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Thread: HDR recommendations?

  1. #1
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    HDR recommendations?

    I've only used Photoshop's HDR pro plugin. Mixed results ... sometimes it works fine, other times I end up with broad, distinct borders around highlight areas. Typically around patches of sunlight on walls and floors.

    I've tried messing with all the variables, including different rendering modes, but to no avail. CS6 beta is marginally better, but still makes a mess out of affected images.

    I'm not using HDR for special effects. No interest in making technicolor digital cheese. I just need more dynamic range than my sensor can provide. My current proect involves a lot of dimly lit interiors with natural light coming in windows.

    Is there a fix for this, or some other software I should be considering?

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    Hi Paul
    While i am not a fan of HDR, my main forum is awash with it's fans and users.
    A few that i know of are

    Dynamic photo HDR
    Dynamic Photo-HDR, high dynamic range software

    Photomatix
    HDR photography software & plugin for Lightroom, Aperture & Photoshop - Tone Mapping, Exposure Fusion & High Dynamic Range Imaging for photography

    A new one that hasn't been out long but seems to give better results is
    machinery HDR
    Program do HDR MACHINERY. HDR Effects, Natural HDR

    And also NIK software have a HDR plugin
    Nik Software, Inc. | HDR Efex Pro

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    I have used Photomatix, and for what you are looking at, I would suggest using their Fusion (more like blending). I also have the Nik software, and sometimes it produces better results, but it seems to be more prone to ghosting. For what you are looking at though with interior shots, that would not be an issue.

    I used to manually blend in Photoshop, but that was ages ago, but if you are just looking at not blowing out the windows while still seeing the interior, that is not too hard to mask off and do.

    I have never gotten Photoshop's HDR to work for me.

    Photomatix has come the closest to providing what I want (more realistic), but there is no one package that works with everything yet for me. Do not stick with the default settings. In general, get a decent low contrast image out of the package and then edit it in you usual photo editing software.

    Doug

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    I have tried most of the software out there, commercial and freeware. Each one produces results a little different from the other, so I usually play with several for each image. I have tried Dynamic HDR, CS5, Photomatix, FDRTools, Nik HDR Efex, Expose, Picturenaut, etc etc. None of them tend to make the image right internally.

    What I try to do is get about 3/4 of the image correct in the HDR software, then re-blend with the original files in Photoshop with layer masks. This allows for correction of some of the color/brightness abnormalities seen in parts of the image and lets you manually fix ghosting and halo effects.

    My beliefs about what program does what with respect to reality are arbitrary, but it seems that Expose and Picturenaut lead to more natural results, Photomatix, Nik, and Dynamic HDR more extreme effects if wanted. Photomatix on fusion also is more natural as can be Nik and CS5.

    FDRTools is underated and has a unique interface, but I like the output and ability to manipulate the production of the 32 bit image, not just alter tone mapping.

    Thanks, steve

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    Hi,
    After searching and testing many different hdr software I bought and use SNS HDR PRO, Not as fast as Photomatrix pro (No.2 for me) but more realistic. SNS-HDR
    Try it

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    Photomatix - especially when you need to quiet things down and keep a handle on mid-tones.

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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    I use Photomatix Pro, and while it gets good results most of the time, it is very hard to control. The sliders mostly seem to have undesired side-effects, so that you, for example, adjust a slider called "Sharpening", and have an effect on the exposure as well. I would recommend trying other packages first, and only buying Photomatix if nothing else does what you need.

    Of course, maybe other packages are as difficult to use, I wouldn't know
    Carsten - Website

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: HDR recommendations?

    I tend to agree with scatesmd's approach, several tries to get the desired appearance. What I find to be the most accurate and least kitchy/trendy however is TuFuse Pro. It costs relative pennies. I suggest learning the program by starting with simply the 'levels/histogram' slider. I find a two exposure blend taken 2 stops apart and a tweak of levels/histogram to be the fastest route. If that doesn't work I take it's ouput as a baseline for manual layer blending. I'm allergic to the overly popular HDR look and this is so far the most attractive result I've achieved.

    edit:

    I downloaded SNS HDR Pro (go ahead and grab the pro version which runs as a trial, even though it's not apparent it will, just for the interface) and I have to say, I like it's result so far. I have respect for a program that runs this slow (only upon opening files, not while editing) while taking full advantage of multiple processing cores, has to be doing something interesting, right : ). Looking forward to more experimentation.

    another edit:

    Pop an image into SNS HDR Pro, just one, and play with the sliders. Makes a fascinating Raw processor. Thanks Wanakamura, for that lead.
    Last edited by danielmoore; 14th July 2012 at 00:43.

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