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Author Topic: HDR - the forgotten tool...  (Read 6397 times)
ErikKaffehr
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« on: March 29, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »
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Hi,

I seldom use HDR, as I normally don't feel the need to use HDR due to the great DR on modern sensor technology. But when I use DR I pretty much settled on using Photoshop "Merge to HDR" from inside Lightroom. I just save the HDR image and do the processing in Lightroom with the new 2012 pipeline which does a lot of tone mapping behind the scenes.

The samples here show a high contrast image processed from a single image versus HDR from five images, with Merge to HDR in Photoshop but all tome mapping done in Lightroom. Notice that the HDR image has much less shadow noise.

Best regards
Erik
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David Eckels
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 11:43:05 AM »
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Erik,
I believe you commented on an HDR image I posted awhile back and your comments were extremely insightful and helpful. I have read elsewhere that one of the advantages of HDR processing is the lower noise in shadows even though the DR of current sensors is so great. As this is still new to me somewhat, I have trouble avoiding the seduction of HDR's processing power, which you have successfully tamed with this image. I have HDR Effex 2 and find that it is often over the top, probably because I am not yet a sophisticated user. I have also heard that with HDR Pro in CS6 that you can work in 32 bit precision, but I can't see how that's possible if you save as a tiff and go back to LR where, I presume, your dealing with a 16 bit image. I like this topic that you've posted and would love to hear more of what you think about this. If there is another thread somewhere, I apologize and ask that you direct me there.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 11:48:12 AM »
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... I have also heard that with HDR Pro in CS6 that you can work in 32 bit precision, but I can't see how that's possible if you save as a tiff and go back to LR where, I presume, your dealing with a 16 bit image...

That's the beauty, in LR you can continue to work on the 32-bit TIFF.
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 11:53:29 AM »
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That's the beauty, in LR you can continue to work on the 32-bit TIFF.
This is exciting! Can you point me to some references? Or would you just proceed knowing that the precision should be greatly improved (ie, completely transparently)? Hope this is a clear question.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 12:26:19 PM »
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Lightroom 4 can now read and render (process, develop) 32-bit TIFFs and DNGs.  So if you have merged multiple input files into a 32-bit TIFF or DNG using Photoshop or other software, you can now tone map them using Lightroom 4.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 01:17:26 PM »
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... Can you point me to some references?...

If I am not mistaken, you are reading Schewe's book The Digital Negative? In which case, check page 244, Merge To HDR Pro for more details.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 01:29:39 PM »
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For those without Photoshop (few here, I am sure), Photomatix has 'Merge to 32 bit', which does a similar function.

John
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 01:37:30 PM »
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If I am not mistaken, you are reading Schewe's book The Digital Negative? In which case, check page 244, Merge To HDR Pro for more details.
Haven't got to that page yet, but thanks!
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 03:32:41 PM »
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Hi,

Any tool that works is nice!

Best regards
Erik

For those without Photoshop (few here, I am sure), Photomatix has 'Merge to 32 bit', which does a similar function.

John
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 03:54:56 PM »
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Dave,

With LR4, Lightroom can handle 32 bit HDR images. Simultaneously the LR processing pipeline seems to have gained some ability for tone scale mapping and tone scale compression. You just merge a few images to HDR and save them as they are. They will be very bright and ugly. After saving they will show up in LR, but they will be dark and ugly. You can start from there.

Best regards
Erik

Erik,
I believe you commented on an HDR image I posted awhile back and your comments were extremely insightful and helpful. I have read elsewhere that one of the advantages of HDR processing is the lower noise in shadows even though the DR of current sensors is so great. As this is still new to me somewhat, I have trouble avoiding the seduction of HDR's processing power, which you have successfully tamed with this image. I have HDR Effex 2 and find that it is often over the top, probably because I am not yet a sophisticated user. I have also heard that with HDR Pro in CS6 that you can work in 32 bit precision, but I can't see how that's possible if you save as a tiff and go back to LR where, I presume, your dealing with a 16 bit image. I like this topic that you've posted and would love to hear more of what you think about this. If there is another thread somewhere, I apologize and ask that you direct me there.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 01:13:04 AM »
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Hi,

No hijacking! An open discussion is always good.

What I feel is that LR4 has some very good tools for "taming" high dynamic range images. LR 4 is also well integrated with PS so merging exposures in PS works quite well. I don't like tone mapping in Merge to HDR Pro, but can do it in LR4 instead, using tools I have a lot of experience with.

Best regards
Erik



Ok. Tried what you fellows said. Merged to HDR Pro in CS6, opened in PS and saved as a tiff according to Jeff Schewe. Then worked this 32 bit tiff entirely in LR4.3 before opening in CS6 again to add only an iris blur. I was trying to recreate an HDR Effex Pro 2. The only difference I see is a smoothness in this image, whereas the HEP2 image has more texture (or structure?) Does this make sense? I am sorry if I am hijacking this thread, but it seemed relevant.
Called this, "End of the Road."
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Schewe
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 01:24:50 AM »
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What I feel is that LR4 has some very good tools for "taming" high dynamic range images. LR 4 is also well integrated with PS so merging exposures in PS works quite well. I don't like tone mapping in Merge to HDR Pro, but can do it in LR4 instead, using tools I have a lot of experience with.

Just to be clear here...the Process Version 2012 that was new in LR 4.1 and ACR 7.1 (the original 4.0 and 7.0 didn't support 32-bit TIFFs) was originally designed for HDR tone mapping. There's a story (if you want Geeky stiff) called Magic or Local Laplacian Filters? that explains a bit about the processing. In fact, the challenge with PV 2012 was to make the algorithms work well with normal dynamic range images...

PV 2012 has reduced the need for full HDR image capture. A lot of range can be captured and tone mapped with a lot less than the older HDR approach of capturing 5, 7 or 9 exposures. With PV 2012, you can often do a real good job of HDR with as little as 2 or 3 exposures.

And yes, the example I showed in the boo highlights the ability to really improve the noise characterization by adding 1 or 2 additional exposures.

The real key is to plan out the exposures to make sure you maintain workable highlight detail while keeping decent detail in the shadows with reduced noise.
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David Eckels
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 07:43:16 AM »
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Just to be clear here...
Jeff, I can understand why the newer PV2012 can alleviate some of the need for longer series of exposures. But I am thinking why the need for "HDR" in the first place? For me, FWIW, it is to capture more of what we see with our own eyes and the human eye sees with what, maybe 20-24 EV of sensitivity, capacity, I don't know. Dynamic range? It could be more or less, but let's just take 24 EV of DR for the human eye. If the DR of my camera is 14 EV, would this imply that we could use a 3 shot series at -5,0,+5 EV to capture the full visual DR? I have read that more shots (shorter EV intervals) can reduce noise, but do you agree with this? Sorry for all the questions. Not really Wink
BTW, I finished The Digital Negative. Terrific! But I'll write you separately.
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 08:24:40 AM »
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Lightroom 4.1+ has really added new life to HDR in my opinion. I used for a while several of the standalone HDR applications, but more often than not the result was not to my liking. LR 4.1+ changed all that. There are to my knowledge only two ways to create a 32bit TIFF and this is Photoshop CS4-6 and the Photomatix 32bit plugin for Lightroom (I was missing this mentioned in the article). In a number of cases both PS CS6 and the Photomatix plugin gives good although different results, but I see that PS CS6 has issues more often than the Photomatix plugin with blending clouds and highlights. Although I have PS CS6 I almost always use the Photomatix plugin. Notice btw. there is a bug fix for this that works with LR 4.4RC.

The article also kind of dismisses the use of any other camera than the D800(E) for more difficult lighting situations. I agree that the D800 has an advantage, but the Canons I use can do maybe 98% of all situations in landscape photography that I shoot with just a single RAW file. I have both Canons (5D mkIII and 1Ds mkIII) and a Nikon D800E. More often than not the residual situations cannot be dealt with by the D800E either but need HDR blending. Not to say the D800E isn't a fantastic camera, of course. But the resolution and DR advantages are not that ground breaking as it may look like.
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ramblinlamb
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 11:25:22 AM »
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I do a lot of architectural and real estate photography, along with my nature/landscape work. I've tried many HDR apps/workflows. The one I reach for first is LR/Enfuse. It IMHO does the best photo-realistic (read 'true to the eye') results of all of them. And it's simple to use! I don't have to sit and ponder how the heck to dial out that ewwy gooey smokey brassy mess that the typical HDR apps output. (I understand it's all "art" and some people like that look, but I don't).

To speed up my post capture workflow I create stacks of each bracket set in LR. I select the stacks and send them to LR/Enfuse for processing. Then I go eat dinner. By the time I get back in my office the stacks are completed and I can do some mild post work on the 16 bit TIFF files and send the finals off to the client.

I like easy, predictable, repeatable workflows. LR/Enfuse provides that for me! Oh did I mention that LR/Enfuse is also VERY cost effective?! Timothy Armes asks for a donation upon download. He also offers up many other helpful tools on his site: http://photographers-toolbox.com/index.php.
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Richard T. Lamb
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2013, 11:28:11 AM »
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I have tried LR/Enfuse and I find that the 32bit blending in Photomatix or in PS CS6 is much better. LR/Enfuse is only 16 bit and therefore not hold so much dynamic range either.

Have you tried the 32 bit HDR blending?
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ramblinlamb
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2013, 11:36:47 AM »
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I did, last night. It required way too much effort to dial out the ghosting and other HDR artifacts. My workflow needs to be fast, easy, predictable and repeatable. To each his/her own. If I come home with three shoots with a 24 hour turn around it needs to be time effective. "Time" is my most precious resource.

If I get home with some great brackets from a sunrise at Mt. Rainier NP (my backyard) that I can work on a lazy Saturday I might open up Nik Software's HDR EFX Pro 2. Which I do like, if I have the time.
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Richard T. Lamb
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2013, 11:45:45 AM »
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Could you be more specific about what exactly you did try?
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jrsforums
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2013, 11:51:20 AM »
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I did, last night. It required way too much effort to dial out the ghosting and other HDR artifacts. My workflow needs to be fast, easy, predictable and repeatable. To each his/her own. If I come home with three shoots with a 24 hour turn around it needs to be time effective. "Time" is my most precious resource.

If I get home with some great brackets from a sunrise at Mt. Rainier NP (my backyard) that I can work on a lazy Saturday I might open up Nik Software's HDR EFX Pro 2. Which I do like, if I have the time.

It has been often said that "easy" I based on what you know.

Enfuse should have the same ghosting problems as other blend methods, without the ability to correct them.  Ghosting is a function of stacking and blending.

PS merge to HDR or Photomatic merge to 32 bit should be no more difficult or take any more time than Enfuse.  And should produce much better results..

John
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2013, 12:51:40 PM »
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Hi,

Any tool that works is nice!

Best regards
Erik

How about "Enfuse" via the "EnfuseGui" package? Free.
Roy
EDITED. Posted before I saw other people had mentioned it.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 12:53:22 PM by OldRoy » Logged
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