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Author Topic: SNS-HDR  (Read 16622 times)
Guillermo Luijk
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« on: February 24, 2010, 04:11:36 PM »
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A friend has sent me a link with a HDR tone mapping software that deserves some mention for its particular features.

It's as simple as possible: the user has nothing to decide, nothing to choose, no sliders, not even a graphical user interface. You just drag your TIFF, JPEG or RAW files and drop them over the .exe file (no installation required). The program will read the files, process them and produce the output.

Nothing to choose nor configure. If you like the result, then it's OK. If you don't, try other software.

The good thing is that in the few tests I have done it performs quite well: produces a colourful and well globally and locally contrasted image with a realistic appearance. I have seen it sometimes outputs partially saturated pixels producing slightly wrong colours though.

It is called SNS-HDR and some download links (depending on version) can be found in the following sophisticated site: SNS-HDR

I have done an example. A quite high dynamic range scene was shot 3 times at 2EV intervals. The resulting RAW files were processed and optimally fused using Zero Noise that was asked to produce a series of 5 output replicas at 1EV intervals, so that SNS-HDR could not complain about the input quality:




Those 5 TIFF files were dropped onto SNS-HDR and this was the result:



No visible halos, full dynamic range rendered, just some strange colours (partial saturation I think) under the chair, realistic view.

Here converted to B&W (no colour problems) just taking the L channel on Lab:



Regards
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 04:17:19 PM by Guillermo Luijk » Logged

Czornyj
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 04:29:20 PM »
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It's worth to mention, that Sebastian created also a more comlex version of SNS-HDR with GUI, available for download on the above mentioned site:
http://www.mmj.pl/~snibisz/SNS-HDR/SNS-HDR_Pro.zip


There's another cool, useful tool created by the same author - SNS-Resizer:
http://www.mmj.pl/~snibisz/SNS-Resizer/SNS-Resizer-800.exe
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 04:44:43 PM by Czornyj » Logged

NikoJorj
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2010, 06:06:47 AM »
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Quote from: Guillermo Luijk
The good thing is that in the few tests I have done it performs quite well: produces a colourful and well globally and locally contrasted image with a realistic appearance. I have seen it sometimes outputs partially saturated pixels producing slightly wrong colours though.
From the few tests I've done (not much at all), it seems that false color occur predictabily in areas where one of the channels of the lightest view is clipped, but there is color on other views, can be quite distracting.

Another thing that may be annoying, at least for me : it can't align handheld shots (at least in the lite version, I don't read polish).
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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Czornyj
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 06:39:31 AM »
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Quote from: NikoJorj
From the few tests I've done (not much at all), it seems that false color occur predictabily in areas where one of the channels of the lightest view is clipped, but there is color on other views, can be quite distracting.

Another thing that may be annoying, at least for me : it can't align handheld shots (at least in the lite version, I don't read polish).

Full version aligns shift, scale, rotation and perespective of mapped images.
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semillerimages
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2010, 09:31:57 PM »
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Wow, fantastic program! Best I have seen yet that I can just feed in images and out pops what I saw originally!
I'll try to upload some examples soon...

*steve

ps thanks for the link Guillermo!
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alban
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 10:57:40 AM »
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A Mac version perhaps?
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Mike Louw
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 12:01:28 PM »
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Quote from: alban
A Mac version perhaps?

Yes please!
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 12:01:29 PM »
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From the few tests I've done (not much at all), it seems that false color occur predictabily in areas where one of the channels of the lightest view is clipped, but there is color on other views
Wouldn't that almost always be the case with scenes than need HDR tonemapping?
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bill t.
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 04:48:37 PM »
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The GUI version is certainly the most flexible HDR program I've seen in terms of the range of more-or-less realistic interpretations possible.  But those looking for exaggerated tonality-from-Hell effects will be disappointed.

Great implementation of the controls.  Makes you wait a bit at the start as it does some sort of initial pre-processing, but then it's extremely responsive after that.

Seems to lack a batch mode, too bad for the pano stitchers.

Something odd about the color though.  Can't quite put my finger on it.
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Marshallarts
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2010, 08:32:09 PM »
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Thanks Guillermo for the link!  From past threads I thought you didn't experiment much with HDR, at least not with Photomatix.  I'm excited to see you've been using Zero Noise to output the files for HDR like you suggested in a thread of mine a few months ago.  I have a Mac so I haven't been able to try (and haven't had time to install a virtual machine).

You seem enthusiastic with the results!  Would you suppose it performs better than Photomatix if you were to feed both programs with the Zero Noise outputs?
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 09:10:33 AM »
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Quote from: Marshallarts
You seem enthusiastic with the results!  Would you suppose it performs better than Photomatix if you were to feed both programs with the Zero Noise outputs?
I have never been able to get something pleasant to my eye out of Photomatix; lighting and colours always tend to become unreal. That is why I have not insisted on that software. I think Photomatix has its biggest audience in those looking for exaggerated tonality-from-Hell effects as bill t. pointed.

On the other side this program, even in the all-auto version, performs quite reallistically. The clipped colours issue can probably be solved just by not feeding it with clipped images. Perhaps producing the high exposure replicas to be fed into SNS-HDR with a Bright curve (that compresses the highlights without clipping any channel) can fix it.

Regards

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Mike Louw
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 12:25:51 PM »
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Quote from: Guillermo Luijk
I have never been able to get something pleasant to my eye out of Photomatix;

I agree. I've just tried the program on my Windows laptop. IMO, results are superb. Better than anything I've been able to massage out of Photomatix.

I'm begging for a Mac version!  

The version on the site http://www.sns-hdr.com is a demo and won't save full-size files. How does one purchase it? I don't speak Polish (and neither does Babelfish, apparently!) so can't find the option to buy on the site.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 12:31:10 PM by Mike Louw » Logged

bill t.
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 12:44:28 PM »
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Well, SNS-HDR is more flexible than Photomatix, but at the cost of letting you go well past what the original photographs have to offer in terms of quality.  All too easy to drive those SNS controls into very heavy noise and color clipping.  It's as though SNS starts by aggressively trying to equalize your input files into something like a "normal" image which may result in noise levels getting pretty high as from over processing.

Photomatix seems to impose certain limits that forces you stay inside a more reasonable interpretation based on what your input files actually have to offer.  If you wish you can later adjust the Photomatix files in Photoshop to get more or less the same kind of result as from SNS.

But still, SNS offers great results when you have input files equal to its potentially aggressive processing.  But for my panos I still prefer Photoshopping the rather under-cooked files that I get out of Photomatix batch processing, and/or applying Guillermo-style shadow substitution techniques to already stitched bright/dark pano renditions.
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Peter_DL
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 04:31:53 PM »
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Quote from: Czornyj
It's worth to mention, that Sebastian created also a more comlex version of SNS-HDR with GUI, available for download on the above mentioned site:
http://www.mmj.pl/~snibisz/SNS-HDR/SNS-HDR_Pro.zip
The initial website: www.sns-hdr.com
mentions Euro 85 for the pro version: SNS-HDR Pro.
Not my language though.

?

Peter

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Czornyj
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 04:41:55 PM »
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Quote from: DPL
The initial website: www.sns-hdr.com
mentions Euro 85 for the pro version: SNS-HDR Pro.
Not my language though.

?

Peter

--

SNS-HDR Pro costs 85 euro, and there's also home licence for non-commercial use, that costs 30 euro. To buy the program, you need to send an order to snibisz@sns-hdr.com
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 04:57:02 PM by Czornyj » Logged

Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2010, 02:50:31 PM »
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I made a comparision between TuFuse with default parameters vs SNS-HDR Lite for HDR tone mapping.

To capture the entire dynamic range of the scene I used 5 shots 2EV apart:



Just the central 3 shots could have been used. The outdoor highlights would have got blown a bit and the deep shadows would have become a bit less noisefree, but the final result would have been almost as good.

The RAW files were optimally fused using Zero Noise. The gray tones in the following blending map indicate the source RAW used for every image area:



The resulting image histogram reveals about 13,5EV of dynamic range (the highlights peak corresponds to the tungsten lamps and their reflections):



To do the automated tone mapping, several replicas of the ZN image were fed into TuFuse and SNS-HDR Lite. The resulting image with default parameters was finished with a standard contrast curve:



Both programs respected the colours of the initial image, SNS-HDR saturating a bit. However regarding local contrast TuFuse produced a more natural result while SNS-HDR obtained more texture where available, resulting a bit more unreal. In both lighting was kept reasonably natural, without producing visible inconsistencies like those usually found on Photomatix tone mapped images.

Finally just a proof of the need of doing several shots to cover the entire dynamic range, showing the noise comparision between the most exposed shot that preserved the highlights and the final fused image:



Regards
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 06:01:49 PM by Guillermo Luijk » Logged

semillerimages
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2010, 03:11:32 PM »
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Guillermo,

Your treatment is all very interesting, but really it's not a comparison between the two programs because you 'optimally' fused them with your software first.
How about taking the 5 shots and letting the two bits of software do their thing, then compare both to your optimal result?

Cheers,

*steve

Quote from: Guillermo Luijk
I made a comparision between TuFuse with default parameters vs SNS-HDR Lite for HDR tone mapping.

To capture the entire dynamic range of the scene I used 5 shots 2EV apart:



Just the central 3 shots could have been used. The outdoor highlights would have got blown a bit and the deep shadows would have become a bit less noisefree, but the final result would have been almost as good.

The RAW files were optimally fused using Zero Noise. The resulting image histogram reveals about 13,5EV of dynamic range (the highlights peak corresponds to the tungsten lamps and their reflections):



To do the automated tone mapping, several replicas of the ZN image were fed into TuFuse and SNS-HDR Lite. The resulting image with default parameters was finished with a standard contrast curve:



Both programs respected the colours of the initial image, SNS-HDR saturating a bit. However regarding local contrast TuFuse produced a more natural result while SNS-HDR obtained more texture where available, resulting a bit more unreal. In both lighting was kept reasonably natural, without producing visible inconsistencies like those usually found on Photomatix tone mapped images.

Finally just a proof of the need of doing several shots to cover the entire dynamic range, showing the noise comparision between the most exposed shot that preserved the highlights and the final fused image:



Regards
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2010, 04:40:22 PM »
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Quote from: semillerimages
Your treatment is all very interesting, but really it's not a comparison between the two programs because you 'optimally' fused them with your software first.
How about taking the 5 shots and letting the two bits of software do their thing, then compare both to your optimal result?
Hi Steve, I just wanted to compare the tone mapping capabilities of both. I prefer to keep the fusion process in ZN since I know it is optimal in terms of noise reduction and sharpness (through minimisation of the blending progressiveness), and allows to get rid of any ghosting artifacts caused by moving subjects.

If a sufficient number of source images are fed into any of the tested programs, the results in terms of colours, lighting, local contrast,... (i.e. the tone mapping parameters), should be the same. Just some extra noise/sharpness could be expected from some of them, but not in the appearance of the resulting image.

Regards
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semillerimages
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2010, 05:10:09 PM »
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Guillermo,

Ahh yes, I see what you mean. My apologies that I misunderstood what you wrote initially in the comparison post.
Maybe you should talk to this software developer of SNS-HDR and see if a collaboration can happen  I'm sure that there are plenty of people who would interested in that.

Cheers y Feliz viernes

*steve


Quote from: Guillermo Luijk
Hi Steve, I just wanted to compare the tone mapping capabilities of both. I prefer to keep the fusion process in ZN since I know it is optimal in terms of noise reduction and sharpness (through minimisation of the blending progressiveness), and allows to get rid of any ghosting artifacts caused by moving subjects.

If a sufficient number of source images are fed into any of the tested programs, the results in terms of colours, lighting, local contrast,... (i.e. the tone mapping parameters), should be the same. Just some extra noise/sharpness could be expected from some of them, but not in the appearance of the resulting image.

Regards
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semillerimages.com
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