The sample photo is an image of an owl, as you can see the camera is exposed to retain the color of the sky hence the owl is overly dark.
Simply move the Dark slider to brighten up the owl and darken the Bright. The owl has brighten up yet the color of the sky is retained.
Next, you can add some contrast to the image by adjusting the Contrast and Clarity slider. Clarity brings more definition to the mid-tone areas.
Next to sharpen the image even more, use adjust the Sharpen slider.
Use the Edge Mask slider to sharpen on the edge. By pressing down ALT and Edge Masker slider, the image will turn into Black and White. The white parts indicate the edge detected and sharpening will only be applied in those areas.
Next, 2 graduated filters are applied to darken the bottom part of the image. This is done by adjusting the exposure to the graduated filter.
and adding a subtle saturation adjustment to Blue when applying the Graduated Filter on the top.
So, there, PhotoDirector is a smart tool that lets you brighten up dark areas without blowing out the highlights.
If you are new to PhotoDirector, learn more and download a 30-day free trial here.