Image enhancement is a crucial pre-processing step for various image processing applications and vision systems. Many enhancement algorithms have been proposed based on different sets of criteria. However, a direct multi-scale image enhancement algorithm capable of independently and/or simultaneously providing adequate contrast enhancement, tonal rendition, dynamic range compression, and accurate edge preservation in a controlled manner has yet to be produced. In this paper, a multi-scale image enhancement algorithm based on a new parametric contrast measure is presented. The parametric contrast measure incorporates not only the luminance masking characteristic, but also the contrast masking characteristic of the human visual system. The formulation of the contrast measure can be adapted for any multi-resolution decomposition scheme in order to yield new human visual system-inspired multi-scale transforms. In this article, it is exemplified using the Laplacian pyramid, discrete wavelet transform, stationary wavelet transform, and dual-tree complex wavelet transform. Consequently, the proposed enhancement procedure is developed. The advantages of the proposed method include: 1) the integration of both the luminance and contrast masking phenomena; 2) the extension of non-linear mapping schemes to human visual system inspired multi-scale contrast coefficients; 3) the extension of human visual system-based image enhancement approaches to the stationary and dual-tree complex wavelet transforms, and a direct means of; 4) adjusting overall brightness; and 5) achieving dynamic range compression for image enhancement within a direct multi-scale enhancement framework. Experimental results demonstrate the ability of the proposed algorithm to achieve simultaneous local and global enhancements.