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The Contrast Optimizer workflow

From: Up and Running with Photomatix Pro

Video: The Contrast Optimizer workflow

An additional tone-mapping method is the contrast optimizer. Here I have a New York City street, and it's got rich colors While that's processing, I'll show you the originals.

The Contrast Optimizer workflow

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Photomatix Pro
Up and Running with Photomatix Pro

50 video lessons · 2335 viewers

Richard Harrington
Author

 
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  1. 2m 48s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 15m 12s
    1. Loading from a folder
      1m 41s
    2. Loading from Lightroom
      4m 19s
    3. Loading from Aperture
      1m 45s
    4. When to load raw files
      3m 2s
    5. When to load preprocessed files
      4m 25s
  3. 38m 3s
    1. Aligning source images
      4m 5s
    2. Removing ghost images with automatic deghosting
      4m 21s
    3. Removing ghost images with selective deghosting
      6m 40s
    4. Reducing noise
      2m 36s
    5. Reducing chromatic aberration
      6m 16s
    6. Choosing the color primaries and white balance
      2m 57s
    7. Working with single files
      2m 53s
    8. Working with single raw files
      8m 15s
  4. 27m 40s
    1. Working in Unified or Floating mode
      3m 26s
    2. When to use Tone Mapping
      3m 15s
    3. When to use Exposure Fusion
      2m 48s
    4. Adjusting the preview window
      2m 35s
    5. Working with presets
      4m 52s
    6. Add finishing touches
      4m 48s
    7. Saving the image
      3m 45s
    8. Redoing the image with other settings
      2m 11s
  5. 20m 2s
    1. The Details Enhancer workflow
      6m 21s
    2. The Contrast Optimizer workflow
      3m 50s
    3. The Tone Compressor workflow
      3m 53s
    4. The black-and-white workflow
      5m 58s
  6. 27m 3s
    1. The Fusion/Natural workflow
      4m 32s
    2. Exploring the Fusion/Real Estate workflow using photos taken outside
      7m 2s
    3. Working with Fusion/Real Estate workflow using photos taken inside
      2m 54s
    4. The Fusion/Intensive workflow
      2m 54s
    5. Fusing multiple images
      4m 5s
    6. Fusing a single image
      2m 22s
    7. Comparing methods
      3m 14s
  7. 40m 31s
    1. Removing color casts
      5m 15s
    2. Removing tough ghosts
      2m 54s
    3. Replacing a selection with a source
      6m 29s
    4. Refining performance with preferences
      6m 5s
    5. Automating with batch processing
      11m 8s
    6. Photomatix Pro and color management
      3m 12s
    7. Post-process in Photoshop
      5m 28s
  8. 40m 2s
    1. Challenge: Preserving original color and applying contrast
      2m 26s
    2. Solution: Preserving original color and applying contrast
      5m 20s
    3. Challenge: Creating a feeling within an image
      2m 10s
    4. Solution: Creating a feeling within an image
      9m 58s
    5. Challenge: Creating the look of a digital painting
      2m 18s
    6. Solution: Creating the look of a digital painting
      5m 53s
    7. Challenge: Help a subject stand out from the background
      2m 3s
    8. Solution: Help a subject stand out from the background
      9m 54s
  9. 1m 4s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 4s

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