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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
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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