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Join Rich Harrington and explore the world of HDR, or high dynamic range, imagery with Photomatix from HDRsoft. Rich covers how to merge multiple exposures to show an extended dynamic range of scenes, as well as preprocess images to reduce ghosting, noise, and chromatic aberration. He also reviews tone mapping and exposure fusions, and solutions to common problems you'll encounter in HDR images, such as color cast. At the end of the course, Rich offers a series of challenges to test your skills.
This course was created and produced by Rich Harrington. We're honored to host this material in our library.
An additional tone-mapping method is the contrast optimizer. And this is a new method in Photomatics 5. This method allows you to get a very natural look while still having better control over shadows and highlights. You get the benefits of HDR without some of the tell-tale signs that some people find problematic with HDR processing. Let's see how it works. I'm going to load some bracketed photos here. Let's browse for them, and we'll go into the Contrast Optimizer.
Here I have a New York City street, and it's got rich colors and lots of detail, but I don't want to push it too far. This was taken on a tripod, there is a little bit of chromatic aberration, so I will fix that and open up the images. And let's take a look. While that's processing, I'll show you the originals. You see here, it looks pretty good. And I just shot a simple three exposure bracket. There's a little bit of shifting there, nothing too bad. I was on an ultra lightweight tripod at a busy street area.
I just want to combine that for a very natural look. Instead of Details Enhancer, let's go with Contrast Optimizer. And again, we'll narrow our presets to just the Contrast Optimizer ones. Fit the image. There's not as many choices here for this because it's meant to be natural. You could of course, take a balanced look, stay balanced while boosting the color a bit, or simply go for some enhanced details, or soften it up a bit. And it does make a very natural and nice black and white photo.
I'm a big fan of vibrancy, so I'm going to start there, and play with the tone compression a bit. Notice that this just basically balances out how much of the shadows you favor versus how much of the highlights. I'm going to take that down just a bit to make those shadows a bit richer. And then of course, there's lighting effects. And notice how this is essentially using the 32 bits of information to bring out the highlights. Using white and black clip, you can refine where the white and black points are, how intense they get.
And then of course, balance out the image with mid tone to get the proper balance for those middle grays. Of course, the saturation can be dialed in. You can still go pretty intense, but that's too strong for me, so I'm just going to take that up slightly. And then, of course, color temperature, if you feel like the time of day was off and you just want to change the overall mood. Don't go too far and remember, this can often be done in another app. One of the nice things to remember is double-clicking on a slider will reset it back to zero. Alright, that looks good.
I'll click Apply, and the image is tone mapped. So, the nice thing here is that gives me all the benefits of HDR, but it doesn't look too over-processed. And I could save that off. This is the perfect type of image for somebody who feels like they don't like the look of HDR, but wants to take advantage of all of the technical benefits of working with greater bit depth and more flexible controls for balancing out the lights and the darks to get perfect contrast. Let's just balance that. And on the color side, I'm going to take the reds down just a bit.
Warm up the yellows, so we get that nice rich color in that building facade there. Let's take the oranges down. That looks great. I'll click Done and the image is ready to be saved. File> Save As and I could store my work.
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