HDR manual alignment and cropping for export

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Battou, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Alright, several months ago I decided I would try my hand at HDR....Ok fine, took my shots. Well I have encountered a problem.

    Photomatixes Auto alignment, semi manual and manual alignment have all failed beyond miserably. Word of advice, don't put your tripod in running water....I think I would have been better off handheld but anyway.

    I need to manually align and then crop all nine images in the exact same spot and save them individually for HDR processing in Photomatix using another program.

    Now, If I where to use MS Photo draw this would be a snap given the way Photodraw crops. Quick example:

    Say I really suck and did this:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Well that's easy, open it in Photodraw, copy paste the three images into one and align as normal, Click crop size menu, select resize background, input desired size and locate group as desired, reset layer transparency to zero, save as, delete top layer and repete untill all applicable images are saved.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With Photodraw only top layer (in cases like this where only one layer is visable) that is in the background (outlined in white by default) is saved as the image, so this is the result and all three are the same (I woulda mocked up some half baked exposure variation but for space sake I did not)

    [​IMG]
    (yes I know it's a horrible crop, but this is just a quick demo thingy)

    Now here are my problems, I can't do that in Photoshop (I tried and failed miserably), MS photodraw can not handle the images at their full rezalution, or even half of it so it reconfigures the jpeg and major detail is lost.

    Photoshops cropping methoed is too inconsistant in my hands to get the same size and same spot repetedly and crops with out preview (resulting in many a undo crops, irritating me further). Additionally the layer system opperates way differently than I am used to and I find it difficult to get anywhere and frankley I had given up trying to figure it out.

    Obviously, I am doing something wrong here and it's pissing me off.

    And NO, I am not using Photoshops HDR tools....I don't think I even have them.

    I would like some suggestions if anyone has any.
     
  2. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try setting photomatix to attempt to reduce ghosting artifacts by moving objects / people to high and to align source images by matching features not by correcting horizontal shifts. I find that if I do by horizontal shifts the results are horrible but by matching features I rarely get ghosting...
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've tried everything Photomatix has. That actually results in serious information loss, I mean solid white outlines from where a branch was located. It ain't pretty.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You just lack the important photoshop tip.

    Put the second layer on top of the first and set the layer to difference. The misaligned edges will stand our like a sore thumb (sore as in cut off, not just aching slightly).
    With the select tool selected Right click and one of the options will allow you to rotate and move, align the layer how you want.
    Set second layer back to normal.
    Repeat for 3rd 4th etc.
    When It's all done crop it down, and save one image with each layer visible unchecking the "layers" option if you're saving as a TIFF file.
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not the alignment I am having a problem with, it's the cropping. CS3's cropping sucks....but I'll give it a try later on tonight.
     
  6. motojoe

    motojoe TPF Noob!

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    Battou:

    What method are you using to crop? Are you using the crop tool that allows you to see what you are keeping and not keeping, then finalizing by hitting "enter" or are you selecting an area with the marquee tool and using "image-> crop?"

    What are the details of your work flow for processing an HDR image?

    I'm currently addicted to HDR and it took me a while to develop a work flow that worked for me and made sense with how I processed my image.

    -joe
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry I still don't see the problem. Once all the images are aligned on different layers you could surely just crop the entire image once using either the crop tool or the selection tool and then clicking edit crop. This would work on all layers equally with no inconsistencies. Then just hide all layers except for one save to TIFF, repeat for all other layers.
     
  8. motojoe

    motojoe TPF Noob!

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    well, I think the problem is that he's really trying to get the desired crop to be the same across all of the sources for the HDR before processing. IMHO, shove your RAWs or TIFs into Photomatix as you shot them and then crop as desired after HDR processing. There's really no need to try to normalize the sources before processing.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well that's what I am not getting. If you have all exposures as layers on an image and you align them and then crop the entire image in Photoshop then all of them will be identical assuming they were aligned correctly. Something here must be getting lost in translation or I don't understand the problem.

    Also I don't think it would be a good idea to have them uncropped in photomatix as the area where no picture exists due to rotation I guess may mess up the actual tonemapping process, since the settings look for percentages of of the image to clip the white and black etc.
     
  10. motojoe

    motojoe TPF Noob!

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    I always check the box "do not crop" and have never had any problems with white areas or the like after processing an HDR. But then I've never had a huge differences with rotation either. I almost always shoot my photos for HDR on a pretty stable tripod and I think I going to get a remote to minimize vibration even more. FWIW...
     
  11. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well...that's complicated because wile I do a lot of tone mapping I damn near never do a true HDR. This series of shots was intended to be my first but I fowled it up something feirce and ignored it for some time. I have since done a couple more, but even then, one would not know they where HDR by looking at them so I doubt My workfolw will be of much use to you, But if you want it I could try to explain it.

    CS3 is the problem, CS3 is not my preferred program. Every time I try something on it I get lost in all the unnecessary crap and can not figure out the sht I need. Obviously I am doing something wrong because I continue to get images that vary by a pixel or two and yes one pixel is enough for Photomatix to reject the image.

    Under normal instances I don't have any issues with this and run them through Photomatix uncropped and crop later, but this situation was different...Like I said poor tripod location, Mirror lock and delayed release will not help it the tripod is wobblin due to moving water :( Braindead error on my part.

    But anyway, Save your time and energy, I'm dumping the entire project, the scene over all is not worth the extra effort.
     

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