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Shooting and Processing High Dynamic Range Photographs (HDR)
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Image sensor and shadows


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Shooting and Processing High Dynamic Range Photographs (HDR)

with Ben Long

Video: Image sensor and shadows

Here is a weird one. If the amount of light in this room is doubled, I do not actually perceive a doubling of light. I perceive less than that. All your senses work this way actually. If someone hands me a bowling ball and then they hand me a second bowling ball, I'll probably think, "I really wish this personal will stop handling me bowling balls." Then I might actually realize that I'm not experiencing a doubling in weight. Our senses are nonlinear. That is my sense of brightness does not follow perfect doublings. My sense of brightness increases on a curve.
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  1. 6m 46s
    1. Welcome
      2m 0s
    2. What you need for this course
      2m 37s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 9s
  2. 24m 55s
    1. Dynamic range defined
      4m 31s
    2. Understanding bit depth
      3m 37s
    3. Image sensor and shadows
      2m 38s
    4. Three methods for capturing more dynamic range
      3m 56s
    5. HDR shooting and processing
      4m 40s
    6. Single-shot HDR
      2m 43s
    7. When to use HDR
      2m 50s
  3. 19m 59s
    1. Finding HDR subject matter
      4m 38s
    2. Shooting HDR
      9m 45s
    3. Workflow and organization
      5m 36s
  4. 17m 52s
    1. Using gradient masks to improve dynamic range
      3m 56s
    2. More dynamic range masking
      8m 57s
    3. Masking with brushes
      4m 59s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. Creating an HDR image in Photoshop
      12m 15s
    2. Creating an HDR image in Photomatix
      22m 5s
    3. Creating an HDR in HDR Efex
      11m 47s
    4. Merging in Photoshop and processing elsewhere
      3m 51s
    5. Using Tone Compressor in Photomatix
      4m 25s
    6. Using Exposure Fusion in Photomatix
      7m 35s
    7. Single-shot HDR images in Photomatix
      4m 18s
    8. Single-shot HDR images in HDR Efex
      1m 3s
    9. Single-shot HDR images in Photoshop
      5m 32s
    10. Ghosting and Photoshop
      2m 51s
    11. Ghosting and HDR Efex
      2m 47s
    12. Ghosting and Photomatix
      6m 36s
    13. Batch processing in Photomatix
      10m 51s
  6. 2h 9m
    1. Reducing noise and correcting chromatic aberrations
      13m 33s
    2. Finishing an image
      8m 42s
    3. Handling HDR images that are "flat"
      13m 37s
    4. Combining HDR and LDR
      19m 40s
    5. Selective editing with HDR Efex Pro
      9m 42s
    6. HDR that doesn't look like HDR
      12m 42s
    7. Tone mapping troubles to watch for
      6m 46s
    8. Why use HDR for black-and-white images?
      5m 26s
    9. Black-and-white HDR
      12m 39s
    10. Panoramic HDR
      12m 3s
    11. HDR time lapse
      4m 24s
    12. Processing the trestle image
      10m 1s
  7. 37s
    1. Goodbye
      37s

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Shooting and Processing High Dynamic Range Photographs (HDR)
4h 55m Intermediate Jul 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how the image sensor detects shadows
  • Capturing a broader dynamic range
  • Knowing when to use HDR
  • Finding good HDR subject matter
  • Using gradient masks to improve dynamic range
  • Merging in Photoshop and processing elsewhere
  • Dealing with ghosting
  • Reducing noise and correcting chromatic aberrations
  • Handling HDR images that seem flat
  • Combining HDR and LDR (low dynamic range)
  • Selective editing with HDR Efex Pro
  • Creating panoramic HDR images
  • Creating an HDR time lapse
Subjects:
Photography HDR
Software:
Photoshop Photomatix SilverFast HDR Studio
Author:
Ben Long

Image sensor and shadows

Here is a weird one. If the amount of light in this room is doubled, I do not actually perceive a doubling of light. I perceive less than that. All your senses work this way actually. If someone hands me a bowling ball and then they hand me a second bowling ball, I'll probably think, "I really wish this personal will stop handling me bowling balls." Then I might actually realize that I'm not experiencing a doubling in weight. Our senses are nonlinear. That is my sense of brightness does not follow perfect doublings. My sense of brightness increases on a curve.

Now don't worry too much about understanding that. The practical upshot of it is that we end up with a very good ability to see detail in bright highlights and dark shadows. The image sensor in your camera though captures light in a linear fashion. If you double the amount of light, the image sensor records a doubling of brightness. This has a curious effect on image capture and it goes like this. Let's say my camera can capture 4,096 different shades or tones. Half of those 4,096 available tones go into representing just the brightest stop in my image.

That is half of the data I capture is being used to represent the very, very brightest things in the scene. Now half of what's left over from that goes into representing the next brightest stop. Half of what's left over from that goes to the next and so on and so forth. When all this plays out, by the time I get down to the darkest stop in my image, that is all the shadowy parts of the scene, I may only have 4 or 8 or maybe even just two tones available to represent all the data in those areas. Now, earlier you saw what happened when we used only a few tones to represent my image.

I got posterized. That same thing can happen to the shadow areas in your image, because of the nature of linear capture. Worse though is that because there's so little data for those areas, the signal-to-noise ratio of your shadow images degrades, and so you end up with shadows that have ugly noise patterns in them. Colored splotches usually. If I want more data in the shadow areas, then I can choose to underexpose. Then the brightest things in my image are not so many stops away from the shadow tones that I end up with too little data for the darkest areas.

Of course, then my bright things aren't very bright. My image looks dingy. In other words, if I want to expose normally, that is to ensure good highlight detail and have a good level of overall brightness, then there's a very good chance that I'm going to have noise in my shadows, simply because the camera can't capture enough data down into the shadow areas. With HDR techniques, I don't have to worry about this.

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