing features and adding more features to enhance user experience and speed up the workflow. We invested a lot of resources in the user interface, and all functions are now customizable.

The most important new function is Edge and Tone Preserving, a new exciting exclusive core feature of Wow! 2. It magically improves edges and overall tone, protecting highlights and shadows. It allows pushing the frequency sliders further. We also added “Adaptive Frequency Range”,  “Shadows & Highlights Protect”, “Quick Decompose”, “Full Color Control”, “Tooltips Help” and more.

Introducing NEXT. The Next Generation ALCE

ALCE has been our bestselling product for many years and, since the release of ALCE2, its core functionality has not changed significantly. Recently, thanks to the know-how achieved developing plugins such as Wow! and Mask Equalizer, we set out to make this outstanding product even better by improving some of ALCE’s weaknesses. Specifically, we focused on: creating a live preview, improving the embedded halos suppress tool, adding three masking sliders and finally switching to Quad-Core processing and 32bit computing capabilities, not available in Photoshop.

The result was the Next Generation Local Contrast Enhancer, which we decided to rename NEXT.

NEXT Local Contrast Enhancer Panel in compact and extended mode with a Ferrari F40

Live Preview

ALCE missed the preview. Its routine was very complex and it has been necessary to consistently improve the speed. NEXT is at least three times faster compared to ALCE at 8 bit and eight time faster at 16bit.
It means virtually live preview.

Halos Control

ALCE embedded an halos suppress tool. We have consistently improved it but, when needed you can deactivate it to get even further contrast. Despite this we still were not satistied and added a brand new masking option.


We added three new masking sliders. They are hidden when you open the panel in compact mode. You can now progressively mask highlights, midtones and shadows. Works well in shadows and to remove halos in flat backgrounds.

32bit Core

ALCE was a script, NEXT is a plug-in. It means that it uses its own engine working at 32bit without color quantization and stretching the local histogram much better. With NEXT gradations, highlights and shadows are smooth as never before.

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Discounted Price For ALCE Customers

The panels of Wow! 2 and Mask Eaqualizer, the Decompose window and a sophisticated mid-tones mask created by Mask Equalizer

Wow! Pro 2 + Mask Equalizer. Two Thoroughbreds Working Together

Mask Equalizer is a Photoshop plug-in to create sophisticated masks using multiple luminosity ranges quickly. Load one preset with just one click, to start to create your perfect mask. Instantly preview the result switching back and forth from mask to comp mode. Feather the mask, modify its contrast or opacity. The plug-in works with adjustment layers, advanced objects or groups.

We warmly suggest considering to buy our convenient bundle of Wow Pro 2 and Mask Equalizer. This plug-in is entirely independent of Wow!, but it shines when they are used together.

Page Photo Credits

Two girls: © Irina Gromovataya /
Man: © Sergey Galushko /
Model: © Irina Gromovataya /
Family Portrait: © Jani Bryson /
Interiors Video: © Roberto Bigano /

The Photography Knowledge Hub Blog

Spatial Frequency Separation in Theory

Spatial Frequency Separation in Theory

Usually one encounters spatial frequency separation for the first time in the field of beauty retouch. To put it as easily as possible, it is a technique which separates the texture of an image from its shape, allowing the retoucher to easily clone over defective parts with no visible side-effects.

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Everyone dealing with photography and digital imaging will find a unique mix of instructional and how-to content here. We offer applications specifically designed by photographers for photographers, as well as useful tutorials and free resources. Our mission is to create a community, a Central Hub of Photography Knowledge, where photographers can exchange experiences, share information and grow their skills.