Different HDR processes : Which one works best for you ?


Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
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#1
HI everyone,

I would like to share some information about HDR pressing. What technique are you using ?

I use several different processes so far , still can not decide which is the best ( depends on the situation)
1) Shot several pictures in Raw or Jpeg with + / - stops and stack them with HDR stacking software ( NIK or Photoshop 5)
2) Shot one Raw picture, process to at least 3 different Jpegs ( sky , mid tones, shadows) and stack them as in point one
3) Use ether method 1 or 2 to shot, and stack pictures manually ( masking / graduation )
4) Use selective brightness, contrast, saturation setting on one picture
 

Kenneth67C

New Member
Oct 20, 2010
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Shanghai, China, China
#2
Firstly let me state that I use Photomatix pro.
I usually shoot 3 shots +/- 1-2 stops depending on the scene, always in RAW.
RAW offers more detail plus even in the worst situation that you cannot use 2 of the 3 shots, then you might be able to save the shot with just that 1 good shot to do the HDR. Photomatix allows you to just load the single shot and it will extrapolate the exposure, you don't need to manually do it outside of the software, although that is possible.

On a side note, I generally avoid using the presets, which make the shot look exaggerated.

I'll let the others who use the same software as you to comment further.
 

Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
407
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#3
Thanks for your comments Kennneth, I also shoot everything in raw, it is better to convert later, as jpeg is not a lossless compression.
I tried out Phomatix , it is very common , I heard. But, as I am working on a Mac, NIK HDR Effex Pro is the choice, or the new HDR functionality of Photoshop CS5 . These 2 work great for 80% of my pictures, but sometimes I do 100 % handwork, with different raw ( if available ) or from raw created jpegs , and masking / graduatuation / overlaying technique .of course this takes ages.
 

wolfcry91

New Member
Jun 17, 2009
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#5
Mind sharing the masking/graduation/overlaying techniques?
 

Aug 8, 2008
605
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Singapore
#6
For me the usual HDR workflow would be:

1. Shoot in RAW at 0, +2EV, -2EV (most of the time 3 shots are sufficient; can expand to +/-3EV and/or 5 shots, but it all depends on how wide ranging the range is)
2. Merge shots on Photomatix and tweak controls until "shiok". I also avoided the presets because of the cartoony effects, and secondly, I want to create my own desired look.
3. Save merged shot as TIF file.
4. Open TIF file and apply tweaks like levels, curves, sharpening, noise removal, etc in Photoshop
5. Save file as JPG.
6. Upload to website, view and admire to heart's content. :)

And all of the above can be done in 15 minutes or less...any longer it'd not be worth doing it.
 

Last edited:
Aug 8, 2008
605
0
0
Singapore
#7
Mind sharing the masking/graduation/overlaying techniques?
This is the "traditional" photoshop technique, taking different exposed shots and selectively masking the areas that you want or don't want. It's painful, but some people like this because of the fine control they can exert over the final image. That's why software like Photomatix exists to ease the pain.
 

Achim Reh

New Member
Nov 1, 2011
407
1
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#8
Yes, it is sometimes painful detail work. For example ,mask want you want by hand, edit all the settings till it looks like you want it , save the layer, inverse the selection, edit , save , and so on ... Or you use to 2 pictures wih different gradients that you overlay . I only do this , when I have a lot of time on my hands, otherwise I use a method similar as described by LifeinMarco above, just with the difference that I use NIK HDR software.
Or , sometimes , if the raw file has already enough information inside that I can use, I do selective raw editing .
 

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