Can Lightroom do HDR?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by lahuasteca, May 8, 2013.

  1. I have never used Lightroom, but currently use ACR then Photoshop. Here are the specific tasks for which I use Photoshop: HDR, shadow-highlights, curves, and sharpening. I know the last three can be done in ACR, but I prefer Photoshop. Can Lightroom do HDR? Needless to say, I'm looking to the future and have no plans to go to Adobe CC.
     
  2. As I recall, the latest version of LR won't 'do' HDR (ie. create an HDR file from N bracketed exposures) but it will accept a 32 (?) bit depth file that is output from HDR programs so you can do some work w/ it.
     
  3. Yep. Kind of weird the way that works. Think it has to be a .tif, but not positive.
     
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    You can easily use your existing version of Photoshop with Lightroom for HDR. There is a menu function that will allow you to send a set of images to Photoshop for HDR processing. It's explained here. I prefer the Nik plug-in for HDR, although my use is limited to real estate photos I'm hired to do.
     
  5. You can also use the Lr/Enfuse plugin:
    http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php
     
  6. LRenfuse is no real HDR, but it works.
     
  7. True but enfusing, IMO looks a heck of a lot better than the usual over the top HDR that seems to be (unfortunately) popular.
     
  8. Found the right term: LR/enfuse does Exposure Blending. In my experience it works quite well however for HDR/Exposure Blending/Focus Stacking there is no 'best' solution. Depending on the pictures you start with sometimes one program is better, sometimes another.
     
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    True but enfusing, IMO looks a heck of a lot better than the usual over the top HDR that seems to be (unfortunately) popular.​

    "Over the top" is about usage, not tools. Unless it's a tool with no controls, there's always a way to control things.
     
  10. You can use the Nik plug-in and tune down the effect to where most people would not look at it and immediately go "Eeeew, HDR!" It will work by itself, sort of, but will plug into Photoshop and, I think, LR.
    I don't know if this bargain offer is still available and if the coupon code for additional discount is still valid, but..
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00bUIW
     
  11. Of course it's about the usage.
    In almost every Photomatix shot I've seen, the user seems to just crank every slider to the 'too much' position and thinks they're avant-garde grunge artists.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    You can use the Nik plug-in and tune down the effect​

    That's not necessary. It's very flexible and you don't start from a "tune down" point. It has presets that are close to done for certain looks, including mild ones. This is from a job, the light was really difficult and the results impossible without HDR. And it was just one click in the Nik plug-in.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Thanks all for responding. I use HDR for just that - extending the dynamic range, not for overdramatic effects. The Nik software is impressive - I like Jeff's image. I do have CS6. That in combo with Lightroom, and the Nik plug in, can keep me going for quite some time. I have no intention of going to a Photoshop cloud service.
     
  14. If you shoot in Raw format then you can create an HDR image directly within Lightroom from a single image. Ok maybe not to the high end but probably good enough for most people's use.
    00bczt-536263584.jpg
     
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    you can create an HDR image directly within Lightroom from a single image​

    You can't do this. Lightroom can not pull out exposure information that isn't there in a single image. It doesn't work that way. This is "HDR look" and has little to do with HDR.
     
  16. You can't do this. Lightroom can not pull out exposure information that isn't there in a single image. It doesn't work that way. This is "HDR look" and has little to do with HDR.​
    The exposure information is there in a Raw image. As stated maybe to not quite the same extent as three seperate images but you will still get -2 stops to +2 stops from a single raw image. If you look at my photo you will see the boys are in deep shadow under the trees with bright sunlight shinning through. Lightroom has been able to pull detail from both the shadows as well as the highlights.

    HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This image certainly has that so the answer to the original question "Can Lightroom produce HDR image" is yes.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    HDR is a technique. It doesn't matter what the words are. There is no way in Lightroom to pull out the information in the image I posted, or in what HDR tools produce.
     
  18. Not to sure that your 100% correct there Jeff.
    High-dynamic-range photographs are generally achieved by capturing multiple standard photographs, often using exposure bracketing, and then merging them into an HDR image.
    As the above states "are generally achieved" My understanding is that HDR is an image that displays High Dynamic Range no matter how this was achieved.

    Your argument is that if I created three images from one raw file in Lightroom one as shot, one with +2 stops exposure and the last with -2 stops exposure and then exported these to lets say the Nik program to create an HDR image from these three images I would have a true HDR image as opposed to being able to do this in Lightroom by pulling +2 stops of information from the shadows and -2 stops of information from the highlights.
    I'm not saying that Lightroom would create and image as good as lets say the Nik software again. But the image from Lightroom does have a High Dynamic Range and is therefore a HDR image.
     
  19. It is with LR3. LR4 has more sophistigated possibilities ja different names to the panels.
     
  20. I use Timothy Armes Enfuse plug-in with Lightroom 4 and 5b for extending dynamic range while maintaining a
    perceptually realistic appearance and color balance in the image. It is very effective at its default settings for doing that
    but the control parameters are easily tweaked to produce different effects. The finished image can be output as a TIFF,
    JPEG, or PSD in the 8 or 16 bit per channel color space of your choosing and there is an automatically re-import into
    your Lightroom library and catalog option.

    I've tried and continue to try other HDR plug-ins, programs, and Photoshop workflows but for me Enfuse continues to
    produces results that I am happiest with.
     
  21. LRenfuse is no real HDR​
    Please enlighten us as to what criterion of "real HDR" enfuse fails to meet.
     
  22. It's very flexible and you don't start from a "tune down" point. It has presets that are close to done for certain looks, including mild ones.​
    Come on now, very few of the presets that it comes with are all that close to what anyone would want who is not into the neon edges look.
     
  23. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Come on now, very few of the presets that it comes with are all that close to what anyone would want who is not into the neon edges look.​

    Here you go, which one of these has that kind of look?
    00bd5Z-536345584.jpg
     
  24. Let me put it another way, which of those, even starting with your own picture, would you want to accept without adjustment?
    "Neon edge" may have been a bit strong, but none is really natural looking. Most of the presets require at least adjustment of the exposure, and many more than that. The most likely acceptable out of the box, are the B&W HD conversions.

    Edge of vase, edge of cabinet (slight), and noise/banding in dark area:
    00bd5n-536349684.jpg
     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The artifacts you are pointing out are in the preview image, not the final image. I'm still looking for the neon. Have you used Nik HDR Efex Pro 2?
     
  26. Yes, that's exactly what I use. I love it, but don't really understand why you take objection to my rather mild statement about the presets requiring "tuning down" - call it what you will, it's no skin off my hide.
     
  27. LR doesn't have a HDR function. Missing HDR functionality has also been criticized in the recent release of Lightroom 5.
     
  28. Thought Lightroom's PV2012 tonal distribution behavior with Highlight and Shadow sliders along with a slew of other algorithm changes provided enough tweak capability to get HDR results.
     
  29. If someone built a camera with 20 stops of clean dynamic range and a 32-bit raw file, and if Lightroom were used to
    manage the highlights, shadows, white and black points of one exposure from that camera, would the process be
    considered HDR? It seems pedantic to suggest that HDR must always involve multiple exposures. The word 'high' is
    arbitrary until someone decides the number of stops of DR that can be considered high dynamic range.

    The tools and programs that are used today won't be used for HDR in 10-20 years, so don't get too attached to the -2, 0,
    +2 model.
     
  30. Dan, with the way the exposure building in the O-MD E-M5 works, I would say we aren't very far off. It has actually puzzled me for a while why we don't have a single 32-bit HDR capture mode on cameras. I would love it.
     
  31. Dan,
    Thanks for that bit of sanity. I'd like to believe that as tools change so will my method of using them. As of late April 2013
    the camera I most regularly work with, a Canon EOS 1D X, has a larger dynamic range at any ISO setting than the
    camera I most regularly used before that, an EOS 1Ds Mk III.

    At an industrial site a few days ago i was presented with a set up that had an extreme highlight (mid day bright cloudy
    sky) to deep shadow range. With the inherent dynamic range of the 1D X a -2/0/+2 combination nailed the shot with
    some room left over. I used the Enfuse plug in and left the Lightroom Basic Develop controls at their defaults of 0.

    With a Nikon D800 I may not have needed three shots. 2 at +1.00 might have nailed it or with judicious application of Lr's
    Basic Develop controls it is possible, a single frame might have nailed it at the expense of over amplified colors and
    contrasts that result from pushing the parameters hard.

    What many people do not seem to grasp is that all Raw processing, and this is true of all raw processing programs, is
    tone mapping. This is even true for film processing. Whiletheir are absolute black and absolute white points determined
    by the sensitivity of the recording medium or device, it's possible to push, pull, poke and prod all intermediate values to a
    desired point. Of course with "Raw" files we can always go back and start afresh.
     
  32. "...What many people do not seem to grasp is that all Raw processing, and this is true of all raw processing programs, is tone mapping. ..."
    Yes, in the strictest sense, normal raw converters perform tone mapping, as does the hardware and software in your camera, as does the simple act of changing the exposure, etc.. However, none of the raw converters that I am familiar with perform two of the all-important functions of true HDR software:
    1. For a given pixel, conventional raw converters obviously do not selectively weight the image in in a stack of similar images in which that pixel is closest to being best exposed. This is a critical difference because HDR software minimizes the noise-in-the-shadows problem, whereas the usual RAW converter will boost shadow noise if extra brightness is requested in those areas.
    2. Other than the "clarity" and "sharpening" controls in ACR and LR (and their counterparts in other raw converters), all operations in conventional raw converters are global - ie, they do the same thing to all pixels. In contrast, one of the most useful functions of HDR tone mapping algorithms is how they handle local contrast, steps in brightness, etc. They do this by adjusting the action performed on a given pixel only after considering the neighboring areas of the scene. There is a short introduction to this in this Wikipedia article, and many, many scholarly articles in computer science / image processing journals on this topic.
    That being said, I am in agreement with your general premise that the dynamic range of digital cameras is steadily improving, and one can now often get by with a single exposure whereas in the past, going through the process of multiple exposures would have been necessary.
    Tom M
     

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