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When is hdr too cartoony

lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
12 Mar 2016 11:34AM
A well exposed and full toned version of this would be much better to look at, in my opinion.

Given the latitude of RAW files, there will be plenty of detail in the sky and all that is necessary is to lower the exposure in the sky region. In Lightroom, the radial filter will do a good job here. With a more even skyline, the gradient filter will do the job easily. It's the work of a few seconds to do. All imaging software has the facility.

I prefer effects like HDR applied where the subject cries out for them, rather than because they exist and everyone uses them. The best use of HDR is where you'd have no idea it was used unless you were told.
Lenscapon 5 64
12 Mar 2016 1:01PM
I guess it depends on intent? If you want an unrealistically vivid image with limited sjadow and cartoon bright colors, then OK.

But if you wanted a life-like image with subtle enhancements to improve the contrast, then they are both over-cooked.

There's also an element of personal taste. For me, strong HDR looks like one of those cheap, mass produced oil paintings sold off through furniture superstores.
steve_kershaw 16 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2016 5:51PM

Quote:HDR is wrong whenever you can tell its HDR.

This is spot on for 95% of images

HDR still has a lot of use,
from a raw file you can pull back about 3 stops from the highlights and shadows,
A 3 bracketed -/+ 1.5 stops will give you roughly the same output if you process it on normal, obviously you have an extra 1.5 stops to process further,

I do hundreds of property photography where there can be 5 or 6 stops difference between the light inside and outside, I use a combination of flash and HDR to control this
thewilliam 12 6.1k
12 Mar 2016 6:12PM
When done with restraint, isn't HDR just the digital version of we used to do in the darkroom with dodging and burning?
redhed17 15 881 England
12 Mar 2016 7:14PM

Quote:When done with restraint, isn't HDR just the digital version of we used to do in the darkroom with dodging and burning?

Not really imho. Dodging and Burning was done when there was something on the negative to Dodge or Burn. HDR is normally used when there would be not enough information recorded by the sensor to recover, and/or if there is info there, brightening darker areas may introduce noise and darkening the brighter areas could introduce colour shifts.

HDR can be very precise too, you can brighten and bring detail out on a dark branch against a bright sky background for example.

As has been said though, if you can tell it is a HDR then it is probably done badly if realism was the aim.

I find that ACR and Lightroom can get a lot of information out of RAW files, and the newer sensors have more dynamic range to get a lot of information out of the darkest and brightest areas of most files, as long as not too far under or over exposed.
StrayCat 17 19.1k 3 Canada
12 Mar 2016 7:37PM
I have been meaning to try it since I first read about it on here, Ade McFade was an advocate of it, but I still haven't gotten around to it.
lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
12 Mar 2016 7:51PM

Quote:When done with restraint, isn't HDR just the digital version of we used to do in the darkroom with dodging and burning?
I think it is, when the intention is to make the image what it could have been if materials were a bit better.

I see what redhed17 is saying but in practise, to my eyes, the cure is often worse than the disease. I understand that you can bring out detail on a branch against a bright sky but that should be an aesthetic decision, not a technical one. More detail is not necessarily better, just a sharper is not necessarily better. If you do it because it makes a better picture, well why not? But so often it is done in pursuit of a technical ideal that can worsen rather than enhance the pic.

We have the facility to do HDR but it rarely improves things. I'm as curious about technical possibilities as anyone else but HDR seems mainly to make otherwise decent pictures look like the kind of crap pictures that Boot used to sell.

Having said that, if it was my paintings they were selling, I'd have been perfectly happy to churn them out Blush
andybebbs 13 635 1 England
13 Mar 2016 9:09AM
I am a fan of hdr if it`s done right as soon as i start seeing halos then it all looks a bit over done for me.
Eckyboy 8 51 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2016 9:52AM
I have lessened the hdr effect here
lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
13 Mar 2016 10:22AM
I'm surprised you needed HDR for that - there's not a massive tonal range there. Looks much better though.
focuspdn 5 2
2 May 2016 11:29AM
personally I prefer to have HDR shots without humans / extra stuff around. It should be pure scenery for the best effects. that's just me lol


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Nick_w 14 4.3k 99 England
3 May 2016 6:45AM
Another example where "HDR" is confused with "Tone Mapping"
arhb 13 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
3 May 2016 8:36AM
When most if not all tone mapping software is acquired as software under the title of HDR, it's not suprising.
Chris_L 7 5.5k United Kingdom
3 May 2016 11:55AM
Not sure if OP is looking at his original shot and trying to think of ways to improve it. Making the sky more 'dramatic' by bringing back the blown highlights only detracts from the impact of the cathedral. Both of the first examples look awful, colours look wrong / too yellow etc.

Time would be better spent doing some distortion removal to stop the verticals converging so that the building stands proud, tall and straight. IMMHO.

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