Old 11-10-2009, 12:19 AM   #1
Joe the Photog
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Default Hdr?

I've got a free version of Photomatix off line just to see what this whole HDR thing is all about. I like some of the pictures I have seen that have been HDR'ed, both on RP and on Flickr, but after a few hours of mucking around with it, I'm getting frustrated.

I did manage to go out and actually shoot three different exposures of the same scene and I guess that HDR turned out better than the "photoshopped exposures." First up, all of my shots are turned out noise after HDR. Some looks like typical noise, though it's not there in the original, while others appear to be a direct result of the HDR treatment.

I can share some examples later, but my main question is if there is an easy to read, easy to understand site out there that won't bore me to tears as I try to understand this better. Is it really better to shoot for HDR rather than photoshop for HDR? If you get my drift.

Meanwhile, I'm tearing what little hair I have out.
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:59 AM   #2
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Coincidentally Joe, I did the same last night. I did both types of HDR by just playing with the app. They turned out about how I imagined.


3001 is from 5 images.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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I'm not sure if it's standard technique or not, but I just did my first multi-exposure HDR. I basically ran my 5", 15", and 30" exposures through TuFuse HDR software to get the baseline HDR image. Then I opened up the baseline image in my image editor, laid the top half of the 5" exposure over the foundation to darken it up, and used the bottom half of the 15" exposure to darken a little as well. I'm pleased with the result, I think it turned out pretty well:

Image ©
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The lighting on the side of the lead locomotive is a bit wacky, but that seemed to be a result of the lighting conditions, as opposed to the HDR process.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:58 AM   #4
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Nicholas, your HDR shot is a good example of what it can do without overdoing it. I think a lot of us -- I'm including myself in this -- initially looked down our nose at HDR at first. I'm trying to find more of my own night time shots where just by trial and error I shot different exposures.

Dennis, small world, isn't it? I forget what made me look for a fre version. I think all I did was Google "HDR" and the site came up. At the risk of asking a stupid question, is this what we would get if we bought the Photomatix? This same version but sans watermark?

This was one of the first attemtps that I thought turned out decent.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joethep...n/photostream/

One thing I was surprised about was how dark the original was. The one in the "comment" section is the one on RP, too. I like the effect it put on both the bridge and the water. But this was a quickie HDR. I didn't fine tooth comb it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:15 AM   #5
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Joe, during my Mid-West odyssey this summer, I made several shots like the one I attached figuring to HDR the extreme light balance.

I thought the obvious HDR look interesting and I wanted to try it.

Mitch G. suggested Photomatix since he is playing around with it.

As I understand it, the only difference of in the application after you pay is the watermark.

BTW, I'm using and considering the Aperture plug-in. It's "only" $79.

ABTW, I like your bridge shot.

Nick, also nice shot. Thanks for showing us what you did. HDR is looking to be another tool to help us make the shot.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:46 AM   #6
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I had a lot of fun playing with my HDR image - it took some trial and error, but this is what ended up going into the photo - I'm not sure if this is the preferred way of doing things, but, I was able to do it with free HDR software (TuFuse) and simple layer / masking stuff in Paint Shop Pro, which I know could be replicated in Photoshop (costs money) or GIMP (free).

In any event, these are the three images that were fed into the TuFuse software after being converted from RAW to TIF (using Canon's DPP software).

The images were all taken from atop a sturdy tripod with a 40D and remote shutter release. Lens is a Sigma 17-70 at 53mm.

5" - F/5.6 - ISO 100


30" - F/5.6 - ISO 100


30" - F/5.6 - ISO 100 (same settings as previous image; brightness increased during RAW conversion)


Those three images were fed into TuFuse, which produced this:
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:46 AM   #7
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That HDR image was actually pretty good. It looked a little too bright to me though. Rather than adjusting the brightness in my image editor, I decided to throw a copy of my second exposure over the HDR. So, I took this:



Cut out the sky, which was too bright, and decreased the opacity to 38%...



... and added as a layer over the HDR output from TuFuse to get this:



With the bottom half of the image in good shape, I had to fix the sky. I went back to my images from the camera, opened up Digital Photo Professional, and saved a TIF that I felt more accurately represented the sky and skyline:

5" - F/5.6 - ISO 100: Brightness, saturation, sharpness adjusted in Digital Photo Professional
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:47 AM   #8
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I needed to put that sky onto my HDR image. I created a mask with transparent gradient that would run along the roofs of the locomotives to the horizon on my dark image:


I threw that onto my [HDR + darker foreground] image, and got this:


Add some saturation, and we're done...
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:55 AM   #9
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Joe,

I really like the HDR version of your bridge shot! Very nice!

I myself have been looking into HDR, but not sure how to approach it. I'm not real sure what to do (even though I'v read numerous HDR tutorials online). I know it pretty much requires several images (a minimum of three, one underexposed, correctly exposed, and overexposed). I'm not sure on what editing software I should use, and honestly, I'm a moron when it comes to layers. I know very little about them.

Any advice would be nice.

Chase
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671 View Post
and honestly, I'm a moron when it comes to layers. I know very little about them.
To be honest, I am, too. In Nicholas's threads directly above yours, I had to shake myself awake, not out of boredom, but out of confusion! But I've been on this free version of Photomatix all night and think I might be getting it down, at least I'm past the point of throwing my hands up in the air and walking away.

Here is a shot I took last October --

Image ©
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I remember not being entirely pleased with the processing. I believe I was trying to steer away from the Joe Blue aspect. But looking at it now, it looks like there is a fine layer of film over it. Tonight I made a "fake" HDR from the RAW file, over, under and properly exposed and this is what I came up with.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joethephotog/4092134030/

If I remember, I will go back tomorrow and re-edit the RAW in typical fashion as I would do today. (I'm a better editor than I was a year ago.) And see what I come up with. This may be a case where I could have got the same result typically.

It's been fun doing something I haven't done before. Can't wait to actually shoot for HDR in the field. But I have to wait until Ida leaves the east coast. They say we may get half a foot of rain tomorrow.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:16 AM   #11
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Nick, how come you didn't use the illuminated 2755 from the 5 second exposure?
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:18 AM   #12
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I'm not sure on what editing software I should use, and honestly, I'm a moron when it comes to layers. I know very little about them.

Any advice would be nice.

Chase
The layer feature is quite possibly the easiest thing to use in photoshop. Trust me, after you learn how to use layers and layer masks, you'll feel like a moron for not learning them SOONER.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:29 AM   #13
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The layer feature is quite possibly the easiest thing to use in photoshop. Trust me, after you learn how to use layers and layer masks, you'll feel like a moron for not learning them SOONER.
I guess googling "layering in CS4" would be a good start?

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Old 11-10-2009, 06:40 AM   #14
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Nick, how come you didn't use the illuminated 2755 from the 5 second exposure?
Because I'm a n00b? I'll have to readjust, good catch.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:46 AM   #15
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I guess googling "layering in CS4" would be a good start?

Chase
"Photoshop" "layers" should do the trick. Prepare to be amazed
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:06 AM   #16
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Nick - you are a gentleman for showing us your technique. I did not realize that shot was an HDR variation, rather just that it was a really nice shot. It is a fine example of how to appropriately do an HDR in a form other then art. Some may question whether HDR has a place on RP but I'm willing to bet that is how the scene appeared to your eyes and the work around was simply due to the inability of your camera to capture it directly. Before digital there were many who did a fair amount of processing in the darkroom - even O'Winston Link. One of the claimed advantages of Canon's upcoming DIGIC V processor proclaims better in camera processing of highlight and shadow detail, a trait I think Nikon handles very well currently. So in camera, out of camera - there's still processing of the captured image.

I saw an I-Pod clip on "how to do HDR" which was really nothing more then a pitch to sell Photomatix. It impressed me and I bought a copy though I've never been able - in short order - to simply plug in a few exposures and get a descent result. I'll have to tinker with it a bit more when I have a chance - I like your idea on faded layers.

/Mitch
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:29 PM   #17
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Some very nice natural looking shots here that you wouldn't know were pseuso or otherwise HDR.

I've used Tufuse on occasion - it seems to work best if you use 3 or 4 shots closely spaced in terms of exposure, rather than say 2 widely spaced.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:50 PM   #18
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I also use photomatix. My experience with the program has shown me that some photos come out very well, some really poor and noisey, and others come out really well with the extreme hdr look. Most images that I use photomatix on also get photoshopped after for touchup and color saturation and balance adjustments.

All of the below images have a slight hdr look in my opinion. The top three are 3 blended images the last is one image. I used photomatix and PS for all of them. Night photos are the hardest for the photomatix program in my past useage. I have used layers and masks in almost all of my images in the database and I have many hand blended images in the database like Nicks above.









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Old 11-11-2009, 04:25 PM   #19
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Travis your photos are terrific! Thanks for showing them.

The concept of expanding the dynamic range of digital images through HDR intrigued me so I did the tripod/multiple exposure set up to test the idea.

Here are some results.

Straight exposure:


Same image using Shadow and Sharpening in Aperture:


Five exposure combined in Photomatix.


I was not looking for anything artistic; I just wanted to see if I could get a reasonable roster shot under bad light/high sun. Based on what I'm seeing, the Shadow tool does what I need without the trouble or expense of HDR.

As I see it now, Photomatix has that HDR "look" and if that's you want, that is the way to go.

But for simple dynamic range increasing, just use the Shadow tool.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #20
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Just so you know - photomatix has two types of processing on its program based application not the ps plugin. One is more hdr looking and the other is way more realistic. Also, both types process differently from each other and are fully adjustable.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:42 PM   #21
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Just so you know - photomatix has two types of processing on its program based application not the ps plugin. One is more hdr looking and the other is way more realistic. Also, both types process differently from each other and are fully adjustable.
I was wondering. Nothing I have done through the free version looks like some of what I have seen by you and others.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
I was wondering. Nothing I have done through the free version looks like some of what I have seen by you and others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
Just so you know - photomatix has two types of processing on its program based application not the ps plugin. One is more hdr looking and the other is way more realistic. Also, both types process differently from each other and are fully adjustable.
Hmm. Good to know.

BTW, I neglected to state that I am using the Aperture plug-in trial version of Photomatix.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:32 AM   #23
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I have some photos on my PBase account that have received quite a bit of Shadows/Highlight abuse. I guess these would be considered the closest thing I have to "HDR".

Any opinions?

http://www.pbase.com/chase55671/image/117154127

http://www.pbase.com/chase55671/image/118573581

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:48 AM   #24
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I really like the second one a lot, Chase. Not so much a fan of the first one. Maybe the trees are too green?
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Old 11-12-2009, 07:18 AM   #25
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I really like the second one a lot, Chase. Not so much a fan of the first one. Maybe the trees are too green?
Thanks Joe!

I'm kind of with you on the first one. I'm not much of a fan of the halos around the mountain tops either. An effect formed by just a bit too much highlight abuse.

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