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Author Topic: Best HDR Software?  (Read 29318 times)

Josh.Leff

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Best HDR Software?
« 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/

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Best HDR Software?
« on: December 23, 2012, 12:13:39 PM »

blaydese

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 06:23:56 AM »
Photomatix Pro 4.1.4 (64-bit)

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wickidwombat

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 12:53:48 AM by wickidwombat »
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blaydese

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #3 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

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)

wickidwombat

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #4 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

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

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

this is where you get LR enfuse
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
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The_Arsonist

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #5 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
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sas

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 01:49:06 AM »
I think SNS-HDR is one of the best HDR programs.
http://www.sns-hdr.com/

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 01:49:06 AM »

PeterJ

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #7 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

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.

Niterider

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #8 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.   

tombu

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 04:57:32 AM »
^I agree 100% with you.

Pyrenees

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #10 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.

m

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #11 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
(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.

wickidwombat

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #12 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
(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
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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 06:56:44 AM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #13 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&

wickidwombat

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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #14 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
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Re: Best HDR Software?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 05:33:49 PM »