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Author Topic: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product  (Read 13304 times)

russellsnr

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Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« on: December 09, 2010, 06:29:56 AM »

Hi, There are so many HDR software options out there now from Phomatix to other free options and the list is growing so what in your opinions from those who have tried the differant options give the most realistic finish to a photograph ie what you saw when you pushed the shutter.
Thanks
Russ.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 06:37:42 AM »

Hi,

HDR built in Photoshop is quite nice in my view.

Best regards
Erik

Hi, There are so many HDR software options out there now from Phomatix to other free options and the list is growing so what in your opinions from those who have tried the differant options give the most realistic finish to a photograph ie what you saw when you pushed the shutter.
Thanks
Russ.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 06:44:39 AM »

Hi, There are so many HDR software options out there now from Phomatix to other free options and the list is growing so what in your opinions from those who have tried the differant options give the most realistic finish to a photograph ie what you saw when you pushed the shutter.

SNS-HDR (select your preferred language at the top right).

Cheers,
Bart
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RFPhotography

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 08:11:50 AM »

SNS is very good.  You can have a look at my review series of many of the major HDR applications currently available on the market.  I discuss the ability to generate realistic results from each. 

Just a note that the review on Artizen HDR is a bit outdated.  They're working on a new version that is vastly improved over the current.  It's in later beta stages right now and should be available soon.
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Jack Flesher

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 11:07:58 AM »

Hi,

HDR built in Photoshop is quite nice in my view.

Best regards
Erik


+1 -- especially since the OP also included "give the most realistic finish to a photograph" :)

Cheers,
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wolfnowl

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 11:50:36 AM »

I use Autopano Pro for combining both single and panoramic HDR images.  Autopano has a great 'ghost removal' feature.  I also like the LR/Enfuse plugin from Timothy Armes.  I finish the images in Lightroom.

Mike.
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JeffKohn

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 12:09:03 PM »

Technically not HDR, but I prefer exposure fusion as implemented in Tufuse Pro over HDR tone-mapping. PTGui also has an implementation of exposure fusion for panos, and I believe somebody makes a Lightroom Plugin as well.

RFPhotography

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 12:37:00 PM »

I use Autopano Pro for combining both single and panoramic HDR images.  Autopano has a great 'ghost removal' feature.  I also like the LR/Enfuse plugin from Timothy Armes.  I finish the images in Lightroom.

Mike.

How do you get APP to work with HDR?  I know it's supposed to but anytime I've tried it, the results are absolutely horrendous.  Trying to tonemap the 32 bit file is a waste of time.  Colours/noise are horrific.
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walter.sk

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 01:37:11 PM »

Photoshop CS5's Merge To HDR Pro and HDR Expose, for very natural results.  Also Olneo's latest Beta is quite promising.  I also like NIK's HDR Efex Pro, although there is more noticeable noise than in the others, and some color fringing that does not happen in the others, nor in Photomatix.  However, knowing NIK, there will soon be an update that will refine the product.
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Thomas Krüger

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 04:59:55 PM »

The beta of Oloneo is not bad, but the final version should have also an option for batch processing.
Not HDR, but also good (and free) is EnfuseGUI from Ingemar Bergmark: http://software.bergmark.com/enfuseGUI
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AlanPezzulich

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2010, 06:39:37 PM »

I like Nik HDR Efex Pro. I think the tone mapping is great, but I use CS5 to merge the images. I tried HDR Efex to merge the images but it was slow and I like the deghosting in CS5.

Alan
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Rhossydd

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2010, 04:02:21 AM »

Another vote for LR/enfuse here.
Whilst not pedanticly HDR as such, it does combine different exposures wonderfully well with none of the gaudiness usually associated with "HDR" images.
For extending dynamic range simply, I've not found a better application.
Only useful for Lightroom users of course.

IF you don't use LR you might like to look at the other enfuse products like enfusegui that use the same core application to blend multiple exposures naturally, it's freeware too.

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RFPhotography

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 08:42:24 AM »

Just for the sake of clarity, SNS isn't technically 'HDR' either.  It's an exposure fusion software.  The images never enter the 32 bit space.
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 09:27:38 AM »

Just for the sake of clarity, SNS isn't technically 'HDR' either.  It's an exposure fusion software.  The images never enter the 32 bit space.

Hi Bob,

That's correct, although one can use it to tonemap HDR files (which is what the OP was looking for), which are in 32-bit space in origin. Internally there is probably also a fair amount of floating point calculation going on.

My perferred workflow with SNS-HDR is based on the import of multiple TIFFs though. While it's a more convoluted workflow, it does allow me to use some of the strengths of my favorite Raw converter, and determine the ColorSpace, but it also allows to use the very effective tonemapping of SNS-HDR. It also allows to use different color balances for shadows and highlights, if wanted. I prefer its blending to the Enfuse variations (I used Tufuse Pro before SNS-HDR), much better UI and control over the fusion process.

Cheers,
Bart
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RFPhotography

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 10:20:15 AM »

Don't disagree with any of that, Bart.  Just pointing out that images merged in SNS aren't technically HDR as was pointed out earlier with regard to Enfuse.

If one is using an HDR app. that doesn't have an import from a RAW converter (i.e., Nik does, CS5 HDR Pro does, the PM LR plugin does, Unified Color's LR plugin does) so that pre-merge adjustments made to the RAW files get picked up automatically then using TIFFs in the merge is a better approach because you get the white/colour balance you want and you're confident in the conversion from the RAW file that's being done.  You're right, it's an extra step - if I'm going to batch merge a bunch of files, I'll export the RAW files to a TIFF RAW folder as the intermediate step - but a worthwhile one.
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MrSmith

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2010, 04:34:42 PM »

i get good results with bracketeer, tried a few others but found it the best for natural looking results. CS5 looked like it could possibly match bracketeer but I couldn't see the point in spending time getting a good file when i'm happy with my current application.
bracketeer doesn't do tone mapping so i guess is an exposure blending app not true HDR?
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Alan Klein

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2010, 01:06:47 AM »

Most of what I've seen of HDR pcitures is the sky and foreground have the same intensity making it look unnatural. Which program would have something like a slider that would allow you to change the relative brightness between the sky and foreground along a continuum of 0-100% so you can pick the point where you think it's most natural? 
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2010, 06:49:00 AM »

Most of what I've seen of HDR pcitures is the sky and foreground have the same intensity making it look unnatural. Which program would have something like a slider that would allow you to change the relative brightness between the sky and foreground along a continuum of 0-100% so you can pick the point where you think it's most natural? 

Hi Alan,

It depends a bit on the basic philosophy of the program, and the tools that are used to reduce contrast. Basically there are 2 methods of contrast adjustment, global tonemapping and local tonemapping. The problem you mention is usually caused by the global tonemapping part of the method. The more successful 'realistic' methods allow to have a certain level of control over the local tonemapping.

That also explains why the exposure fusion approach can deliver such normal looking results, it mainly addresses the local (actually per pixel) contrast, and the better inplementations allow to reduce the global contrast by excluding those low frequency changes from the fusion process.

What I personally like about SNS-HDR is that it also addresses the challenge with an approach based on photographically relevant parameters such as shadows, mid-tones, and highlights, and they can be tweaked more-or-less individually. It cannot fully separate the zones because everything is related to something else in some way, but the ephasis can be placed where needed. The midtone contrast slider in SNS-HDR, if pushed too far, does what you dislike, so when used with restraint, things should be fine.

Cheers,
Bart
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feppe

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2010, 08:32:33 AM »

Another vote for Tufuse Pro if one insists on using automated methods.

For the most natural result I blend manually in PS.

Alan Klein

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Re: Opinions on best HDR software for most realistic end product
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2010, 02:04:08 PM »

Can you blend in PS Elements 8?
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