As you may or may not have heard, ACDSee Pro 8 (and ACDSee 18) are now available! There’s a ton of new features to explore, but let’s start with the biggest. Pixel Targeting!

Generally, you use Edit mode tools to make a variety of global adjustments to your images. Pixel Targeting, on the other hand, allows you to target distinct tones, colors, and skin tones, and then select any number of Edit mode adjustments and apply them to those targeted pixels. Pixel Targeting itself does not do anything to the image, but allows you to specify which pixels the tool that you are working with will affect in your image.

What am I talking about? Well, the best way to understand is through example. There are so many applications for this that it’s hard to know where to begin. But this time, let’s start with something really simple — a targeted exposure adjustment.

I start by finding an image that could use some exposure adjustment in specific areas, but that I’m hesitant to make a global exposure adjustment to because I’ll blow out parts that are already light enough. I then open that image in Edit mode, and click on the Exposure tool.


In the Exposure tool, on the top left, I press the Pixel Targeting button.


On the Pixel Targeting panel, you will see the Targeted Tones, Targeted Colors, Skin Targeting, and Target Mask sections. Targeted Tones allows you to target pixels based on their brightness. Targeted Colors let you pick which colors you want to be affected by the current tool, (in this case, the Exposure tool). Skin Targeting, we’re going to return to in a later tutorial. And lastly, the Target Mask, which displays in white which areas of the photo are currently being targeted.


You will notice that at the moment, the Target Mask is all white. This is because I haven’t specified any targeted tones or colors. All of the sliders are at Max. And if I made exposure adjustments right now, they would still by applied to the entire image.

Under Targeted Colors, I press Min. This deselects all colors. Now I can choose the specific colors I want to target. You will now observe that the Target Mask is entirely black. This means that no colors are being targeted.


Let’s take a quick moment to learn about the Target Mask. Now, let’s say that I wanted to target just the green of the grass and trees. Under Targeted Colors, I would move the green slider up somewhere between 0 and 100, depending on my desired intensity. In other words, just play with the sliders until you see the area you want to target in the Target Mask in white.


Maybe I want to expand the target to include yellows to make sure I get all of the yellow flowers, etc.


Hopefully this is becoming a bit clearer. Now, let’s get back on task. The sky of my selected image is very light. A lot of detail is lost. By experimenting with the Targeted Colors, I can figure out which setting I need in order to apply an exposure adjustment to just the background — the sky and the sea. Once I see the area I want to target in white in the Target Mask, I can configure the settings on the Exposure panel. These adjustments are only applied to the area that I targeted.


Beacon Hill a

And, the before and after.


Ta da!

Next time we talk about Pixel Targeting, I’d like to take a look at how you can use it to achieve natural, but augmented color. I also want to talk about how to combine it with the Edit Brush for absolute precision adjusting. And let’s also talk about using Pixel Targeting for fun with some effects. And targeting skin tones. And—and—There’s so many applications to explore!






  1. Chuckles says:

    I still don’t understand why both an Edit mode and a Develop mode are needed. I thought Develop was the more current way of doing things, yet this feature was added to Edit! I could understand if there were all unique functions in each mode, but there is overlap. Can you help me understand why this was done? What should workflow be? Develop and then Edit? Sign me, Confused

    • ziggychuang says:

      I think the Develop mode is for fine-tuned on the images,

    • acdsystemsit says:

      I actually wrote a tutorial covering exactly this a few months ago. Check it out here:
      Also, this help topic might make the workflow a bit clearer:
      Once you have a working knowledge of what Develop mode is all about, this is what the pixel targeting developer had to say about why it’s not in Develop mode:

      I’d like to put it in Develop mode, but it would get very complicated. Think about a situation where you enter Develop mode and use pixel targeting with the exposure slider to target blues and brighten the sky in an image. Now if you move the white balance slider, the blue sky might turn yellow. Does that mean the blue area you previously targeted with the pixel targeting should change? Should the exposure adjustment now move to another area? Develop mode doesn’t have the concept of an order of operations like Edit mode does. There are other complications as well. Does every control in develop mode need its own set of pixel targeting controls? The idea of adding pixel targeting to Develop mode is intriguing, but I haven’t thought of a way to make it work yet.

      • Thanks for your response. I certainly agree that Develop mode is the way to go. Obviously Adobe agrees because that is the only mode in Lightroom. I also understand the problems with pixel targeting in Develop mode, although I haven’t completely wrapped my mind around that feature, which is one reason I haven’t upgraded yet (that and continued lack of support for Sony A77 II RAW files). I’m really beginning to be comfortable with most adjustments in Develop mode and the only time I use Edit mode is to add a watermark. Speaking of which, it would sure be nice to be able to create and manage watermarks within ACDSee…

  2. gregwiseman says:

    Great article. I am looking forward to you future entries for the Pixel-Targeting feature

  3. […] Introducing Pixel Targeting: Adjusting Exposure […]

  4. norman says:

    the is no pixel targeting in ACDsee 18

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