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In this course, photographer Ben Long describes the concepts and techniques behind high dynamic range (HDR) photography, a technique used to create images that have a wider range between the lightest and darkest areas of a scene than a digital camera can typically capture. The course begins with some background on dynamic range, on how camera sensors detect shadows, and on the kinds of subjects that benefit from HDR. Ben then describes and demonstrates several methods of generating HDR images, starting with single-shot HDR, which relies on masking to subtly enhance the dynamic range of a shot. Next, the course covers multi-exposure HDR, which involves shooting several photos of a scene, each at a different exposure, and then combining them using software tools. Ben demonstrates how to use Photoshop and the popular Photomatix software to process HDR images whose appearance ranges from subtle to surreal.
If you are shooting at bracketed set of HDR source images and something in your scene moves between shots, you can end up with a ghosting problem. This is actually a pretty intuitive thing. Let's take a look at this set. I am going to switch over here to Filmstrip mode so we get a bigger view. While taking their shot, these kids moved and so if I take these three images and mush them together, we get a problem because in this image there is an arm here, and in this image there is not. So what should it choose to do with these things? Of course, it doesn't know from arms, and so what it will end up doing is putting half arm and half lovely hillside, and I will get this kind of semi-transparent arm over this hill.
That's called ghosting because you end up with these kinds of ghostly figures in your scenes. Fortunately, most HDR processing software today has a ghost removing mechanism of some kind. We are going to look at Photoshop so I am going to just launch right into a merge here which I do just like I always would. Select my images in Bridge and then launch the Merge to HDR process. And when it's done, I get my normal Tone Mapping dialog box. First thing I am going to do is switch over here to 16 bit. So let's take a look at what we got here. I am going to zoom in a little bit to the area in question and you can see we got a lot of ghosting problems.
We've got several arms here. We've got a ghost of an arm here, so moving on the pants like two to three feet down here, and a kind of shaky head up here and some shaky shoulders. These kids aren't super sharp either because they were moving around a little bit. So it's time to remove some ghosts. I can do that by clicking the Remove ghosts checkbox and when I do that, Photoshop thinks for a bit, and then when it's done, it's done an okay job. I've lost some ghosting up here. Still got some down here. These kids are looking a little sharper.
There is something weird about the edges of them. That may just be zoom level. No, they are actually a little bit weird, and it shows me which image it has chosen to be the primary image. The one that gets selected to have prominence over other background elements. If I want, I can change that. I can just click on another one of these images, and it changes around. This one is working better. We look here at the one that it had chosen, I have got all these problems with his pants on both sides. Here that clears up.
There's a little problem around his head, but I think I could clone that out very easily. Let's look at the third one. Now this one is definitely not usable. I am going with this one. Now notice, as I'm changing around, it has no bearing on any other part of my HDR process. So it's not affecting my exposure at all. It's not affecting the overall merge. So, now I could go in and adjust my exposure parameters as I like and do the rest of my HDR process. Hit OK, go into Photoshop, and then I want to touch up the little bits that it didn't quite get.
So that's ghost removal in the HDR Merge in Photoshop.
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