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Thread: HDR Efex Pro?

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    HDR Efex Pro?

    I am attempting to combine two images in HDR Efex Pro 2 for the first time and have a couple of questions that I think are probably basic so I am hoping that you kind folks will have some answers.

    I made my initial ACR adjustments (no sharpening as I usually do that in NIK - both pre and post) and then successfully merged the two images from Bridge. The result was a realistic version of a high contrast scene but when it came back into Photoshop CS5 (as a smart object) it was a 32 bit image and I was unable to use any of the other NIK filters.

    So, if I have to make further tweaks to the image do I need to do that in Photoshop CC and not use NIK? This makes no sense to me as HDR Pro is part of the suite. Have I got my processing order messed up? Photoshop or NIK settings need to be changed maybe?

    Also, since this scene has moving water I used ghost reduction set at 100% which seemed to work but left some very small areas of ghosting. How do you deal with those? I was thinking that you would bring in the correctly exposed image for that portion as a layer and mask out all of the areas except where there is ghosting? I don't think that healing or cloning would work well.

    Thanks in advance for your help

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Rasterize the layer and you'll be fine. If you don't want to lose the smart object, duplicate it and rasterize the duplicate and then work it..

    If you right click on the smart object, the rasterize menu item will be in the popup.


    Another thought just struck me; most of the filters in Photoshop work on 16-bit data, so can you get 16-bit output from the Nik software? I suspect that this might be the reason that they don't work. While I like working with smart objects, I find I pretty well always rasterize the Nik output because of the significant amount of time it takes to rebuild the smart object every time I do something to it. Sometimes I do the copy and rasterize workflow, sometimes I just rasterize right away.
    Last edited by Manfred M; 11th August 2014 at 01:06 PM.

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Any thoughts as to which program is better? HDR Effex Pro or Photomatix? Which is easier to use? Which gives better quality results - all things being equal?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrintMan View Post
    Any thoughts as to which program is better? HDR Effex Pro or Photomatix? Which is easier to use? Which gives better quality results - all things being equal?
    Neither; I prefer Oloneo Photoengine (and I do have the other pieces of software).

    That being said Photomatix and Nik HDR Pro 2 are two take two completely different approaches; Photomatix is a standalone piece of software whereas the Nik product is a plugin that integrates directly into your Photoshop workflow. I believe that Photomatix integrates into Lightroom; but the lack of layer support in Lightroom reduces the usefulness of this approach.

    I've used Photomatix and its pricepoint and large complement of ready-made presets, it is probably the most popular stand-alone package on the market. I've used it and as I wrote previously, I tend to prefer other products.

    The Nik package comes as part of Nik Collection, so if you own the collection, it is already there for you to use. While I use several of the Nik tools alot, this is one that I have only used a couple of times, but then, I don't make use of the HDR technique as much as I used to. It has a few less "bells and whistles" than Photomatix, but frankly, I tend not to use them, so it may not make that much difference in the end.

    What does strike me is that the two products are designed for a different audience; with the HDR Pro 2 being aimed at the more serious photographer whereas Photomatix seems to be aimed at a broader based audience that are often looking at dressing up an image, rather than being concerned with a more purist view of HDR.

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Any thoughts on how to deal with the minor ghosting issue Manfred? I'm going to give this a try tonight and will hopefully post the results here.

    Thank in advance!

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    Any thoughts on how to deal with the minor ghosting issue Manfred? I'm going to give this a try tonight and will hopefully post the results here.

    Thank in advance!
    Ghosting in an unfortunate side-effect of capturing multiple images; things can (and do) move between exposures. Some of the other packages like Photomatix and Oloneo PhotoEngine have algorithms to try to deal with the inevitable small amounts of movement in any of these types of captures, but HDR Efex Pro does not seem have this capability.

    The only thing I can think of is to try to fix this up in post prior to tonemapping, but I think you have discovered one of the shortcomings of HDR Pro.

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    The only thing I can think of is to try to fix this up in post prior to tonemapping, but I think you have discovered one of the shortcomings of HDR Pro.
    This is a problem that ive found with HDR pro, whereas in photomatrix (i dont have it) i belive you can select areas that are moving and it will not merg at that point but will tone map the a single image instead.

    the only way i can think that might work is id you make an layer with the moving bits removed and merge it with your complete image... wouls that work Manfred?

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    OK guys (& gals)...my first ever attempt at creating a realistic HDR image.

    I only used two exposures that had the same settings with f11 ISO 100 and shutter speeds at 1/60 and 1/30 with the polarizer on the lens. The side of the lava rocks were just too dark/shadowy in one and everything else was too bright in the other so I thought I'd have a go at HDR. I'm not sure that I chose the best scene to practice on with the moving water and all but HDR Efex Pro did a very good job when I pumped up the ghosting removal to 100%.

    The HDR came out a bit grainy but noise reduction seemed to do the trick on the sky in particular. I used the heal tool to remedy a few small ghosting issues that remained amount the small waterfalls but I probably didn't even need to do that for web presentation as they were so small.

    Overall I'm pretty pleased but don't really care for the look of the calm bits of ocean in front of the horizon.

    So how did I do...please be brutal as this is a learning exercise for me

    HDR Efex Pro?

    Thanks!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    I'm not looking at it on my own monitor, but it seems just a little flat and I feel that a dose of Local Contrast Enhancement would just lift it nicely and give it a bit of 'pop'. But check that out with others because I don't necessarily trust this monitor.

    "I'm not sure that I chose the best scene to practice on". In terms of highlight and shadow, I think you chose an excellent subject. And, for someone who doesn't employ HDR techniques, it looks to me as if you've done a brilliant job. I couldn't tell that it was a blending of images and that, I think, is the result that HDR techniques should achieve.

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    One thing I have wondered about when there is movement in the shots used to generate the HDR image is to take one good exposure of the moving aspect and then use layer techniques to add this to the HDR image. In this case it might make the water look more realistic and could probably be done using a feather edged brush just on the water area as it's likely to blend well.

    As Colin often says though 1 EV difference in exposure for a 2 shot HDR isn't much. 2 or 3 EV is more like it. The shadowy rocks could be bought up with a curves brush. Even a fill light would probably do it. The one in Nikon's NX will bring up lots of shadow detail and even maintain contrast.

    John
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Shane...to much noise in the horizon... was that intentional?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Shane - this type of isuse it the primary reason I don't use HDR very often any more; lack of control and dissatisfaction with the final output. The way I've started to work high dynamic range image about a year ago is to take at least 3 shots, with the middle one properly exposed for mid-tones and the others to get the highlights and shadow details. I then manually merge them using layers and hide or expose the appropriate highlight details and shadow details. I will sometimes ensure that the skies are shot with a grad filter to provide even more dynamic range; and while shooting from a tripod is preferable, I've hand-held and incorporated other sequenced shots (eliminate people from the scene) this way.

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Thank you Donald, Izzie, John and Manfred. I have been pretty busy but am still trying to wrap my head around all of this. I made a quick attempt to process one of the images in my regular manner (lightening the shadows) but can't get it right either.

    Manfred, when you use layers how to you create the masks? Selecting color ranges or channels?

    Izzie, the noise on the horizon was partially due to the HDR process and partially due to noise in the original image that I suspect had to do with sea spray in the air and possibly the quality of my polarizing filter (Hoya).

    I'm getting frustrated overall as I feel like I'm taking two steps back and just hoping that a step forward is coming soon. I've been working pretty hard on composition but feel like my IQ has gone down and I don't know why because even when I choose 'auto' in ACR there are rarely any adjustments to the exposure and the histogram looks good with minor recovery and black point adjustments if any

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Shane,

    A question for you: "Why we sometimes need to use HDR techniques"?

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    I'll bite Colin...because the scene exceeds the dynamic range of the camera sensor?

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    I'll bite Colin...because the scene exceeds the dynamic range of the camera sensor?
    Correct. OK - next question: "What's the dynamic range of the sensor in your camera"?

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    I'm getting frustrated overall as I feel like I'm taking two steps back and just hoping that a step forward is coming soon. I've been working pretty hard on composition but feel like my IQ has gone down and I don't know why because even when I choose 'auto' in ACR there are rarely any adjustments to the exposure and the histogram looks good with minor recovery and black point adjustments if any
    Dont get disheartened Shane, your results arnt as bad as some ive seen that intend them to look that way, im fighting with photoshop at the moment but im starting to make headway. At one point last night i was so confused by the book i was reading i was almost convinced that i needed to switch to bridge/photoshop rather than lightroom/photoshop, despite the author saying he/she preferred lightroom for workflow....

    I think Mafreds approach to HDR might be a more realistic one, giving nice colours and tones rather than those cooked up in HDR effects.

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    I think Mafreds approach to HDR might be a more realistic one, giving nice colours and tones rather than those cooked up in HDR effects.
    Mark - stay tuned. We really need to go back to basics on this one. Also, there's pretty much ZERO relationship between HDR and what you're describing.

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Mark - stay tuned. We really need to go back to basics on this one. Also, there's pretty much ZERO relationship between HDR and what you're describing.
    sitting here recovering a crew members screwed HDD, (no backup naturally) so im on the edge of my chair.... doesnt dynamic range alter with iso?

  20. #20

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    Re: HDR Efex Pro?

    I had to do some internet research on this one...which unto itself is confusing but I am getting 12stops from this link:

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...000IMATEST.HTM

    BTW, my eyes glazed over when I read most of the article and I'll be honest and tell you that most of it is over my head.

    I'm guessing that you will ask me what the dynamic range of this scene is? Based on the histogram it looks 'normal' to me so 10 stops because nothing is clipped on either end? Please educate me.

    Here is the better of the two images and the ACR adjustments (I left the curves at linear and no sharpening):

    HDR Efex Pro?

    HDR Efex Pro?

    Since I was shooting on a tripod I'm puzzled by the IQ unless it was caused by my polarizing filter or the sea spray?

    Next question...

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