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Thread: HDR image creation

  1. #1

    Default HDR image creation

    Hi all, new to this forum, tried to do a search on the topic of HDR but nothing came up..

    Am still quite a cam noob, have done some simple shooting / basic knowledge of lighting and flash, but am currently hooked on looking at amazing HDR images!

    Anyone have any idea on how to do it ? From my understanding it's to take several high resolution images at different exposures, then merge them together in Photoshop to HDR then adjust teh curves. Anyone have their own technique to share?

    A link here to a local sg photog's flickr, he has really amazing pictures and a mindblowing HDR set.

    http://flickr.com/photos/danielcheong/

  2. #2

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Just in time, me too looking in trying HDR...

  3. #3

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Managed to scrounge up a link, but it's very brief and doesn't really explain much on the technique

    http://www.nicolasgenette.com/Labo/A.../index_us.php/

    More interesting articles on how-to and the intricacies of HDR photography!

    http://range.wordpress.com/2006/07/1...ng-relaxation/

    using ps cs2 to create hdr images
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...amic-range.htm
    Last edited by orcfiend; 1st October 2008 at 07:58 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by orcfiend View Post
    Managed to scrounge up a link, but it's very brief and doesn't really explain much on the technique

    http://www.nicolasgenette.com/Labo/A.../index_us.php/

    More interesting articles on how-to and the intricacies of HDR photography!

    http://range.wordpress.com/2006/07/1...ng-relaxation/

    using ps cs2 to create hdr images
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...amic-range.htm
    hey, check this out: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420807

    especially www.stuckincustoms.com that was mentioned

  5. #5

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    I have a very good DVD on HDR, title HDR & Photoshop by Colin Smith. he is one of the guru in HDR and photoshop.

    watching the DVD with live demo, you can learn the techniques within days compared to a book which you need to figure out yourself and this will take weeks or months.

    Trust me, invest in a DVD to speed up your learning curve.

    If you want i can sell my copy of this DVD for $70. Retail price at riceball is $89.95. bought last month only.

    Letting it go cos i have already learn how to create HDR from the DVD.

  6. #6

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by orcfiend View Post
    Anyone have any idea on how to do it ? From my understanding it's to take several high resolution images at different exposures, then merge them together in Photoshop to HDR then adjust teh curves. Anyone have their own technique to share?

    A link here to a local sg photog's flickr, he has really amazing pictures and a mindblowing HDR set.

    http://flickr.com/photos/danielcheong/
    it is very easy to be wowed by effects when you're new. view such overdone hdr images a thousand times and you'll find that you lose interest quickly, because for most people they have little (if not zero) connection with reality - simply put, an overdone hdr image is not what one sees in reality. and we all are anchored in reality, like it or not. surrealism is alright, but only to a certain extent.

    there are many programs to do hdr, but many people push them far too hard, leading to huge amounts of haloing, unnatural lighting.

    think about it - what is hdr about? expanding dynamic range in a scene. in a sunset with a dark foreground, the human eye can perceive teh shadow (dark) detail, but the camera cannot, because it has more limited dynamic range. hdr allows one to do so, but EVEN THEN, what i call the hierachy of light has to be true.

    for example, if the sun is present and naked in the sky, and your building/foreground is as bright as it, something is wrong. the order of brightest point in graduation to darkest point should remain natural.

    danielcheong has some very nice photos, i give you that, but not all of them are good. i personally prefer his digital blending series more, a lot better than his photomatix results.

    if you want really good hdr - look at realkuhl (on flickr), a landscape photographer from the us (if i'm not wrong) who does it manually, very inspirational. also uses photomatix sometimes.

    i have tried photomatix, dynamic hdr, and manual blending in photoshop cs2 using layers. i prefer the first to the second, and the third to the first, but the amount of work to be done is exponential..
    Last edited by night86mare; 1st October 2008 at 09:23 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Last edited by Headshotzx; 1st October 2008 at 09:47 PM.
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  8. #8

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    it is very easy to be wowed by effects when you're new. view such overdone hdr images a thousand times and you'll find that you lose interest quickly, because for most people they have little (if not zero) connection with reality - simply put, an overdone hdr image is not what one sees in reality. and we all are anchored in reality, like it or not. surrealism is alright, but only to a certain extent.

    there are many programs to do hdr, but many people push them far too hard, leading to huge amounts of haloing, unnatural lighting.

    think about it - what is hdr about? expanding dynamic range in a scene. in a sunset with a dark foreground, the human eye can perceive teh shadow (dark) detail, but the camera cannot, because it has more limited dynamic range. hdr allows one to do so, but EVEN THEN, what i call the hierachy of light has to be true.

    for example, if the sun is present and naked in the sky, and your building/foreground is as bright as it, something is wrong. the order of brightest point in graduation to darkest point should remain natural.

    danielcheong has some very nice photos, i give you that, but not all of them are good. i personally prefer his digital blending series more, a lot better than his photomatix results.

    if you want really good hdr - look at realkuhl (on flickr), a landscape photographer from the us (if i'm not wrong) who does it manually, very inspirational. also uses photomatix sometimes.

    i have tried photomatix, dynamic hdr, and manual blending in photoshop cs2 using layers. i prefer the first to the second, and the third to the first, but the amount of work to be done is exponential..
    that is a good point you have there. I may be overawed by HDR due to my noobishness But looking at landscape pics HDR'ed really gives me a good feeling..

    what is manual blending? please enlighten hehe if you don't mind

  9. #9

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by orcfiend View Post
    that is a good point you have there. I may be overawed by HDR due to my noobishness But looking at landscape pics HDR'ed really gives me a good feeling..

    what is manual blending? please enlighten hehe if you don't mind
    manual blending is actually quite easy in terms of concept, but doing it can be quite a pain, and one should not be too ambitious in terms of ability.. some photos are probably better suited for manual blending than others.

    i usually stack 3 photos together - and primarily for seascapes since they are a pet love of mine. one exposure for the SKY colors. one exposure for the foreground (usually rocks, almost always rocks for me), one exposure for the foreground water. as to how many to use, what to take.. that you have to judge based on your visualisation of the scene.

    i usually put the darkest photo at the bottom, and the brighest photo on top. it really depends on your preference, but you have to have a strong understanding of layers in photoshop to do this properly. and a lot of patience to painstaking erase at 100% to make sure you do it properly, start off with a large brush to erase the major areas, then zone in with a small SOFT brush for the fine edges.

    this is a manually blended photo:



    as is this:



    compare this to a photomatix photo which i have tried my best to massage to look natural:



    whatever you say, photomatix still softens the picture, and it also introduces very funny color shifts that may not seem like the best that you can get. hope this helps. feel free to clarify if you need more info, so long as it doesn't involve spoonfeeding.

  10. #10

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    oh! thanks so much. so you mean something like taking multiple exposures facilitating to expose different areas of the picture, then layering everything over and something like layer masking/use brush to "blend" the different pictures in? BTW that's some really good hdr shots you've done there. i hope to be able to do sth like that soon haha

    This seems to be the "easiest" and the one I think I can try doing - easiest as in most fool-proof - using the Merge to HDR in CS2 and Photomatix (I think must pay for full version? bah) would still require some fooling around with tone maps and curves, I don't think I can grasp that as easily as layers/layer mask. Maybe I'll try taking a few shots and trying it out in photoshop soon!

    A noobish question though, when taking these kind of shots do we use autobracketing? Or just shoot Av/M with multiple exposures several stops down from the reference pic? It sounds quite hard without a tripod due to handshaking / blurriness when hitting the shutter. Would the manual blend method work in this case (cos I think CS2/Photomatix have the option of lining up the shots, aligning if you will) then?

    Thanks for your input night86mare, hope I'm not killing you haha

  11. #11
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    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    ...
    whatever you say, photomatix still softens the picture, and it also introduces very funny color shifts that may not seem like the best that you can get. hope this helps. feel free to clarify if you need more info, so long as it doesn't involve spoonfeeding.
    I agree. I've been getting weird green colour casts despite nailing my WB on the shot.

  12. #12

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikejonesphoto/

    I like his work.
    Some of his HDR i think are good.
    Maybe i am new and being wow by it

    Shyan

  13. #13

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by orcfiend View Post
    oho! thanks so much. so you mean something like taking multiple exposures facilitating to expose different areas of the picture, then layering everything over and something like layer masking/use brush to "blend" the different pictures in? BTW that's some really good hdr shots you've done there. i hope to be able to do sth like that soon haha
    yes.. that is right.
    This seems to be the "easiest" and the one I think I can try doing - easiest as in most fool-proof - using the Merge to HDR in CS2 and Photomatix (I think must pay for full version? bah) would still require some fooling around with tone maps and curves, I don't think I can grasp that as easily as layers/layer mask. Maybe I'll try taking a few shots and trying it out in photoshop soon!
    the easiest way is almost always the way which gives you the least control. think autolevels and auto color and auto contrast. you will need to pay for the full version of photomatix, that's for sure.

    personally my workflow AFTER a certain balance is reached in photomatix involves (in that particular order) massaging in photoshop:

    1) further shadow/highlight adjustments (very slight, usually 1 or 2%)
    2) curves adjustment (probably the most important)
    3) color balance adjustment (second most important - this will help you get rid of the color shifts and give more natural color once you get the hang of it)
    4) exposure/gamma adjustments
    5) sharpening
    6) further multiply(selective) layer if i feel the sky warrants it.
    A noobish question though, when taking these kind of shots do we use autobracketing? Or just shoot Av/M with multiple exposures several stops down from the reference pic? It sounds quite hard without a tripod due to handshaking / blurriness when hitting the shutter. Would the manual blend method work in this case (cos I think CS2/Photomatix have the option of lining up the shots, aligning if you will) then?

    Thanks for your input night86mare, hope I'm not killing you haha
    it is best to understand how the hdr program works, it wants details. autobracketing means.. letting the camera decide what details are there. it is a lazy way. same for av priority.

    the most conservative way is to use spot metering, and decide exactly how many exposures you need. then keeping only shutter speed changed, and the other settings constant (including white balance, if you shoot auto white balance good luck to you).. shoot the jpgs required.

    the next (slightly lazy) way that i like to use is just determine the intermediate (REAL 0 ev exposure) setting required, and do a +3 to -3 range (7 jpgs in total) with one stop in between. if your scene has a wider dynamic range, forget about photomatix, it is going to give shitty results, you will either have to blend it manually (which is good luck to you too).. frankly i would not waste the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    I agree. I've been getting weird green colour casts despite nailing my WB on the shot.
    color balance.. your best friend!

  14. #14

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    Quote Originally Posted by ShyanL View Post
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikejonesphoto/

    I like his work.
    Some of his HDR i think are good.
    Maybe i am new and being wow by it

    Shyan
    i quite like the stuff he has..

    anyhow , this is realkuhl's flickr

    he has a tutorial (albeit simplistic) on manual blending, just to give a rough idea, click on "all sizes" - link

    this is a shot he has done using photomatix:
    #1

    few examples of manual blending:
    #1
    #2

    he doesn't state explicitly that he blends every photo.. but i would think majority are blended, hard to achieve that sort of dynamic range, especially with a 20d (earlier generation camera).

  15. #15

    Default Re: HDR image creation

    HDR solves the problem of insufficient dynamic range.

    but, can the concept used to solve the problem of insufficient DOF?

    eg, night86mare, your shot of the seascape. i'd assume your focus is on the rocks and u stop down to achieve sharpness in the distance industrial area? or, are u using hyperfocal?

    but, is it possible to focus on the rock, at f8 (presumely the optimum optical performance), expose for it correctly. then, change focus to the background (industrial area and sky), which is at infinity, also exposing it correctly at f8. then blend the 2 pic (which has different exposure and different focal point) together?

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