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Let's begin to take a look at how we can take advantage of a new feature inside of Photoshop CS5 called HDR Pro, in order to create images with a wider dynamic range. And if you are wondering what HDR is, what it is is it's creating or constructing an image out of multiple images that have different exposure settings. That way, what you can do is create an image with a wider dynamic range. This is really helpful, because there are certain things that the camera can't capture. In other words, it can't capture certain brightness and darkness detail in one frame.
Therefore, we can use multiple frames in order to capture all this information and then combine those images together. Now it's worth saying here that there are many ways to work with HDR. You can take a lot of different exposures. You can come up with surreal results, subtle results or simply more functional results. And also you may be thinking, 'Well we are able to create HDR files in Photoshop CS4. What's the big deal about CS5?' Well really, what they have done is they have torn this tool down and then rebuilt it from the ground up, and they have rebuilt it in a way so that it works much more quickly.
Now you may be thinking, 'Okay. Well how important is speed here?' When it comes to HDR, it's incredibly important, because many times we are working with raw files with really high resolution. We have all of these files. We need that extra added bit of speed. There are also are some other tweaks and improvements in regards to deghosting and the way it creates the files. We can now work with presets a little bit more effectively and a few other things as well. Well let's take a look at how we can begin to take advantage of and leverage this tool. I will go ahead and click in the first image of this set, these are just a couple of photos that I captured this morning.
Hold down the Shift key and click in another image. Next, I will navigate to the Tools pulldown menu and here I am going to choose Photoshop and then Merge to HDR Pro. Now when I do this, because I am working with JPEGs, Photoshop it will say, 'Hey! You know what? If you would use the Camera Raw files this would work better.' And that's true, right, because Camera Raw files have more depth, more dynamic range. Well that being said, this does work really well with JPEGs and other file formats. So, for demo purposes, let's just go ahead and use these JPEGs and click OK.
This will then open up the HDR Pro dialog. Here we can see we have the different exposures. Now if ever you don't want to use one of these exposures, you can simply click on this check box here in order to remove that from the set. I want to bring that one in. I want as much dynamic range as possible here with these four exposures. Next, I also navigate up to this Preset pulldown menu. What you can do sometimes is simply click on a Preset from this pulldown menu and some of these presets can be good starting points. Now another way that you can begin is simply by modifying these sliders.
You will notice that they are grouped into Edge Glow, Tone and Detail and down below, we have Color and Curve. So, all that I want to do here is just begin to modify this. Now I am going to modify this in a way that just looks good to my eye, and I am going to do that, again, in a real subjective way, simply just modifying these controls and trying to find a sweet spot with this particular photograph. Now you can see that just by making some simple adjustments we can really come up with some different results in regards to the overall look of the image. So, what you are going to need to do is swing this back and forth in order to find that sweet spot for your particular photos, so that they look their best.
And again, I am just going to make a couple of changes here and work on the image in this way. All right. Well, the trick with this, of course, is you could keep making changes almost forever, right? In this case, I say we're at a pretty good place with this photograph. Let's go to the Tone Curve. This works a lot like curves as we know in Photoshop. I am just going to add a little bit of contrast there, to this image, and at this juncture, I am ready to save this file out. Now you may be thinking, 'Okay. Well that doesn't look very good.' Well sure, a lot of times what you are going to do is use HDR Pro to perhaps finish an image, get it to that perfect spot.
Other times, it may simply be a starting point from which you will further process the image inside of Photoshop. And that's what I want to do here. Just to get you to begin to think about how you can use this tool in combination with what you already know about in Photoshop. All right. Well, again, once we have dialed all of this in, the last thing to do is to click OK, or if you want to save these settings out as a Preset, click on this icon here and choose Save Preset. I will go ahead and give this one a name, and I will name this one, co - minimal.
It's a little bit of a minimal effect, and I will click Save. All right. Well, from here, we simply click OK. This will then generate or create this HDR file for us. Okay, well now that we have this image open in Photoshop, let's go ahead and take a look at how we can process this image even further, and we will do that in the next movie.
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