New to HDR - wondering about software

Discussion in 'HDR Discussions' started by WesternGuy, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hi all, I have just joined this forum and am relatively new to HDR, I have done a few sunsets, setting up pictures in LR3.3 and then using the HDR Pro capabilities of CS5 to convert the HDR images. I have been looking at additional HDR software and have come to a potential choice between Photomatix Pro and the new product just recently put out by Nik Software - HDR Efex Pro. I am wondering if anyone has experience with with either product, or both, and would care to share their experience and impressions. Thanks. :wink:

    WesternGuy


     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You are going to get a hundred answers from 10 people ;)

    I use both along with several others but tend to go back to Photomatrix most frequently. Photomatris is considered to be the top dog and they continue to upgrade their product on a regular basis.

    Nik's product has a series of preset that one can start with and of course change (but then photomatrix lastest upgrade provides that as well). Nik has made an effort to deal with the motion issue.

    Why not download the free trials and see which best suits your workflow and vision.

    I took one set of images and ran them through both programs and there is a very slight difference in some color tones, but both were acceptable. WHen shown to some folks who have no knowledge of the process they would pick somethings out in one print that they liked better than the other, with the bottom line they wanted me to take some parts of each and put them into the final image. Is this important, not to me, but it was an interesting response by non photographers.
     
  3. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ann, thanks for your reply and insight. I was thinking of doing exactly what you have suggested - downloading the free trial versions and seeing which best suits my workflow and vision. I want to do a bit more research on these products yet, and to this end, I have signed up for a Nik webinar next week that will hopefully give me a good overview of their product, also HDR have a video on their website which I will look at, as well. I also recognize that these videos/webinars are designed to "sell" me their product. ;)

    Your point about "getting a hundred answers from 10 people" is well taken. :lol:

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nik does a good job with their webinars. I watch them a lot, depending on my schedule . They move quickly and sometimes my eyes glaze over as I am in no way an expert with PS. However, most can be reviewed after the fact . and so you can rewind so to speak .

    you might also check out some video's on ONONE software. ALtho, they don't have a specific piece of software for HDR, Brian Matiash is now working with them and does what i think is great HDR work and in some of his demo's he uses the onone software to add to the orginal HDR image.

    I would agree that the companies that do these certainly are showcasing their products, but I have never felt seriously pushed into purchasing. However, that may be becasue i already have the software.:lol:

    They usually also offer a discount at the end of the show, but they are good about answering as many questions as they can, either doing the webinar after giving you an email address to contact someone who will make themselves available.
     
  5. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hi Ann, funny :)lol: ) you should mention onOne's webinars, I had the occasion to watch the one by Brian Matiash a few weeks ago and that is what really got me interested in doing HDR.

    I have also read a couple of books on the subject - "Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography" by Ferrell McCullough and "HDR Photography (PhotoWorkshop)" by Pete Carr and Robert Correll (still working on this one). This book is almost a manual for Photomatix, although I suspect that there is probably a more recent version out (of Photomatix) as the book is about 2-3 years old, but still makes for interesting reading from my perpspective. McCullough mentions Photomatix, but he does not give it the instructional treatment that Carr and Correll do. My friends often say that I can begin to exhibit signs of OCD when I want to learn something new, so my research into the subject whether it is hardware or software can be pretty thorough as you can see from this posting and my reading - now I just have to get out and do some HDR photography - a bit cold here though - only getting to -5° C today with a snow covered ground - 10 - 20 cm in places. Christmas day and a couple that follow promise to be absolutely balmy - + 6° C more or less.

    I am thinking that the snow should give me some interesting contrast situations, maybe go and find some old barns or farm buildings outside the city, or some forest scenes - buildings, trees, blue skies...-what more could I ask for. :)

    I also have onOne's Photo Tools 2.6 Pro add-on/plug-in for CS5 - still on the front-end of the learning curve with this one. Got it as a result of upgrading a standard version of PT 2.5 from regular to the Professional model and from a half price special they had on a while back.

    The reason I am interested in NIK's HDR Efex Pro, is that I have their editing software Viveza and am quite impressed with what I have been able to do with it and I was thinking (hoping) that maybe their HDR software shows the same quality as their Viveza software. Well enough rambling for now.

    Cheers and Best Wishes for the Holidays - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    understood, and i tend to do something similar. You might like to check out CHristian Bloch book "the HDRI Handbook" it has been around for awhile and I started with that one.

    As an educator I feel it is important to keep up with as much new information as possible as sooner or later it is going to come up in a class.

    I recently got an email from Jason Odell that he has an ebook available about the nik software. I found his book on Silver FEfex Pro to be very good and when I first tried Capture NX2 which is from Nikon but in connection with Nix it was very helpfu, so I would be surprised if this ebook wasn't as productive.

    With all this said, just go out and start shooting , doing the footwork with the software and images, realizing that this is a journey not a just push this button and I too will be terrific (somehow I find that hard to believe you would do) but many do.

    Happy Holidays , take lots of pics


    here is the link for Jason

    http://www.luminescentphoto.com/webstore/index.html
    a
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  7. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ann, thanks for the reference to Christian Bloch's book. I just added it to my wish list on bookstore's e-page. They also noted, when I did the search that there is a 2nd edition scheduled out on January 28, 2011, so maybe that is the one to watch for, at least from my perspective. I also bookmarked Jason Odell's site for future reference, should I decide to acquire Nik's product, again, thanks for that reference. :thumbup:

    I am definitely not a "push this button and I too will be terrific" kind of photographer. I will wait for the shot I want, particularly for sunrise/set images and for others, if I don't like what I see in the view finder then it isn't going to happen, maybe I change lenses, change vantage point, maybe I come back another day and maybe it doesn't get taken at all. Having said that, if it is one of those once in a lifetime kind of pictures that no one else might ever get, then I will shoot first and edit later, although I prefer not too, but sometimes you do have to do that otherwise a unique opportunity is gone, but that is probably less than ten percent of what I shoot - can't always "expect the unexpected", but I try. My foray into HDR will definitely be "planned", in fact I already have a couple of places I want to go to next Spring when they open the roads in the mountains - I'm too old to hike or ski in over the mountains of snow (really bad knees) and I know the picture isn't going away - landscapes don't do that, at least the last time I looked, so part of my winter work will be to plan some HDR outings into the mountains to the west for the spring. :D

    I would like to thank you for all your input and help with this new photographic venture I am about to undertake - it has been most useful.

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy
     

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