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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.
One of the most popular tone mapping methods in Photomatix is the Detail Enhancer method. This goes through and essentially adds selective contrast to the image. And it really makes dramatic compelling images. It also has a tendency to really make noise a bit of a problem. Be careful, if you're using this with images that have high ISO settings. These particular images were shot at ISO 500. They look pretty clean. I don't see a lot of noise in there. I do have relatively shallow depth of field but, that looks good.
Let's process this here and combine them. Okay, let's bring these images in and use the Details Enhancer. This is a three bracket set. This particular shoot was from a tripod. I didn't really see any problem with noise. But there is some high contrast color areas, so I'll Reduce chromatic aberration. Click Align and Merge. And the images are converted, aligned and opened. Okay let's adjust the user interface. And stick with the Details Enhancer.
All right. I'm going to choose the Detail Enhancer presets and we'll step through some of those so you can see this effect in action. Remember, presets are just a starting point to give you an idea how a particular effect works. You could push this dramatic into things like painterly, to really get some strong areas with bright vivid colors and lots of contrast. And you see there as you step through the different painterly options, well you get some nice variations. I kind of like painterly four.
On the other hand, you could just go with the simple enhanced to see a wider range of detail. Before. After. It's definitely showing areas of the photos, but still pretty subtle. Let's zoom in here. And you'll notice, it's doing a pretty good job there on bringing out some of the details in the fabric. Okay, let's finish out some of those presets. Now, I'm not a big fan of some of these grungier ones.
But there's a style for everybody and a demand for every type of image with clients. So, you do have some options here. Creative is a very interesting moody effect often used in magazines and I've seen many movie posters that take this sort of style. And you notice there's just different choices and you could step on through. Including some Details Enhancers that are specifically designed for compelling black and white photography. Well, that Monochrome one really stands out nicely to me as a very compelling dramatic image.
But with that said, I'm going to go with something here in the Painterly category. And let's just scroll up here. The Strength is a bit much so I'll back that off. That's a good balance. Play with Saturation there. That's very vivid, so I think I'll take it down just a little bit. And using Tone Compression, notice how it's taking the different wide range of exposure. Here it's not using as much of that 32-bit image. Here, it's using a lot more, so you want to find a good balance.
And then, of course, the ability to add contrast in selectively. This is really the hallmark here, of Details Enhancer, is that Detail Contrast slider. Okay, you have the ability to adjust the overall lighting. And this essentially is going to change what parts of the image that are being lit. It's almost like moving the midpoint there like the lighting sources is moving around through the image. There we're sort of just focusing in on the highlights and leaving the midtones and shadows alone. But you could find the right balance and I think it's a little bit right about there.
I don't want to push the shadows as much so, that feels a bit better. You also have Effects Mode that you can click on that make it easy to just try different pre-sets to give you an idea. But I generally use the slider here to take total control. As you're working you can smooth out some of the highlights if you're getting the telltale glow that HDR often suffers from. And even darken down the white point or brighten it up, as you see fit. Same thing, lightening up the blacks or popping the contrast. Find a good balance for Gamma.
And then, of course, shift the color temperature if you're trying to change the feeling or time of day. I'm going to take that just a little bit to open that up and warm it up a bit, because it was late evening and it was feeling a bit cool. Now, smoothing is useful and you see there that some of that grunge in the street, the thing that makes it look like the HDR look, maybe that's too strong there. And so by pulling in Micro-smoothing, you're going to see that, that cleans that up quite a bit. Now, you might need to choose to refresh this, so just clicking there will help a bit.
That's looking good. Let's smooth that out just a bit more. And then of course, you could play with the saturation. Notice there, that that's just affecting the highlights. So, the background areas that are brighter, I could pull the color down if I didn't wan them so intense. Putting a little more focus on the foreground. Same thing here, we could pop the saturation in the shadowy region and refine that as well. And of course, you have some smoothness and clipping to make the blacks really rich there if you just want to push them to total darkness. All right, that looks fantastic.
If this was a 360 photo there might be a choice there but it's not. So I've got that disabled and let's fit that image. Before. After. I am very happy with the results there. I like the vivid color. The rich blacks. And how i've been able to get a good balance by playing with my saturation controls for shadows and highlights separately. Remember, some of the options here for smoothing things out. As well as playing with the compression and the contrast settings are really how to get the best looks with the Details Enhancer.
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