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HDR Software


Mike_Smith e2
7 212 1 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2012 9:19PM
Whats the best programme for producing HDR images ?

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Dave_Canon 8 940 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2012 10:43PM
I have Oloneo, Photomatix and Lightroom 4.1 In a recent comparision I did Oloneo well outperforms Photomatix as does Lightroom 4.1. However, to use LR4.1 you do need other software which can produce the 32 bit files from your exposure sets (photoshop will do) and it is a more manual process. Oloneo is much faster and has more automation and produces as good or better results. Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 I have not used but I understand is very good and may be as good as Oloneo though I think it costs a little more.

Dave
puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
5 Aug 2012 9:54AM
There's a lot of good HDR software out there. I use photomatix pro, Photoshop CS6, Nik HDR EFEX Pro and they are all good. It's down to how much you want to spend.
Stephen
AlanTW 12 347
5 Aug 2012 10:35AM
I've used Photmatix & Oloneo and much prefer Oloneo, for me it produces more natural results than Photomatix does

Alan
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
5 Aug 2012 10:49AM

Quote: In a recent comparision I did Oloneo well outperforms Photomatix as does Lightroom 4.1


what metrics were you comparing?

A Reliant Robin will outperform a ferrari 458 italia, if you choose the correct metrics Wink
Dave_Canon 8 940 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2012 10:25AM
I am afraid it was a subjective test but using 3 different exposure sets one rocky mountain scene, one UK landscape and one inside a church. I processed using the three different methods and compared the final result. It is dependent on my judgement of what editing to apply in Lightroom 4.1 as this is a manual process. However, I have 35 + years of experience and regularly enter international exhibitions so make my selection on the basis of this experience.

Photomatix seems to have a problem with some image/setting combinations and often produces a slightly muddy effect compared to the crisp outout from other software. It can be particualry pronounced if you use the auto-deghosting. You can find various references to this issue on the web and I did take it up with Photomatix who initially denied the problem but then admitted there there was a problem with auto and were now recommending only using the semi-manual setting (which I agree is much better). However for the above test I did not use deghosting at all as there were no moving objects but PM still exhibited the problem to an extent (it might not be obvious unless you see a comparison with one of the other processes). I am not claiming that my tests are fully scientific but it is the end result that counts and as I own a copy of Oloneo, Photomatix and LR4.1 I have no reason to favour one but clearly happy to use the one I find consitently produces the best results.

Dave
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2012 10:33AM

Quote:However, to use LR4.1 you do need other software which can produce the 32 bit files from your exposure sets (photoshop will do) and it is a more manual process.


Dave, can you explain the process you are using for this please?
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
6 Aug 2012 11:24AM
Just been trying out Oloneo's batch and did a little comparison Blog

For me, it's the batch processing that matters - when you've done 1500 shots in a day you need to create blends which look pretty good with little need for Photoshop.

My main conclusion was that the key to it all was how good you were at creating a suitable "preset" for the batch processor to use. i.e. there's very little difference between the Photomatix and Oloneo in the one test run I did. It was blending 315 shots of Harrogate into 105. My Photomatix blends were warmer and brighter, due to the preset - the oloneo were slightly darker and cooler, down to the preset - but the detail etc. all seemed pretty similar. Photomatix maybe better on hot-spots like burned out skies where Oloneo can leave an unslightly border/halo from time to time.

I never use Tone Mapping in Photomatix, preferring the more realistic Exposure Fusion method - so you never get the "muddy" look, though I've heard about it.

I've been trying to find software which batch creates 32 bit tiffs ready for use in Lightroom 4.1, only to be informed by HDR soft that the files would be over 300 meg for a D800, so too risky for them to add it as a batch feature.

So as great as lightroom is, that door seems closed for high-volume HDR work for now.

The key to success is a workflow that is effective for your purpose.

If you are editing a few HDR shots of mountains once or twice a month, then HDR EFEX is pretty cool - along with the other "one at a time" editors. If like me you're doing thousands of shots a week (sometimes, not every week), then you need something faster.

I can have HDR "preview" shots which are 90% there over to clients in no time - just using lightroom and Photomatix.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
6 Aug 2012 11:49AM

Quote:Dave, can you explain the process you are using for this please?


Chris ( lobsterboy ) this video from Lightroom Killer Tips gives a quick run through of the process of the new HDR capability feature in LR
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2012 11:51AM
Thanks Jeff
Mike_Smith e2
7 212 1 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2012 2:00PM
Well thanks for all your replies that's give me plenty to think about
Dave_Canon 8 940 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2012 3:36PM

Quote:However, to use LR4.1 you do need other software which can produce the 32 bit files from your exposure sets (photoshop will do) and it is a more manual process.

Dave, can you explain the process you are using for this please?



The Lightroom Killer Tips does show one way you can do this using Photoshop to create the 32 bit file. This worked fine for me where the HDR set were taken using a tripod but I found that PS did not do well in aligning hand held shots.


Photomatix can produce a 32 bit TIFF image but for some reason it is not compatible with LR4.1 in that it it at the edge of the range of adjustments rather than the middle as you would expect. Oloneo can produce a standard 32 bit HDR file (.rcd) and copes well with deghosting and hand held but (at this time) LR4.1 cannot process anything but a TIFF file so you still need to open the .rcd file in PS and then save as a 32 bit TIFF. Obviously this is rather slower and so is the editing in LR4.1 but it does give you full control. For me I am reasonably happy to use Oloneo because it is fast but I would consider using this slower alternative with LR4.1 in a few cases, if I think I can get a better result.

Dave
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
6 Aug 2012 4:10PM

Quote:However, to use LR4.1 you do need other software which can produce the 32 bit files from your exposure sets (photoshop will do) and it is a more manual process.


With both Photomatix and Photoshop you can export directly from LR4, then have them automatically re-import.

For Photomatix, ensure you download the Photomatix preset plugin - then File / Export with preset / Photomatix pro ; or with Photoshop (certainly CS5) Photo / export / Process HDR (or something similar - not in front of LR at the moment). The new photoshop HDR function is a lot better (much less noise than photomatix, a lot more clarity (photomatix sometimes has quite a distinctive soft blur - easy to correct btw). All I would say is ignore the built in presets.

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