Thu 13-Nov-08 03:42 PM | edited Wed 16-Dec-09 03:07 AM by wpgf100
Owen asked me to share my HDR technique, including my home made Photoshop "recipe". There are an unlimited number of ways to do use Photomatix and Photoshop to create very natural HDR images. This is just one. Just a start. Experiment and have fun.
Shooting Set Up ----------------- 1. Shoot RAW images. 2. First, set your camera to -.3 EV prior to taking the images. A little darker is better. 3. More depth of field the better, although I found f/14 to be the best for architectural shots. 4. Use the lowest ISO you can. HDR imaging introduces some noise. High ISO images do not translate well. 5. Use a tripod and a shutter release cable 6. Use Auto Bracketing (1-stop difference) a. 3 images for direct lit scenes b. 3-5 images for side lit scenes c. 5-7 images for back lit scenes 7. Set your Nikon to high speed "burst" mode (Ch) 8. Compose and fire away.
HDRing the Images ----------------- 1. Use Photomatix Pro. The stand alone version; not the plugin. 2. Click on Create HDR Image. Find your images and use all of the defaults as you click through the screens. 3. Once you have the HDR image, click on Tone Mapping 4. With Detail Enhancer selected (top left), click on Default (bottom) to start from scratch. Photomatix always returns to the last used settings. (good when you're doing a bunch of shots from the same spot with the same lighting). 5. At the top, change Strength to 90; Color Saturation to 50; Light Smoothing to 4th dot. 6. At the Bottom: -> With Tone selected - Move the Black Point up a bit to darken. Leave everything else. -> With Color selected - leave all defaults. -> With Micro selected - Contrast = +4; Micro Smoothing = 0 (this brings out detail) -> With S/H selected - leave all defaults. 7. Process your image and save it. I usually use JPG...
CAUTION: The above HDR settings work for me with my architectural images. It's a good STARTING place. You really have to experiment to find the best settings for you.
Final Touch Up in Photoshop - my "Secret" ---------------------------------- 1. Open your image. 2. Create a new Curves Image Adjustment layer. 3. Click in the middle of the Curves line and drag it up as far as you can without it "flattening" at the top. See image below. Click OK to create new layer. 4. Change the layer blending mode from Normal to Soft Light. 5. You will notice a lot of contrast and brightness is introduced. I often leave it like this, but sometimes you need to change the Opacity to lessen the effect. 6. You can perform other Photoshop techniques if you like, but I find this alone makes my HDR image pop. 6. Flatten the image and save.
Hi, I was just browsing the HDR subject and came across your gallery.(Love it by the way) Being a Bedfordshire resident myself, I was curious to learn whether there is a club you may recommend as I have recently upgraded and would like to improve my photography. kind regards John Sykes
Well... I don't know about anchoring it at the top. I'm not evn sure thisis the right forum for this kind of thing. Owen has asked me to share my work flow several times, so I did. I'll let him decide what to do with it. Thanks for the comment.
Thanks for the workfkow pointers. I've been using Photomatix also for several months and find that its quite an easy program, easy to mess up, that is. I don't use Photoshop but I'll see if I can't emulate the "secret" steps in Capture NX. I appreciate you taking the time to share the info.
It has been brought to my attention that the screen capture of the Curves setting was NOT in the post. <b>Thanks Cliff!</b> It was a JPG, but the wrong color space. Once I changed it to sRGB, it appeared properly. I was not able to edit the original post, so... here it is. Sorry about that.
>It has been brought to my attention that the screen capture >of the Curves setting was NOT in the post. <b>Thanks >Cliff!</b> It was a JPG, but the wrong color space. >Once I changed it to sRGB, it appeared properly. I was not >able to edit the original post, so... here it is. Sorry about >that. > > > >
i tried this in capture nx using overlay and the opacity slider..its pretty cool >
Hello Don, not many photographers tell their secrets. I thank you so very much. Lunch or Supper if we ever get to your area. We do have a family member teaching in Rochester and I believe the same section you taught at. Again my hats off to you for sharing with all of us.
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Thank you very much for posting this information. I have purchased Photomatix and am trying to get some good images with it. Your posting greatly helps and thank you for sharing your "secret". I am still amazed at the sharing of knowledge at the Nikonians Forums.
"On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you." - The Hitchhikers Guide
Thank you very much for this "secret" I want to start doing a lot of HDR and this will help tremendously.
One rather stupid question: how can I copy/paste this information into a text document without the black background or print without it being black? When I copy/paste into textedit on a mac, I get the black background. If I chose "printer friendly" from the forum, it also has a black background.
Dan, I have made a number of copies of a particular photo I took of Cooktown Lighthouse using techniques in both Photomatix and PS. I have given yours a go and found it gave me the best results. Thanks so much for sharing your technique. One question, have you found that saving the settings in Photomatix and PS as a preset and an action respectively produced the same great results with different images? Or was there a need to slightly tweak these these for different images?
thanks again. Gilly. (wish I had a hack-saw to remove that hand-rail)
>Thank you very much for this "secret" I want to >start doing a lot of HDR and this will help tremendously. > >One rather stupid question: how can I copy/paste this >information into a text document without the black background >or print without it being black? >When I copy/paste into textedit on a mac, I get the black >background. If I chose "printer friendly" from the >forum, it also has a black background. > >Thanks again, > >-Denise > >You can hit printer-friendly copy. even though it still looks black on screen it will print with out the black background. >
I also have a Mac and have had nothing but troubles attempting to print satisfactory copies from the Nikonian website. Copies either print out with text so faint that I can barely read it or with black background. Have you managed to hit upon a combination that works for you in producing satisfactory copies? If so, please advise what it is.
If anybody else has a solution please don't hesitate to chime in.
Don, Thanks for the guide. I just moved up to a silver membership and purchased photomatrix. So far only have single images to work with but this is still rewarding. I am asking if anyone has found a Capture NX2 solution for Don's photo shop finishing technique?
I will offer a suggestion. create a levels and curves edit step. adjust curve as above. select opacity. change "all" to "luminance/chrominace". change "normal" to "overlay". adjust sliders to taste. Please let me know if this works for you.
"The wisest follow their own directions" -Euripides "I thought there would be more elephants" -C. Columbus
Saw your post last night just before bedtime. Tried a quick couple just to see if I could follow directions. Looks like this has potential. I will try in the next few days to do it justice. You have me looking deeper into Capture.. I have not done anything with the opacity button.. Got NX2 for Christmas and then on two photomatrix. So many buttons to push. I have not yet shot a bracketed test so I'm still playing with one raw image expanded.. Not the best but have had a couple of pleasant surprises. Again, thanks for your reply. I am waiting to have something worth posting.
Thanks for the info....just found this link using the D200 forum. I have been looking for a more natural look for printing my architectural images after tonemapping in photomatrix..... Are there any tips or tricks you know of? Here is a link to some of my images..they look faded,sugestions welcomed. http://www.pbase.com/snazier/oasis_country_club_hdr
Thank you so much for the advise and tip about Photomatix. I have just gotten my new D-700 and have tried out some bracketing shots while on vacation. Processing these via HDR on Paintshop Pro X2 left me less than impressed. Then I saw your advise and downloaded Photomatix. WOW! I tried the demo and immediately purchased it. What a nice program! Thanks, again for your sharing. I will enjoy learning. Ron
Don, You have inspired many of us who were a little disappointed with some of the out of the box HDR methods even in Photoshop. I sincerely thank you along with all my Nikonian colleagues who have stepped up and purchased the Photomatix program to inspire some unbelievable images. Thank you for your kind generosity with your wisdom and experience. Your recipe has inspired many of us to expand our creative horizons. Thank you, Tim
Thanks for your recommendations! I am using them now and find my pics have much more umph! I am using these recommendations with PaintShop Pro X2 (Although I have photoshop 7 and CS for my Mac, I find it too daunting)and they work well in PP. Thanks again. Ron I tried to attach some pics but can't do it for some unknown reason. Check out my gallery. Ron
Hi Don - I just checked in to this forum. I had no idea they had one just for HDR. Here's a long question. I just got a D700 and have Photomatix Pro. I have been shooting some homes for a friend however I find the sky is blown out in all the shots. I have been shooting 5 exposures at 1 stops. I loked at all 5 nefs and opened the 'darkest' image and the sky is still blown out which means I'm not getting the right settings. What should I do? Thanks, - love your images. Gary
Don, Thanks for the info.I think HDR photos are so beautiful.I just looked at your flicker photos and you really have the master's when it comes to HDR, I'm new at it and I hope I can use you as a source for help.Thanks for the pictures1 Randy A. Bouschard
Question for the photomatix portion. When it is asking you for more than one photo and you have used the camera to combine different exposures into one photo. How then can you just download the one photo?
I've been playing around with Photomatix and till now its been hit and miss. This does provide a solid starting point. I've also tried experimenting with different blend modes for the Curves Adjustment layer, with hmmmmm interesting results.
Wow Don, Those are great images of yours on Flickr. I will reemphasize the term "images" because I feel it is demeaning to refer to them as "pics", "shots" or even "photos." They are much more than any of those terms imply. Well done guru! (And thanks for all your tips/recommendations because I am getting into this HDR stuff - reading, class, etc.)
Sun 28-Feb-10 10:42 AM | edited Sun 28-Feb-10 10:49 AM by doc85
Thank you so much for this wonderful help. Two questions. When you refer to "With S/H selected" I am confused, what/where is S/H in Photomatix? How is the best way to get the correct WB with Photomatix or do you correct it later with PP?
A variant of "the secret" that I saw on Strobist a while ago and just tried out yesterday:
1. Make a duplicate layer 2. Add a hue/saturation adjustment layer and completely desaturate 3. Merge the adjustment layer to the duplicate 4. Apply high pass filter with a large radius, in the range 20 to 80 5. Change the blend mode of this layer to hard light, and tweak the opacity to taste.
Soft light blending is a bit more subtle, and fiddling with the radius of the high pass filter changes the effect too. But all variants give you a bump in contrast and brightness.
Fri 30-Sep-11 12:46 AM | edited Fri 30-Sep-11 12:47 AM by Fried
I'm going to ANPAT11 this weekend and taking a crash course in HDR. My primary concern at this point is to get the necessary exposures to post process, which I'll figure out when I get back.
I'm a little confused by Don's Step 6. Is he saying shoot every situation in 1 stop increments, and that for direct I will only need three exposures with stops of -1, 0, +1; for side lit I will need perhaps five at -2, -1, 0, +1, +2; and for back lit I might need as many as seven at -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3 stops?
Any other tips for sunrises, sunsets, southwest vistas?
Fried Elliott * Dallas TX USA * www.friedbits.com "Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera"
> >Any other tips for sunrises, sunsets, southwest vistas? > For a bright sunset – might as well go the full +- 4 stops the camera will give you in auto bracket mode. My experience has been that wide ranges like this do not need the odd number brackets so I use only -4 -2 0 +2 +4. I have tried all vs just even several times and cannot see a difference. It seems to me that there could be a slight gain in sharpness if the HDR software is combining fewer images although I have not really verified this visually. Might be worth getting an opinion in the course.
Thank you so much for the tutorial. I've been looking for a method of creating realistic HDR shots, and the steps you've outlined will be helpful. I also took a look at your Flickr gallery; stunning work!
Going through your recipe, it makes perfect sense. The curves considering the underexposure makes total sense and still leaves some wiggle room to find the best points to lay down the curve. There is a lot of just plain good sense to it so you get to the end where you can finesse the tone mapping. Under exposure is always a good conservative approach and looking at your work it's clear once you get things done with the normal workflow you can really start to have some serious fun.
It's the point in any good shot that I think we all like to get to. It's when you have the basics all working and you can make some magic! Thanks for sharing and I love your stuff too. HDR is the one area of making images that has me jazzed up.
Dear Don, I just came across this post and have printed it to study as needed. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! So far, I really stink at HDR and would like to become more adept. I shoot RAW, use a tripod, bracket manually 1 stop in either direction (I shoot more than I usually need), use HDR Pro in Photoshop but they look really grey and dead. I feel like I used to do better when I lined them up by hand years ago. The fake HDR with one image from my OnOneSoftware program looked 1000x better! Oof. Anyway, I'm going to try it again and will be back for critiques if anyone is still around.