Lightroom CC: HDR problems - alternative software wanted

daniela

EOS RP
Aug 19, 2012
239
1
Hi guys!

I´m not satisfied with the HDR function of Liughtroom CC.
The pictures look like, there are a lot of picture-information lost and some look blurry. (In Canon DPP this phenomenon does not appear).

Which alternative software would you prefer?
Easy HDR?
I do HDR with 5-7 shots, Eos 5D MK IV, Windows 10 pro, i7600, 16GB

Thank you a lot!
G
Daniela
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,239
263
Easy HDR or Photomatix Pro on Windows presently.

May I suggest for you to read information on the following page. It correlates with my personal experience:

https://captainkimo.com/hdr-software-review-comparison/#3
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,086
260
Photomatix is the most specialised HDR software. It's very HDR though. I used to like HDR but have grown to hate it. Too many unsubtle HDR photos around. Personally I find Lightroom good as long as nothing has moved.
 

daniela

EOS RP
Aug 19, 2012
239
1
Thanks a lot.
One question: I am trying the demo version of easyHDR and Photomatrix. Are you able to generate an DNG/CR2 file (or other Raw file), like Lightroom does, or only Tiff/Jpeg/PNG?
 

candyman

EOR R
Sep 27, 2011
2,193
1
www.flickr.com
daniela said:
Thanks a lot.
One question: I am trying the demo version of easyHDR and Photomatrix. Are you able to generate an DNG/CR2 file (or other Raw file), like Lightroom does, or only Tiff/Jpeg/PNG?
In photomatix you can save only 8 or 16-bit tiff...or JPEG (.jpg) and several resolutions - photomatix v6.02
But tiff will give you plenty workspace in LR
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,474
711
Hector1970 said:
Photomatix is the most specialised HDR software. It's very HDR though. I used to like HDR but have grown to hate it. Too many unsubtle HDR photos around. Personally I find Lightroom good as long as nothing has moved.
I'm with you, I prefer subtle HDR, there too many extreme HDR images that do not appeal to me. I see HDR as more of a tool to fix a problem with a high DR scene. That's my engineering practicality background showing thru rather than that of a artist who sees the world in a different light. However, just because I don't find them appealing does not mean much, since many do like them, we all see things thru our filters.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,231
264
Davidson, NC
I use Adobe Bridge and Photoshop. I don't care how much I am laughed at, I guess.

I've done some HDR with various ways it can be done in Photoshop. I can do OK with it, except for the version that goes into 32-bits, and then I seem to get rather different results from what I think I am previewing, so I'm not going that route unless I encounter something so intractable otherwise that I try that in desperation.

I've also used some third-party software, which I won't look up on my computer to see what it is, because it did what was expected, but seemed so much more geared toward the surreal than what I want. I can find the name for you if you ask, but I'm not particularly recommending.

My best experience so far has been to open two or more shots in Filmstrip mode in Bridge, select them all (both), and then use the little pull-down menu just above the thumbnails in that window and select the HDR merge. A little window comes up with a few options, and then after the merge, I have a regular ACR window to operate with. I'm not sure how much of the info from all of the original RAW files it still can access, but there seems to be a lot of leeway for adjustments. During some of the DR discussions I posted a picture I did that way of a chapel in Edinburgh. It is more extreme that what I usually like, lighting up the dark corners of the old church, but I plan to print it out, frame it, and put it as part of my exhibit of photos in the main hallway of my home. Since it is not that much trouble to link to a reduced version I have on the web, I'll repost that below:


The full-size version is more impressive. I also did another more straight-on shot that I straightened up the verticals even further in ACR. It looks fine, too. I just somehow prefer the version pictured above. It seems to convey better what it felt like to look up in the chapel, which BTW is the Order of the Thistle (or something like that) chapel in St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, the Mother Church of Presbyterians. Trying to preserve detail in stained glass windows and in the dark churches themselves is one of my two main uses of HDR. Normally, I'd want the interior a little darker than I chose for this shot. My other main use of HDR is for landscapes near sunset, where I want to preserve the pretty sky, but still have detail in the rocks, etc., as I did in Garden of the Gods shots from Colorado Springs.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,231
264
Davidson, NC
Also, I'll add that in the Bridge method, it is helpful to check the several ghosting options. There probably is some similar setting in Lightroom, and that might account for the blurriness you have seen. Some dedicated software has a lot finer control of that. Bridge gives just a few choices. Where people have moved around and everything else has stayed the same, some settings eliminate the people, and some bring them to the fore.
 

daniela

EOS RP
Aug 19, 2012
239
1
Thanks you.
I tried the Bridge method, it took me to Photoshop. And there I saved it as an Photoshop RAW.
Compared with the Lightroom DNG, it looks similar.
Can I save the Photoshop created file as an DNG too? Juist found .RAW...
Is the process in Bridge7Photoshop better, id there is not a lot of ghosting inside?

If I want to do image editing afterwards, Raw files (DNG,...) would offer more options that editing tiffs. Or am i wrong?
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,231
264
Davidson, NC
daniela said:
Thanks you.
I tried the Bridge method, it took me to Photoshop. And there I saved it as an Photoshop RAW.
Compared with the Lightroom DNG, it looks similar.
Can I save the Photoshop created file as an DNG too? Juist found .RAW...
Is the process in Bridge7Photoshop better, id there is not a lot of ghosting inside?

If I want to do image editing afterwards, Raw files (DNG,...) would offer more options that editing tiffs. Or am i wrong?
If you do the process first in Bridge, it will save the resulting RAW file as a DNG before you proceed further. It sounds like perhaps you went on into Photoshop earlier than what I'm suggesting. You do that from the Tools menu. Are you familiar with Filmstrip mode in Bridge? It's where you select more than one picture in Bridge and then double-click on one of them. Then you get a Camera RAW window that has the thumbnails on the left. You can select them individually and make ACR adjustments, but if you select more than one or them all, you can go to a little pull-down menu right above them and choose to make HDR or panoramas that then come up in Camera RAW after you save the DNG file. Then you can tweak the HDR in the ACR window. Once you're happy with the result, then you can open it in Photoshop for further action, if desired. Even if you don't, you still have the DNG file wherever you saved it, and can deal with it later. I presume it could open in Lightroom just as well as Photoshop if you preferred.

And if that is what you did, pardon my belaboring the point. But it sounded like you didn't get to the point of making the composite DNG file.
 

daniela

EOS RP
Aug 19, 2012
239
1
stevelee said:
daniela said:
Thanks you.
I tried the Bridge method, it took me to Photoshop. And there I saved it as an Photoshop RAW.
Compared with the Lightroom DNG, it looks similar.
Can I save the Photoshop created file as an DNG too? Juist found .RAW...
Is the process in Bridge7Photoshop better, id there is not a lot of ghosting inside?

If I want to do image editing afterwards, Raw files (DNG,...) would offer more options that editing tiffs. Or am i wrong?
If you do the process first in Bridge, it will save the resulting RAW file as a DNG before you proceed further. It sounds like perhaps you went on into Photoshop earlier than what I'm suggesting. You do that from the Tools menu. Are you familiar with Filmstrip mode in Bridge? It's where you select more than one picture in Bridge and then double-click on one of them. Then you get a Camera RAW window that has the thumbnails on the left. You can select them individually and make ACR adjustments, but if you select more than one or them all, you can go to a little pull-down menu right above them and choose to make HDR or panoramas that then come up in Camera RAW after you save the DNG file. Then you can tweak the HDR in the ACR window. Once you're happy with the result, then you can open it in Photoshop for further action, if desired. Even if you don't, you still have the DNG file wherever you saved it, and can deal with it later. I presume it could open in Lightroom just as well as Photoshop if you preferred.

And if that is what you did, pardon my belaboring the point. But it sounded like you didn't get to the point of making the composite DNG file.
Oh, thank you! :)
I did not know, how to open this in this way, so I did it by transferring it to Photoshop via the main menue.
I´ll try it, when I´m at home
 

Sabaki

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 4, 2012
800
0
45
Cape Town, South Africa
I'm a massive fan of Adobe's HDR in Photoshop but both the latest updates are glitched and I cannot get my HDR image into Camera Raw

I found Photomatix too 'wild' and I couldn't get the precise control I eventually found in Photoshop CC. Or perhaps it wasn't Photomatix but me ;D
 

TomDibble

I'm New Here
Jun 15, 2017
17
3
I've used Nik's HDR Efex Pro in the past, and just moved over to Macphun's Aurora 2017. The main caveat with the (now free) HDR Efex Pro is that, while it tends to give better results for me than Lightroom, it is not long for this world (the next major Lightroom update may well cause Nik's plugins to all stop working, and Google has disbanded the dev team they acquired when they bought Nik a few years ago).

Aurora 2017 is a great little tool (dev trivia: much of the dev team of Nik left and formed MacPhun after the Google acquisition). I really hate the over-processed HDR look, and try to keep in the "realistic" range, for which Aurora has a lot of presets and then all the controls to tweak once I find an "almost right" preset. I do wish I could have a little more control over which pixel got pulled from which bracket frame, but generally it is far more likely to do the "right" thing than either Photoshop or Lightroom would, and generally produces nicer output than Nik would as well (although there are a few of my older Nik HDRs that I haven't been able to beat with Aurora). They just announced an upcoming "2018" version which will be available on Windows as well in about a month, so it now becomes an option for you.

Also, note that "DNG" is not a magical format. DNG is just a wrapper for non-lossy-compressed pixel/sensor data (sensor data includes the mosaic data and is "truly raw", but it will also store a number of other pixel formats including 16-bit FP TIFF).

Coming out of Lightroom HDR the DNG is a "16-bit floating point TIFF that can contain over 30 stops of image data" (see https://blogs.adobe.com/photoshop/2015/12/dng-pros-cons-and-myths.html). Using floating point to describe the pixels sacrifices some precision (only 11 bits of precision) for range of colors (the aforementioned 30 stops of range). At the same time, a 32-bit non-floating-point tiff offers the same range with much higher precision, albeit at the cost of a twice-as-large image file. However, support for 32-bit fixed-point TIFF is not really widespread. 32-bit floating point TIFF doubles the 16-bit FP precision, and expands the range to an unrealistic amount. The extra range is essentially wasted, but the extra precision is very helpful if you need to "pull apart" an area of the overall-HDR "compressed tone" image (ex, a dark fog which needs to have details extracted).

Also see http://protogtech.com/adobe-lightroom/adobe-dng-hdr-format/

Overall, I tend to do any necessary gross adjustments in Lightroom (synchronized edits across all photos in the bracket), then toning steps over in my HDR program. If I can skip the first Lightroom adjustment step and just read the raw files into Aurora I do that, obviously. The output of the HDR app is a 16-bit TIFF, which is less range but more precision than the 16-bit FP TIFF embedded in a DNG. However, since I've done most of my edits in Aurora, the extra range isn't necessary going back into Lightroom.

That said, being able to preserve the extra range from the tone mapping going back into Lightroom would be much nicer. Just not as nice as having a better HDR engine than Lightroom's built-in engine combining the brackets.