Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24

Thread: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

  1. #1
    waha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    "up the coast in British Columbia"
    Posts
    152
    Real Name
    Wayne

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    I've been snooping into what HDR can do for a photo--and I am confused. Some of the HDR pics I've seen are downright stunning. They have a painterly quality that really attracts the eye. Then there are the others: gaudy, overstated, and artificial looking, with a gloomy-doomy sky dominating even the most cheerful scene.

    Before I take the leap--in hopes of producing images that are striking without being kitschy--here is my question:

    Can one control an HDR image so as to avoid the all-too-common overstatement? Can HDR produce subtle improvements that are devoid of exaggeration? If so, I will be tempted.

    Thanks for your help,

    waha

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    31,617
    Real Name
    John

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Yes, you have full control over the final image. It's the tone mapping stage where imaginations run wild.

  3. #3
    FrankMi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6,294
    Real Name
    Frank Miller

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Quote Originally Posted by waha View Post
    I've been snooping into what HDR can do for a photo--and I am confused. Some of the HDR pics I've seen are downright stunning. They have a painterly quality that really attracts the eye. Then there are the others: gaudy, overstated, and artificial looking, with a gloomy-doomy sky dominating even the most cheerful scene.

    Before I take the leap--in hopes of producing images that are striking without being kitschy--here is my question:

    Can one control an HDR image so as to avoid the all-too-common overstatement? Can HDR produce subtle improvements that are devoid of exaggeration? If so, I will be tempted.

    Thanks for your help,

    waha
    Hi Wayne, take a look at Trey Ratcliff's free HDR tutorial. He explains how the tonemapping settings work, what to avoid, and how to overcome the primary tonemapping issues of dark clouds, electric foliage and unrealistic skin tones. The link to his tutorial is at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ and a sampling of his HDR work is at http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Po...42619174_op5RY

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Posts
    51
    Real Name
    Alan Pezzulich

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Tonemapping uses propriatory algorithms to compress the dynamic range so that it fits into the dynamic range of a print or a monitor. The tonemapping software will also contain local dynamic range (structure) controls which cam be used to exagerate textures. The tonemapping algorithm will often overly increase saturation.

    Some people like the effect that the saturation sliders produce on some pictures. This produces the "gaudy" effect. If you back off on the structure sliders the pictures are much more natural. Backing off the saturation slider will eliminate some of the color problems. If there are people in the picture the skin tones will probably still be off and they will have to be corrected after tonemapping. One way of doing this is to use the unprocessed shot with the best skin tones to correct the tonemapped image. Load the HDR and unprocessed shot into photoshop as different layers. Set the unprocessed image on top of the HDR and set the bleniing mode to color. Use a mast to correct skin tones where required.

    Natural HDR images can be made if you do not overdo in the tonemapping stage and you are willing to do a little additional correction in photoshop after tonemapping.

  5. #5
    Letrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Haarlem, Netherlands
    Posts
    1,683
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Trey Ratcliff's tutorial is interesting and actually some of his results look quite good. But I still don't really like HDR (I am one of the 20% that Trey talks about), most of the examples I have seen are too unnatural for my taste. A very small number of photos I have seen so far still looks natural enough and improved due to HDR processing.
    For the moment I'll stick with looking at my camera settings and try to produce well exposed photos

    Oh, and have a look at this tutorial as well (http://garmahis.com/tutorials/hdr-tu...free-software/), meant for Gimp users.
    Last edited by Letrow; 6th July 2011 at 01:43 PM.

  6. #6
    FrankMi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6,294
    Real Name
    Frank Miller

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Hi Wayne, not everybody sees color the same way. What looks natural to one person can appear 'gaudy' to another. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that some folks prefer B&W over color images, I don't know because I can only see color through my eyes. When I look at a photograph, assuming I'm not looking at Van Gogh art, I have to decide for myself if it looks like my eyes would see the original. If I like what I see then it works for me, even though it may not work for somebody else. In the end, as I can't see the world through your eyes, I choose what looks good to me. For example, the second of the following shots looks better to me than the first even though the second may be a touch more 'gaudy' than I would normally see. In the end, you need to decide for yourself what you like as you can never satisfy everybody else. Once you've made that decision, there are many folks on the forum that can help you achieve your goals.

    Photos taken by Scott Kublin from HDRPhotographyBlog.com.

    Straight out of the camera:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    With HDR processing:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

  7. #7
    waha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    "up the coast in British Columbia"
    Posts
    152
    Real Name
    Wayne

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Thank you all for your insightful and helpful responses.

    waha

  8. #8
    Letrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Haarlem, Netherlands
    Posts
    1,683
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post

    Photos taken by Scott Kublin from HDRPhotographyBlog.com.

    Straight out of the camera:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    With HDR processing:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?
    You could argue that the first photo is overexposed a bit, so you might get better results, but I have to admit that I quite like the second one. Mainly because it is not to obvious a HDR photo.

  9. #9

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    while the 2nd photo has its merits, it is clearly using a DIFFERENT sky than the 1st image. Perhaps that was intentional, but it didn't come across in the post. My guess is that the 2nd image is simply using several blended images to make the final composited image, with the darker sky coming from the darkest image in the blend. THus, the author of this post probably simply pulled one of the "lighter" images out as a kind of before and after. However, it would have been better to see all three (or five or whatever) images that went into the final HDR blend rather than let people assume that the original image was magically converted into the second.

  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    4
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are "no limits" to your creative artistic endeavours. HDR opens windows of opportunity one can only dream of. It is a great way to capture images an experience new ways of shooting an editing techniques to bring out detail, contrast and toning. Cambridgeincolour is one of the best sites I have discovered.
    I'm learning more and more every time I log in.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Just keep in mind that HDR is a (set of) techniques for capturing a scene that can't be satisfactorally captured with a normal single exposure -- it has nothing to do with how an image "looks". What folks appear to be referring to here are ultra tone-mapped images which may (or may not) be derived from an HDR composite, or from a single exposure.

  12. #12
    shreds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,333
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Every feature has its time, and the "gaudy" currently in vogue feature will change. Adding 'false' sky to a picture has occurred since film days, and is often seen as enhancing a lifeless sky. However, as Frankmi says, we all see things differently and of course the blurring of art v record photography continues. It will always be a debate.

    I have no problem with HDR, just like focus stacking, technology brings benefits and changes. Personally I dont favour the kitch look, and regard HDR as a technique to bring out those areas that the camera struggles to see, whereas the eye would be able to balance out the dark and light areas. Changing actual elements/objects in a picture is a slightly different debate.

  13. #13
    jeeperman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle Washington
    Posts
    3,550
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    I can not say it any better than Colin has. I use very little tone mapping/HDR techniques. However there are some types of images I do think are or can be enhanced with the use of these techniques. Architecture or interior shots are I think my favorite. Even then if it is obvious I have used these techniques I feel I have failed in what I wished to achieve. The before and after above looks over processed a bit for my liking. Although I do feel it is improved from it's original image. Here is a shot of a kitchen I did waiting for Christmas dinner, really just killing hunger time. =}

    I offer this because I feel it is not so cooked that it looks un-natural....for me at least.

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?
    Last edited by jeeperman; 27th January 2012 at 07:17 AM.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    I can not say it any better than Collin has. I use very little tone mapping/HDR techniques. However there are some types of images I do think are or can be enhanced with the use of these techniques. Architecture or interior shots are I think my favorite. Even then if it is obvious I have used these techniques I feel I have failed in what I wished to achieve. The before and after above looks over processed a bit for my liking. Although I do feel it is improved from it's original image. Here is a shot of a kitchen I did waiting for Christmas dinner, really just killing hunger time. =}

    I offer this because I feel it is not so cooked that it looks un-natural....for me at least.

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?
    Excellent example image Paul. Images like this IMO go a long way towards educating folks that HDR DOESN'T EQUATE to over saturated - over-sharpened - "mush".

  15. #15
    jeeperman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle Washington
    Posts
    3,550
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Thank you Colin, I did a few that night and am quite happy with them.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Thank you Colin, I did a few that night and am quite happy with them.
    As well you should be. Professional quality without a doubt.

  17. #17
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    4,135
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    If you want to extend dynamic range but don't like 'gaudy,' check out exposure fusion:
    http://www.digital-photography-schoo...how-do-i-do-it

    For exactly that reason, I don't use HDR and instead do exposure fusion (also called exposure blending) with LR Enfuse. Frank's posting is one image vs. a composite with HDR. What might be useful for you is a comparion of HDR with fusion. There is an example in the link above. I'll post an example of my own. The first is HDR Pro. The second is LR Enfuse. Both with default settings, both using the same two base images. Compare, for example, the sky colors. the color of the rocks in the foreground are accurate in the enfused image.

    HDR Pro:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    LR Enfuse:

    High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    If you want to extend dynamic range but don't like 'gaudy,' check out exposure fusion:HDR Pro:
    I suspect that with most packages, it's all in how people are using it. Photomatix is notorious for "that look" (even to the point of folks taking one look at over-processed "much" and declaring that it's been "photomatixed") - and yet (last time I looked) they had many members on their website producing work that was exceptionally well done and very natural looking.

    What most folks don't seem to realise is that monitors only display an effective dynamic range of about 6 stops - and yet our cameras are typically capturing around 12 stops (64 times more than we can see ) - often all that's required is an accurate base exposure and then a little range compression using a fill light slider.

  19. #19
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    4,135
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    If the OP is a novice, this thread might be confusing, because there are two different issues being discussed.

    One reason to use HDR or exposure blending is because the scenes we want to photograph often have more dynamic range than the sensor can capture. This is the only reason I use it. (The human eye can see much more--see the tutorial on this site.)

    A second reason to use HDR is to change how the image, once captured, is displayed. I think this is what Colin is referring to. I never do that for the reason that he suggests: if the display device has a narrower dynamic range, you can use other editing tools to affect things like contrast and saturation.

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    913
    Real Name
    Remco

    Re: High Dynamic Range--Great or Gaudy?

    Possible that it gets confusing for the OP. But he has had almost 7 months to digest the first answers

    But I'm getting confused: is there any basic difference between exposure blending and HDR treatment? I see over-cooked tone-mapped images created from 1 RAW file, and perfectly natural images through HDR processing (and to be honest, I see no basic differences between the HDR image and the exposure blended image from 'DanK', at least nothing PS or the GIMP couldn't correct easily)

    Remco

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •