HDR stictly as Correction, not effect

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by randalldouglas, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. I'm very intrigued by some of the images and posts related to HDR. However,
    most of the shots I'm seeing seem more like a special effect than what I'd
    ideally like to do with high dynamic range.

    The potential is definately there.

    Maybe it's due to the limitations of the software, monitors and paper thus
    far. I'm not sure I want a crazy acid trip with most photos: high
    saturation, high local contrast, and weird sky transistions that look
    different than, but not completely unlike, much criticized over-polarized
    skies.

    No offense to those doing this work at all. I like it. I'm actually floored
    by almost all of this kind of stuff and would like to try some of my own this
    way to see it works for me, but I'm more inclined to think (at this point)
    that the popular look many people are getting with HDR right now will one day
    be considered to be an old time effect after the technology matures.

    So...my questions after reading a couple of the tutorials are:

    1. How can I use the HDR software to better reproduce what my eye sees (as
    much as possible on my monitor and paper)?

    2. Are there good tutorials and tips about the lifelike reproduction aspect of
    high dynamic range?
     
  2. 1. How can I use the HDR software to better reproduce what my eye sees (as much as possible on my monitor and paper)?
    Ah, Randy, therein is the rub! The human eye can handle dramatic levels of intensity. They scan and move about and reinterpret in order to do it. So it seems that the technical answer might be that pictures that seem to be awful stretches of HDR, might, just might be a 'realistic' representation, or at least a highly desirable statement. After all, a photograph is already an abstracted representation of something in front of the camera, for better or worse.
    However, if you want to mimick what the eye ordinarily does when 'frozen' or in an unusual stymie with range, then stick to a range of between 10,000 and 30,000 - to one.
    It's highly subject dependent, however.
     
  3. I totally agree. HDR can be used fro good and evil. I've seen some messy HDR attempts that like totally horrible and more rarely I've seen some great HDR photos. I have my own way of creating an HDR image. I don't use built in photoshop version or photomax. I've noticed photomax makes HDR images look messy and photoshop's built in HDR is not as sharp as I would prefer. What I do is take 4-8 expsoures, with a tripod of course and manually blend the exposure with photoshop with layer masking. Here's an EXAMPLE
     
  4. Will, that's what I call a Holy ****! picture. The choice and managment of detail contrast is striking. (That's where so many HDR images go very bad.)

    Thanks!
     
  5. Thanks Pico. I've seen and attempted HDR with other methods and found the results to be, well, a bit messy. I found that by manually layering different exposures with layer masks, it gives me better control and ultimately better results overall.
     
  6. I gotta learn masks.
     
  7. Give Photomatix a try and you can use extended dynamic range without going to full-blown HDR by using the combine image features.
     
  8. Have you ever used photomatrix Roger? All the results I have seen from photomatrix were odd looking. More of special effects than realistic dynamic range.
     
  9. Yes, I have. I use the combine images feature which allows you to blend different exposures to expand dynamic range, NOT the HDR feature which turns your images into an undisplayable high-bit file that needs to be then mapped into normal display. I don't like unnatural looking images myself.

    You can try the free demo yourself.
     
  10. Thanks for the feedback. I'm experimenting with photomatrix now. This was sort of my first take when realizing a bunch of the images I thought were closer to illustration are actually HDR and then trying it myself. So, far the photomatrix images are a little over the top, but interesting to me nonetheless. And the photoshop images are a little blurry, but I might need to take more careful not to jostle the head (I'm shooting indoor/outdoor pictures as tests, so it's not tripod stabilization.

    I haven't yet had a chance to experiment with the recommendations in this thread, but I will. If I get a chance in the next day or two to follow the tips, I'll post them here. If not, I'll create a new thread if I need more advice.

    I really like the tips. Keep them coming. Is there an HDR group on photo.net yet?
     
  11. Would checking the live histogram on your digital camera before
    exposure allow the user to control clipping for each channel and
    just applying a correction curve work just as good?
     
  12. I'm new to this but so far using Photomatix tone mapping on a single RAW that I save a number of times, each with a different exposure setting, seems to generate a composite that is more natural looking.
     
  13. I don't care for the photos turned cartoon. HDR is fabulous to bring additional details in blown out sections or underexposed areas. Achieving a balance is my goal. Photomatrix is unpredictable, since it makes arbitrary decisions about how to process a single raw into HDR.

    Its a wonderful approach to simplifying layering to correct exposure issues.
     

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