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Image & Video Galleries => HDR - High Dynamic Range => Topic started by: Josh.Leff on December 23, 2012, 12:13:39 PM

Title: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Josh.Leff on December 23, 2012, 12:13:39 PM
Hey everyone!

Just wondering which HDR Software you like to use the most? For me its Photomatix 4!

Post some examples if you can too!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_leff/8025373317/#in/set-72157631600291446/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_leff/8025373317/#in/set-72157631600291446/)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: blaydese on December 28, 2012, 06:23:56 AM
Photomatix Pro 4.1.4 (64-bit)

Peace! 8)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 11, 2013, 02:01:19 AM
photomatix is mostly crap IMO or possibly too often abused causing heavily over cooked images

LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

enfuse is and open source program and is more like an advanced exposure blending algorythm rather than the pure "HDR" that creates a radiance file and then applies false tone mapping to the image

No god awefull halos and cartoon like colour shifts, and it produces much more natural images.

although having said that photomatix can work quite well with night scenes if done right

I've been meaning to try a hybrid combination between an LR enfuse with a photomatix processed image blended into certain areas I think this could work out quite nicely

i've attached an enfuse sample
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: blaydese on January 11, 2013, 08:02:09 PM

enfuse is an open source program 

Okay wickidwombat, ... going to give your enfuse
a try... however is it stand alone or do I have to
own "Expensive dobe" light room software first?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/enblend/files/enblend-enfuse/enblend-enfuse-4.1/enblend-enfuse-4.1-win64.zip/download (http://sourceforge.net/projects/enblend/files/enblend-enfuse/enblend-enfuse-4.1/enblend-enfuse-4.1-win64.zip/download)

I'm willing to keep an open mind,
but not willing to part with $1,089.00
for Adobe anything.

Unfortunately I'm in the POOR
photographers catagory.   :-\

Peace! 8)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 12, 2013, 12:52:10 AM

enfuse is an open source program 

Okay wickidwombat, ... going to give your enfuse
a try... however is it stand alone or do I have to
own "Expensive dobe" light room software first?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/enblend/files/enblend-enfuse/enblend-enfuse-4.1/enblend-enfuse-4.1-win64.zip/download (http://sourceforge.net/projects/enblend/files/enblend-enfuse/enblend-enfuse-4.1/enblend-enfuse-4.1-win64.zip/download)

I'm willing to keep an open mind,
but not willing to part with $1,089.00
for Adobe anything.

Unfortunately I'm in the POOR
photographers catagory.   :-\

Peace! 8)

I use LR enfuse is donationware so i think if you donate 10 pounds you can get the full functioning version

Lightroom is only like $180 for the full version if you are a student or know a student you can buy the student version which is probably only half that (dont get the lightroom cost confused with the hyper price of photoshop or the creative suite

damn just checked to give you a link and its under $110! for the student version... NICE!

http://www.adobe.com/au/products/photoshop-lightroom.html (http://www.adobe.com/au/products/photoshop-lightroom.html)

now its a pretty big program and takes some leaning I highly recommend this book its well structured and easy to understand

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices/dp/0321819586/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1357969554&sr=8-2&keywords=kelby (http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices/dp/0321819586/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1357969554&sr=8-2&keywords=kelby)

this is where you get LR enfuse
http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php (http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php)

So all up its not as expensive as you might think!

My concept of using photomatix integrated with enfuse goes like this
process the same set of brackets in both enfuse and photomatix
complete the bulk of the processing on the enfused image in lightroom
bring both into photoshop
align both
then apply a laye mask to the enfused image and mask in cetain parts of the photomatix one with various transparency to add some of the detail punch you get in photomatix (however i feel its always too much in photomatix alone so i think possibly taking a more neutral well graded base from enfuse and then blending in the good parts from the photomatix process but leaving out the horrible stuff might work nicely

i've still got to sit down and have a go at this but the the theory anyway
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: The_Arsonist on January 12, 2013, 01:23:05 AM
I've tried Photoshop CS5's built in HDR merge with poor results. I've tried Photomatix in the past but didn't like the tone mapping on it very well.

I've mostly used Nik's HDR Efex 2. It's quick, has useful presets, makes sense when you want to tweak, and integrates very well with my Lightroom only workflow. I can get natural looking photos with high dynamic range, or you can crank the detail and get very surrealistic results, which seems to be the more common use of HDR
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: sas on January 12, 2013, 01:49:06 AM
I think SNS-HDR is one of the best HDR programs.
http://www.sns-hdr.com/ (http://www.sns-hdr.com/)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: PeterJ on January 12, 2013, 02:49:44 AM
I've never actually used it for HDR (it does other stuff as well) but PhotoAcute has a demo (watermarked) version if anyone's interested in trying it:

http://www.photoacute.com/studio/index.html (http://www.photoacute.com/studio/index.html)

The pro version (which you need for a DSLR) is $149 although by submitting a new camera / lens profile you can get a free license. I did the 7D + 70-200mm f/2.8L II profile a while back although my results were a bit mixed with the super-resolution it'd be interesting to hear from anyone so inclined how it does on HDR.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Niterider on January 12, 2013, 04:02:41 AM
I see HDR as a way to get the same image with a dynamic range not achievable through hardware limitations. While there is an art to the cartoon like HDR, I find most people over do it and most software are tailored to mimic this effect.

The method I use to get the most "natural" looking HDR photographs is to process it through Adobe Photoshop CS6 as a 32bit HDR and save that file as a .tiff file. (should be about 176mbs) Then import the Tiff image into lightroom and then go about editing it as you would a normal photo. This combination of software results in a lot less noise in the shadows and considerably more detail in the highlights.

I know this software is expensive, but there are ways around those fees. I am a student so I get the student pricing, but I have a lot of people ask me to process their files through Photoshop. If you know of anyone that has photoshop, that may be a viable option to getting your images processed.

There are other methods that enable oneself to acquire the software for free, but hey I'm probably not supposed to advocate that.   
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: tombu on January 12, 2013, 04:57:32 AM
^I agree 100% with you.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Pyrenees on January 12, 2013, 06:23:50 AM
LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

Yeah, LR/Enfuse looks great, but, would be better if it had additional sliders covering Mu and Sigma, for fine tuning the Expusure weighting. Not sure why these adjustments are missing, given that these are included in the command line versions and can come in quite handy.

I guess you could probably use the "command line options" field to get around the problem, even though it's a bit awkward.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: m on January 12, 2013, 06:27:27 AM
I see HDR as a way to get the same image with a dynamic range not achievable through hardware limitations. While there is an art to the cartoon like HDR, I find most people over do it and most software are tailored to mimic this effect.

I agree to that as well.

The method I use to get the most "natural" looking HDR photographs is to process it through Adobe Photoshop CS6 as a 32bit HDR and save that file as a .tiff file. (should be about 176mbs) Then import the Tiff image into lightroom and then go about editing it as you would a normal photo. This combination of software results in a lot less noise in the shadows and considerably more detail in the highlights.

I recently stumbled upon this video explaining the workflow:
Shooting and creating photo real HDR (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOLh76QhZkY#ws)
(skip to 6:00 if you're just interested in the post processing)

I think the 32bit export option is there in previous (cheaper) versions of PS, but you cannot handle those files in ACR prior to CS6 (somebody please correct that if I'm wrong), but there's still LR, providing the same Raw processing for much less.

Poor Scott was so proud they added his settings to CS6, but it looks like rubbish compared to the end result of the 32 bit processing, which still gives the opportunity to raise the clarity to get a more contrast/bad-HDR-ish effect.

Knowing this process, I am thinking about actually doing HDR in the future.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 12, 2013, 06:56:44 AM
I see HDR as a way to get the same image with a dynamic range not achievable through hardware limitations. While there is an art to the cartoon like HDR, I find most people over do it and most software are tailored to mimic this effect.

I agree to that as well.

The method I use to get the most "natural" looking HDR photographs is to process it through Adobe Photoshop CS6 as a 32bit HDR and save that file as a .tiff file. (should be about 176mbs) Then import the Tiff image into lightroom and then go about editing it as you would a normal photo. This combination of software results in a lot less noise in the shadows and considerably more detail in the highlights.

I recently stumbled upon this video explaining the workflow:
Shooting and creating photo real HDR (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOLh76QhZkY#ws)
(skip to 6:00 if you're just interested in the post processing)

I think the 32bit export option is there in previous (cheaper) versions of PS, but you cannot handle those files in ACR prior to CS6 (somebody please correct that if I'm wrong), but there's still LR, providing the same Raw processing for much less.

Poor Scott was so proud they added his settings to CS6, but it looks like rubbish compared to the end result of the 32 bit processing, which still gives the opportunity to raise the clarity to get a more contrast/bad-HDR-ish effect.

Knowing this process, I am thinking about actually doing HDR in the future.
Nice! Its good to skip the whole tone mapping thing I still use enfuse for fast workflow but ones I want to take more time with that will be something to try
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: TrumpetPower! on January 12, 2013, 08:40:46 AM
The best way I've found is to think of it as a variation on the graduated neutral density filter theme.

Imagine the archetypal example, of a straight horizon, where you'd position the filter's transition on said horizon. Take two shots, one properly exposed for sky and the other for foreground. Put them as separate (aligned) layers in Photoshop (etc.). Add a mask to the upper layer, and use the gradient tool to create the same transition as the filter would have. The advantage, of course, is that you have complete control over how hard / soft the "filter" is, and over how many "stops" it is.

Now, imagine that the horizon isn't flat, but instead has a very prominent mountain peak sticking up out of it covering half the sky. If all you had was a filter, you'd be screwed. But, use this same technique and, rather than the gradient tool, use a very very large soft brush to create a custom-shaped mask, and you've got a custom-made GND filter just for your scene, something that would be insanely expensive if you tried to do it with tinted glass.

Extending the technique to even more complex scenes is easy to imagine from there. All you're doing is masking in and out the different exposures and thereby creating a virtual multi-step odd-shaped graduated neutral density filter.

Cheers,

b&
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 12, 2013, 05:33:49 PM
The best way I've found is to think of it as a variation on the graduated neutral density filter theme.

Imagine the archetypal example, of a straight horizon, where you'd position the filter's transition on said horizon. Take two shots, one properly exposed for sky and the other for foreground. Put them as separate (aligned) layers in Photoshop (etc.). Add a mask to the upper layer, and use the gradient tool to create the same transition as the filter would have. The advantage, of course, is that you have complete control over how hard / soft the "filter" is, and over how many "stops" it is.

Now, imagine that the horizon isn't flat, but instead has a very prominent mountain peak sticking up out of it covering half the sky. If all you had was a filter, you'd be screwed. But, use this same technique and, rather than the gradient tool, use a very very large soft brush to create a custom-shaped mask, and you've got a custom-made GND filter just for your scene, something that would be insanely expensive if you tried to do it with tinted glass.

Extending the technique to even more complex scenes is easy to imagine from there. All you're doing is masking in and out the different exposures and thereby creating a virtual multi-step odd-shaped graduated neutral density filter.

Cheers,

b&

thats a pretty good explanation of how enfuse works but the "HDR" radiance files as described in that video are something else they are created by differnt more complex algorythms as you note in that video the 32 bit radiance file will give you 20 stops of exposure latitude wheres are blended file from enfuse will still give you the same additional latitute a normal file has however it has already effectively compressed the dynamic range by blending the exposures as described above.

BIG advantages of both using enfuse and probably the method described in the video is there is no added noise as with the tone mapping processes.

I'm interested to see if LR4 can open the 32bit radiance tiff files though that will be very cool
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: The_Arsonist on January 12, 2013, 06:02:31 PM
photomatix is mostly crap IMO or possibly too often abused causing heavily over cooked images

LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

enfuse is and open source program and is more like an advanced exposure blending algorythm rather than the pure "HDR" that creates a radiance file and then applies false tone mapping to the image

No god awefull halos and cartoon like colour shifts, and it produces much more natural images.

although having said that photomatix can work quite well with night scenes if done right

I've been meaning to try a hybrid combination between an LR enfuse with a photomatix processed image blended into certain areas I think this could work out quite nicely

i've attached an enfuse sample

Thanks for the tip. Enfuse works great when I just want to quickly combine exposures to bring out the shadows and bring down the highlights
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 12, 2013, 10:34:48 PM

I'm interested to see if LR4 can open the 32bit radiance tiff files though that will be very cool


Yes it can and you get + and - 10 stops in the exposure slider. I import all my images to Lightroom and then select the frames I want to HDR in PS, then just go Phot-Edit In-Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop, no need for Bridge, it will then export the finished 32bit file back into the same folder as all the originals.

The PS 32 bit method is beautiful, if you have the time to do multiple exposures it blows a D800 out of the water, the DR is staggering. But the file sizes are around 270mb for a 21MP 32bit image and they take some time to process, well worth it for detailed landscapes etc to print big, but Enfuse works plenty well enough for real estate type work. I find I tend to use Enfuse for interiors and Photomatix for exteriors, the PS 32bit HDR is saved for best work.

If you like I will post comparisons between normal exposure, Enfuse, Photomatix and PS 32bit, but they will have to be late tomorrow or Monday.

that would be awesome thanks!
and yeah i cant see anything being faster workflow than enfuse for interiors or the industrial stuff i do but for my personal travel and landscape stuff this 32bit PS and LR combo looks like its gonna be the winner!

this has become a really great sharing info thread maybe it should get stickied in the HDR section?
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 13, 2013, 10:49:36 PM
awesome thanks, that PS32bit HDR really is a clear winner
especially for top shelf work,
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: blaydese on January 14, 2013, 03:57:27 AM
I can't belive it, after just got done
bashing Photomatix PRO, I like it the
best, sorry, but I do.  When I was
looking at the pictures, I had not read
your post yet, and thought, meh, I like
the second one.  Then when I read your
post,.. I was like, WHHHAAAAA it's a
Photomatix processed one.  HUH/wow!  :o :P ;D 

Thanks for the compare, that helps a lot,
I guess it is the photographer, the LENS and
less about what HDR program you use.

Peace! 8)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: gkaefer on January 14, 2013, 05:53:46 AM
oloneo photo engine - easy to use. preset can be used for batches. antighost only works good if images are not misaligned. denoising option genious (stacking multiple images per position with identical focal/wb/aperture/shutterspeed - but images dimensions must be equal in w/h); also interesting relightning feature.

photomatix pro - many options - fusing and/or tonemapping. antighost good in auto mode, best with manually. batching not so fast like enfusegui.

EnfuseGUI (free/donationware) - for mac and PC - batch processing easy - some try and error needed until best fitting options are found - but than very fast processing huge amount of images. Antighost missing, images should be alligned perfectly.

links:
www.oloneo.com (http://www.oloneo.com)
www.hdrsoft.com (http://www.hdrsoft.com)
software.bergmark.com/enfuseGUI (http://software.bergmark.com/enfuseGUI)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Rockets95 on January 14, 2013, 10:02:22 AM
Just wondering which HDR Software you like to use the most? For me its Photomatix 4!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_leff/8025373317/#in/set-72157631600291446/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_leff/8025373317/#in/set-72157631600291446/)

If you're interested in HDR, Canon's DPP software that comes with their cameras now includes an HDR feature. They added this feature 8 to 10 months ago, so you may need to update the software from Canon's website. The benefit to the HDR feature in DPP is it's free.  They also added a compositing feature too for blending images.

I've dabbled with DPP, Photomatix, and Nik HDR, and I don't have a clear favorite at this point.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: rmt3rd on January 14, 2013, 10:04:55 AM
I use Photomatix Pro 4.  I don't use it to make unrealistic photos.  I really like the B&W presets it has, then fine tune back in Lightroom. 

IMO, the photo used above isn't a good HDR candidate to compare processes.  In Lightroom, you could probably use the Highlight and Shadow slider to get the same end result as the photos shown.  If you took a photo will a dimly lit room, lit by lampshades, that may have been a better candidate to work with.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wickidwombat on January 14, 2013, 06:09:24 PM
yep my biggest problem with photomatix is its wierd colour shifts which would take forever to try and fix in PS
even its fusion module (which is what you used there?) has colour shifts, enfuse doesnt wierd out the colours non by the look of things the 32bit HDR method
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: jonathan7007 on February 24, 2013, 04:10:40 AM
Add a vote for LR-Enfuse, (Enfuse integrated into Lightroom as a menu item) especially for a quick workflow through a shoot full of interiors. I also find that there are few if any color shifts. You can vary the exposure spread to better represent one or another part of the range. Good tripod and shutter release care necessary to preserve alignment. For these setups I use my old aluminum 5-section many-pound Gitzo tele-Studex that must weigh 20+ pounds! I too use this with a 17TSE-often showing lots of windows like the shots above. Love it. Will look for an example to post.

I always wonder about how to get and use the command-line version of Enfuse code. Just curious. Sounds like it would slow down editing a shoot, though.

I tried Photomatix and Nik EfexPro. Liked Efex better, as it has localized control available and there were other ways tones and edges seemed better. I hope the sale of Nik will not stop development.

I loved the suggestion early in this thread to move the HDR file into Lightroom after combination. Will try.

jonathan7007
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on March 04, 2013, 07:45:55 AM
photomatix is mostly crap IMO or possibly too often abused causing heavily over cooked images

LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

enfuse is and open source program and is more like an advanced exposure blending algorythm rather than the pure "HDR" that creates a radiance file and then applies false tone mapping to the image

No god awefull halos and cartoon like colour shifts, and it produces much more natural images.

although having said that photomatix can work quite well with night scenes if done right

I've been meaning to try a hybrid combination between an LR enfuse with a photomatix processed image blended into certain areas I think this could work out quite nicely

i've attached an enfuse sample
AWSOME pic ... will have to give LR enfuse a try ... thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: mycanonphotos on April 28, 2013, 05:29:24 PM
photomatix is mostly crap IMO or possibly too often abused causing heavily over cooked images

LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

enfuse is and open source program and is more like an advanced exposure blending algorythm rather than the pure "HDR" that creates a radiance file and then applies false tone mapping to the image

No god awefull halos and cartoon like colour shifts, and it produces much more natural images.

although having said that photomatix can work quite well with night scenes if done right

I've been meaning to try a hybrid combination between an LR enfuse with a photomatix processed image blended into certain areas I think this could work out quite nicely

i've attached an enfuse sample

Thanks for the tip. Enfuse works great when I just want to quickly combine exposures to bring out the shadows and bring down the highlights

There are a lots of programs out there now made for doing HDR.  None of them are CRAP in my opinion... what matters most is what you are trying to accomplish with that program for YOUR photographs and getting the output you so desire... Some are better for different reasons and will process data differently. One of the things that it comes down to is garbage in garbage out...
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: anthonyd on May 07, 2013, 01:21:47 PM
LuminanceHDR http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/ (http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/) is an open source software (which means free as in "free speech" and free as in "free beer") that works pretty well.  It has some quirks and it might be a little confusing when you first start, but that's what I've used for all my HDR pictures and it has served me well whether I went for a cartoonish look, or realistic:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29321561@N06/sets/72157606594716451/with/2738399193/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29321561@N06/sets/72157606594716451/with/2738399193/)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: wookiee2cu on August 26, 2013, 03:49:08 PM
I prefer Photomatix Pro and I usually use the fussion settings to get a more natural looking HDR.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: jdramirez on August 26, 2013, 04:27:52 PM
I use photomatrix,  but I wouldn't be qualified to say it is the best.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: acoll123 on August 26, 2013, 04:57:56 PM
I have both Photomatix and the NIK suite. I think NIK is slightly better for HDR.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: gferdinandsen on August 26, 2013, 05:28:35 PM
I have both Photomatix and the NIK suite. I think NIK is slightly better for HDR.

+1 I use both and prefer NIK, and now that you can buy the entire suite for $150 (I think it's $150), it's the clear price winner.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: dlleno on August 26, 2013, 06:29:53 PM
photomatix is mostly crap IMO or possibly too often abused causing heavily over cooked images

LR enfuse is an awesome awesome plugin for inside lightroom
there are some standalone enfuse programs

enfuse is and open source program and is more like an advanced exposure blending algorythm rather than the pure "HDR" that creates a radiance file and then applies false tone mapping to the image

No god awefull halos and cartoon like colour shifts, and it produces much more natural images.

although having said that photomatix can work quite well with night scenes if done right

I've been meaning to try a hybrid combination between an LR enfuse with a photomatix processed image blended into certain areas I think this could work out quite nicely

i've attached an enfuse sample

Thanks for the tip. Enfuse works great when I just want to quickly combine exposures to bring out the shadows and bring down the highlights

There are a lots of programs out there now made for doing HDR.  None of them are CRAP in my opinion... what matters most is what you are trying to accomplish with that program for YOUR photographs and getting the output you so desire... Some are better for different reasons and will process data differently. One of the things that it comes down to is garbage in garbage out...

+1 on this post.  what you need to do is try them out and see what you are symatico with.  you won't know that until you use it. I happen to like the Nik way (I start with "deep 2" a lot and tweek from there). Great results can come from PHotomatix too; I just found the Nik package fit my workflow and goals better.  Aside from Alignment and Ghost reduction, you really need to stress the package with some test shots and look for CA, noise, etc. 

I think there is one area in which photomatix is superior, and that is ghost reduction. Nik does a good job too, and its "good enough" for my needs, but I suspect Photomatix has the edge here, for example, if moving people are involved.   THat said,  Nik has vastly improved in this area, and also in the area of alignment.  So much so that one can get by (gasp) in a pinch with a handheld IS lens (and those shutter speeds can get pretty low at +4 EV...) 
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: jwilbern on August 26, 2013, 08:24:55 PM
I really like Photomatix 4. It gives you a lot of choices from subtle to psychedelic. You can look at thumbnail previews of all the presets, and get started on the path of your choice.
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8097/8365618805_446ac027a4_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwilbern/8365618805/)
Gay Head Lighthouse (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwilbern/8365618805/#) by jwilbern (http://www.flickr.com/people/jwilbern/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on August 30, 2013, 05:53:59 AM
Using Viveza 2 can help keeps things a lot more natural too that plus the CS6 ACR tools and later combined for single shot HDR or the 32bit thing from Adorama if you can't get away with single shot (often with Exmor-like sensors, not as often with Canon) and the scene is amenable to multiple shots. it often helps to start with a rather raised dull looking image in ACR (with some exposure raising, lots of highlight protection, a good chunk of shadow raising on the curves plot lowering the first slider, raising the second a lot, raising the next one often a bit although sometimes not and same for the last one) and then you can go in use viveza to selectively darken up parts and to add more contrast and local tone contrast to them (with the brightness, shadows, contrast and structure tools) and also to add a bit more punch to some bright parts while keeping the ones already near max from getting blown out any more. It's important to leave light source areas and sky looking at least a bit relatively bright compared to other things otherwise you start getting that fake look that you see most of the time.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: xvilamanya on October 23, 2013, 05:21:37 AM
Wait for a new Photomatix Pro 5. Better performance and two new presets for real HDR: Balanced & Real State
I've tried at: http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/ (http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Harry Muff on November 09, 2013, 08:34:31 PM
Wait for a new Photomatix Pro 5. Better performance and two new presets for real HDR: Balanced & Real State
I've tried at: http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/ (http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/)


Does the result match the preview now?  I just couldn't get past that. What's the point of adjusting all those sliders when it's going to export another result to what you saw in the program?


Photoshop gives you what you saw and so does HDR Efex Pro 2.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: privatebydesign on November 09, 2013, 10:16:02 PM
What do you mean Harry? I have never had an issue with Photomatix, or any other HDR software with regards the preview not matching the output.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Harry Muff on November 13, 2013, 04:50:03 PM
After tweaking an image, I click export and the result looks fuzzy.




I've googled it and lots of people have had this problem.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: Snodge on December 20, 2013, 04:55:25 PM
Obviously "best" is somewhat subjective, and when I looked into it a few years back, Photomatix was the weapon of choice for the majority of folk processing HDR - and me being contrary, I decided to support the underdog that is SNS-HDR.

Here's a -2,0,+2 bracket from my 60D with a Tamron 17-55mm (or is ot 50, I forget, I lent the lens out so I can't check!) with something that doesn't look too over-cooked, yet isn't exactly natural either:

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-wVBVkjLJ4gE/TtPcYxm6cYI/AAAAAAAACik/EXyQQOvA4zE/s800/kilve-beach5-small.jpg)

On the odd occasion, I also use Luminance HDR, it has a very nice natural algorithm in there somewhere, and can save as a 32 bit image. The interface is hideously awkward though, so it's often my last resort - here's Cheddar Gorge in the evening light from my 5dmk3 with Tamron 24-70mm, 5 image bracket -4 to +4:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-odRVpD96Xl4/Ud8Fc3LJWPI/AAAAAAAALEg/5jtqXdd2Ck0/s800/gorge1.jpg)

The third option I use is the Enfuse droplet scripts which come with Hugin. Both Hugin and Luminance HDR are free, so their quirky nature I can put up with. Hugin is actually somewhat easier, as I'm not adjusting any parameters; I create 16bit TIF files, and drag them onto a shortcut for the batchfiles which are on my desktop. I use 2, one if it needs alignment from handheld brackets, and the other if I've used a tripod and doesn't need aligning. I get a 16 bit natural looking image that I can then adjust the vibrance and/or saturation.

Here is a 5 image bracket, -4 to +4 of a field of clover near Badminton, taken with my 5dmk3 and the Tamron 24-70, enfused using the Hugin droplet, and then tweaked in Lightroom:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-uUul3hHk6gc/UiJIiV2sxfI/AAAAAAAAMVU/dTGkhsu5NTE/s800/morning3.jpg)

Mostly the reason for using HDR, for me, is to get good detail in an image, such that there is relevant detail in the shadows, and that the highlights aren't clipped out, unless they need to be. What happens after that is less about HDR and more about plain old saturation!

At the end of the day, they're all tools in my processing toolbox, and I just have to decide which tool is the best for the job, as one tool does not always suffice for all situations!
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: dude on January 04, 2014, 09:16:14 PM
I know I am late to the game here but I use NIK's plugin for Aperture. Easy, to the point, well done software.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: dlleno on January 04, 2014, 11:06:22 PM
Nik has improved their alignment and ghosting code  quite impressively and I happen to like their UI.   I'm seeing surprisingly good performance with 5 frame handheld shots  believe it or not.   IS is the lifesaver 
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: xvilamanya on February 03, 2014, 07:48:48 AM
Wait for a new Photomatix Pro 5. Better performance and two new presets for real HDR: Balanced & Real State
I've tried at: http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/ (http://serfotografo.es/fotoshdr/photomatix-pro-5/)


Does the result match the preview now?  I just couldn't get past that. What's the point of adjusting all those sliders when it's going to export another result to what you saw in the program?


Photoshop gives you what you saw and so does HDR Efex Pro 2.

In my computer, Photomatix Pro (versions 4 and 5) matches the preview and the result. The result, in version 4, was more sharpen but looks equal.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: bluenoser1993 on February 03, 2014, 09:29:29 AM
I'm looking to buy PtGui for the pano aspect, but is it also a capable HDR program?  It is advertised as HDR stitching software, but video tutorials I've watched seem to use a work flow that is about blend plains in PtGui, then processing in other software.  Am I missing something before I make the purchase, or is it just a matter of preference and the one program can do the whole thing?
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: BeenThere on February 03, 2014, 10:27:12 AM
I'm looking to buy PtGui for the pano aspect, but is it also a capable HDR program?  It is advertised as HDR stitching software, but video tutorials I've watched seem to use a work flow that is about blend plains in PtGui, then processing in other software.  Am I missing something before I make the purchase, or is it just a matter of preference and the one program can do the whole thing?
You can take your HDR brackets for each pano shot into PtGui and have it stitch together a 32 bit HDR pano.  Save this Pano and then take the saved high bit pano into Photoshop and use the NiK HDR plug-in on the high bit image to tone map it into a standard tif format image.  I've used this process many times and it works well for me.  You can see some of my sunset panos done this way in the sunrise-sunset gallery at www.ronbrunsvold.com (http://www.ronbrunsvold.com)
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: privatebydesign on February 03, 2014, 10:47:37 AM
I'm looking to buy PtGui for the pano aspect, but is it also a capable HDR program?  It is advertised as HDR stitching software, but video tutorials I've watched seem to use a work flow that is about blend plains in PtGui, then processing in other software.  Am I missing something before I make the purchase, or is it just a matter of preference and the one program can do the whole thing?
You can take your HDR brackets for each pano shot into PtGui and have it stitch together a 32 bit HDR pano.  Save this Pano and then take the saved high bit pano into Photoshop and use the NiK HDR plug-in on the high bit image to tone map it into a standard tif format image.  I've used this process many times and it works well for me.  You can see some of my sunset panos done this way in the sunrise-sunset gallery at www.ronbrunsvold.com (http://www.ronbrunsvold.com)

Both CS6 and Lightroom 5 (and maybe 4) can process the 32 bit file, no need for NiK if you have those.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: bluenoser1993 on February 03, 2014, 12:13:48 PM
So would it be a choice between LR 5 and the NIK suite, or are both required?  I use Aperture and I'm looking for HDR capability, as well as pano.  In addition to the HDR, is the sharpening and noise reduction that much different as compared to Aperture?  I like the object removal tool of LR, but want a capable HDR program that will do the work I need on the files from PtGui.  Trying to figure out what software I need/want I find I'm going in circles. :-[
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: privatebydesign on February 04, 2014, 07:40:11 PM
So would it be a choice between LR 5 and the NIK suite, or are both required?  I use Aperture and I'm looking for HDR capability, as well as pano.  In addition to the HDR, is the sharpening and noise reduction that much different as compared to Aperture?  I like the object removal tool of LR, but want a capable HDR program that will do the work I need on the files from PtGui.  Trying to figure out what software I need/want I find I'm going in circles. :-[
I haven't used Nik, but Lightroom can definitely fully process a 32bit file and there would be no need for anything else.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: TammyBurks on June 28, 2017, 11:35:21 AM
As for me, the best HDR editor is https://aurorahdr.com (https://aurorahdr.com). What I really like about it is that they update it regularly and launch special offers.
NIK was also good, but it'll die without Google's support in the nearest future.
Title: Re: Best HDR Software?
Post by: stevelee on July 25, 2017, 09:27:33 AM
I've tried some dedicated software, and I've used Photoshop. I haven't got past interface issues where I think I am getting a certain look from the 32-bit stage, but then in the step back to 16-bit I can't maintain it.

Recently I've been using Adobe Bridge in Filmstrip mode. The result then is treated with normal (to me) ACR controls. So I feel like I understand what I am doing and have predictable results. I'm usually aiming for something that approximates what I remember the scene looked like in person, rather than aiming for something surreal. I usually find that bracketing in 1 1/3 stop increments works well for my purposes.