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Merging multiple exposures

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Merging multiple exposures

Now, I've been telling you, ad infinitum so far, that Photoshop cannot invent anything. It cannot make up detail. For example, the Smart Sharpen command does not reach into your image and refocus it. The Image Size command, when you're up-sampling, an image cannot make up new detail inside that image. It can't take, for example, some text on a sign and make it more legible. And in just the same manner, HDR Toning cannot invent new luminance levels. So you start with an 8-bit per channel image, you convert it over to the high bit depth 32-bits of data per channel space, basically run a few edge-detection algorithms in the case of local adaptation, and then convert it right back down to 8-bits of data per channel.

Merging multiple exposures

Now, I've been telling you, ad infinitum so far, that Photoshop cannot invent anything. It cannot make up detail. For example, the Smart Sharpen command does not reach into your image and refocus it. The Image Size command, when you're up-sampling, an image cannot make up new detail inside that image. It can't take, for example, some text on a sign and make it more legible. And in just the same manner, HDR Toning cannot invent new luminance levels. So you start with an 8-bit per channel image, you convert it over to the high bit depth 32-bits of data per channel space, basically run a few edge-detection algorithms in the case of local adaptation, and then convert it right back down to 8-bits of data per channel.

But where did the new luminance levels come in? You're just basically taking the old luminance levels and making them look better. Well, HDR Pro is different, and that's because you give it way more information to work with. So here I am looking at the contents of the Barn exposures subfolder, inside of 33_HDR_pro, and I have got a total of eight exposures set up here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac so that we can run a slideshow of these images here.

In each case, I locked down the aperture, I did tripod these photos, believe it or not, and I shot them all as raw images with my Olympus E30. So I started with a one-eighth second exposure right here, and actually I shot many exposures. I shot 20 or 30 exposures of each scene. It's just that I decide to cull them down to the best eight here. So as I say, I have an eighth second exposure, which is way too dark as you can see, and then I've got a half second exposure, next comes the 1 second exposure, next the 2 second exposure, next the 5 second exposure, 8 seconds, and then 10 seconds, and then finally a very long exposure,:20 seconds long.

Now, in each case, I'm shooting the inside of this barn, and it's during the winter up in the mountains in Colorado, near this place called Steamboat Springs. And it was a very bright day as it always is in Colorado, and there was snow outside, so the snow is reflecting like crazy, and we have a ton of light coming in these cracks. So somehow I need to keep that light, which is basically impossible, I mean the light is super bright coming in those slats, and at the same time expose the interior of the barn so that we can see it.

So when I'm exposing for the slats at one-eighth of a second here, I can't see a single detail inside the barn. When I'm exposing for the interior of the barn, because it was so dark - the one light bulb right there was not turned on, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference - then the light coming in from the outside world is super bright. So there is really no way to expose for this kind of shot, and I was purposely setting up shots that you could not possibly expose for. There was just no way. But if you take all of these images together and combine them, using HDR Pro, you can come up with a really well-balanced photograph, and you can even create an image that has a very dramatic impact, which is what we'll be doing.

So go ahead and select all of these images here inside the Bridge, by pressing Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac. I should also show you, by the way, I'm going to click on this Boomerang icon to return to Photoshop for a moment. If I have the Mini Bridge open, as I do right here, and I go ahead and train the Mini Bridge on the Barn exposures subfolder, inside of the 33_HDR_pro folder, and I select all of these images, I can also access this function from inside the Mini Bridge by going to this little icon there, the Tools icon, clicking on it, choosing Photoshop and then choosing Merge to HDR Pro.

We also have the Photomerge command from the previous chapter, by the way. Anyways, I'm not that big a fan of the Mini Bridge. It's okay and everything. It's just so dinky. It's not really all that hard just to switch over to the Bridge. Also, the Mini Bridge is going to clutter up our display, as we take a look at what Photoshop is doing. So I'll go ahead and select all eight of these images. As I say, you could select more images or fewer images, more images mean more detail, more luminance levels for Photoshop to work from; however, it also means very sluggish behavior.

But at the very least, you need about three bracketed images to pull this off. By bracketed I mean you set your camera to shoot three to five images in a row at different exposure settings, and then you can blend them together as well. All right! That said, I'm going to take these images, go to the Tools menu, choose Photoshop, and choose this guy right there, Merge to HDR Pro. Expect to spend a little time waiting, by the way, because Photoshop is doing that number where it's piling all of these images into a multilayered composition.

Notice it's doing so in a 16-bit per channel space this time around, and it is going to take a few moments to pull off this operation. Now, we're hastening the process, just to save screen time here. In the fullness of time, you'll eventually be greeted by the Merge to HDR window, which is essentially another one of these independent utilities, such as Liquify in Camera RAW and so on, that run inside of Photoshop. I will say one thing, by the way, for those of you working along with me. My screen is so small that it cuts off the bottom of this window.

So down here you can barely see the tops of a couple of buttons. That's the Cancel button over on the left-hand side, and that's the OK button over there on the right-hand side. So I can still get to them. I barely have enough room to click on them. But otherwise, we can see everything we need to see here. And note, by the way, if you go up to the top here, we've got some presets, and the presets are much better suited by the way to HDR Pro than they are to the HDR Toning command, so they're going to produce much better effects. For example, here is Photorealistic, which I suppose you could argue does produce a photorealistic effect. At least it's not totally crazy weird, like we saw a few exercises ago.

So you can try out these guys. You can try Surrealistic as well. Just see what it comes out with. Mostly it's just hideously overexposed, is what it should be called. At any rate, all of these represent Local Adaptation settings, and once again you have those same four methods available to you. So you could choose Equalize Histogram if you wanted to, in order to create this kind of flat looking effect here. You could compress the Highlights to see what's going on. Our scene doesn't contain nearly enough brightness to pull this off. Then we have Exposure and Gamma, which just give you a couple of sliders with which to work there.

I might go ahead and decrease my Gamma in order to brighten up the image a little bit. I guess I would increase my Exposure value a little bit as well. But what I'm really looking for is, of course, the Local Adaptation options which work very much like the ones that accompany the HDR Toning command. There are a couple of differences. We have this Remove ghosts check box, and that does something altogether unique. I'll explain what's up there in a future exercise, and then we have the Toning Curve, but it behaves much differently than it does inside Photoshop.

So we're going to start things off by setting the method to Local Adaptation, and then we'll begin adjusting the various numerical settings in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43678 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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