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AKVIS HDRFactory v3.0 Review

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Category: Other Software
Product: Akvis HDRFactory v3.0
Price: £43.00
Rating: 3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5

AKVIS HDRFactory v3.0 Review - Daniel Bell reviews AKVIS HDRFactory v3.0, a program capable of creating panorama shots from images shot at different exposures or just one single image.

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Features
Performance
Verdict

Screenshot 1

AKVIS HDRFactory creates High Dynamic Range images by combining several images of the same object with different exposure values. It can also create pseudo-HDR images from a single image. Prices start from $69 (approx £43) for either the standalone or plugin versions.

AKVIS HDRFactory Features

  • Create HDR images from a series of shots at different exposures or single images
  • Supports many file types including RAW
  • Adjust colour saturation and brightness
  • Bring out the detail in dark and bright areas
  • Ghost removal
  • Various presets to choose from
  • Save frequently used settings as presets
  • Standalone version lets you change brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation
  • Plugin version supports batch processing when creating a HDR from a single image

AKVIS HDRFactory Performance

Installation is easy, with options to install as a standalone program or plugin for your image editing software. Here we are testing using the standalone program. When you start the program the first step is to choose the image(s) you want to use for your HDR image. You may be asked to tell the program which exposure values the images have been shot at. The time it takes to combine them depends on the number of images used. It can be time consuming, enough time to go and make a brew.

When you select your images, by default you'll be performing a normal alignment. Other options include no alignment, fast alignment and high-quality alignment.

No Alignment
No Alignment
Fast Alignment
Fast Alignment
Normal Alignment
Normal Alignment
High Quality Alignment
High Quality Alignment

The best results came from using no alignment, with the other causing ghosting. The idea of the alignment methods are to remove ghosting where there are moving objects, such as trees in the wind, but appears to cause more problems than solutions.

If you do get ghosting when using the no alignment method you can use the ghost removal tool. This is located in the bar on the right hand side. Select this and highlight the area where you have ghosting, when you have finished it will automatically remove the ghosting.

Screenshot Ghost Selection Before
Screenshot Ghost Selection Before
  Screenshot Ghost Selection After
Screenshot Ghost Selection After
Normal Alignment Ghost Removed
Normal alignment with ghost removed around the wind turbine.

To make your HDR images even more creative there are a number of editing options. The first place many will head are the presets. There are 46 in total, with examples of each below.

AKVIS HDRFactory v3.0 Sample Photos

Default

Default
High-Res

Amethyst

Amethyst
High-Res

Antique

Antique
High-Res

Aquamarine

Aquamarine
High-Res

Blue Light

Blue Light
High-Res

Bright Sharp

Bright Sharp
High-Res

Bright Smearing

Bright Smearing
High-Res

Dark Edges

Dark Edges
High-Res

Dramatic

Dramatic
High-Res

Early Frost

Early Frost
High-Res

Evening Glow

Evening Glow
High-Res

Extreme Bright

Extreme Bright
High-Res

Fade Edges

Fade Edges
High-Res

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy
High-Res

Glamour

Glamour
High-Res

Glow

Glow
High-Res

Gold

Gold
High-Res

Green Glass

Green Glass
High-Res

High Contrast 1

High Contrast 1
High-Res

High Contrast 2

High Contrast 2
High-Res

In Focus

In Focus
High-Res

Intense

Intense
High-Res

Lively Colours

Lively Colours
High-Res

Lomography

Lomography
High-Res

Low Contrast

Low Contrast
High-Res

More Details

More Details
High-Res

Portrait 1

Portrait 1
High-Res

Portrait 2

Portrait 2
High-Res

Portrait 3

Portrait 3
High-Res

Purple

Purple
High-Res

Realistic HDR

Realistic HDR
High-Res

Red Heat

Red Heat
High-Res

Retro Style

Retro Style
High-Res

Saturated HDR

Saturated HDR
High-Res

Sfumato

Sfumato
High-Res

Smokey

Smokey
High-Res

Soft Darkening

Soft Darkening
High-Res

Soft Glow HDR

Soft Glow HDR
High-Res

Soft Light

Soft Light
High-Res

Sunlight

Sunlight
High-Res

Sunny Day

Sunny Day
High-Res

Surrealistic

Surrealistic
High-Res

Twilight

Twilight
High-Res

Warm Tones

Warm Tones
High-Res

White Edges

White Edges
High-Res

Yellowed Photo

Yellowed Photo
High-Res


There are also other editing options to choose from, split into three sections - HDRI (saturation, highlights, lowlights, level of detail, lightness, dark detail and light detail), Adjustment (tone correction, depth, gradient contrast, smoothing, local contrast, colour intensity and remove noise) and Effects (white balance temperature and tint, glow intensity and vignette dark/light edges, distance, shape and smooth transition).

Screenshot HDRI
HDRI
Screenshot Adjustments
Adjustments
Screenshot Effects
Effects

Below is an example taken using nine different exposures.

Akvis Hdr Factory Test 2 Minus 5 Exposure
-5 exposure compensation
Akvis Hdr Factory Test 2 Minus 4 Exposure
-4 exposure compensation
Akvis Hdr Factory Test 2 Minus 3 Exposure
-3 exposure compensation
Test 2 Minus 2 Exposure
-2 exposure compensation
Test 2 Minus 1 Exposure
-1 exposure compensation
Test 2 0 Exposure
0 exposure compensation
Test 2 Plus 1 Exposure
+1 exposure compensation
Test 2 Plus 2 Exposure
+2 exposure compensation
Test 2 Plus 3 Exposure
+3 exposure compensation
Test 2 Plus 4 Exposure
+4 exposure compensation
Test 2 Plus 5 Exposure
+5 exposure compensation
 
Test 2 No Alignment
Test 2 No Alignment

The HDR effect has taken what is quite a dull scene due to the overcast conditions into a much more impressive, dramatic one. Here is one last example, also using nine different pictures.

Scarborough HDR
Scarborough HDR

Value for money

You can buy the home plugin version or the standalone version for $69 (approx £43) each. Home deluxe includes both versions for £99 (approx £61), with business costing $189 (approx £117). Other HDR programs include Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro 2 at $99.95 (approx £62), Photomatix from $39 (approx £24), HDR Darkroom at $59 (approx £37) and Luminance HDR (free).

AKVIS HDRFactory Verdict

For those who are looking for a quick and easy way to create HDR images the AKVIS HDRFactory delivers excellent results. We like the wide range of presets available as well as the further editing options, but would like to be able to crop images without having to switch to another program such as Photoshop. The alignment methods didn't delivery any better results than when using the no alignment method, we preferred to use to ghost tool to remove any obvious alignment issues caused by moving objects.

AKVIS HDRFactory Pros

Generally impressive results
Easy-to-use
Loads of presets to choose from
Can use many different image formats including RAW

AKVIS HDRFactory Cons

Can be quite slow
The alignment methods don't work particularly well
When using alignment method there was a need to crop the images, with no crop tool provided

FEATURES  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

For more information, please visit the AKVIS website.



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