I had an interesting chat with the folks on the MacPhun stand at The Photography Show at the...Read More
‘Clarity’ is just one word for this particular effect, which is a localised contrast adjustment much coarser than regular sharpening, which throws larger objects into sharp relief and can add some much needed definition and ‘bite’ to low-contrast scenes.
Lightroom’s Clarity slider operates more or less in the middle of this scale, while other programs offer a finer ‘Structure’ adjustment which brings out smaller detail – but again without getting down to the detail of regular sharpening tools. You should try out the Structure slider in Silver Efex Pro to see just how dramatic the improvements can be – black and white images seem to be able to withstand and benefit from much larger clarity and structure adjustments than colour images.
At the other end of the scale you’ve got tools like Dehaze in Lightroom and ClearView in DxO Optics Pro, which optimise the contrast for different regions of the picture.
All of these tools are relatively recent additions to the image-editing landscape, but they can boost the impact of your images in ways that regular sharpening and contrast adjustments never could.