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Thread: help with HDR post processing

  1. #1

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    Anirban

    help with HDR post processing

    hi all.

    yesterday, i tried out hdr for the first time. i went to a place with sunlight, shadows etc. i used a tripod to get +1, 0 and -1 exposure shots of the same scene. these pics were taken in AV mode. i then went home and processed these images...

    i even tried out some guides on youtube on how to tone map on photomatix. i have managed to get a result, but it doesnt look like the amazing hdr images that we see on google and CiC.

    hence i am posting my original pic, with perfect exposure and the edited hdr pic. would be grateful if someone could show me how to edit the pic for that unreal WOW effect.

    i used photomatix for hdr and picasa for final editing.

    help with HDR post processing

    help with HDR post processing

    thanks

  2. #2
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Troy

    Re: help with HDR post processing

    I tend not to use programs like photomatix for tone mapping. Instead, I manually "tone map" the image in photoshop using various curves and Shadows/Highlights filters. In this particular example, I used two shadows/highlights filters on the first layer: 300px radius and 150px radius. Then I added a significant vignette in Lens Correction. Then I added a curves layer (increase exposure) subject to a vertical gradient that is opaque on the lower part of the image. Then I added another curves layer to clip blacks, fix white balance, and increase contrast. Lastly, I bumped up vibrance by 20 and saturation by 7. It's a time consuming process and one that takes practice.
    help with HDR post processing

  3. #3

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: help with HDR post processing

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterx View Post
    hi all.

    yesterday, i tried out hdr for the first time. i went to a place with sunlight, shadows etc. i used a tripod to get +1, 0 and -1 exposure shots of the same scene. these pics were taken in AV mode. i then went home and processed these images...

    i even tried out some guides on youtube on how to tone map on photomatix. i have managed to get a result, but it doesnt look like the amazing hdr images that we see on google and CiC.

    hence i am posting my original pic, with perfect exposure and the edited hdr pic. would be grateful if someone could show me how to edit the pic for that unreal WOW effect.

    i used photomatix for hdr and picasa for final editing.

    help with HDR post processing

    help with HDR post processing

    thanks
    Hi Anirban,

    I think you need to take a step back and revisit just what HDR is trying to achieve. It's a technique to compile a normal dynamic range image from a number of source images that are bracketed to cover the entire dynamic range of the scene you're trying to capture. In this case the scene really isn't a particularly high dynamic range scene to start with; if you shot RAW (exposing for the highlights) and then simply used a fill light control to raise the level of the shadow detail then you'll probably find that it was all there, and not too noisy. Additionally, bracketing 3 shots at 1 stop intervals isn't going to capture much more dynamic range in the scene -- normally you'll want to capture at 2 or 3 stop intervals (and usually manual mode will get you a more reliable result).

    Finally, Photomatix tends to over-saturate a scene by default ... you'll normally need to open the image up in Photoshop and desaturate it quite significantly.

    If you want a good HDR candidate scene, try capturing a room interior whilst at the same time correctly exposing the scene outside of the window.

  4. #4

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    Kirk Thibault

    Re: help with HDR post processing

    One of the things to consider in the execution of an HDR image is that the dynamic range mapping/tonemapping process is not the end of the road, but a stop along the way. In the above two images you posted, one is the 0 EV exposure and one is the Photomatix output. Fortunately, you have a very neutral tonemap, so you actually have a lot of flexibility in how you proceed. I took both images and blended them together and boosted contrast and saturation, and, of course, added a sweeet lens flare to augment the one that was naturally present, but slightly obscured, in the actual scene. The first attached image is this blend - probably over the top. The second image is a blend of the over-the-top blend and the original, 0 EV image which tends to tone things down a little and bring the image back to a more natural feel (normal blend mode, 50% opacity). The third image is with a softlight blend mode 50% and the last image is with a shadow-highlights adjustment to the softlight blend. You get the idea.

    Experiment and try not to get the impression that you image, straight out of Photomatix, is the end of the road.

    Have fun!

    Kirk
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    timo2's Avatar
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    Re: help with HDR post processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Anirban,

    I think you need to take a step back and revisit just what HDR is trying to achieve. It's a technique to compile a normal dynamic range image from a number of source images that are bracketed to cover the entire dynamic range of the scene you're trying to capture. In this case the scene really isn't a particularly high dynamic range scene to start with; if you shot RAW (exposing for the highlights) and then simply used a fill light control to raise the level of the shadow detail then you'll probably find that it was all there, and not too noisy. Additionally, bracketing 3 shots at 1 stop intervals isn't going to capture much more dynamic range in the scene -- normally you'll want to capture at 2 or 3 stop intervals (and usually manual mode will get you a more reliable result).

    Finally, Photomatix tends to over-saturate a scene by default ... you'll normally need to open the image up in Photoshop and desaturate it quite significantly.

    If you want a good HDR candidate scene, try capturing a room interior whilst at the same time correctly exposing the scene outside of the window.
    Photomatix has a Colour Saturation slider; saturation is in the hands of the user.

  6. #6
    timo2's Avatar
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    Re: help with HDR post processing

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterx View Post
    hi all.

    yesterday, i tried out hdr for the first time. i went to a place with sunlight, shadows etc. i used a tripod to get +1, 0 and -1 exposure shots of the same scene. these pics were taken in AV mode. i then went home and processed these images...

    i even tried out some guides on youtube on how to tone map on photomatix. i have managed to get a result, but it doesnt look like the amazing hdr images that we see on google and CiC.

    hence i am posting my original pic, with perfect exposure and the edited hdr pic. would be grateful if someone could show me how to edit the pic for that unreal WOW effect.

    i used photomatix for hdr and picasa for final editing.

    help with HDR post processing

    help with HDR post processing

    thanks
    Your “perfect” exposure is underexposed.

  7. #7
    David's Avatar
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    Re: help with HDR post processing

    Hi Anirban - I think this is a very good first try with HDT techniques. You don't say what camera and lens you used, but the initial image looks to me close to a full dynamic range for a typical DSLR. There is what looks like a white out from the sun behind one of the bridge's pillars and very deep shadow inbetween the lower pillars of the building. If you did not use HDR processing on this, as Colin points out you would have some significant post processing to do with whatever editor you use. Besides, while HDR techniques are at there best when dealing with a dynamic range greater than that of your camera, there is nothing wrong with using the methods for effect.

    Looking more closely at the images, you have probably noticed the ghosting in the figures and football in the lower RHS. Depending on your view, you might want to get rid of this or let it stay. The highlights of the sun reflecting of the cables on the bridge, I think, are particularly good. The final image does appear a bit underexposed and that could be remedied either in the HDR software or in further processing. I might use a shadow mask to keep the sky and bridge as they are but lighten the lower third to half. Finally, if you want a "wow" effect, try a bit of local contrast enhancement - there's a tutorial on it here at CiC by Sean.

    Cheers

    David

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