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Author Topic: CS6 HDR processing frustration  (Read 8823 times)
mdijb
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« on: January 13, 2013, 06:53:57 PM »
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I send 3 or 5 images to CS6 hdrPRO-> adjust the sliders to get an image that looks good-> process.

WHat results has no relationship to what is in the preview window.  The exposure is very dark ands the colors are different and the saturation is awfull.

no mater what I do, 32 bit or 16 bit with adjustments, the result does not look anything like the preview image--this make the the CS6 process useless.

When I watch videos online the image in the preview window returns to LR or CS6 without any changes

I tried to make adjustments in LR but the result is not satisfactory.

Using other 3RD party software gives much better results and is much easier to adjust after HDr processing has been applied

AM I alone or have others observed the same??

AM I missing a step??

How are others using the CS6 processor and getting realist results??

MDIJB

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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 07:32:48 PM »
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No problem here in that regard with CS6 and HDR Pro.  Hard to say if you might be missing a step without more detail on your workflow.  But preview to rendered differences aren't a problem I've heard of with respect to HDR Pro.
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Redcrown
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 11:12:36 PM »
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Not sure I understand your problem, what kind of inputs your are starting with (raw, tif or jpeg) and what sliders you are adjusting?

Photoshop HDR is a two step process. Step one is to merge multiple images into an intermediate 32 bit HDR file. Step two is to tone map that file into a final 16 bit or 8 bit image.

The Photoshop "Merge to HDR Pro" for step one is a farily good process, but the Photoshop "HDR toning" for step two is a poor process (when compared to alternatives). As you have discovered, 3rd party programs give much better results.

However, with the release of the new "Process 2012" ACR module in CS6 and LR4, there is another alternative. With that release, ACR can process the 32 bit HDR image created by the "Merge to HDR Pro" step. But there is a trick. After the Merge to HDR Pro has processed the images and returned the result to Photoshop, you need to save that result as is, with no aditional processing, and it must be saved as a 32 bit TIF file. Then, you can re-open that 32 bit TIF file in ACR 7.x and use the tone controls in ACR to do the tone mapping.

When you do that, the ACR tone controls are opened up to a much wider range. Exposure, for example goes from -10 to +10 instead of -4 to +4. Using the ACR shadows, highlights, blacks, whites, exposure, and clarity controls on a 32 bit HDR TIF image allows you to do some amazing things, and gives far better results than possible with the old Photoshop "HDR toning." When you do HDR in this way, it's important that you start the Merge to HDR Pro process with raw images, not tifs or jpegs that have already been processed.

None of this explains why your previews do not match your results. Unless you are comparing the preview in Merge to HDR pro to the initial results you see in Photoshop immediately following the Merge to HDR pro. Because both of those previews are of 32 bit files, the monitor display is relatively meaningless and should be ignored. Only when you are on the tone mapping step (in ACR or Photoshop HDR toning) will the monitor preview be reasonable.
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sniper
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 09:49:42 AM »
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My results match the preview window, although I'm not a fan of photoshops hdr results per say, I'm wondering if it could be a colour space issue?   personally I have my doubts but I can't think what else would give the difference you decribe..
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mdijb
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 04:02:52 PM »
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I send Raw images to HDR pro in CS6.   

I Select the 32 BIT option and make no changes at all to the merged image-> save and reimport to LR--these images look nothing like what was in the HDR pro preview--they are 3-5 stops darker, the colors are heavily saturated-> playing with sliders in LR4 yield unsatisfactory results.

If i choose the 16 bit option in HDR pro, I adjust the sliders to tone map-> get the images to look good -> reimport to LR4-> the same very dark images appear, as above.

I also observed that when tone mapping in HDR pro, the resultant tonemapped result looks nothing like the preview--this is in CS6 before reimporting to LR.

I have checked settings and cannot find any options or boxes that can be turned on or off to achieve better results.

MDIJB
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 05:16:38 PM »
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The issue with the 32 bit images in LR is that LR automatically resets the white point.  If you look at the 32 bit Preview Options in PS, you should see that the exposure is somewhere higher than 0.  Set that back to zero and it should look the same as what you're seeing in LR.

As for the other problems with the preview not looking like the rendered or tonemapped result, again, that's not a problem I've seen before with respect to HDR Pro.  Other programs yes, but not HDR Pro.  I've also not had a tonemapped 16 bit image not look right in LR.  You are committing the tonemapping to the file and resaving it as a 16 bit file, right?
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mdijb
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 10:59:05 AM »
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I moved the exposure slider to 0 as suggested-> the result is almost the same as NOT moving this slider-both mages are very dark and hypersaturated  It appears that only the preview was changed--not the end result.

As for the 16 BIT tonemapping, after using the sliders to get an acceptable image-> process -> the result has much more contrast and saturation than the preview--still not the same but I can work with it, however I generally do not like the end result.

Frankly, most of the time I find it easier to work 3rd party software, in my case, HDR express 2.

I see the potential of working with CS6/HDR 32 bit files-> LR4--IF only I could solve the above issue--which others do not seem to have.

MDIJB
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kirkt
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 10:17:33 AM »
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Did you reset/adjust the 32bit preview options when working in PSCS6, as Bob suggested above?  You may have reset the exposure slider down at the bottom of the display area (the preview slider) but there is a menu item called "32 bit Preview options..." that is probably not set to zero - the preview mode is set typically to Exposure and Gamma toning and either or both may not be set to their defaults.  If you made any white point adjustment in the merge preview this option has likely been changed, and you can zero it in the options dialog (see screenshot, from Mac).

kirk
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 10:23:31 AM by kirkt » Logged
SZRitter
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 11:44:40 AM »
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However, with the release of the new "Process 2012" ACR module in CS6 and LR4, there is another alternative. With that release, ACR can process the 32 bit HDR image created by the "Merge to HDR Pro" step. But there is a trick. After the Merge to HDR Pro has processed the images and returned the result to Photoshop, you need to save that result as is, with no aditional processing, and it must be saved as a 32 bit TIF file. Then, you can re-open that 32 bit TIF file in ACR 7.x and use the tone controls in ACR to do the tone mapping.

When you do that, the ACR tone controls are opened up to a much wider range. Exposure, for example goes from -10 to +10 instead of -4 to +4. Using the ACR shadows, highlights, blacks, whites, exposure, and clarity controls on a 32 bit HDR TIF image allows you to do some amazing things, and gives far better results than possible with the old Photoshop "HDR toning." When you do HDR in this way, it's important that you start the Merge to HDR Pro process with raw images, not tifs or jpegs that have already been processed.

Does this work if your PS version is CS5? I have PS CS5 and am demoing Lightroom 4 and debating if it is wort the money for the better RAW processing. If it can do this from a CS5 generate tiff, that may make it worth the money right there.
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mdijb
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 12:19:50 PM »
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Did you reset/adjust the 32bit preview options when working in PSCS6, as Bob suggested above?  You may have reset the exposure slider down at the bottom of the display area (the preview slider) but there is a menu item called "32 bit Preview options..." that is probably not set to zero - the preview mode is set typically to Exposure and Gamma toning and either or both may not be set to their defaults.  If you made any white point adjustment in the merge preview this option has likely been changed, and you can zero it in the options dialog (see screenshot, from Mac).

kirk

I made NO changes to 32 bit preview or resultant image at all--just brought back into LR

I did set the exposure to 0 in the 32 bit preview options menu_. no difference--image in LR was very dark and hypersaturated and contrasty

I see the Slider at the bottom left corner and moving it changes the brightness of image on the screen.  There are no numbers appearing to quantify the changes being made with the slider--moving this did not result in any difference--Image still very dark and and saturated in LR

Thanks for the suggestion--any other ideas??

MDIJB
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kirkt
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 11:53:56 AM »
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Can you take a couple of screenshots of your workflow please?  I want to make sure I understand your process to try to isolate the Photoshop part from the LR part.  

Some questions.  If you start your merge with your three source images (or however many) from within the merge to HDR Pro dialog in Photoshop (i.e., do not use LR at all in the process) do you get the same results?  Do not use Bridge or LR, just use Photoshop - File > Merge to HDR Pro and select the source files in the dialog that pops up.  In that merge, do not adjust the White Point Preview slider - just select the 32 bit option and complete the merge.  The newly created file should appear in Photoshop in 32 bit per channel mode, in the linear version of the raw conversion utility's color space.  

When you use PS to make a Merge to HDR Pro, the file browse dialog will prompt you to pick the raw images you want to merge - navigate to the working directory with your source raws and choose them.  If these source files have XMP sidecar files next to them that contain raw edit information, move those for now, or make copies of the source raws and put them in a new directory and use that as your working directory.  In other words, let's get rid of all of the possible confounding issues related to raw conversion that may be causing problems.

The images will be imported into PS and converted to 16bit rendered files - if you set up the information bar at the bottom of the display to show the document's color profile information, you will see that each imported and converted source image is a 16bit image with a particular color profile (e.g., ProPhoto RBG, etc.).  Eventually, when all of the source images have been imported, the Merge to HDR Pro preview window will appear - make sure you select the 32 bit option and do not adjust the White Point Preview slider, just accept the merge and create the 32 bit file in PS.  

The newly created 32 bit file should have the linear version of the color space of the source images.  The newly created file should appear just like it did in the Merge to HDR Pro preview.  Now is the time to check the View > 32 bit Preview Options menu item to see what exposure PS has chosen for your preview.  It may not be "0", regardless of whether or not you have adjusted the White Point Preview in the Merge to HDR Pro Preview.  Now, if you set the 32 bit Preview Options > Exposure to "0", I am guessing that the newly created HDR image will appear dark.  As far as the heavily saturated and over contrasty, I suppose this is a function of what subject you are shooting, or if there are adjustments you made to the raw files in LR that are affecting the HDR merge.

Here is an example workflow in case my description was vague:

1) Use Merge to HDR Pro in the Automate menu of Photoshop to select your raw source files and bring them into PS.  Here is the preview window during the merge:



Use the 32bit option, do not manipulate the White Point Preview.  Note the appearance of the preview - if it is a true HDR image, parts will be blown out or blocked up in the preview.

2) Click OK to start the merge and open the newly formed HDR image in PS.  Here is a screenshot of the merge result:



Note that the new HDR image has a linearized color profile of the source image profile.  This is the 32 bit HDR image, ready for toning and conversion to 16 bits.

3) Take note of the appearance of the newly created HDR image, in terms of the way the image is rendered in PS.  It should appear identical to the preview in the Merge To HDR Pro preview as shown in (1) above.  Now, check the View > 32 bit Preview Options dialog to see how Photoshop chose to display the preview for you:



Note that Photoshop chose to boost the exposure 5EV or so for the preview in PS.  This can be significantly misleading in terms of what you are expecting from the HDR data.

4) Change the exposure here to "0" - note the change in appearance of the image:



Now you are cooking with gas.  However, this rendering is still a preview, adapting the 32bit data to your LDR display.  You may see some artifacting, banding or weirdness.  

5) If you would like, you can tonemap the 32bit image in PS to get the HDR data compressed and redistributed in preparation for conversion to LDR (16bit).  Go to Image > Adjustments > HDR Toning:



to bring up the PS toning panel.



Here you can apply PS's Local Adaptation tonemapper, or experiment with the other tonal range compression algorithms.  Make your adjustments to get all of that HDR data to look the way you want it to look in LDR land and hit "OK" to accept the adjustments.  

NOTE: the file is still 32 bits per channel, its mode has not changed to 16bit yet.  This permits you to continue to make 32bit adjustments if you choose, without dropping all of the HDR data until you are ready to convert to 16bit.

6) When you are satisfied, you can change the mode of the image to 16bit.  This will bring the HDR Toning dialog again, but, since you have already done your tonal range compression in step 5, all you need to do is a straight mode conversion with Exposure and Gamma - Exposure set to "0" and Gamma set to "1" (unless you want to change these settings).



Now you should have a 16bit file that has the HDR tonal range compressed and mapped the way you want it.  You will find that, during the toning and conversion to 16bit, the color profile of your image has probably changed to the working space you use in PS.  No biggie.  This 16bit file is ready to be imported into LR and the file should appear as it does in PS.

LR, as of 4.1 or 4.2 can accept 32bit per channel TIFFs - that is, if you choose to use LR to perform tonemapping on your HDR data, you can, if you save the 32bit file in PS as a 32bit TIFF.

I do not use LR.  However, if you insist on prepping your raw files in LR before merging to HDR, be aware of what you do in the raw conversion process.  Christian Bloch has a nice section in his new "HDRI Handbook 2.0" about preprocessing raw files in LR for merge to HDR in Photoshop or other applications.  If you are using LR4, to create a flat raw conversion for HDR merging, follow this advice (from p. 184 of his new book):

Quote
1. Select the best (middle) exposure for your reference.
2. Set the Exposure to -1EV and Contrast to -40.
3. Set the white balance.
4. Use low sharpening as as much noise reduction as necessary.
5. Enable lens correction by profile only if you really need to correct geometric distortion or vignetting.
6. Remove chromatic aberration should always be enabled.  It's now just a single checkbox - it's no longer based on camera profiles, and there is not hand crank anymore.
7. Sync all settings to all other images.
8. Export 16bit TIFFs or launch your favorite HDR plug-in.

NB: You should zero everything and set the tone curve to linear before performing the above steps.

The adjustment to Exposure/Contrast is based on Christian's experience with flat conversions in LR3 and trying to get the new PV2012 in LR4 to match the flat conversion of LR3 (PV2010).

Bottom line:

See if eliminating LR from the equation presents you with the same problems you are experiencing.  LR is unnecessary unless there are lens corrections or other raw adjustments you think you might need as a pre-process.  If that is the case, you need to create a flat raw conversion or else colors and tonal information will not be accurately rendered for HDR merger.  

Start with the raw files outside of LR and do a merge in PS and see if that eliminates some of the problems.  Post back here!  We'll get this working.

kirk
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 02:41:42 PM by kirkt » Logged
mdijb
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 04:50:15 PM »
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Thanks for your highly detailed response

I followed your suggestion and made screen shots
How do Insert them into my response??

MDIJB
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kirkt
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 05:58:18 PM »
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If you upload those to a photo sharing service (I use smugmug) then you can embed them in the post using the image HTML tag:

Code:
[img]URL of image[/img]

The photo sharing site will usually provide the URL to the image- that's what you paste inside of the img tag.

Or you can just use the forum attachment dialog.

Whichever method you chose, just make sure to crop or resize to reasonable pixel dimensions- my embedded images were resized to 800 pixels on the long dimension.

Kirk
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 06:03:58 PM by kirkt » Logged
mdijb
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 06:20:33 PM »
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I followed your instructions and the results/screen shots are  attached aND LABELED.

The resulting sequence is NOT similar to your results.

FOr some reason I was not able to use the Tone Mapping command

I did try the BLOCH settings and tried to send fromLR-< the same returned very dark image

Thanks again for sticking with me on this.

MDIJB

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kirkt
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 08:16:47 PM »
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Okay - so, to make sure, this sequence of screenshots was generated by merging to HDR Pro from within PS - LR was not used, right?

The first thing I notice is that the White Point Preview Slider in the HDR Preview window is pretty far to the right - redo the merge and in the preview window, center the white point slider then accept the merge.  This isn't super important, but might as well center and zero everything we can.

Next, the document info area in the lower left of the document currently displays the image size - change that to the document profile (to see what profile is getting used for the HDR image).  Let's see what profile is getting assigned and used in the merge.  Perhaps PS does not like whatever profile the raw conversion is embedding in the rendered images that are getting merged.  I can't imaging that this is getting messed up though, but, again, we have to eliminate all we can.

The inability to change the mode or access the HDR Toning option is a red flag.  Trying to figure out why this is the case will probably lead us to a solution.

kirk
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 08:50:37 PM by kirkt » Logged
mdijb
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 09:43:57 PM »
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THE HDR was generated from the original Canon raw files from the camera unaltered, not thru LR.

The attached Images show the sequence after following your instructions and on window shows the profile being used--Prophoto RGB

In an additional post below I attached the result from going thru LR

I still cannot access the tone mapping in CS6--I did a Google search but no luck

MDIJB
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mdijb
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 09:46:20 PM »
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Here are the images from processing thru LR and Adjusting the WHite point slider
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kirkt
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 11:23:58 PM »
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Okay - try this (I hope you don't mind my asking you to do these crazy exercises).  In LR, export your source images as JPEGs, with the Bloch settings applied as previously described.  Choose sRGB as the output space - you can downsize the images on export as well to speed up the processing.

Next, in PSCS6, choose Automate > Merge to HDR Pro and select these JPEGs as the source images.  Accept the merge, specifying 32bit output as before.

When the 32bit file opens in PS, are the previously grayed-out menu options (Image>Mode and Image>Adjustments>HDR Toning) still unavailable?

Also - try merging your raws in HDR Expose, creating a 32bit EXR, saving that and then opening the EXR in Photoshop - are those menu items still grayed out?

Also, what version of CS6 are you using and what version of camera raw and what camera?

kirk

« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 07:21:02 AM by kirkt » Logged
mdijb
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2013, 10:57:06 PM »
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Here we go

I exported the images as JPEG form LR

THis time the Tone mapping for the merged JPEG images  IS AVAILABLE

NOW IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR THE RAW IMAges sent from LR---bizarre--these screen shots are shown in the next reply

Photoshop version 13.0.2  and Bridges 5.0.1.21  BOTH of these are the latest updates from AdOBE

Camera is Canon 6D


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mdijb
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2013, 11:02:32 PM »
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Here are the screenshots for processing Images sent from LR  where the TONeMAPPING in CS6 now suddenly IS available

I also included what is returned to LR.  THIS NOW LOOKS LIKE THE PREVIEW SEEN IN CS6

WHAT IS GOING HERE.  FIRST IT DOESNOT N=WORK ANS NOW IT APPEARS IT DOES---ARGHHHH!!!
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