Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Advanced options, part of Learning HDR (2012).
Some of the more significant fine-tuning adjustments for HDR images in Photomatix are found in the Advanced options. Over on the left panel, you'll notice there's a Show Advanced Options button. If you click that button, you'll expand the Advanced options. You can then scroll down as needed to view the various sliders that are available here. The first option is Micro-smoothing and this allows us to reduce contrast in very fine detail areas of the image. In other words, where the transition from a light to a dark area happens across a very small number of pixels.
So as I Increase Micro-smoothing, you'll notice that a lot of the finer detail in the image disappears, essentially creating a smoother appearance. This can be great for smoothing out the sky for example. And in fact can be very nice in situations where you want a smoother appearance in the photo. You can see the ceiling of the Portico here, looks quite a bit smoother with a higher Micro-smoothing Adjustment. I think in this case I prefer to have more detail there so I'm going to use a low setting for micro-smoothing so that we get quite a bit of detail in that Portico.
I think that texture is very nice. We can also adjust the Saturation levels independently for the highlights and the shadows. In this case, we don't have tremendous amount of color in the highlights. And so, increasing the saturation highlights values is not going to have a huge effect in the image. You can see some portions of the buildings in the background certainly get more vibrant. But most of the areas in the ceiling here are more of a midtone value. And there's not much color there, to begin with. So we're not going to have huge effect for saturation highlights, other than the brighter areas of the buildings in the background.
In this case I'll leave that value at a relatively high setting, because I really like the color in those buildings. We can also adjust the saturation for shadows. So I'll increase saturation for shadows, and then reduce it. And you'll see that for the most part in this image, there's not a lot of color in shadows, and that' actually relatively common. Usually when there's not a lot of light in an area, you're not going to see a lot of color. And sometimes you'll actually want to reduce color. For examples, if the shadows, appear a little too blue. In other cases you might want to accentuate the color in the shadows. Here about the only area that's really getting any effect is the darker areas of the lamp and some of the darker portions of this column here. And so I think I'll use a relatively high setting for Saturation Shadows just to bring out some of those colors.
Next we have a Shadow Smoothness slider. This is somewhat similar to Micro-smoothing, it's just specifically focused on shadow areas. So if I increase this value, you'll notice that we get less contrast in the shadow areas of the photo, that evens out the overall tonality. In this case, it means that we're not really accentuating those textures that I like and so I'll use a relatively low setting for this particular image for Shadows Smoothness. And the final slider is Shadows Clipping. In effect, you can think of this as a silhouette maker.
It will block up detail in the shadows. The only time I would typically do this is if I'm trying to create a silhouette. Or if I want an especially dramatic image. Or if there's a lot of noise in the shadows and I am trying to essentially cover it up. But in most cases I'll leave that clipping set to the default value of 0. We also have a Check box for a 360 degree image. If you're working on a 360 degree panorama, you would want to turn this option on to avoid any blending across the seam of that panorama. But obviously, that's a specialized situation.
But overall, these advanced options can really be very helpful in order to improve the fine details. Mostly those shadow details, in this case, but some of the very fine details, as far as texture in the image, and specific controls of color. So some very helpful features indeed.
- Capturing, reviewing, and organizing HDR images
- Maximizing detail in a single image
- Simple single-image HDR
- Assembling from Bridge or Lightroom
- Choosing a conversion mode
- Using presets
- HDR Pro adjustment options
- Using Nik HDR Efex Pro
- Using Photomatix