Now shipping in Lightroom 4 (and Photoshop CS6 Camera Raw) - the tools for adjusting shadows, highlights, and clarity are based on a fast version of the local Laplacian filters we introduced at SIGGRAPH 2011 [1,2]:

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2012/02/magic-or-local-laplacian-filters.html

This is a big step forward for photo editing. Kudos to Eric Chan and the rest of the Adobe team for making this happen.

[1] http://people.csail.mit.edu/sparis/publi/2011/siggraph/
[2] http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/67030/MIT-CSAIL-TR-2011-049.pdf
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