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- Assembling HDR images
- Configuring the interface
- Applying adjustments
- Working with presets
- Evaluating the before and after
- Modifying settings via a Smart Object
- Using selective adjustments
- Finishing touches
Skill Level Beginner
There are a wide range of options within HDR Efex Pro in terms of interpreting your HDR image. You can start off with a variety of different presets, and then fine tune the various settings over on the right panel, working to find just the right interpretation for a particular subject. At some point though, you'll be happy with the final result, and you'll be ready to create the final image and then of course save that result. Once you're happy with all of the settings that you've established within HDR Efex Pro, you can simply click the OK button in order to finalize the processing.
That button is found at the bottom right of HDR Efex Pro, and when you click it, there will be quite a bit of precessing that needs to be done. HDR Efex Pro will take all of the data that it gathered from your individual exposures and all of the adjustments that you applied, and create the final HDR image. In this case, I was using Photoshop as the host for HDR Efex Pro, and so the final image is opened here within Photoshop. At this point, I can choose File > Save from the menu, which, since this image has not yet been saved, will bring up the Save As dialog automatically.
I can then navigate to the specific location where I want to save this image, and specify a filename. You can see that the file name is just locomotive1_hdr. I can change that if I'd like. For example, this image happens to have been captured in Silverton, Colorado, so I can change the name to Silverton CO Locomotive HDR. I'll save the image in the TIFF file format, making sure that I'm embedding the ICC profile by turning on the ICC Profile check box, and then I'll click Save in order to save that image.
Because I'm working with a TIFF image, I have some options available to me, including Compression, where I generally use the LZW option in order to minimize the file size without reducing image quality at all. The other options are not critical in the context of an HDR image. I'll go ahead, though, and click OK to apply those settings, and now the final image is saved. Of course, in many respects, this final HDR image is really just a starting point. This is my baseline HDR photo assembled from several images, but now I can continue to apply a variety of adjustments in whatever tool I'm using, in this case Photoshop, but it could also be Lightroom or Apple's Aperture.
I could, for example, apply some image cleanup work, perhaps apply a few additional refining adjustments, crop the image, anything I'd like to really finalize my HDR photo. And of course, once I've then saved that result, I can return to it at anytime, but more importantly, I can now share this image with others, uploading it to Facebook or other online services. I can print the image, I can post it to an online photo sharing site, or use a variety of different methods to share this image. But the bottom line is, I've been able to create an HDR image that I'm very happy with, thanks to the powerful tools within Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro.