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Author Topic: Exposure Blending Techniques: Which Do You Prefer?  (Read 6312 times)
bretedge
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« on: August 30, 2013, 01:36:06 AM »
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I have yet to find an exposure blending technique that produces consistent results.  I prefer not to use one that requires you to "paint" with a brush the areas that you want to blend because I find it too tedious and time consuming.  That leaves luminosity mask blends and I've yet to master that technique. 

What techniques are you using to blend multiple exposures?  Please feel free to reference any tutorials, free or otherwise.
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Benny Profane
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 06:57:05 AM »
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I suppose I could respond with a detailed technique, but that would be too tedious and time consuming.
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GeekMark
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 07:02:07 AM »
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haha You can search on google, there are loads of tutorials so you can find one that appeals to you!
I find that I get the best results, well the ones I'm happy with, when doing it manually. I know it takes time with the brush tool, but I'm a patient person so it's fine for me. Have you tried the Layer Mask tool? Works really well for scenes which have a flat horizon, like oceans or the desert etc.
Good luck!  Smiley
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 07:08:00 AM »
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I suppose I could respond with a detailed technique, but that would be too tedious and time consuming.
Well done, are you competing for the most useless post of the week ?

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What techniques are you using to blend multiple exposures?
The easiest and most reliable way of combining the sort of multiple exposures I shoot is to use the Enfuse plug-in for Lightroom. I've tried quite a few other similar HDR type plug-ins, but Enfuse has always given the most pleasing and natural results. Enfuse gets things pretty much spot on most times, when it doesn't the shots usually have to be manually painted together with luminosity masks, multiple layers and spot changes etc and every 'difficult' set seems to need a different approach anyway.
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howardm
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 07:46:17 AM »
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I suppose I could respond with a detailed technique, but that would be too tedious and time consuming.

Dare I say 'take that s*t to a different photo forum', that attitude is not welcome.  We are lucky! to have the caliber of
photo and graphics professionals that contribute here.
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Benny Profane
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 07:47:28 AM »
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Well done, are you competing for the most useless post of the week ?

No, I was trying to make an obvious point. Making an good image is hard. I know we live in a push button Instagram world, but, sometimes you just have a little patience with yourself. Revel in the process. You'll learn something.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 08:04:50 AM »
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.......Revel in the process. You'll learn something.
Photography doesn't have to be about making things as difficult as they can be to 'revel in the process', it's about making good images.

The OP's original request wasn't asking for an automatic or push button process, just asking how others reduce their workload. It's a perfectly reasonable request and not one that deserves any scorn for being lazy.
Maybe you could add something constructive yourself ? or are you too busy coating your own plates ?
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Benny Profane
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 08:21:16 AM »
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Oh, ok, sorry. Listen, this guy has a lot of advice for amateurs: http://scottkelby.com

What's encouraging is that there will always be a need for a good retoucher out there. Everyone wants it to be so easy.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 08:25:30 AM »
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No, I was trying to make an obvious point. Making an good image is hard. I know we live in a push button Instagram world, but, sometimes you just have a little patience with yourself. Revel in the process. You'll learn something.

Good points, Benny. You provided the only valuable contribution so far. Others are just peddlers of Instagram "culture."

To the OP: the best technique is to stay away from any technique.
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Rand47
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 08:33:25 AM »
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Oh, ok, sorry. Listen, this guy has a lot of advice for amateurs: http://scottkelby.com

What's encouraging is that there will always be a need for a good retoucher out there. Everyone wants it to be so easy.

Benny,

No need to be snarky.  Take a little time to get the feel for this forum.  The tone here is generally more mellow and constructive than some other photo sites (pardon the horrible pun), Slobodan not withstanding  Grin .
Usually an OP is given the benefit of the doubt as regards their love of, and commitment to the art and craft.  And, even if it is ultimately demonstrated that the OP is a lazy lout, pontificating on his or her "lout-ness" is not likely to be construed at furthering the discussion.

Rand
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 08:35:16 AM by Rand47 » Logged
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 08:41:14 AM »
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Why not use a camera that has 14 stop dynamic range where you can under expose a Raw shot by 5 EV and still recover significant detail with very little noise in the shadows?

I mean bracketing multiple exposures of the scene and then exposure blending sounds way too tedious and time consuming, doesn't it?

For Christ sake what kind of pictures are you all making? Vacation trips to the sun?

I hear the light's really good but you have to bracket to get the rest of the surrounding stars in the night sky.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2013, 09:02:46 AM »
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Excellent series of tutorials by Sean Bagashaw

http://www.outdoorexposurephoto.com/video-tutorials/

I have not review 'Basics', but the other 3 do a great job of building knowledge on blending techniques.
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John
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2013, 09:58:56 AM »
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I prefer not to use one that requires you to "paint" with a brush the areas that you want to blend because I find it too tedious and time consuming.  That leaves luminosity mask blends and I've yet to master that technique.
I use luminosity masks automatically created from the image itself, no painting required.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2013, 10:18:51 AM »
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I use both luminosity masks and manual blending with a brush, sometimes both in combination with each other.

One thing I will say is that getting a Wacom tablet makes working with a brush much, MUCH, better and more efficient. It's shifted me more towards manual brushwork because of the degree of control it offers.
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Rob Reiter
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2013, 11:02:31 AM »
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As should be obvious from the replies here, snarky and otherwise, there is no one preferred method to blend images. Different circumstances respond best to a variety of techniques. I use them all, from Nik's HDR Effects Pro, which I find easy to use without generating the dreaded "HDR look" to luminance masking, selective editing of layer masks, and a 14 stop dynamic range camera (which may be the best advice given.)

Only after you have mastered a number of techniques will your experience allow you to choose the right one for the circumstances. And that will speed up your workflow.

« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 01:50:13 PM by Rob Reiter » Logged

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Rhossydd
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2013, 12:44:51 PM »
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Others are just peddlers of Instagram "culture."
From that it's pretty obvious you haven't much of a clue what Enfuse does or how to get the best out of it.

Got anything more constructive to add than " stay away from any technique" ?
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2013, 02:52:42 PM »
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+1 for Enfuse. I use it in Harry van der Wolfe's GUI ImfageFuser, where it is combined with Align_image_stack. Works great.(Mac)
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2013, 03:22:38 PM »
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+1 for Enfuse. I use it in Harry van der Wolfe's GUI ImfageFuser, where it is combined with Align_image_stack.
The LR plug-in also uses the Align_image_stack utility and also uses some of Phil Harvey's Exiftool's functionality, all in one GUI package.
If you use Lightroom it really makes using all these command line utilities simple, there's still room to hone the process to best effect, but the defaults work extremely well.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2013, 06:16:36 PM »
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I have yet to find an exposure blending technique that produces consistent results.  I prefer not to use one that requires you to "paint" with a brush the areas that you want to blend because I find it too tedious and time consuming.  That leaves luminosity mask blends and I've yet to master that technique. 

What techniques are you using to blend multiple exposures?  Please feel free to reference any tutorials, free or otherwise.

While I haven't found one technique that always gives consistent results, most of the time I can't avoid "painting" with a brush in Photoshop at some point.
I often start with Enfuse to get an idea of what the image may look like. Sometimes that is pretty close, but usually I'll still need to take another copy that has detail I want, select both photos in Lightroom and "open as layers in Photoshop", then use a brush.
Luminosity masks work well, but mostly I just open the images in Photoshop and go to it with a brush on layer masks  and paint with a low opacity until I have what I want. Once I stop procrastinating and actually start, it's pretty fast and quite enjoyable.
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2013, 06:20:27 PM »
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Yet another method to reduce noise with two exposures
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