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Author Topic: Zero Noise HDR virtual RAW  (Read 34930 times)
Guillermo Luijk
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« on: December 22, 2008, 11:33:11 AM »
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I have already posted this here, but didn't seem of much interest to the audience there. However I consider it something interesting so even if I may result boring I'll give it a new try on a discusion thread of its own.

It's all about HDR RAW fusion. All of us know that captured DR can be expanded by shooting more than once at different exposure values, and properly blending the information obtained from all those shots (in general highlights from the least exposed shots, and noiseless shadows from the most exposed ones).

Unluckily most programs performing this task (Photomatix, HDR in PS, Enfuse,...) do their proper RAW development and also do the tone mapping, so the user looses control over the process and cannot make use of his regular workflow tools.

What I tried to achieve is to fuse several RAW files, but obtaining another RAW file as output. This resulting RAW file is noise free (as much as the source files allow for) and preserves the highlights, so looking at the information contained on it, it can be considered an HDR RAW file. But the new thing is that now the user can develop it in his own RAW developer or feed it into his preferred tone mapping software.

I.e., an optimum (maximum noise reduction and maximum sharpness preservation via non-progressive blending) mix is carried out over an arbitrary set of RAW files, putting the best information of each of them into a resulting RAW file (16-bit DNG) that summarizes all the useful information found in the original files. Now it is up to the user what to do next (develop it with his RAW developer, tone map it with Photomatix,...).

What do you think about the usefulness and applications of this RAW fusion?

The source RAW files and the resulting DNG are ready for download in the original article (see 'DOWNLOAD RAW FILES'): ZERO NOISE VIRTUAL RAW.

The scene was captured through 2 exposures 4 stops apart and the resulting non demosaiced DNG is a real 16-bit RAW file, containing free of noise the ~12 f-stops of DR of the real scene. When comparing the resulting DNG to the original files in the extreme ends of the DR, we conclude none of them was capable on its own to capture all the DR, but the DNG is:




With proper RAW development adjustments we get straight from ACR this tone mapped HDR picture:



Some field must be missing or wrong in building the DNG file so I couldn't open it with DCRAW. Just try ACR which works fine with it.

BR
« Last Edit: December 22, 2008, 11:34:30 AM by GLuijk » Logged

Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 03:23:58 PM »
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Hi Guillermo!

I can not understand that you feel that your Zero Noise has not been of much interest to the audience here. The thread to which you link fills 14 pages, and my impression is that quite some people are eager to try the software at once it is ready. Myself, being a Mac addict, I have prepared by befriending Parallels, and I'm just short of learning Spanish
;-)

Merry Christmas!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2008, 03:59:55 PM by Hening » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2008, 11:21:36 PM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
I have already posted this here, but didn't seem of much interest to the audience there. However I consider it something interesting so even if I may result boring I'll give it a new try on a discusion thread of its own.

Hi Guillermo,

I am very interested in your work and very thankful that you are willing to share it with us here at LL.

VMWare 2.0 would be the host for me since I am also on OSX and I need to find an efficient way to generate DNG files from my .nefs, but those are the 2 main obstacles.

One question though, do the 2 images need to be aligned within one pixel for this to work? Assuming that the answer is yes, you will probably need to develop an auto or manual align capability if it isn't there yet.

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard

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A few images online here!
Farmer
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2008, 11:53:39 PM »
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Let me say that I will pay for this when it is available - no question that it's of great interest to me.

I hope there might even be a nice 64bit version since I run Vista 64 :-)
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Kumar
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 12:07:29 AM »
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Hi Guillermo,

There is a lot of interest. We're all waiting for you to release the software!

Cheers,
Kumar
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2008, 02:05:22 AM »
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I'm also interested in this. Having it as an Aperture plug-in would be good     (I'm also on a Mac)
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 03:42:20 AM »
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If you need to align multiple RAWs (the source RAWs are not lined up pixel-perfect), the source RAWs should be demosaiced, then blended, then the result saved as a linear-RGB DNG. The file size will be 3x larger, but a small amount of misalignment is actually a good thing--look at the benefits of multishot MF backs that take several shots with an intentional 1-pixel offset (vertical and horizontal) to create a RAW with real data in the R, G, and B channels for each pixel. These backs are not trying to extend DR, but not having to interpolate 2/3 of the color value for each pixel increases per-pixel IQ significantly.

Anyway, good work so far, and I can't wait to play with the software once it is available.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2008, 09:26:57 PM »
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Hi Guillermo,

I'll add my name to the list of interested parties. The results look very impressive.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
akclimber
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2008, 12:35:58 AM »
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Hi Guillermo,

Count me in as another future customer!  Your work will be very valuable.

Cheers!
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2008, 12:40:18 PM »
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Hi all, thanks for the response. I know the Zero Noise thread created a lot of discussion, and I am happy for that. In this case I wanted to show the output DNG as a new thing, I think I felt too excited about it hehe. Discussion in the forums has revealed as source no. 1 of motivation for experimenting. In particular I tried to do the blending with a RAW output thanks to a honest comment from Jon Wienke in the past, since for me it does not add too much to the TIFF blending.

Regarding the alignment issue, it is true that working in RAW in this case is a drawback (as is any geometrical correction that needs shifting of the image or interpolation). I can think of some aligment on RGGB images but half as precise as that obtained working over image files. Unless you demosaic the RAW data as Jon says, to have all RAW files properly aligned in the Bayer pattern, the alignment that can be done will always be on an even offset on both axes: +0, +2, +4,...

The best thing is to minimise the need of alignment. If this is unavoidable, a TIFF alignment would be preferred.

BR and Merry Christmas.

PS: BTW I have just reorganised my site clearly indicating which contents are translated into English, and providing online translation links where not. Some people got mad clicking on English links that led to Spanish contents.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2008, 12:45:19 PM by GLuijk » Logged

Farmer
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2008, 03:32:06 PM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
Hi all, thanks for the response. I know the Zero Noise thread created a lot of discussion, and I am happy for that. In this case I wanted to show the output DNG as a new thing, I think I felt too excited about it hehe. Discussion in the forums has revealed as source no. 1 of motivation for experimenting. In particular I tried to do the blending with a RAW output thanks to a honest comment from Jon Wienke in the past, since for me it does not add too much to the TIFF blending.

Regarding the alignment issue, it is true that working in RAW in this case is a drawback (as is any geometrical correction that needs shifting of the image or interpolation). I can think of some aligment on RGGB images but half as precise as that obtained working over image files. Unless you demosaic the RAW data as Jon says, to have all RAW files properly aligned in the Bayer pattern, the alignment that can be done will always be on an even offset on both axes: +0, +2, +4,...

The best thing is to minimise the need of alignment. If this is unavoidable, a TIFF alignment would be preferred.

BR and Merry Christmas.

PS: BTW I have just reorganised my site clearly indicating which contents are translated into English, and providing online translation links where not. Some people got mad clicking on English links that led to Spanish contents.

Merry Christmas to you, too :-)

For me, working with raw and output to DNG is extremely valuable and very appealing in this software.  I hope that is what is released and then I will buy it for certain :-)
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jliechty
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2008, 02:41:01 PM »
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Very impressive!  I can't wait to try it.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2009, 04:50:14 PM »
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add my name to the list of those very interested.  I'm not technical enough to discuss many of the ideas and how they are applied but have read the 0 noise thread a couple of times.  Like many others I'll have to run the software using parallels on my Mac, but happy to do so if I can achieve what you describe ... a noise free "RAW" file.
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Frasier66
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 04:24:21 AM »
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GLuijk:
I find this discussion very interesting but I´ve got some questions about alignment of the source RAW images. It was said here that you have to demosaic and stack the RAW files in order to align them properly. What software would I take for that task? I have to save each RAW file separately and not as a stack, right!? Otherwise I could not process them in "zero noise". It is still a little bit confusing since I never dealt with this topic before. There are also some very interesting articles on your homepage, even I find it sometimes a little bit difficult to understand the "translated" text. By the way ... I am from Germany
Kepp up that great work! Grettings, Jochen
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markhout
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2009, 08:22:37 AM »
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Always experimenting with RAW, count me in!

Mark
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button
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 04:14:12 PM »
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How goes the programming, Guillermo?  This thread's been quiet lately.

John
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2009, 08:09:37 PM »
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Bump...hoping all is well with the programming...
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2009, 07:27:47 PM »
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Hi all, well if it only depended on me, there would exist a DNG version of ZN long ago. But the guy who has to code the DNG export routine is at the moment busy in finishing Perfect RAW v1.0 (it will have an OpenGL super fast GUI and the plan is to offer the code open and exportable to Linux and Mac).

Meanwhile I have been fully using the TIFF version in a recent work. Some samples:















Patience.

BR
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2009, 04:41:35 AM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
Meanwhile I have been fully using the TIFF version in a recent work. Some samples:
Great shots!

Well, count me also on the "greatly interested" list!
I wouldn't want to overburden the development plan, but would innocently think that for a DNG output, LR integration (in the LR/Enfuse fashion) would have a great potential.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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scott morrish
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2009, 10:43:00 AM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
What I tried to achieve is to fuse several RAW files, but obtaining another RAW file as output. This resulting RAW file is noise free (as much as the source files allow for) and preserves the highlights, so looking at the information contained on it, it can be considered an HDR RAW file. But the new thing is that now the user can develop it in his own RAW developer or feed it into his preferred tone mapping software.

Hi Guillermo,

I am new to these ideas (and the forum really), but am very interested too. It sounds like the ideal solution for certain images and your examples are awesome. As a complete novice in the world of HDR, my recent first steps have resulted in some ugly effects in areas where there has been subject movement (landscapes), although i realise that it may well be in large part down to user error on my part. Can i ask how well your process handles moving water, trees, clouds etc?

Very interested,
Scott
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