free HDR on mac?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wmmk, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #1
    Hi all, I've always thought HDR looked really cool, but as most of you know, I'm an 8th grader without much cash (blew most of it on a MBP, K100D, and various charities) or a paypal account. All software is either free or so necessary for school that my parents buy it (stuff like office). Anyway, I've found a free HDR prograam. As a matter of fact, I've found many!
    They're all here, and if you don't feel like looking at that, the choices are:
    • PFSTools
    • hdrgen
    • Photosphere
    That seems to be about. My only criteria: results will look nice, and i can get an HDR from a single RAW file, as I'm not able to carry around a tripod and 8 different JPEGs. There seems to be a commandline version of photosphere that does RAW files, but I'd really like a GUI.

    I also saw Qtpsfgui, which claims to be sort of an open source clone of photomatix, but doesn't have any OS X binaries, which is a bit of a bummer considering that I'm not great at complining things.

    What would you recommend for me?
    Thanks,
    wmmk
     
  2. ATD macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    No, a single RAW file will not give you an HDRI. You need to take at lease 3 bracketed shots to get good results.

     
  3. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #3
    i see. what's the difference between HDR and HDRI? I was under the impression that you shoot a RAW file, change exposure, click on some buttons, and ping! beautiful image. guess I should have done more research. anyway, which one of these programs is the best?
     
  4. ATD macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    HDR and HDRI are the same thing, the I stands for Image. You shoot a number of shots, each at different exposures. The HDR program combines them into one image with a very deep (bit depth) image. I use Photoshop for mine.


     
  5. Karpfish macrumors 6502a

    Karpfish

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    #5
    What HDR(High Dynamic Range) does is take shadows and highlights and such from the different images to create an image incorporating all the good parts of each.
     
  6. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #6
    thanks, I now understand this much better. what I'd really love would be if someone could simply make a recommendation:eek:
    thanks
     
  7. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #7
    Thats not entirely true. Whilst it is better to have images exposed at different stops, this can be done from one raw file and you can get similar results.

    David
     
  8. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #8
    goodness! in this case, add being able to make an HDR image from a single RAW back to the criteria. (I'll usually just shoot multiple shots, but for action and such, I think single RAW->HRDI capability would be nice:))

    recommendations would really be appreciated!
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    If you start with only one image the technique is completely different. In the single RAW image case all you are doing is adjusting the contrast (gama curve) so that all the data in the RAW image fits into the color space of a JPG file.

    The HDR technique is the combine (say) the sky from one exposure and the foreground from another and composite them into one image.

    OK you cam claim the ne RAW image is the degenerate case of compositing. Like in geometry a point is a degenerate circle where the radius is zero. So one RAW image HDR is to a "real HDR" like a point is to a circle. They are the same only by a technicality.

    You want free HDR. Use Gimp. Put each exposure in it's own layer then make masks and let the partsof each show through. This works very well if you have two RAW images one for the sky and one for the not-sky.
     
  10. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #10
    Sounds interesting, but I have three questions for you:
    1. Could I just do that in PSE?
    2. Is there any way to automate this?
    3. Will this work better than the free apps I mentioned?

    Thanks again,
    wmmk
     
  11. ATD macrumors 6502a

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    #11

    A single RAW file is limited what's in the captured in the file, a 12 to 14 bit depth. You can stack as many images as you want (the same one repeated) on top of each other to make an HDRI but it's still only has the range of one RAW file. You can not create more detail than what was in the original file.

    A HDRI is taking info captured from many shots at different exposures and combining it into a 32 bit depth file. I don't agree that the results are at all similar. Sure, you can get more range out a RAW file than a regular 8 bit image but it is not HDR.

    By your reasoning a single RAW file is an HDRI.


     
  12. cube macrumors G4

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    #12
    Don't use GIMP, which is 8-bit. Use CinePaint which also supports 16-bit, 32-bit, and floating point.
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    PSE? Yes. PSE would in fact be better but you said "free" and PSE is not free. Actually as someone else pointed out "cinepaint" is the better gimp version to use for this purpose but if you have PSE...

    Automation: Why? The trouble with automation is that it can't know your intent. Are you trying to re-crete reality in the image our show the viewer something? Automation is OK for somethings, night scens with lights come to mind but for other things (sunsets) there is only one element that needs to be fixed and you may care about the contrast and color of that one element. So you correct it them composite it back in.
     
  14. EastCoastFlyer macrumors regular

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    #14
    Okay -- now you've piqued my curiosity... I use PSE on my iMac for minimal tweaking but noting so extensive. So if I have 3 bracketed RAW exposures of a sunset for instance, I can create an HDR, or something like an HDR in PSE? I'd love a step-by-step tutorial on how to do that (or a link to an existing tutorial).

    Thanks!
     
  15. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #15
    I see. Most helpful answer I've gotten all thread:)
    I'll be getting PSE soon anyway, so if it works for HDR, then that's great. If automated solutions don't work, I'll just use PSE, but with that said, what do you think of photosphere, which is currently my front runner.
     
  16. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #16
    Thats not my reasoning at all. I explained clearly in my post that it was not the same, but still possible, which it is. Your word count was higher, thats all.

    Don't paraphrase me if you're not going to consume what I actually wrote.

    David
     
  17. ATD macrumors 6502a

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    #17

    Instead of wasting your time saying that I'm not right, you should show us how that's done and correct the Wikipedia entry while you are at it. Nothing in that article even comes close to suggesting it can, should or is done from a single RAW image. In fact just the opposite, here's a few lines from it (bolding mine)

    HDRI From Wikipedia

    "In computer graphics and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures (i.e. a large difference between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.

    HDRI was originally developed for use with purely computer-generated images. Later, methods were developed to produce a HDR image from a set of photos taken with a range of exposures.

    ... At the 1997 SIGGRAPH, Paul Debevec presented his paper entitled "Recovering High Dynamic Range Radiance Maps from Photographs". It described photographing the same scene many times with a wide range of exposure settings and combining those separate exposures into one HDR image."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI





     
  18. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #18
    I don't need to consult an anybody's-edited-version-of-an-encyclopedia when again, that is what I said. This time, why don't you look at what I bolded from my original post.

    However, what I also said was that you can apply the same technique to one RAW file and acheive similar, but not as good, results.

    David
     
  19. abrooks macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    HDR is more than possible with a single RAW file, in fact its recommended if taking pictures of something that is likely to change between your bracketed shots.

    If you're looking for an example, flickr is your home, took me 30 seconds to find one described as being composed of a single RAW shot.

    http://flickr.com/photos/dapen/321047085/in/pool-tophdr/
     
  20. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #20
    Could we please stop the RAW HDR debate and answer my original question, or at least answer it here? That'd be really, really nice!
     
  21. nexo macrumors newbie

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    #21
    From a single file, RAW or any other format, you can only get the dynamic range that your camera can capture in one exposure. So, unless your camera is some super-fancy special model (which it isn't ... is an HDR-capable camera even commercially available yet?), it's _not_ HDR and all you can do is tone mapping. Therefore, combining different 8-bit renders you got from your RAW file does generally not make sense. You may still do it for artistic reasons, if you find it easier to work that way, but you will never get a result that you couldn't have also gotten by loading a single 16-bit image into your HDR/pixel app. Whatever you do, you will never end up with an HDRI, period.
     
  22. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #22
    HDR refers to a high dynamic range. As in, the amount of stops recorded in the file. So if you get 7 or 8 stops of lights in a RAW file, that's all your image will have. You can adjust the tones of that one file, but you can't use something that wasn't recorded in that file. And if you blow the highlights anywhere, just forget about it.

    You're not getting an HDR from one RAW file, you're just "dodging and burning" it.
     
  23. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Ok i've been doing HDRI with Photomatix and Photoshop HDR for quite some time and while is true that a single RAW file cannot give you the dynamic range of 3 or more difference exposures, it still holds more information than a single JPEG.

    And if the exposure of the original shot is well balanced, meaning no overblown shadows or highlights then you can bring out *alot* of detail using HDR processing. However that's not something you can't do already with Photoshop's basic tools like Levels, Shadow Highlights or dodging and burning as the post above mentions.

    So while it's true that an image processed from a single exposure is not HDR in terms of color information, it's always worth the try in my opinion. I have made tons of great images out of single RAW's that i would otherwise drag the trash. I'll post examples if you want.

    Btw HDR processing is not a new breakthrough as many seem to think. It's been used in photography, design, 3D animation etc as back as i can remember. I think what people are seeing and calling new is Photomatix's version of HDR, which is often overused and gives those horrible halo-ish, fake looking images. Use it wisely if you decide to get it.
     
  24. bzollinger macrumors 6502a

    bzollinger

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    #24
    Yah, let's see some samples!:apple:
     
  25. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Here are some random photos form my library, not the best shots but i think they illustrate well what a single RAW can do. I've also included the originals for comparison.

    These where all a single RAW file and processed in Photomatix or Photoshop to bring out detail. As you can see for yourself this technique works better for some than others. For example blown highlights cannot be fixed as picture 1 shows. Shadows on the other hand hold more detail, so an underexposed shot works better in most of the times.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now you may or may not like the effect, but i think the results are far more interesting than the original shots, that i would otherwise trash.

    Add the optional sunbeams or a cloud or two and you may have a keeper. ;)
     

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