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Author Topic: HDR imagery: in search of good technique  (Read 68508 times)

epines

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HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« on: December 01, 2017, 11:07:51 am »

Can someone suggest a good tutorial (or share your personal technique) for merging bracketed exposures into an artfully rendered HDR image? Is everyone just using Photoshop's Merge to HDR Pro function? Photomatix? Something else?

I'd also love good techniques / tutorials for masking a sky, so I can drop in a different one. It's tricky, especially when there are elements like out-of-focus trees and foliage at the horizon where the sky begins.

thanks
ethan

digitaldog

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 11:18:50 am »

I don't do much of this but when I do, I like working from raw data, using Enfuse.


https://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php


URL's above to links on it's use.
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Andrew Rodney
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epines

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 12:33:46 pm »

Enfuse looks solid. I'll check it out. Thank you.

Still curious about others' techniques / processes.

digitaldog

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 01:40:31 pm »

What I like about Enfuse is it doesn't look like HDR if done properly but some really want that look.
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Andrew Rodney
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epines

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 02:00:23 pm »

That's great to hear. I don't want that heavy HDR look.

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2017, 05:48:09 am »

Enfuse looks solid. I'll check it out. Thank you.

Still curious about others' techniques / processes.

Hi,

I used to use Enfuse as well, but have since gravitated to SNS-HDR Pro. This is a brilliant Windows application if you are looking for natural-looking images. Its only drawback is that it makes things look too easy. I often wonder, is that all I need to do? But after that, it also offers a ton of tweaking options, which is where one's creativity comes into play and the real-time screen updates make that process very easy.

The author was also working on a Mac version, but since I'm on a Windows platform I've not followed that development. Others have reported that it does run fine under Parallels or similar virtualizers on MacOS. Since SNS-HDR is (amazingly) a one-man operation, he tends to exceed the intended release dates (e.g. due to hospitalization at one time).

Since the release of version 2, which makes better use of GPU acceleration, the complex behind-the-scenes calculations have been sped up hugely.

There are still improvements that can be expected (e.g. improved anti-ghosting, CA correction, etc.), but if you start with reasonably well-controlled image capture sequences (e.g. I do not exceed 1 and 1/3rd stop intervals) and with good lenses the results are excellent. It can handle Raw-file image input, but I prefer to feed it with better quality (e.g. resolution/false color aliasing and moiré control) Raw conversions by CaptureOne to TIFFs, which I then feed to SNS-HDR. It then picks up the embedded colorspace profile and uses that for the final (halo-free) fused output. That also allows using tricks like different white balance for different exposure levels.

But that's just the technical part, creativity is the flipside of the coin. But the ease of achieving good results in post-processing, does allow to focus more on the capture part as well.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 06:05:01 am by BartvanderWolf »
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MattBurt

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 12:29:34 pm »

I'm pretty happy with Lightroom as long as the Auto Tone checkbox is NOT checked. From there I just have a raw file with greater dynamic range to take through my workflow. The results with that checkbox check look terrible to me.
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D White

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 12:43:54 pm »

Consider luminosity masks to blend images. Vastly more overall control and typically a more natural look.

Some learning curve required, as would any new technique. There are a number of good on line tutorials.

Cost is any where from free to less than fifty dollars depending on the actions or extension panels you choose.

There are some limitations to tone mapping/HDR that can not be completely overcome.
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Dr D White DDS BSc

epines

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 03:54:57 pm »

Bart -- I look a look at SNS-HDR Pro, and it looks like it's still only available for Windows, which makes it not viable for me. Thank you, though. Looks like a good application.

D White -- I hear you, and I will go learn more. I've done some basic work with luminosity masks to combine exposures, and I still had some trouble with an edge where there's not a clear line between luminosity areas, e.g., a far horizon that's out of focus and has soft, blurred areas such as the tops of trees. But I've seen beautiful results using luminosity masks, so, yes, I should extend my knowledge. Thanks.

rdonson

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 05:13:09 pm »

Mostly Photomatix Pro for me.  I will often use Lr just to see if I’ve got something worthwhile. The latest Photomatix Pro is quite capable of delivering natural looking HDR.

Like most I think the days of grunge are likely behind us.
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Regards,
Ron

shadowblade

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2017, 02:04:23 am »

Convert in RAW converter. Use identical settings for all images and make sure each TIFF contains both the darkest and brightest detail in the associated RAW file (i.e. don't blow out the TIFF any more than the RAW is already blown out). Linear response curve if possible.

Merge the TIFFs into an HDR file. I normally use PTGui, since almost every shot I can take multiple exposures of is also a candidate for a stitched panorama.

Open the HDR file into Photoshop and convert from 32 bits to 16 bits, setting the tonemapping curve in exactly the same way as you'd adjust the tonemappong curve for an ordinary, non-HDR image.

Then process and edit as for a normal image.
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mkihne

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Re: HDR imagery: in search of good technique
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 10:31:58 pm »

Mostly Photomatix Pro for me.  I will often use Lr just to see if I’ve got something worthwhile. The latest Photomatix Pro is quite capable of delivering natural looking HDR.

Like most I think the days of grunge are likely behind us.
I agree Ron.  I have been using Photomatix for some time and latest version is very capable of natural look from exposure brackets.  I have a programmed setting on my Canons for f8 and 3 to 5 images. I use those that I need for extending DR and toss those that I don't use or if a single image is suitable.
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