NEXT Vs ALCE. What’s New In NEXT Local Contrast Enhancer

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.
 ALCE panel and NEXT panel in compact and extended mode with an image of divers tuned by NEXT

Live Preview

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

Halos Control

ALCE embedded a 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 satisfied 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, mid-tones, 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 internal 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.

Performance Comparison. NEXT vs ALCE2 Turbo and ALCE classic

Here we applied NEXT, radius 100 to a 68.25MP file as compared to ALCE2 with Turbo Mode and Classic Mode.

NEXT Local Contrast Enhancer new installer window

New installers

At Know-How Transfer we worked hard not only to release the new NEXT but also to improve the user experience overall, including the install process, which is now entirely automated. Currently available for NEXT MASK Equalizer, Wow! Pro and Double US, with more to follow.

New Interactive Users Manual

We completely redesigned the interactive user manuals, to make them more user-friendly and easily accessible from the NEXT panel, by just clicking on the book icon. The links on the front page take you directly to the relevant section in the manual, which also includes links to additional external content like training pages, tutorials and more. Some of the content is currently in the works and will be available soon.

NEXT Advanced Local Contrast Enhancer pluging for Photoshop. The Front Page of the user manual

An Improved Shopping Experience

We have redesigned the store that now is more functional. It’s now possible to buy in Euros or US Dollars, and convenient multi-licenses purchase is available for all products.

€32 – Upgrade €19.20

Full functions version with watermark

Upgrade from ALCE to NEXT at €19.20

ALCE users must be logged in to get the update price. There are two ways to log in:

  1. Go to your My Account Page and log in using username and password you used to buy ALCE. If you don’t remember the password, use the password recovery service. Once added the product to the basket it will already be at the discounted price.
  2. Add the product to the basket, go to cart, and the price will be displayed at the full price. Proceed to next page where you will be asked if you are a new or returning customer. Select “returning, ” and the price will switch to the discounted price.

Compatibility, version and manual

Photoshop CC 2014 and later
Mac: 10.8 Mountain Lion and later
WIN: WIN7 and later, 64bit only
Not compatible with CS6, sorry
Current Version: 1.0.6
Read or download the user manual

Toggle to access the version history

Fixed an issue with older AMD Processors.

Fixed an issue with file size including prime numbers.

Fixed an issue that crashed PS when Mask Equalizer and NEXT were used together.

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  1. Michael

    Both are amazing!

    Next truly deserve more recognition from the community.
    Its 3D effect on images is something I couldn’t achieve with any other tool.

    Speed has improved and the tool is working OK even with large images.
    But it would be amazing if you pushed it a little faster.

  2. Edoardo

    As a long time user I really appreciate the speed improvement.

    It made the Plug In usable daily and not only on special “Extra Patience” occasions.

    Keep the good news coming!

    P. S.
    The user manual link on VitaminBW 2 page doesn’t work.


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