HDR revisited

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
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There was a discussion about the use of HDR in photography in this thread started by ksz with some excellent photos of the Taj Mahal found here:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/238755/

There were some discussion into the actual creation of the HDR image to make it look good without weird lighting effects. I decided to do some investigation into the hdr merge process and here are the results. All 4 HDR images are merged from the same set of 4 images. It was a rainy day, so excuse the content.

Thoughts and comments about the creation of an HDR image?

1. 0 EV photograph
2. Photomatix HDR mege + tone map
3. Photomatix HDR mege + tone map + curve tweak in PS
4. Photoshop merge to HDR
5. Photoshop merge to HDR + curve tweak in PS

1


2


3


4


5
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
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compuwar said:
It's much more effective visually when you're shooting a scene with a much wider tonal range than the examples I've seen here.

Here's a good example with workflow:

http://www.harzergruben.de/DRI/dri.htm
Doesn't really matter. Nearly all daytime scenes have a wider range than the camera. Not that the sky is blown even though it is a heavy overcast day.

Also, I am demonstrating the Photoshop merge to HDR function. The link you provided is a manual merge.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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Location Location Location
The 5th photo is the best.

The sky in the 2nd photo looks like a muddy turquoise colour, while the sky in the 3rd looks slightly purple. The 4th photo isn't contrasty enough, while the 5th photo does have a blown-out sky, but hey.....the sky was covered with white clouds on a rainy day. Stuff happens. ;) Still looks best, though.
 

ksz

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2003
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USA
Interesting results...I think the sky in #3 (with Photoshop curves applies) is the more pleasing since it's a shade of blue instead of a shade of aqua, but the curves have slightly exaggerated the colors in the rest of the scene. My preference would be as follows:

1. Using Photoshop layers and perhaps the magic wand tool, select out the sky from #3.

2. Take photo #2 as the baseline and add the sky from step 1. Except for the sky, the rest of photo #2 shows the most accurate colors. Also, shadow detail in the two trees on the left side is nicely rendered in this picture.

Finally, the last two pictures (Merge to HDR in Photoshop) are the least pleasing to me. They are virtually identical to the original 0EV shot and exhibit plain or muted colors (very low saturation). The sky still appears a bit blown out.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
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Thanks Abstract and ksz for your thoughts. As we have seen, HDR is a tricky animal. :mad:
 

compuwar

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2006
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Northern/Central VA
beavo451 said:
Doesn't really matter. Nearly all daytime scenes have a wider range than the camera. Not that the sky is blown even though it is a heavy overcast day.

Also, I am demonstrating the Photoshop merge to HDR function. The link you provided is a manual merge.
Yes, Photoshop's HDR function is good, but everyone I know who routinely shoots HDR does it manually because it's easier to get much better results.

Please don't ask for "thoughts and comments about an HDR image" if you're really not looking for them.
 

Teddy's

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2006
441
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Toronto
Oh... on how much I hate HDR's :mad:

I prefer to play around with it and then select the better picture. Just like the "old-35mm-days".

Use special filters.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
483
2
compuwar said:
Yes, Photoshop's HDR function is good, but everyone I know who routinely shoots HDR does it manually because it's easier to get much better results.

Please don't ask for "thoughts and comments about an HDR image" if you're really not looking for them.
And you ignored the Photomatix merge entirely. Merging software is another technique among many. I apologize for not being clearer on my intent. I am looking for comments about the automated merge and its appropriate use.

Teddy's said:
Oh... on how much I hate HDR's

I prefer to play around with it and then select the better picture. Just like the "old-35mm-days".

Use special filters.
Would you be able to tell a photo is HDR or not just by looking at it? Why must we be rooted in the past when new technology is avialbale?
 

maxi

macrumors regular
May 23, 2006
127
0
Buenos Aires, Argentina
While I like to play with HDR sometimes, I dont like what Photomatix does with some colors, especially the greens. pics tend to look very artificial unless you really use it in moderation (which is hard :) ).

I got a graduated neutral filter a short while ago and it's very interesting to use and lets you achieve a greater dynamic range directly in-camera.
 
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