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Thread: HDR Alternative

  1. #1
    larsjames's Avatar
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    HDR Alternative

    One of the downsides of HDR is that the slightest camera or subject movement can ruin the process. Here is one alternative to achieve acceptable HDR in most images.

    SHADOW DETAIL:
    In Photoshop utilize the Shadows / Highlights sliders to reveal more shadow detail.

    SHADOW NOISE:
    I use Neat Image to eliminate or reduce shadow noise. Photoshop's Noise Reducer filter and Smart Blur, in my opinion, don't work as well.

    HIGHLIGHT DETAIL:
    This is the real key to the process which I detail in the graphic below. In essence, highlight detail is selected (I use the Color Picker). This selection is copied to a new layer and the Blending Mode is set to Multiply. When this layer is duplicated even more highlight detail can be revealed. Depending on the image, sometimes unnatural looking pixels may need to be erased from these highlight layers.

    I always adjust tone in Curves and use a variety of methods to adjust color.

    To be honest, most of the time I get as good or much better results for HDR using this method than Photoshop HDR or Qtpfsgui. I've not tried some of the other software recommended in this forum.

    It would be interesting to read what others may use as alternative HDR processes.
    Last edited by McQ; 14th February 2010 at 07:00 AM. Reason: removed broken links

  2. #2

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    Re: HDR Alternative

    Hi James,

    One of the downsides of HDR is that the slightest camera or subject movement can ruin the process. Here is one alternative to achieve acceptable HDR in most images.
    I agree totally about the controls you've written about (I don't think that many even know about the shadow/highlight exposure adjustment in Photoshop, although having just said that, the fill light control in ACR for CS3 and above is even better). However, there's nothing HDR about any of this - it's simply a normal dynamic range capture with more agressive tone-mapping than normal (to reveal not normally visable) - into a normal dynamic range output.

  3. #3

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    Re: HDR Alternative

    One of the advantages of the Infuse plug in for Lightroom is that it apparently lines up your set of shots if there has been some slight movement. I haven't played around with it yet so I can't verify how well it works.

  4. #4

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    Re: HDR Alternative

    As Colin posted, this has nothing to do with HDR, is just a processing technique to improve the result of image postprocessing.

    Regarding camera and/or subject movement when multishooting for HDR, there is a good way to solve (or minimise) both problems:

    1. For camera movement you can align the shots via software AND then make sure you use a fusion software or technique that avoids progressive blending. Even if some slight misalignment remains after the auto-aligning process (less than 1 pixel), if progressiveness is kept to a minimum we won't loose any sharpness.

    2. For subject movement, the only solution is to make sure that in the area of moving elements (and only in that area) we can force that a single image will be used in the fusion process to avoid ghosting, being preferred the image in the bracketing with the highest exposure but highlights preserved. Again we'll achieve that if using a program or technique that allows us to do it.

    Both methods can easily be implemented without needing any extra software, just using Photoshop's autoaligning feature, and this tutorial: Yet another method to reduce noise with two exposures for properly blending the shots, very recommended.

    BR

  5. #5

    Re: HDR Alternative

    Thanks for posting that link, GUI! It really helped me out. I will use that technique in indoors only though. Outdoors, I'll use nikon's dynamic-lighting. . The latter works quite well and it requires no additional altering on my part.

    1 thing I notice is the high amount of noise at ISO100. What camera were they using?
    Last edited by Blazing fire; 5th July 2009 at 09:30 AM.

  6. #6
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Alternative

    GUI,

    I'm in the process of reading the tutorial you referenced and I have a question.

    How do I tell Camera Raw to open am image in 16 bit mode when it hands it off to Photoshop.

    I know this must be one of those RTFM issues and a setting that I just have not found, but when I open a RAW image, which I know was shot with a camera supporting 12 bits per channel, the image depth in Photoshop ends up being only 8 bits.

  7. #7
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Alternative

    at the bottom of the acr window is a little line that says 8bit colour blah blah, click that and you can change what bit depth it is when hands over. Also can change colour space and preview sharpening. Different versions have more options you can set here too.

  8. #8
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Alternative

    Thank you.

    I've seen the line of text you referred me to, but since it's not styled as a button of clickable icon, I never thought to click on it.

  9. #9

    Re: HDR Alternative

    I have used the Enfuse droplets of Erik Krause to some good results. One of the droplets 'EnfuseAlign' does allign the images and I have had pretty good results with handheld bracketed images.

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