Tuesday, 7 December 2010

PP Tips 15 - HDR Express

This is part of a 'How To' series on post process work.

I've been playing around a little with high dynamic range (HDR) images recently. I'm no expert at this, but like to play with some of the programs and see how well they perform.

Anyway, I saw an article about a product called HDR Express this morning.

Their press release stated this :

" ... replaced the traditional HDR workflow with a lightning-fast alternative for creating the most realistic HDR renderings possible ... "

I was intrigued enough to download the trial version. This is a fully functioning version and is active for 30 days.

Below is just a few quick examples of what it looks like and an image I played with.

The original image.

Note : I am using a single image, but you can also merge bracketed images for multi-shot HDR's. I have used a Jpeg image here, but it works with Raw files as well 

When the image opens, it opens with a default Tone Map of Midtone Priority. You can see it looks pretty dark.

My first step was to change the Tone Map to Shadow Midtone Priority.

Once settled on which Tone Map to use, the next step is to select a Style. There are several presets and some are a little 'wacky'.

Here, I have simply selected Natural.

One thing I found I really liked about this program, was that the slider controls, at right, are quick and easy to use, and there is a lot of flexibility.

Here, I have simply made some extra adjustments to suit what I want.

Once I have done that, I simply clicked Save and I was done. I saved the image as a Tiff file, but you can also save as a Jpeg.

The original image.

The image after processing in HDR Express.

I know it looks a little light here, but my intent was to get the shadow areas opened up and then do some further editing work in Photoshop.

The image after a little more playing in Photoshop.

Well, that's it. It's just a quick overview. I will add some other examples later.


Other posts in this series - Click here for the index page.


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