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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.
Let's take a look at another style of HDR photography, which is essentially merging multiple exposures together. You could do this with several exposures, a whole range, or just even a single image that's a RAW file that essentially gets developed two ways. Imagine, if you shot a scene and you develop for what was happening outside the window and then inside the scene. The cool thing is, is that when dealing with these images, Photomatix can merge them together to show you a wider dynamic range without really doing anything that stylizes the image.
It simply recreates something that's more natural, like the eye can see. Let's take a look at the first style. I want to fuse together these seven shots of a waterfall. Let's open that up and we'll reduce the noise a little bit, and I'm going to enable Exposure Fusion here. And click OK. Let's open up a series of images and merge them together. I'll right-click here and open this with Photomatix, and I'm going to merge these together for tone mapping or fusion. There they all are, and I'll click OK. What we're going to do here is put these all together.
These were shot from a tripod, so I'm going to assume that they're fairly stable. I do want to remove ghosts a bit. And I'll click Align and Show Deghosting. The images are converted from RAW files and then properly aligned and merged. Let's see if there's any problems here with deghosting. You have a little bit of movement in the trees. Take a look at automatic deghosting and dial that in. We're not really seeing too much of an issue there. Let's zoom into the trees up top. Yeah. Doesn't look like too windy of a day.
So, I think that's actually pretty good. I'll just do a very mild deghost. And press Return. Let's switch over here to Exposure Fusion and I'm going to stick with the natural. If you look at that image, it looks very compelling. We have a beautiful amount of dynamic range here. I can clearly see the clouds. The waterfall looks great. The trees are a little dark here, so let's just refine things. Using the strength slider, you'll notice how it's combining the multiple exposures together. And that, as you increase that, it's essentially using the full range of all of the source images.
I like that there. I really like the shadows of the trees being lifted up, while things are looking pretty solid. Localized Contrast is going to essentially pop the contrast in the mid tones. Now, if you do that at too high of a level, things are going to start to look a bit fake. So, back that off just a little bit so it's reasonable. And that's looking pretty good. Let's lift the mid tones just slightly. And I will play with the black clip settings. You see that that adds contrast into the shadowy areas as well as the ability to clip whites.
And I'm going to pull that down, actually, so that the clouds don't go to pure white and clip out. Now it's looking pretty solid, saturation's a bit intense for my liking, so I'm going to back that off just a bit and give it a look over. I'm very happy with the image, so let's click Apply. There we go. The fusion method produced some very natural results. I don't think any additional contrast is needed. The method itself did a pretty good job. Using the color sliders here though, I do want to put a little bit more emphasis into the blue skies.
And I'm going to back off the green just a little bit so it's not so dominant and play a little bit here with the yellows. That feels pretty good about there. Let's add a little bit of sharpening. And we'll take that up a little bit larger. Not too bad. Slight chromatic aberration up there on some of the trees. But we can clean that up either by re-running the HDR conversion or do that in Photoshop. Although, to be honest, that's very slight and is only going to be visible at extreme magnification. So let's just go ahead and fit that here to the Default Size.
I'm happy with that image, so I'll click Done and save it out.
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