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Creating the initial HDR image

From: Up and Running with HDR Efex Pro 2.0

Video: Creating the initial HDR image

There are various ways you can select these specific images that you want to assemble into a final HDR image. And send those images to Nick Software's HDR Effects Pro, in order to create the final image. Whatever method you use, once you've identified those images, and chosen to merge them together. You'll be presented with the Merge dialog, and that's what we see here. I have a total of nine images that I'm assembling here. You can see they range from a very bright exposure, all the way down to a relatively dark exposure that helped retain in this case, cloud detail in the sky.

Creating the initial HDR image

There are various ways you can select these specific images that you want to assemble into a final HDR image. And send those images to Nick Software's HDR Effects Pro, in order to create the final image. Whatever method you use, once you've identified those images, and chosen to merge them together. You'll be presented with the Merge dialog, and that's what we see here. I have a total of nine images that I'm assembling here. You can see they range from a very bright exposure, all the way down to a relatively dark exposure that helped retain in this case, cloud detail in the sky.

Most of the work being performed by HDR Effects Pro is relatively automatic. But there are some options that you may want to adjust depending on the particular images that you're assembling. The first option is the alignment checkbox, and I recommend that you leave this potion turned on for every single HDR image you assemble with HDR Effects Pro. Without this option, the images could be slightly out of alignment even if you capture the individual frames on a tripod. There could be some very subtle movement that you're not aware of, and that can cause a significant issue in the final result.

So, I always leave that Alignment checkbox turned on. The next option is Ghost Reduction. And what this means, is that we're able to take a moving subject and make it appear as though it were not moving. So, if a bird on a fountain was moving from one frame to the next, you can essentially adjust the image so that only one bird appears. Rather than individual copies of that bird from each of your HDR frames. I recommend leaving Ghost Reduction turned on for most images even if you think it was a totally static subject. In this case, for example, I framed up the scene so that there were no people in the frame.

There weren't, as far as I know, any birds flying across the sky. And so you might assume, at first glance, that nothing was moving and therefore I don't need Ghost Reduction. However, as it turns out, there was some movement within the frame, specifically the lamp hanging from the ceiling was swaying just a little bit in a very light breeze. I didn't notice the movement while I was standing there, and looking from one frame to the next, I didn't even really notice the movement all that much. And yet, there was some significant movement. I'll go ahead and turn on the Zoom tool And then position that tool at the base of the lamp, here right at the bottom of the lamp.

And then if I turn off Ghost Reduction, you'll be able to see a little bit of a blurring within the image. I'll go ahead and switch betwen the various exposures here for example. And you'll see as we move from frame to frame we're getting a fair amount of overlapping images here. We see a little bit of ghosting around some of the detail in the lamp for example. If I turn on Ghost Reduction however, you'll see that once that image gets processed, all of the ghosting quickly disappears. For most images, if there's any indication of ghosting at all, an even sometimes if there's not any indication of ghosting.

I'll leave the ghost reduction checkbox turned on, an I'll set the strength at 100%. In addition to being able to turn on Ghost Reduction and adjust the strength, we can also choose which frame will be used as the reference image. I'll go ahead and turn off the Zoom feature for the moment so that we can see the difference. And then I can simply click on one of my frames up above and you'll notice that the image gets updated. Now in this case what that means is, you'll see the movement of the lamp. It'll be a little more to the left in one frame and a little more to the right in another frame. In this case I think I'm going to use this second image here as the ghost reference because there I like the position of the lamp a little bit better. So, we can determine which image will be considered the baseline image for that Ghost Reduction.

We also have the option to remove chromatic aberration. I'll go ahead and turn on the Chromatic Aberration checkbox and you'll see that the Zoom tool comes up automatically with the Chromatic Aberration option. All that really means that were zoomed in a little bit closer we can switch between a Ghost Reduction zoom and a Chromatic Aberration zoom. And then we can drag the window around and look for a high contrast area within the frame. So, I'll go ahead and click and drag around and looking for a high contrast edge to see if there's any chromatic aberrations. Those chromatic aberrations will appear as a color fringing. And you can see just a little bit of a cyan color fringing here, we can adjust for a red cyan color fringing or a blue yellow color fringing.

I'll go ahead and adjust the Red-Cyan slider for example, relatively large degree. And you'll see now that cyan color fringing has switched to a red color fringing. And so by fine tuning the settings, I can hopefully find a value that will provide no chromatic aberrations at all. It's a good idea to check around various areas of the photo for those chromatic aberrations. Just to make sure that you're eliminating them altogether throughout the entire image, or at least mitigating those chromatic aberrations to the extent that it's possible. Generally speaking, I'll only use chromatic aberration correction if I actually need it.

And whether or not there is any chromatic aberration in the image, depends in large part on the lighting conditions, as well as the lens that you use to capture the image. Once you've established those settings, you can simply click the create HDR button. And all of the adjustments you've applied will be taken into account as the initial HDR image is assembled. Keep in mind this is just a baseline image that blends all of the exposure data into a single result. You'll still have the opportunity to fine tune the overall settings for the HDR photo.

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Up and Running with HDR Efex Pro 2.0

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