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Author Topic: Opinions on HDR  (Read 22526 times)
Paul Kay
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« on: April 09, 2007, 01:26:33 PM »
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I have been shooting a lot in order to try Photomatix and see what the resultant images are like! Sometimes I'm very impressed and the results are very photographic with superb tonality but sometimes not. The conditions and light quality seem to be very decisive in dictating final results. Here are two images from North Wales taken in the last few days for comment:
[attachment=2265:attachment][attachment=2266:attachment]
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 08:46:36 PM »
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Nice shots, my compliments.

Sometimes I like HDR and sometimes not.  So far, my results with HDR and Photomatix) are rather unpredictable although better than I can get with CS2/3beta.  The only conclusion that I've drawn is that if chimping the histogram indicates that multiple exposures are necessary then HDR (and Photomatix) can produce an image that I like.

That said, sometimes tinkering with the Photomatix settings produces an odd image that I really like -- I just don't understand how to do this consistently but am hoping to learn.
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seanmcfoto
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 08:53:40 PM »
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Paul,
Those images look good and still look quite natural.

Gordon,
I've just started with Photomatix and I have to agree, sometimes it's not easy to get it looking good.. Practice, I guess.
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:Ollivr
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2007, 03:48:52 AM »
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Congrats, nice images! There are some halos due to the tonemapping but its a matter of taste if one worries about that. I think some pictures can have a bit of halo and still look good.
In case you dont like the halos you could try to use the HDR/Tonemapped frame as a layer for havng the microtonality in the rocks and another non-hdr frame for the critical parts prone to halo (paint over it).

O.
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LoisWakeman
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2007, 04:21:49 AM »
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Paul - in general, my answer is I don't like them, as all too often they are flat and dull, or just plain weird but not in a good way. But I suspect that is as much to do with the way the tools are used (not well) as the technique in general.

As for your images: the first is very naturalistic. The second is not (well, as far as I can tell as I wasn't there with you) - but it does have a serene and surreal, dreamy charm of its own, and I would have been pleased to have taken it. The sky looks a bit muddy (only on my laptop which has a weedy monitor - so not conclusive), but apart from that, it's very attractive.
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laughingbear
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007, 05:47:28 AM »
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Greetings,

this is an interesting thread. I also started recently to expore the possibilities of HDR for Landscapes, and while I have not established an informed opinion yet, my gut feeling tells my this is an interesting tool to work with.

The below example is a panorama crop that was made from 4 pictures, shot in 3x exposure blending @1EV. The resulting 4 TIFF's were processed in Photomatix and then in PS.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2007, 03:11:59 PM »
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I think the examples in this thread are pretty good. But more often than not the tone-mapped HDR images I see on the web have an artificial look to them due to too much local contrast or halos. Sometimes it can be an interesting look if that's what you're going for, but not really what I would consider a realistic looking photo.

I've played with Photomatix quite a bit, and have rarely been able to get a tone-mapped result that I was happy with; it either comes out too flat-looking or too cartoonish-looking. I can almost always get what I consider to be a more natural looking result by manually combining the exposures the old-fashioned way in Photoshop (using layers and masks). This latter approach usually results in something more similar to what we're used to seeing from film shots with ND-grad filters (except that you have more control over over the light-dark transition with masks).

As :Ollivr mentioned, sometimes a combination of the two approaches (HDR tone-mapping and layered exposures) can work well.
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SlimE
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 09:01:04 AM »
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I tend to feel that HDR is only a great tool if the shot really has the dynamic range to justify it. Otherwise its hard to get natural looking results.Nice photos though!
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Neil Hunt
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 12:18:39 PM »
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Your shot of Penmon Lighthouse is one of the best HDR images I've seen, perhaps I'm biased by the fact that its one of my favourite spots in the world.

In general though I just can't get into HDR, maybe because the viewer's attention isn't directed around the image the way it would be with more defined highlights and shadows.
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2007, 10:50:36 AM »
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Desirig a mmore natural look in my work, I have not been a big fan of HDR.....they can make for some beautiful work....and I often see shots just like this that I DO like....but not my cup of tea in my own portfolio.

Personally I think HDR is in it's infantsy....and has a LOT of maturing to do.

For me if "flattens" the natural light to the point of loosing its direction...and all the other visual clues we as humans look for.

That for me is a deal killer.

Nice work though!!!

Roman
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 10:51:18 AM by RomanJohnston » Logged

Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 07:53:57 AM »
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HDR is simply one of many tools one can use to create an image. It can be done well or done badly, and is not appropriate for every image. But it should not be ignored, either; every well-rounded photographer should know how and when to use it.
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 08:03:41 AM »
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Quote
HDR is simply one of many tools one can use to create an image. It can be done well or done badly, and is not appropriate for every image. But it should not be ignored, either; every well-rounded photographer should know how and when to use it.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have yet to see a work flow that dosnt kill the dynamics of the natural light. (looses its crispness.....you know...that micro contrast) Therfore it isnt in my kit of tools. If I could find a workflow that wouldnt do that to the shots....I would consider it....Till then no dice...my tools will always out perofrm what I have seen so far.

If you have any enlightning materials....I am ALL about learning....I went through great pains to figure out the best path for me in the world of compressing Dynamic Range.....My tutorial here is the best I have come up with so far.....but feel free to point out somthing that works better....(it is similar to the tutorial here, but with some twists)

[a href=\"http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthreads/information/php/2007_Articles/rjohnston/roman2.php]http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthreads/in...ston/roman2.php[/url]

Roman
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Brentbat
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2007, 03:24:14 AM »
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Folks

I've spent the last 3 months really focusing on HDR.  And I have to say that I am a convert if it is used carefully.  I really don't care for the "over-cooked" HDR images, but instead I try to use it subtely.  Here's a couple that I shot.








So the two most important sliders in Photomatix that impact how natural your tonemapping is going to be
1) Strength - Keep closer to the middle for more realistic images, over to the right for more "intense" images

2) Light Smoothing - This is the key one.  If you want your images realistic, then leave it hard over to the right.

Hope this helps...  I agree with previous contributors... HDR is just one more tool in the photographic arsenal... In the wrong hands it can look awful, in the right hands it can create scenes that are very difficult to do through traditional bracketing/blending.

Hope this helps.

Brent
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2007, 06:19:20 AM »
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Nice Images...the middle one comes closest I have seen to removing that synthetic feel...but it still has it.

Somthing about the process flattens the light out....makes the picture look like a REALLY good Computer Generated scene.

Roman


Quote
Folks

I've spent the last 3 months really focusing on HDR.  And I have to say that I am a convert if it is used carefully.  I really don't care for the "over-cooked" HDR images, but instead I try to use it subtely.  Here's a couple that I shot.






So the two most important sliders in Photomatix that impact how natural your tonemapping is going to be
1) Strength - Keep closer to the middle for more realistic images, over to the right for more "intense" images



2) Light Smoothing - This is the key one.  If you want your images realistic, then leave it hard over to the right.

Hope this helps...  I agree with previous contributors... HDR is just one more tool in the photographic arsenal... In the wrong hands it can look awful, in the right hands it can create scenes that are very difficult to do through traditional bracketing/blending.

Hope this helps.

Brent
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=121015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Brentbat
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2007, 10:44:51 PM »
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Nice Images...the middle one comes closest I have seen to removing that synthetic feel...but it still has it.

Somthing about the process flattens the light out....makes the picture look like a REALLY good Computer Generated scene.

Roman
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=121023\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, you are right Roman, by definition of HDR, it is flattening out the tonal range that you would normally capture, but it does this to include shadows/highlights that would otherwise be lost.

Any way you look at it, you are going to compress something if you are trying to render high range subjects.  There are definitely some subjects that I think are not suitable for HDR treatment, and for those I will use masks and exposure blending.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2007, 12:25:35 PM »
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HDR is simply one of many tools one can use to create an image. It can be done well or done badly, and is not appropriate for every image. But it should not be ignored, either; every well-rounded photographer should know how and when to use it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=120601\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm new to the technique and the few times I have tried creating an HDR it has NOT been successful. When would you use it and when would you not? If the dynamic range of the scene exceeds the sensors dynamic range and you don't want shadows going black you would use the technique?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2007, 12:40:23 PM »
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The images are very nice so I took a stab at HDR without much initial success.
Using Photomatix what settings/techniques do you use to get good results? I started with 3 exposures -2. 0 +2 used HDR/Generate then HDR/tone mapping played with the sliders a lot but never got anything close to good results. Any help would be appreciated.
Marc

The original (single exposure) conversion, the final (single exposure) and the HDR
[attachment=2613:attachment][attachment=2612:attachment][attachment=2614:attachm
ent]
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Marc McCalmont
jani
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 03:42:41 AM »
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Yes, you are right Roman, by definition of HDR, it is flattening out the tonal range that you would normally capture, but it does this to include shadows/highlights that would otherwise be lost.
This is why it should either be called CDR (compressed dynamic range) or CHDR (compressed high dynamic range), not HDR. Calling it "HDR" only adds to the confusion.

It's not HDR until what you see has a high dynamic range. As long as monitors and printers don't allow a high dynamic range, "HDR" isn't really HDR.
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Jan
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 04:49:15 PM »
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Tanks guys for this nice tread. I haven't done much myself but here is one, the first one is non-HDR in evening light and the second one HDR in morning light, but almost a 11 months later.

normal


hdr with photomatix


My Webpage
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2007, 08:32:30 AM »
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This is why it should either be called CDR (compressed dynamic range) or CHDR (compressed high dynamic range), not HDR. Calling it "HDR" only adds to the confusion.
The process of converting an HDR image to 8/16-bit is called tone-mapping, so I think tone-mapped HDR is a pretty good description of what we're talking about.

I agree with the "compressed" comment though, because most of the images coming out of photomatix that I see have heavy local contrast which really clobbers sublte tonal variations. That's my biggest complaint with photomatix tone-mapping.
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