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Author Topic: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise  (Read 1649 times)

Frans Waterlander

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Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« on: January 20, 2019, 07:00:05 pm »

Photomatix Pro 6.1 64-bit amplifies noise significantly when tone-mapping a single image and I wonder why that is or how to cure it. It happens with or without Exposure Fusion enabled. With noise reduction enabled with various amounts of reduction, you - wonder oh wonder - get less noise but also unacceptably unsharp images. Photomatix support suggested I use multiple copies of the same image, but that doesn't make any difference.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Are there tone-mapping-only programs that would do a good job on single images?
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 10:29:43 pm »

It pretty much has too since in single shot mode it is dramatically increasing exposure in dark areas of the frame.  There is an option, at least there is in multiple shot mode, to apply noise reduction during the tone mapping.

Perhaps a better way to do this to minimize noise with a single shot is to to do three RAW conversion, one normal, one with a couple of stops of added exposure and noise reduction in the RAW converter, and one with a couple of stops of less exposure and then do the HDR process with the three frames.  That way the dark areas that are being boosted already come in with noise reduction applied.  i haven't tried this but this is how I would try to handle it in Photomatix to deal with the situation you described.
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Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 11:49:29 pm »

Sure, with a single frame Photomatix has to dramatically increase exposure in the shadows. When I import the same single frame in PSE and increase exposure in the shadows to about the same extent, the noise is dramatically lower, so Photomatix, as I said before, amplifies the noise. When I apply noise reduction in ACR in the Photomatix workflow, there is a significant loss of detail, as to be expected. So, here is what I get:
a) single frame with Photomatix: worst noise
b) single frame at default, same frame at -2 exposure compensation, same frame at +2 exposure compensation, then Photomatix: slightly less noise
c) single frame at default, same frame at -2 exposure compensation, same frame at +2 exposure compensation and noise reduction, then Photomatix: loss of detail, slightly less noise than in b)
d) single frame to PSE, shadows pulled up to about same level: lowest noise

To me, it looks like Photomatix is totally unsuitable for single shots, in spite of their advertising claims to the contrary.
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kirkt

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 04:02:33 pm »

Photomatix is not simply boosting shadows, it is applying a measure of local contrast enhancement - so, if you have noise in the shadows, it will be accentuated by the local contrast operation.  In PSE, there is no local contrast operation taking place, so the noise is what it is, without its presence being accentuated by the local contrast operation.

What this is telling you is that your scene requires more than one exposure to get you the SNR in the shadows that you are interested in - that is, if you want to boost the shadows to whatever level you desire, there is a price to pay if your camera does not have the dynamic range to give you good signal in those shadow regions.  You are trying to do the impossible with a single exposure made with that camera at that exposure.

Kirk
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Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 04:10:01 pm »

The bad noise even happens in the Realistic setting, which is not supposed to do any fancy tone mapping or contrast enhancement.
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Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 06:57:22 pm »

Turns out, Photomatix doesn't handle RAW files from my Nikon D70 very well at all. If I first convert to tif in PSE, then the noise in Photomatix increases slightly, but so little that I have to look really carefully to see the increase.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 08:23:21 am »

Ah OK, that is making sense.  Photomatix is not a sophisticated RAW processor.  you are much better off going to TIF or PSD out of your RAW converter and then going into Photomatix.
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albytastic

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 03:07:05 am »

This increase in noise when using one shot HDR happens in all the programs I've used, even in images that otherwise appear good in that respect.

Over the years I've taken to putting them through Neat Image first to counter this.

But now I will be using Topaz "JPEG to RAW" since that seems superior to all NR programs to date, even Neat Image.

For my HDR program I use EasyHDR3 which I find excellent in getting me the kind of images I want without them looking like HDR images.
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 10:25:06 am »

Ah OK, that is making sense.  Photomatix is not a sophisticated RAW processor.  you are much better off going to TIF or PSD out of your RAW converter and then going into Photomatix.
Ask him if he's exposed the raw optimally as under exposure produces noise.
A single capture has a fixed DR and nothing will increase that. Proper exposure, which I suspect isn't the case here affects DR!
https://photographylife.com/how-to-use-the-full-dynamic-range-of-your-camera
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 10:29:25 am by digitaldog »
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Andrew Rodney
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 10:27:32 am »

Sure, with a single frame Photomatix has to dramatically increase exposure in the shadows
No, it absolutely hasn’t' done anything with respect to exposure. Exposure is simple. It's the amount of light striking (in this conversation) a sensor and is controlled by ONLY two attributes: shutter and aperture. This IS what exposure is. No software, despite the claims or names of controls does anything whatsoever in terms of exposure.
Exposing optimally for data is the photographers job. Not doing so produces more noise in digital captures.


Read:
http://schewephoto.com/ETTR/
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Andrew Rodney
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 10:32:37 am »

Are there tone-mapping-only programs that would do a good job on single images?
No, that's not tone mapping or extending DR with multiple captures.


 But this product is very good:
https://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php


Oh, and the word you're looking for is brightness, not exposure when altering images AFTER capture.
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Andrew Rodney
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Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2019, 03:09:01 pm »

No, that's not tone mapping or extending DR with multiple captures.

But this product is very good:
https://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php

Oh, and the word you're looking for is brightness, not exposure when altering images AFTER capture.

My RAW shot is exposure optimally. I have a series of bracketed shots, so I can choose the best exposure possible. And yes, it is low noise, until I use it as a single shot in Photomatix Pro 6; even without increasing the brightness of the shadows, the noise is horrendous.

I would like to use tone mapping on single RAW images to bring out various details, but Photomatix Pro 6 is totally unusable for that because of the introduction of horrendous noise. So, let me ask again: is there a tone mapping program that does a good job on single RAW images?
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 03:17:27 pm »

My RAW shot is exposure optimally. I have a series of bracketed shots, so I can choose the best exposure possible.
You can, how?
Well at least you now know what exposure really is. And that you can't alter it after capture.
Quote
I would like to use tone mapping on single RAW images to bring out various details, but Photomatix Pro 6 is totally unusable for that because of the introduction of horrendous noise.
You need a good raw converter.
Quote
So, let me ask again: is there a tone mapping program that does a good job on single RAW images?
http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=2117241
You should consider (but may not) actually USING those brackets.
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Andrew Rodney
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2019, 03:44:05 pm »

Frans all RAW files contain noise (mainly electronic in low exposure areas and photonic in highly exposed areas), so if you strongly process them (which is what any HDR software will do when tone mapping a single file), the shadow's electronic noise will be dramatically enhanced. It is not your camera's fault, nor Photomatix's, it's you demanding something that can't happen.

These 2 patches are the same, but the version on the right has a strong level adjustment applied.



Regards

digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 03:46:51 pm »

...it's you demanding something that can't happen.
These 2 patches are the same, but the version on the right has a strong level adjustment applied.
1. This is now going to get interesting ;D
2. Good point and example.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"

Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2019, 04:00:48 pm »

You can, how?
Well at least you now know what exposure really is. And that you can't alter it after capture. You need a good raw converter. http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=2117241
You should consider (but may not) actually USING those brackets.

Yes Andrew, when I have a series of bracketed shots I can choose the best exposed one. Even you could do that.

I have a good RAW converter, but the one in Photomatix Pro 6 sucks. I would like to go directly to Photomatix without first having to convert the RAW fileto tif in PSE; when I do that, all is fine (read answer #5).

Yes Andrew, I know how to use bracketed shots and actually use them once in a while. At issue is Photomatix's usability with single shot RAW files. Get it?
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Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2019, 04:04:56 pm »

Frans all RAW files contain noise (mainly electronic in low exposure areas and photonic in highly exposed areas), so if you strongly process them (which is what any HDR software will do when tone mapping a single file), the shadow's electronic noise will be dramatically enhanced. It is not your camera's fault, nor Photomatix's, it's you demanding something that can't happen.

These 2 patches are the same, but the version on the right has a strong level adjustment applied.



Regards

The issue is the horrendous introduction of noise when using a single-shot RAW file directly in Photomatix. When I first convert my RAW file to tif and then use it in Photomatix all is fine. See answer #5.
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2019, 04:12:49 pm »

Yes Andrew, when I have a series of bracketed shots I can choose the best exposed one. Even you could do that.
You can, how I'll ask AGAIN.

Quote
I have a good RAW converter, but the one in Photomatix Pro 6 sucks. I would like to go directly to Photomatix without first having to convert the RAW fileto tif in PSE; when I do that, all is fine (read answer #5).
Why can't you tone map with your good raw converter?

Quote
Yes Andrew, I know how to use bracketed shots and actually use them once in a while. At issue is Photomatix's usability with single shot RAW files. Get it?
Yes, I get you don't want to use that product so don't!
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"

Frans Waterlander

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2019, 11:35:04 pm »

You can, how I'll ask AGAIN.
Reply: Oh, let me spell it out for you: evaluate the R, G and B histograms.

Why can't you tone map with your good raw converter?
Reply: if you had even a superficial idea of Photomatix's tone mapping capabilities, you wouldn't ask that question.

Yes, I get you don't want to use that product so don't!
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digitaldog

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Re: Photomatix Pro 6 single-shot tone-mapping amplifies noise
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2019, 09:08:22 am »

RGB Histograms may or may not provide actual capture exposure data! Depending on what the Histogram data (raw?) is being shown:

Everything you thought you wanted to know about Histograms

Another exhaustive 40 minute video examining:

What are histograms. In Photoshop, ACR, Lightroom.
Histograms: clipping color and tones, color spaces and color gamut.
Histogram and Photoshop’s Level’s command.
Histograms don’t tell us our images are good (examples).
Misconceptions about histograms. How they lie.
Histograms and Expose To The Right (ETTR).
Are histograms useful and if so, how?

Low rez (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjPsP4HhHhE
High rez: http://digitaldog.net/files/Histogram_Video.mov
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 09:11:43 am by digitaldog »
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"
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