HDR how to help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mitsugirly, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I've read so many "how to's" and they all seem to be different. I'm just looking for some clarity on how most people achieve these beautiful pictures.

    I've seen a lot of people say they take the pictures in RAW, import at least 3 to 5 pictures into Photomatix, adjust, then take it to photoshop to tweak them and they're done. (I know not this quick and simple...but for the most part, that's what's done).

    Now, I came across a tutorial that someone did online which has a different way of doing it once it's in photoshop.

    They said that you take all the original RAW pictures PLUS the jpeg picture you did in photomatix and then there is a process of masking the layers and punching through the other layers to bring out the colors you are looking for. This makes a lot of sense to me...but yet I don't see anyone here talking about doing it this way. Am I missing something? Does anyone do it this way? I'm having a real problem with the masking layers and it just don't seem to be working too well for me for some reason.

    Has anyone ever did a tutorial on this here? Is there a section for this? I did a search, but of course when you type in HDR or even how to...you get every single post/reply that has the HDR word in it and this is not helping me.

    Here is the tutorial link that I was talking about: HDR Tutorial | High Dynamic Range Tutorial (page 2 is where it gets into it)

    Maybe some of you can take a look at it and tell me if this is actually how most of you do it? Others...can maybe learn from it.

    Let me know your thoughts...I know it's a touchy subject around here and always up for debate along with drama...but I just want some answers on the process.

    Thanks in advance for your imput and help
     
  2. Ecas32

    Ecas32 TPF Noob!

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    the way i do it is run three pictures through photomatix then tonemap it
     
  3. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    So you're saying you don't even take it to photoshop at all??
     
  4. Ecas32

    Ecas32 TPF Noob!

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  5. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem is "tone map" isn't a single step, it is a process, and depending on the results you are looking for is more involved then just clicking "tone map".

    The problem may well stem from the fact that you "know" what an HDR looks like, but not neccessarily what it really is. Knowing what it is (a compressed light ranged photograph, that has the "impossible" light values "tone mapped" onto the image) will go a long way in understanding what you are looking for and what you need to accomplish that.

    All the guy is doing in the tutorial you linked, is creating an HDR'd image, importing it into Photoshop, and using the ORIGINAL files, to perhaps repair the areas of the HDR that he/she is unsatisfied with. Personally I have found that if you do it RIGHT in Photomatix (or Dynamic-Photo HDR, which I use) then you don't need to bother with masking; however if there are some areas of your photograph that are perhaps too overexposed, or too underexposed (even in the final HDR'd shot), you can then use the ORIGINAL photos, to basically "paint in" the "best" parts.

    Thats all. It is NOT needed. Just try a few HDR shots yourself and play with the workflow (Dynamic HDR is much simpler and intuitive as far as showing you what the different sliders do).

    Oh, and I do often bring the finished HDR into photoshop - not to do what the tutorial is doing, but to clean it up and make it purdy (some sharpening, maybe some NATURAL color saturation, versus the gaudy way Photomatix sexes up colors).
     
  6. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, that really helped a lot. I thought maybe I was missing some steps and that's the reason I was getting some unrealistic looks.

    I did however, learn that you can set up photoshop to import your jpegs into the raw importer. Kinda neat and that helped a lot being able to adjust it even more. Do you use that as well?

    I'm not sure if you actually read his tutorial or just skimmed through it...but did you see the part about the Noiseware Review? Has anyone used that or something like it and does it really work that well?
     
  7. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Noiseware works, sure. But it also reduces detail. Thats the point of it. To "smudge" out the noise in your shot.

    And I used Photoshop once to try the HDR thing - pass. I would just leave it to a dedicated program like Photomatix or Dynamic-HDR.
     
  8. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    Which one of those programs do you recommend the most?
     
  9. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dynamic-Photo HDR, simple because its the most noob friendly. Once you get to the tone mapping stage, its as simple as choosing one of the presets.
     
  10. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    Ok, just downloaded the trial...time to play.
     
  11. ndredsox

    ndredsox TPF Noob!

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    Let's see what you came up with.....
     
  12. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I must say I love love love this program. IMO it's better than the photomatix. :drool:

    BUT.....

    #1 When you are in the tone mapping...why is the picture so small? Is there ANY WAY to increase the work area? You can barely see it. I don't see anywhere on there to increase the size of it and it's driving me nuts. The only way I can really see the results is to view the "full view" or the "2x Fine".

    #2 After doing several pictures and REALLY liking the outcome...(I was just editing/tone mapping a single picture, not HDR's), when I saved them and went back and looked at them later...they !DID NOT! look anything like they did in the Dynamic program. AT ALL! What is going on? I spent so much time on them and it was all wasted. :grumpy:
     

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