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I have some photos which I took during some experimental work which ended up being so dark that the details can't really be seen (these are of spheres hitting a body of liquid and splashing).

It will be a bit difficult for me to re-do the experiments so was wondering if someone can explain how I can fix these images to make the details more visible. I tried fiddling with contrast and brightness but it produces artefacts and does not sufficiently improve the visibility to be able to see what is happening.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have the RAW files, or only jpegs? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I have the source .avi video files from which these screenshots are taken. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tom
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to set expectations: the most likely answer here is "you can't rescue these images, they're just too dark". \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, that's not going to be on-topic here, I'm afraid. Perhaps video.stackexchange.com/questions might be able to help. I very much doubt you'll rescue anything from the jpgs as they are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ vtc as off-topic. It now exists as a dupe on video & is gathering answers [with a similar conclusion, unfortunately:\ \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 15, 2022 at 18:51

1 Answer 1

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You can't use contrast and brightness because these still assume that the picture is about OK, and do most of the work on mid-tones, and you haven't got any of that. A tool like Curves(*) can help:

enter image description here

You can slightly bend the diagonal to try to improve on this depending on what you are interested in.

This answer can also convince you that there isn't much to salvage.

(*) Demo done with Gimp, other image editing applications have an equivalent tool.

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