HDR may have ruined me!

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by D-50, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    So I figured out how to use Photomatrix and Photoshop to create nice HDR images although I think I may have passed the point of no return. Now when I look back at my regular photos they seem lifeless and flat. Anyone else experience this?
     
  2. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    Lots of people seem to use HDR's for everything.
    Like "Oh I can't be bothered to expose this correctly or use a polarizer... I know I'll just make it a HDR"

    Most of the time I like to have my shadow areas and my highlight areas, looking at things via the Zone Metering schoolof thought.
    HDR kicks zone metering in the teeth, and thus... I'm not much of a fan.

    I like to see HDR's every now and again, and I sometimes love the surrealness to them, but most pictures do not need HDR, they just need proper exposure and a filter of some form.
     
  3. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes. However, even my HDR's are lifeless and flat. I'm thinking it's my style.

    I use HDR in my work, but it's because it's quicker than figuring out exposures. I try not to think at work.

    I'm about 50/50 when it comes to exposing to the light and using RAW or HDR. I think in the long run I'll end up shooting RAW. I'm hoping to maintain the flat amd lifeless thing I have going.
     
  4. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    That's kind of off base IMO. I understand your point and I'm not saying that HDR is never used as a crutch.
    However, by nature, failing to expose the image properly and without accurate stops of exposure in the right bracketed range, the HDR image produced from that wouldn't be an accurate HDR image at all.
    And accuracy is the entire point of using HDRI. So if it's not accurate, there's no point in using HDRI.
    It would result in a 'non-linear' dynamic range that would throw off all the other luminance values.
    It's all about the technical aspect of measured light samples.
    The premise of HDRI is to force the image into 32bit float mode so that it can represent a much higher range of luminance/radiance values than 8-16bit images.

    It's the same concept as using 32 or 64bit memory addressing in your computer.

    For example, the x64 architecture of new CPU's. Using 64bit addressing allows the computer to utilize much more memory than 32bit x86 architecture. Which makes it suitable for working with large datasets and CPU and RAM intensive applications like those needed for 3D rendering and animation.

    The dynamic range of a digital image works in much the same way.

    Assuming that once you create the HDRi mage you save it in a file format that supports 32bit float mode. Such as HDR, OpenEXR, radiance etc...

    This allows the luminance values to be represented in a much higher range that traditional 8-16bit images would automatically clip.
    So regardless of how well exposed a 16bit image is, it will never represent luminance values higher than is mathematically possible with 16bit range.

    Simply put, a 16bit image will suffer from blown highlights and loss of detail in shadow points LONG before the same image in 32bit float mode.
    A 16bit image just doesn't have enough data to retain detail beyond a certain point because it doesn't recognize mathematical values beyond that point.
    The computer basically rounds off the values used to represent those higher luminance ranges. Which visually translates to clipping that lower/higher exposure range.

    I hope I've explained myself well enough for people to understand.
    There's plenty of information on the web which could explain it better than I can.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Nope. There are times when HDR is useful, there are other times when it's not. It's up to the photographer to decide when it would be a wise course of action.

    About HDR's replacing correct exposure or Polarizers, HDR does not reduce glare, if anything, it would promote it. If the images you use for your HDR are not carefully created to work together, than you'll fail.
     
  6. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    This sounds sketchy to me.
    Anyone who works with REAL full rez 32bit float HDRI's in a true hdr format like radiance, can't help but notice that compared to that other lower rez images pale in comparison.
    There's just no getting around it.
    You must be working with 16bit (half precision) hdr images that are tone mapped for display on low dynamic range output device/s.
    When you properly create a light probe using the chrome ball method and have all your settings dialed in properly, the range and contrast of the image is astounding. There's no way that you're getting results anywhere near it with traditional "device referred" digital images.
    I don't care what you do to it, it just isn't possible.
    I'll post an example of a 3D generated chrome sphere, lit with a radiance map for true specular reflections.
    Because I don't think we're talking about the same thing here.
     
  7. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    I think you must be right. I'm pretty sure that the OP, and subsequant posters, were referring to HDR (and tone mapping) use in photography, what with it being a photography forum and all that. Not many are going to have $50k monitors to view 32bit HDR images.

    Back on topic ... I was getting to the stage where I wanted to HDR everything but I think I've got over it now. I try to go for subtle uses sometimes now to bring out some shadow detail or if there is a bright sky that needs detail retaining. I'm determined to use filters and get it right in camera as much as possible now.
     
  8. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    I am in the beginging stages of HDR use so I guess I will have to get it out of my system so I can get back to real photography. Not to say I take less time when actually taking photographs, I always try to get it right in the camera. I have found though I enjoy HDR images of people much more than lanscapes.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    There are times when HDR's are impossible to create (any sort of action), and HDR's add time to post production. I just assume use a single RAW file and do my PP on that than have to make an HDR and fuss with it, unless HDR is the only way to get the look i'm aiming for.
     
  10. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    Of course, neither do I have a $50k monitor.
    But I do work with HDRI images and normal images, and know that an image generated properly using HDR is above and beyond what a normal image ever could be.
    In terms of dynamic range and contrast.
    My comments were directed to what I thought was switch saying that his lower dynamic range images were achieving the same quality as HDR images.
    Which could only be true if the HDR image wasn't properly generated using all the correct stops of exposure to cover the dynamic range.
    Even when it was tone mapped for display on conventional monitors.

    As to this being a photography forum, again, of course. But I can't help but notice that some forms of hybrid photography aren't ever used, and would not be respected the same as work created using more traditional methods. Like doing everything "in-camera".
    Which I'm sorry to say, is BORING. And I don't see why it is so revered.
    It only shows proficiency with the camera. Not with post-processing skills which are as much a part of photography in this day and age as skill with the camera. The proof of this is that camera makers are adding post processing functions into the camera.
    All things being equal, work that draws on the skill of in-camera functionality, and also extensive post processing skill, shows more talent with more than one area of photography.
    Which basically means MORE SKILL LEVEL in general.
    The only proof needed to validate this is how old timers resist digital imaging, and how many people try to act like doing everything "in-camera" is somehow more valid than an image that makes use of extensive post processing.
    What it REALLY means is that your skills are lacking, and you need to update not only your skill level, but your out of date ideas about photography in general...
     
  11. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    Can't argue with that logic. Not all shots require HDR, that's just a fact.
    I thought based on a previous post that you were saying that your normal photos look as good as your HDR images.
    My fault.
    I do alot of work with HDR, and know that they are in a separate class of photograph all their own.
    On occasion I do product concept photography. Which is basically a product shot when there's no physical product to photograph.
    My method requires HDRI. I shoot a bracketed sequence to create an HDR from the environment that the product would normally be photographed in.
    Then I create a 3D rendering of the product and light it with the HDRI.
    Rendered with a separate alpha, I then composite the 3D rendering into the tone mapped version of the HDRI.
    The result is a totally natural looking product shot which uses a hybrid form of photography to create an ad-like shot of a totally non-existent product.

    It's the work I like most, but do least.
    3D rendering is very closely related with photography. Just more involved. You have to have an understanding of surface properties and how light interacts with that surface. Because you're creating a photograph from the ground up.
     
  12. JBLoudG20

    JBLoudG20 TPF Noob!

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    I am confused by one thing that is mentioned. There seems to be a distinction: use HDR or photograph in RAW. Why is this? Am I reading incorrectly? Can you not make an HDR out of RAW images?
     

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