Highlight reconstruction not working

ART Version 1.21
If some parts of an image clip and I switch on Highlight reconstruction, the clipping does not decrease. Could it be that this is a bug? Or do I not understand the function correctly?

Well, it could be either of those, or something else entirely. It’s hard to say without more data.
Would you be able to post the image and the sidecar?


As far as I know, Highlight Reconstruction is not meant to decrease clipping. It is used to correct false colors (usually a kind of orange) in clipped highlights.

Instead you may want to use the Tone Equalizer, slider Whites and/or Highlights. Or other tools in the Exposure tab, or the Highlights++ slider in Local Editing.

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Now I understand better. Highlight Reconstruction does not reduce clipping, it just makes the colors better if they are already clipping.
This example clearly shows how the colors change depending on which process you choose (Off or Balanced).
Test.dng (20.3 MB)
Test.dng.arp (10.9 KB)
I thought Highlight Reconstruction was Highlight compression.
RT has a slider for this, is there something similar in ART?

Here agriggio / ART / wiki / Reference — Bitbucket
you can read: “Highlight Compression” values under 100 are recommended in most cases.
Where do you see these?


that sentence is wrong, sorry about that. Thanks for reporting, I’ve fixed it.

Regarding your question, there are several ways of reducing highlights, among which:

  • tone equalizer → “whites” and/or “highlights” sliders
  • dynamic range compression
  • log tone mapping, by increasing “white relative exposure” and lowering either “target gray point” or “gain” (to keep the midtones unchanged); you can also play with “highlight precompression” to reduce the amount of increase of “white relative exposure”, for scenes with very bright highlights.
  • finally, you can use the “color/tone correction” tool in the “local editing” tab with a custom mask to target highlights. This gives you the highest flexibility, but you will need to manage the mask yourself, which might not be trivial if you are not familiar with how masking works in ART (in particular, you need to watch out for halos and other artifacts and know how to avoid them)



Hello @agriggio
Great! All your descriptions were very easy to understand, I have tried them out and all of them reliably reduce the cilping.
Only your last tip I haven’t followed yet: “color/tone correction” - yes, I’ve hardly ever worked with masks, I don’t dare to try it yet. But I’ll make a note of all your tips in my own ART manual and if I ever have a difficult photo, I’ll enthusiastically fall back on them.
Thank you very much for your precise help. And even more thanks for the ART - I’m enjoying it more and more.
Now I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Not an art user , but from most definitions: recovery is repairing highlight data in your file. It increases the usable range of your file if you clipped some or all channels.

What you do with that extra bit of data is completely something else. So just toggling it on will often not unclip things. Try lowering exposure and see if toggling it on or off does something to the highlights.

Haha, masks don’t bite ! :wink:
Some years ago I wrote some articles on how to use masks in ART. They’re a bit outdated but it gives you at least an idea. The deltaE mask in the article is now called Color Similarity Mask.



Once you start using masks you’ll never go back. I’m no master at all but I’ve found, in particular for me, that a brush mask in erase mode is a great way to refine and clean up another mask that was close but not quite perfect. Feathering is edge-aware so combined with opacity it’s possible to create quite accurate masks.

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Yes, that is obviously correct, I have been able to understand it.
Thank you.

I took a look at your tutorial, but unfortunately no mask formed for me.
Do you have any simpler instructions for masks in ART? I am very interested in it.

Hello Paul,
how or where can I mark that the issue is resolved?


Just edit the title.

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Like this: [solved]?

Yes, just add this. It’s the common way.

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A few somewhat random points, but FYI –

There are four basic mask types:

  • Parametric - Mask coverage is constrained by the combination of Hue, Chroma and Luminosity settings you choose. Those settings are controlled by equalizer type graphs, with feathering a result of the graph slope.

  • Color Similarity - Mask coverage is constrained by the combination of Luminosity, Chroma and Hue characteristics you define through the mask sliders. IMO the easiest way is to click the Pick button, click an area of color you wish to mask and then refine from there. See the Local Editing Tab section of the ART Reference for more details on the logic of the sliders in Color Similarity masks.

  • Area - Gradient, polygonal and rectangular shapes can be added. Feathering is by a slider and / or opacity values (in the case of a gradient). Before creating an new area mask you’ll see a warning. That can be ignored, as it will go away once the first shape is drawn. This is a good tutorial on creating area masks

  • Brush - The mask is brushed on via resizable brush. Brush (as well as overall mask) opacity is variable, as is feathering. Ctrl+dragging will build up mask opacity / coverage incrementally. Be aware that feathering is global for the (brush portion of) the mask, not granular per brush stroke. Also (I believe?) stroke opacity can override mask opacity in some situations. For example, if a low-opacity stroke is brushed on, subsequently raising mask opacity will not make it more opaque. However, lowering mask opacity will make it less opaque. Checking the Eraser Mode checkbox will enable you to erase from, rather than add to, an existing mask. For a brush mask to show up when combined with another mask (e.g., when refining a pre-existing mask), it must be in sum mode:


Other points –

  • The “Show Mask” checkbox must be enabled to display the mask (against a monochrome preview of the image).

  • There are also other sliders, curves, etc., which allow further refinement of masks. These vary by mask type.

  • Multiple masks can be combined in various logical modes to add to and / or subtract from each other.

  • Every layer in each of the Local Adjustments tools is a unique logical mask / adjustment, whether comprised of a single mask or a composite of multiple masks.

There’s some basic additional documentation of masking in the Local Editing Tab section of the ART Reference.

Now, it’s time for @agriggio (or anyone else more knowledgeable than I) to correct whatever I’ve misstated… :smiley:

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I am beginning to understand. It’s really very interesting what possibilities there are. Maybe I’ll become addicted too.