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Author Topic: Do you hate HDR too?  (Read 332176 times)

lensfactory

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Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #120 on: December 11, 2008, 11:14:49 am »

Quote from: jjj
A tool used in a way you dislike is not a bad tool.
Would you blame a chisel for an ugly bit of carpentry?
HDR can be used in ways that you would not even realise it had even been done.
Heck, using a grad filter when shooting a landscape is effectively HDR work.

And how is say Monet better than Boris Vellejo?

Obviously I am generalising...and it's just my opinion.

Im not talking about some subtle usage of HDR technology, but rather those images,like the ones presented here ,that define that 'HDR look'.

A tool that is used,where the only use of it is a certain outcome, and that outcome is aesthetically unpleasant..YES it's a bad tool.

Your saying Boris Vallejo is better than Monet?!?
How is Monet better than Boris Vallejo..for real!?! Is this where we get into that stupid argument you have in your younger twenties..ie..What is art. Art is subjective...etc.
C'mon...
If you don't have shit eyes it's easy to see.Things just 'ARE' if your honest and look at them...what use is an argument.
I mean..have a point of view. It's ok.
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button

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« Reply #121 on: December 11, 2008, 11:32:09 am »

To me, this entire discussion boils down to one thing: contrast.  Unpleasing HDR work just doesn't have that "bam!" or wow-factor that so many great photos convey.  By its very nature, HDR blending poses a real challenge to the post-processor by defeating this crucial element.  I'm not sure that there will ever be a consistently successful automated tonemapping solution that's applicable to a wide range of HDR blending, especially if it uses only gloabal adjustment methods.  Local contrast manipulation, ie the dodge/burn effect, depends on artistic discretion.  However, even if contrast management will always require a human hand, perhaps we as a community can strive to lay out a sort of "proceedure manual for contrast adjustment", much like the rules of composition.  At least that way, beginners can get into HDR with the hope of producing something meaningful.

John
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 04:59:38 pm by button »
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bill t.

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« Reply #122 on: December 11, 2008, 11:37:13 am »

Quote from: jjj
And how is say Monet better than Boris Vellejo?
Right on!  Just don't get me started on Thomas Kinkade, OK?  What images of our time will be on the walls of MOMA 100 years from now?  I shudder to think.

jjj...that first redhead shot is AWESOME!
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PhillyPhotographer

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« Reply #123 on: December 11, 2008, 11:42:55 am »

Quote from: button
To me, this entire discussion boils down to one thing: contrast.  Unpleasing HDR work just doesn't have that "bam!" or wow-factor that so many great photos convey.  By its very nature, HDR blending poses a real challenge to the post-processor by defeating this crucial element.  I'm not sure that there will ever be a consistently successful automated tonemapping solution that's applicable to a wide range of HDR blending, especially if they use only gloabal adjustment methods.  Local contrast manipulation, ie the dodge/burn effect, depends on artistic discretion.  However, even if contrast management will always require a human hand, perhaps we as a community can strive to lay out a sort of "proceedure manual for contrast adjustment", much like the rules of composition.  At least that way, beginners can get into HDR with the hope of producing something meaningful.

John

I'm curious, how many people here have seen a B&W 16 bit HDR image actually printed or are you only judging by a medium resolution 8 bit backlit jpeg that you see here or flickr ?

jjj

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Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #124 on: December 11, 2008, 12:18:12 pm »

Quote from: lensfactory
Obviously I am generalising...and it's just my opinion.

Im not talking about some subtle usage of HDR technology, but rather those images,like the ones presented here ,that define that 'HDR look'.

A tool that is used,where the only use of it is a certain outcome, and that outcome is aesthetically unpleasant..YES it's a bad tool.
Nope, nothing wrong with the tool, nothing at all. The tool creates nothing, never has done. Users, however create masterpieces and complete rubbish.
Why not attack photoshop or enlargers, lots of awfulness produced by both tools?


Quote
Your saying Boris Vallejo is better than Monet?!?
How is Monet better than Boris Vallejo..for real!?! Is this where we get into that stupid argument you have in your younger twenties..ie..What is art. Art is subjective...etc.
C'mon...
I have never liked Monet, he does nothing for me at all. Boris, I actually used to like as a teenager, but now I'm not particularly bothered, just as I wouldn't wear clothes from those days either. But he's a talented painter, as is Monet even if the subject matter is not to one's own taste. Jack Vetriano is one of the UK's most popular painters. And is hated by the critics for that very reason, he's not someone I would buy, but hey each to his own.

Quote
If you don't have shit eyes it's easy to see.Things just 'ARE' if your honest and look at them...what use is an argument.
I mean..have a point of view. It's ok.
I have a point of view and it's simply not necessarily the same as yours. Hence the argument.
In art it's taste that ultimately informs your opinion and no more. We all like to post rationalise as to why we like whatever, but it always comes down to personal taste at end of day and we all have different tastes, thank god.  Just like some people like say green and some hate yellow, others will prefer purple and hate blue, yet we don't mock people for their favourite colour. How they put them together maybe, but that's another issue.  
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 12:40:10 pm by jjj »
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jjj

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Do you hate HDR too?
« Reply #125 on: December 11, 2008, 12:36:54 pm »

Quote from: bill t.
Right on!  Just don't get me started on Thomas Kinkade, OK?
What's wrong with Kinkade? I just love the subtle nuances of his ouevre! And it can't be that bad as Peter O'Toole is in a film of one of his paintings! Not sure how that works, but I sure it'll sell well in the red states. Yes it it true!
But there was an Kitsch russian painter in the 70s who was regarded with as much love as Kinkade is now by people with 'taste' and yet his work is now revered and has become trendy, as opposed to popular.
Kinkade's stuff is is however like someone vomiting up a candy store, so a little less likely that there will be a revision in 'cultured' opinion.

Quote
What images of our time will be on the walls of MOMA 100 years from now?  I shudder to think.
Nothing from now if it's a Modern art Museum!

Quote
jjj...that first redhead shot is AWESOME!
Thanks, it's all done with HDR you know!  
Actually if it's the one I think, it was a jewelry shoot  and that image was done on a Canon S60 in near darkness. There's more light indoors than outside at 3pm in December in UK.
I've never done a HDR image myself. Keep meaning to have a go, but never get around to it.
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PhillyPhotographer

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« Reply #126 on: December 11, 2008, 12:48:45 pm »

jjj it's an excellent tool for extreme low light or darkness too







« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 04:26:35 pm by PhillyPhotographer »
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bill t.

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« Reply #127 on: December 11, 2008, 01:34:26 pm »

Quote from: PhillyPhotographer
jjj it's an excellent tool for extreme low light or darkness too
I think if HDR had been an option available to many of the "great" photographers just preceding us, *many* would have embraced its subtle use as for instance  a sort of Zone System-like extension, and we would have seen a lot more classic shots as in the genre of the previous post.  Many of our forefathers certainly tried to get that look.
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lensfactory

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« Reply #128 on: December 11, 2008, 08:41:19 pm »

Quote from: bill t.
I think if HDR had been an option available to many of the "great" photographers just preceding us, *many* would have embraced its subtle use as for instance  a sort of Zone System-like extension, and we would have seen a lot more classic shots as in the genre of the previous post.  Many of our forefathers certainly tried to get that look.


Nonsense...you think anyone great would do what a whole lot of others are doing? I highly doubt that.
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bill t.

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« Reply #129 on: December 11, 2008, 10:48:34 pm »

Quote from: lensfactory
Nonsense...you think anyone great would do what a whole lot of others are doing?
Yes, it has always been thus.  It's not what you do, it's how well you do it.  Or at least how well you market yourself.  Just about anyone I would care to call "great" has practiced alongside scores of lesser contemporaries.  Adams, Steichen, Weston, Monet, Degas, Michelangelo, etc were not the only guys on the block during their times.

Of course trendy art celebrates the tradition of the new, the compulsion to create something so clever and *different* only the cognoscenti can understand it.  That stuff either evaporates or becomes not-new as it merges into the mainstream it so much deplored at its inception, sad as an aging rock star.  But even those guys are legion.
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Ray

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« Reply #130 on: December 12, 2008, 01:18:02 am »

Well, let's get down to brass tacks. Merging to HDR or combing different exposures seamlessly is a wonderful facility. If I'd known a few years ago that, today, we'd have such programs, I'd have done a lot more bracketing in the past. And that applies to stitching also.

The difficulty with such programs is that, as we all know, the final result depends upon the skill of the operator as well as the sophistication of the program.

Having experimented a bit more with CS3, CS4 and Photomatix, I see a fundamental weakness in the 'Merge to HDR' process as opposed to 'Exposure Blending'. Photomatix has an option of 'Generate HDR Image' or 'Exposure Blending'. CS3 and CS4 have no such option. The merge to HDR seems optimised for RAW images, and Photomatix's 'Exposure Blending' seems optimised for converted images.

What concerns me is not just the chromatic artifacts that sometimes appear with CS3/4's 'Merge to HDR', but the fact that 'merge to HDR' seems unable to maintain the full highlight detail in the brightest parts of the least exposed image.

Here are some example images below to illustrate graphically what I'm attempting verbally.

The following scene is not presented as a great work of art, but merely as an example that best highlights the problem. Of course, the shot is also a record of the sort of 5 star luxury hotel accommodation that you can expect to experience when trekking in Nepal. You might also deduce that the degree of untidiness in the room is symptomatic of great artistic skill. It is a known fact that artistic types are very untidy and have little regard for housekeeping details.

What you see here is a 'merged to HDR' overview of the hotel room, followed by a couple of 100% crops of the mountain peak as seen through the window. The singly converted underexposed image on the left shows the full highlight detail that's been recorded. The merged shots loose a lot of highlight detail. No matter what settings I make in ACR, I am unable to retain these details in the mountain peak.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on Photoshop techniques can point out where I'm going wrong.

[attachment=10259:1723_25_...exposure.jpg]  [attachment=10260:Comparis...0__crops.jpg]
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bill t.

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« Reply #131 on: December 12, 2008, 02:01:39 am »

You are obviously a great artist!  Of course looking around my studio, it is obvious I am an even greater one!

Well, what you did wrong was probably use the PS HDR stuff.  Haven't seen the CS4 version, but CS3 HDR still had a ways to go.  Photomatix in "Details Enhancer" mode with "Strength" set to zero, "Micro-contrast" set to 10, "Micro-smoothing" set to 0, plus various other tasteful settings might just bring a lot of those highlights back.  So would Tufuse or Enfuse, although with less effective compression.

When you really need good looking highlights, you can also just slip in your "best highlight" image on a layer over your main image, create a contrast mask off you main image, then apply the contrast mask to the highlight layer, with a bit of Curves tuning on both highlight mask and image.  Experiment also with transparency on your highlight layer.

Edit...sorry I meant "Luminosity mask" Alt+Ctrl+~.  Also, you might get less highlight scruch if you keep the Photomatix histogram from reaching the darkest and brighest limits, then expand it a bit in Photostop with a Curves layer.  16 bit output leaves you plenty of headroom here.

Here's a great discussion of the old "bright window" problem...
http://www.tawbaware.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=4886

Somebody in that thread offers his "Double Dynamics" Photoshop action for download.  It is truly a gem of an alternative to full HDR, and might serve you here with just a carefully selected pair of exposures.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 02:36:35 am by bill t. »
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Ray

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« Reply #132 on: December 12, 2008, 08:54:09 am »



Quote
You are obviously a great artist!  Of course looking around my studio, it is obvious I am an even greater one!

Looking out of the window at the totally unkempt nature of my garden, I'm not so sure you are the greater artist   .

Quote
Well, what you did wrong was probably use the PS HDR stuff.  Haven't seen the CS4 version, but CS3 HDR still had a ways to go.  Photomatix in "Details Enhancer" mode with "Strength" set to zero, "Micro-contrast" set to 10, "Micro-smoothing" set to 0, plus various other tasteful settings might just bring a lot of those highlights back.  So would Tufuse or Enfuse, although with less effective compression.

When you really need good looking highlights, you can also just slip in your "best highlight" image on a layer over your main image, create a contrast mask off you main image, then apply the contrast mask to the highlight layer, with a bit of Curves tuning on both highlight mask and image.  Experiment also with transparency on your highlight layer.

Edit...sorry I meant "Luminosity mask" Alt+Ctrl+~.  Also, you might get less highlight scruch if you keep the Photomatix histogram from reaching the darkest and brighest limits, then expand it a bit in Photostop with a Curves layer.  16 bit output leaves you plenty of headroom here.

There's certainly more than one way to skin a cat, but I like to keep things simple. A program that one can trust to work well with all bracketed images taken for the purpose of increasing DR is worth a lot. I have not succeeded yet in getting either CS3, CS4 or Photomatix HDR processes to produce the detail in the mountain peak that clearly exists in the lowest exposure. However, if I use Photomatix's Exposure Blending option, I am able to get that detail, but unfortunately only at the expense of increased shadow noise. The Blending Point has to be moved too much into the negative.

I can get a good result using other methods, but I'm curious as to why neither CS4's 'Merge to HDR' nor Photomatix's 'Generate HDR Image' are able to do this job. The only explanation I can think of is that a good result is dependent upon a greater number of exposures than 3. I think maybe 3 overexposed, plus 3 underexposed, plus one correct exposure would be better.
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bill t.

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« Reply #133 on: December 12, 2008, 11:54:15 am »

Quote from: Ray
I can get a good result using other methods, but I'm curious as to why neither CS4's 'Merge to HDR' nor Photomatix's 'Generate HDR Image' are able to do this job. The only explanation I can think of is that a good result is dependent upon a greater number of exposures than 3. I think maybe 3 overexposed, plus 3 underexposed, plus one correct exposure would be better.
HDR programs get a bit muddled by too many very dark or very bright exposures.  Sparse sets of brackets seem to work better in most cases.  One pragmatic approach is to set the sliders to something like a typical range, then experiment with various selections from the bracket set to see what works best.  In your posted image, in the dark areas I think I see the result of the software trying too hard to bring up severely underexposed bracket set members in the dark areas near the floor.

But the truth is I too have suffered from over-compensated highlights in all the DR compression programs.  In scenes with subtle highlight textures (such as brilliant clouds) the only way around that I see is to restore highlights with a masked, single-exposure highlight area.  Here is a somewhat over the top example of that, the original scene was intensely back lighted and severely contrasty...


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Ray

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« Reply #134 on: December 12, 2008, 08:23:52 pm »

Quote from: bill t.
HDR programs get a bit muddled by too many very dark or very bright exposures.  Sparse sets of brackets seem to work better in most cases.  One pragmatic approach is to set the sliders to something like a typical range, then experiment with various selections from the bracket set to see what works best.  In your posted image, in the dark areas I think I see the result of the software trying too hard to bring up severely underexposed bracket set members in the dark areas near the floor.

It looks as though this situation warrants further experimentation. It's far better to get the right mix of exposures at the time of taking the shots, than spend hours messing around on the computer trying to fix things. One feature of the Nikon D700 that attracts me is its wide range of exposure bracketing. If I've understood the specs, this camera can bracket up to 9 consecutive shots with an interval up to 1 EV between shots. That represents a total range of 8 stops.

The image I posted of the hotel room in Nepal does have noise in the shadows. I used just 3 images with a range of +/- 2 stops. However, on that occasion my 5D was on a tripod and I took 3 lots of bracketed exposures of the room. The problem, I suspect, is that only one of those exposures was correct for the highlights. If I'd had one or two more shots which were underexposed with regard to the highlights, I think the HDR merge would be completely successful.

Here is a CS3 merge to HDR of 6 shots of the same scene ranging from 1 sec exposure to 1/60th, which represents a 6 stop bracketed range. It seems even a 6 stop range is not sufficient for HDR to work successfully with this scene. Out of the 6 shots, 5 are overexposed with regard to the highlights. I think I probably needed at least one additional image that is significantly underexposed with regard to the highlights.

You can see from the lightened crop of the dark area that the shadows are now quite clean. However, the mountain peak is still the same, as in the previous comparison.

[attachment=10271:1722_23_..._HDR_CS3.jpg]  [attachment=10272:crop_of_floor.jpg]
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 08:28:51 pm by Ray »
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jjj

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« Reply #135 on: December 12, 2008, 08:50:16 pm »

Quote from: PhillyPhotographer
jjj it's an excellent tool for extreme low light or darkness too
An obvious place to use it I'd have thought, though the shot mentioned above had no dynamic range to reduce if that's what you were refering.
Lovely photos btw, I like them a lot.
And on your website, though the www was being a tad slow, so didn't have time to have a good look.
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Ray

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« Reply #136 on: December 12, 2008, 11:05:51 pm »

Quote from: Ray
However, on that occasion my 5D was on a tripod and I took 3 lots of bracketed exposures of the room.

You know, as I wrote that, I thought that many people would think, "How the hell can you take 3 sets of bracketed shots and not get things right?"

I'm going to pre-empt any criticism by offering the following crop. On the third attempt at bracketing, a couple of hotel residents wandered into the scene, blocking the view. If it had been an important shot, I'd have opened the window and requested they get out of the way. As it was, I stopped shooting at that point.

[attachment=10273:1728_vie...truction.jpg]


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jjj

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« Reply #137 on: December 13, 2008, 09:05:27 am »

Go here if you want to see the ultimate in HDR imagery.

Very impressive Image.


LensFactory need not bother looking, as obviously all HDR is evil.
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lensfactory

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« Reply #138 on: December 13, 2008, 07:53:30 pm »

Quote from: jjj
LensFactory need not bother looking, as obviously all HDR is evil.

Evil is a word I would never use, but now that you mention it, it IS sort of like the BANALITY of evil.

Truly craptacular site there btw...let me go put on a later period YES album while I view. Ahhh...that's better. They could do with some dragons though...Scrap that, Rush's "Hemispheres" it is. A fitting soundtrack while I put some forks in front of my eyes and slam my face on a table.
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jjj

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« Reply #139 on: December 15, 2008, 05:42:26 am »

Quote from: lensfactory
Evil is a word I would never use, but now that you mention it, it IS sort of like the BANALITY of evil.

Truly craptacular site there btw...let me go put on a later period YES album while I view. Ahhh...that's better. They could do with some dragons though...Scrap that, Rush's "Hemispheres" it is. A fitting soundtrack while I put some forks in front of my eyes and slam my face on a table.
I linked to a specific image, who cares if the site design is less than stellar [    ], it was a link to a solar eclipse image, done using some sort of HDR?
You seem obsessed with irrelevant 70s music, maybe it's because your mind is stuck so far in the past.  

Still waiting for you to condemn all photographs ever taken, just because some weren't to your taste.



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