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Old Nov 3, 2012, 01:43 PM   #1
gwelmarten
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Specific Recommendation for HDR / Tone Mapping

Hi
I'm a student with a medium photography skills. I understand what shutter speed, aperture, exposure, focus and ISO are, however I usually don't shoot in complete manual (just AV or TV mode). I use a Canon 600D with 18-200mm lens.
I take most photos as JPEG's, however when I want to make it good I take in RAW. Now I've got about 10 of these and am not sure how to tone map them to get the amazing cloud effect and how to make them HDR (all from the single RAW).
I want a simple piece of software that won't make me spend ages adjusting sliders (so, lets say just one or two things I'll adjust) that will let me do both of these. I already have Aperture (latest version) and Photoshop CS5 Student Edition. I can only buy one piece of software, and it would be good to do it for less than $30.
Any ideas? I want good HDR stuff and am prepared to spend, say, 5 mins on each image, but I don't want to be manually adjusting lots of things.
Any ideas on what I should get?
Sam
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 02:06 PM   #2
MCAsan
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First I always shoot raw to capture max data. Shooting jpgs you are throwing away data you may want later in post processing.

If I want HDR I either shoot a sequence of 3-5 shots from -2 to +2 stops. You can also tell Nik to use only one file as the data source. The I tell Nik Software HDR Efex 2 to process it. When it is ready I can pick from tons of presets for landscapes, portraints...etc. If I want to customize the output, then I have slides to crank up or down the tone compression...etc. And very importantly...with Nik you can add control points where you can change effects with specific regions of of the image. I highly recommend the entire Nik suite of plugins (for Aperture, Lightroom or PS 6).
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 06:05 PM   #3
gwelmarten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
First I always shoot raw to capture max data. Shooting jpgs you are throwing away data you may want later in post processing.

If I want HDR I either shoot a sequence of 3-5 shots from -2 to +2 stops. You can also tell Nik to use only one file as the data source. The I tell Nik Software HDR Efex 2 to process it. When it is ready I can pick from tons of presets for landscapes, portraints...etc. If I want to customize the output, then I have slides to crank up or down the tone compression...etc. And very importantly...with Nik you can add control points where you can change effects with specific regions of of the image. I highly recommend the entire Nik suite of plugins (for Aperture, Lightroom or PS 6).
Hi
Efex seems really expensive and out of my price range as a student. Is it really worth it? I there a cheaper alternative?
Sam
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 08:53 PM   #4
MCAsan
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As a student, you should qualify for academic prices for hardware and software. The published academic price for the Nik HDR program is $50. HDRsoft also had deeply discountly academic pricing.
http://www.hdrsoft.com/order/academic.html

You can google for HDR software reviews and prices. Many are well under $100.

http://captainkimo.com/hdr-software-review-comparison/
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...r-software.htm
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:28 AM   #5
gwelmarten
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Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
As a student, you should qualify for academic prices for hardware and software. The published academic price for the Nik HDR program is $50. HDRsoft also had deeply discountly academic pricing.
http://www.hdrsoft.com/order/academic.html

You can google for HDR software reviews and prices. Many are well under $100.

http://captainkimo.com/hdr-software-review-comparison/
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...r-software.htm
Hi
Thanks for the reply.
They sound pretty equal. Would you have said that Efex was best then, especially in comparison to HDRsoft?
Sam
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:44 AM   #6
MCAsan
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I have only used HDR in photoshop, which is not so good, and Nik. I use Nik as it is part of their first class set of plugins. Nik stuff is highly recommended.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 05:25 PM   #7
gwelmarten
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I have only used HDR in photoshop, which is not so good, and Nik. I use Nik as it is part of their first class set of plugins. Nik stuff is highly recommended.
Hi
Ok - I've splashed out and purchased Nik. Something is confusing me. I have RAW and JPEG's imported into Aperture as pairs, with the JPEG set as the 'master' I think? It has the little J in the bottom right corner by default rather than the R anyway. Obviously, Nik is meant to work with the RAW. I don't want to set my whole library to use R as default as then unprocessed images look worse, but is there another way of making it so that Nik always selects the RAW file? Does aperture have an option to make it so that the RAW is always exported?
Sam

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
I have only used HDR in photoshop, which is not so good, and Nik. I use Nik as it is part of their first class set of plugins. Nik stuff is highly recommended.
Also, can you confirm again that it does tone mapping? I can't figure it out.
I, like you, am using rMBP. App doesn't seem to support the screen. Do you think they'll update it soon?

Sam
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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As I don't use Aperture, I can not tell you anything about it or how it interworks with Nik plugins. I use Lightroom with Nik with no problems.

Virtually all serious post processing programs work from the raw file. It is a 12 or 14 bit image with no compression. Compare that to an 8 bit jpg with processing within the camera. Guess which gives a HDR, or any other plugin, more data to work with.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:07 PM   #9
gwelmarten
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Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
As I don't use Aperture, I can not tell you anything about it or how it interworks with Nik plugins. I use Lightroom with Nik with no problems.

Virtually all serious post processing programs work from the raw file. It is a 12 or 14 bit image with no compression. Compare that to an 8 bit jpg with processing within the camera. Guess which gives a HDR, or any other plugin, more data to work with.
Hi
I'm having a little trouble using the program. I've included two sample images below. Basically every single picture I try and use this on ends up with a really grainy section where it was darker originally. Isn't there a way to limit the adjustments it makes, so say it makes all the adjustments 50% of what it would by default?

Sam
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8270_HDR.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	1.65 MB
ID:	376415   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8270.JPG
Views:	15
Size:	3.58 MB
ID:	376416  
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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first select the preset you like the best as the starting point. They are grouped in categories such as landscape. As you move your mouse over the list, you can see what that preset will look like. Once you pick the preset, on the left hand column you can select the amount of tone compression, strength of that particular HDR preset, structure (like clarity in LR) and many more adjustments.
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