Photography post production software

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Prescottstyle
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Photography post production software

Post by Prescottstyle » Mar 13 2008 5:38 pm

Hey all you hotshot photographers. What tone mapping or HDR program do you use? I see a lot of it here lately. I like the saturation and the expanded tonal range that I've been seeing.
Give me a little heads up on whats good to use. Thanx, Paul.

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big_load
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by big_load » Mar 13 2008 6:57 pm

Mrs. big_load is spends her life chained to Photoshop, but if you're looking for something less costly (i.e. free), try Gimp.

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djui5
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by djui5 » Mar 13 2008 6:58 pm

Photomatix has software you can purchase to process HDR images. Also, if you have Photoshop CS you can process HDR images. Photomatix also has a free version, but it watermarks the images so you can't really use them.

What kinda camera do you have?

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Hoffmaster
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Hoffmaster » Mar 13 2008 8:26 pm

big_load wrote:if you're looking for something less costly (i.e. free), try Gimp.
GIMP is awesome and I highly recommend it! Photoshop CS2 and 3 are probably the best for creating HDR images though.

Not HDR related, but as soon as I get my tax return, I'll be picking up a copy of Aperture 2. I can't wait!

Oh yeah, as long as we are talking about photo programs; if any of you guys like to try goofy effects on your pics, like neon light, color pencil, monochrome, etc, there is a fun little program called ImageLobe. It's actually kinda cool and really easy to use. It currently has about 30 different effects, some of which are customizable. As new effects become available, the program automatically updates. Fun stuff!
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Hoffmaster
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Hoffmaster » Mar 13 2008 8:28 pm

phatboy146 wrote: What tone mapping or HDR program do you use? I see a lot of it here lately. I like the saturation and the expanded tonal range that I've been seeing.
You've been seeing HDR images on THIS site? Point me in the right direction; I haven't noticed them.
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." A. Whitney Brown

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Randal_Schulhauser
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Randal_Schulhauser » Mar 13 2008 8:33 pm

You've been seeing HDR images on THIS site? Point me in the right direction; I haven't noticed them.

Here's my attempt at an HDR image...

http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=52947

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nobert15
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by nobert15 » Mar 13 2008 9:13 pm

I believe by HDR they meant RAW?

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Randal_Schulhauser
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Randal_Schulhauser » Mar 13 2008 9:21 pm

nobert15 wrote:I believe by HDR they meant RAW?
High dynamic range imaging
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In computer graphics and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range of exposures (the range of values between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to shadows.

HDRI was originally developed for use with purely computer-generated images. Later, methods were developed to produce a high dynamic range image from a set of photographs taken with a range of exposures. With the rising popularity of digital cameras and easy-to-use desktop software, the term "HDR" is now popularly used[1] to refer to the process of tone mapping together with bracketed exposures of normal digital images, giving the end result a high, often exaggerated dynamic range. This composite technique is different from, and generally of lower quality than, the production of an image from a single exposure of a sensor that has a native high dynamic range. Tone mapping is also used to display HDR images on devices with a low native dynamic range, such as a computer screen.

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djui5
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by djui5 » Mar 13 2008 9:54 pm

Randal Schulhauser wrote: Here's my attempt at an HDR image...

http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=52947

Randall,
That is a fantastic image!! Nice work my friend :D


Does GIMP process HDR images? If so I might download it. My version of Pshop won't do it.

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Hoffmaster
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Hoffmaster » Mar 13 2008 10:05 pm

djui5 wrote: Does GIMP process HDR images? If so I might download it. My version of Pshop won't do it.
No, I do not believe that GIMP will do HDR. But for a free program, it's every bit as good as PS, but without the "merge" ability for HDR.
I have not dabbled with HDR yet. I'm more of a fan of graduated neutral density filters which allow you to achieve close to the same result as HDR. I still suck at post-production work. As soon as I get CS3 I will try HDR. I'm even thinking about shooting some images this weekend for HDR. We'll see.
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." A. Whitney Brown

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Prescottstyle
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Prescottstyle » Mar 14 2008 9:41 am

Thanks all for the input. I'm easing into this tone mapping thing with my old school knowledge. Right now I'm using my girlfriends Canon Elph camera for digital shots. It has a very low dynamic range as far as capturing different zones of exposure. Tough camera to use because of its size. My Nikon D70/12-24mm was dropped on a tile floor and was rendered useless. I now shoot a Sinar F /75mm Sinaron for my work camera. I then drum scan the transparencies for a tiff file to use in photoshop. I just got a old copy of CS and am toying around with it. Looking forward to share some images soon. Paul.

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Prescottstyle
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Prescottstyle » Mar 14 2008 10:00 am

Randal Schulhauser wrote:
You've been seeing HDR images on THIS site? Point me in the right direction; I haven't noticed them.

Here's my attempt at an HDR image...

http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=52947
I've seen a lot of images that have a extended tonal range on HA. Not that they are HDR, but look very tweeked. One has to be careful not to extend the range to far or it will resemble a contrived and forced color range thats not normal.

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 27 2008 10:02 am

Hoffmaster wrote:
djui5 wrote: Does GIMP process HDR images? If so I might download it. My version of Pshop won't do it.
No, I do not believe that GIMP will do HDR. But for a free program, it's every bit as good as PS, but without the "merge" ability for HDR.
I have not dabbled with HDR yet. I'm more of a fan of graduated neutral density filters which allow you to achieve close to the same result as HDR. I still suck at post-production work. As soon as I get CS3 I will try HDR. I'm even thinking about shooting some images this weekend for HDR. We'll see.
I've been a Linux die-hard ever since, well...a very long time. Anyway, giving up Photoshop was one of those things that came hard. I ran it under crossover office and wine for a while until GIMP got to its current maturity level. It's also taken a while to discover how to do things with the GIMP that I usually did with Photoshop, but to my pleasant surprise most of the things I used to need add-on filters in Photoshop to do the GIMP can do one way or another out-of-the-box. I try not to retouch images but I'm not good enough to get stunning shots with just me and my camera, so I've worked some of these things out on Linux. I wasn't going to post any of my HDR composites, but maybe I will, now. Here's a short tutorial on how to do High Dynamic Range images with GIMP:

I'm going to assume we're shooting something that is back-lit and is creating a great deal of dark silhouettes in the foreground. This needn't be the case, but it is the impetus for me to go to this technique more times than not. Step one is to take a few stock shots of the image using different aperture times. Since everyone probably knows how to do all of this already I won't goo into too much detail. Sufficed-to-say: You'll have better luck using some kind of tripod and trying to get the same shot with different exposures each time so that you don't have to line all of them back up later and worry about sizing problems for objects in view. I'm going to assume you don't have to line the shots back up for this tutorial. Next we take the stock shots over to GIMP...

After downloading the image series to my box the very next thing I usually do before going any further is renaming all of them I want to use by their exposures, something like: "Saguaro_Cactus_Darkest.jpg", "Saguaro_Cactus_Dark.jpg", "Saguaro_Cactus_Medium.jpg", and on and on until they form a logical series. Then, launch the GIMP and open the "middle" shot, that is - the shot that was taken with a normal exposure as if you had just walked right up and taken it without adjusting the aperture...

This middle image will now be your composite image, or your "workspace image" depending on the school of thought you subscribe to. Open your dark stock image (underexposed image) in a new window and do a "select all" and "copy". Now return to the composite and create a new layer by choosing "Layer" -> "New Layer." I usually change the layer names to keep track of them, in this case I'd call it "Dark Layer" or something. Paste the dark stock image into this layer and hit the anchor control. What you should see now in the composite window is just the dark image. That's good...

Now, return to the dark stock image window. Leave the composite window open. To make it into a mask we have to convert this image to greyscale, so choose: "Layer" -> "Colors" -> "Desaturate". You should now have a greyscale image with the overexposed parts opaque and the correctly exposed darker parts transparent. This is going to form the basis for the layer mask we'll apply to the composite. The transparent darker areas will become visible in the composite, soon. First-things-first, we need to brighten up the image, slightly. Here's where the art comes in and this will require a lot of experimentation. Go to "Layers" and choose: "Colors" -> "Curves". A box will pop up with "histogram" representing the color saturation of the image. It should also have a little preview box near the upper window border. Pay close attention to that preview box and look for the "peak" in the histogram at the bottom of the window (It will look like a profile of a mountain range, find the tallest point). Click on the line above that tallest section and drag the line toward the top of the box. How much or little to drag the line depends on your preference, if you drag it a lot you will use more of the dark stock image in your composite; if you drag it a little, you will see more of the "medium" image. Draging it all the way to the top of the box creates the most pronounced HDR effect. Play with this and see what you like, watching the preview box for an estimate of what it will do. When you're done manipulating the mask perform a "select all" and "copy" and return to the composite (middle) image...

Back at the composite image, open the "Layers" window if it isn't already open by choosing: "Ctrl-L". In the "Layers" window (not the composite window) right-click on the "Dark" layer and choose: "Add Layer Mask". You can leave the settings as they are and click "Ok". Now, making sure you haven't clicked on the other layers, choose: "Edit" -> "Paste." Click the anchor control in the layer window to anchor the layer mask you just pasted. The composite image should now have less silhouette in the dark areas and the lighter parts should be unchanged. Overall it should appear more vibrant than before. You can remove the pasted mask and return to the dark image if the change is too subtle or too pronounced for your liking. Just play with the histogram and copy-paste the mask over onto the composite, as before, until you get what you want...

Close your dark image, if you're done with it, and open the "light" image (the overexposed one) in a new window. Leave the composite image open, of course. As before, select all of the light image and copy it. Return to the composite image, create a new layer called "light" and paste the light image into that layer. Return to the light image and once again perform: "Layer" -> "Colors" -> "Desaturate." Here's where it gets a little tricky, and this step is hard to remember. We can't simply manipulate the curve here and use it as a mask because it would result in the composite using the bright parts of the bright image and dark parts of the dark image, which is opposite of what we're trying to accomplish. Instead, choose: "Layer" -> "Colors" -> "Invert". Now we'll get the effect we want. If you need to do additional brightening on your light image (probably won't be needed) then follow the steps to adjust the curve, as before. You can also darken it if you want to by dragging the histogram line down rather than up. Copy this mask and return to the composite image. Right-click on the "light" layer and create a new layer mask like you did for the dark layer. Paste the mask into this new layer mask and click the anchor control. Your composite image should now have a bright blue sky and much cleaner colors.

You can now save your new, GIMP-produced, HDR image as a flattened JPEG. I usually save the layered composite in a GIMP-friendly format for later manipulation. Compare it to the original "middle" image for more dramatic effect. Play with the histogram and don't be afraid to delete layers and start over. I recently made one that turned out pretty well using three different exposure settings darker and lighter each way from the middle image and then going through all of the steps above to create a composite out of the seven. Just remember to invert those shots that are lighter than the middle when making the light-image masks. If I get time later maybe I'll post some screenshots to go with this tutorial...

Have fun!

Jeff
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djui5
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by djui5 » Mar 27 2008 7:20 pm

Whoa, thanks Jeff!!!

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 27 2008 8:04 pm

Sure thing, sorry it's a bit long. Maybe I can move it over to a "tech" section or something?
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Hoffmaster
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by Hoffmaster » Mar 30 2008 12:28 am

Sweet! I saved that post and I'll reread it later and try it out. If I get good results, I'll let you know!
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rawtsn
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Re: Photography post production software

Post by rawtsn » Apr 25 2008 1:07 pm

You can do pseudo-HDR if/when you process a RAW file; just change the exposure a full stop up (or as many exposures as you like +/-) and save as, change the exposure a full stop down and save as, and save the original as is. In PS, PSE or GIMP (as above), open them all as layers into one pic and play w/the settings until you like it.

Much easier: if you don't want to spend hundred$ for the full PS, there are a some true HDR programs - EasyHDR and FDRTools to name a couple - which have free versions that work fine for most people, w/o watermarks I believe. When you take your pics, take a few of the subject at different exposures, bring up that series of photos in the HDR programs and they do all the exposure manipulations - and output a finished picture. :)

They have very good websites that explain - and show - HDR's abilities. If you really like HDR, you can pay to get the expanded programs' full abilities. They also work as plugins for PS and PSE.

To me a good HDR photo isn't obvious as such, like Randal's photo link above. But HDR photos are hard to accept for some people because, if you (over)analyze it, it isn't logical - like an evening picture of a house w/covered patios facing the camera that are well-exposed, but the house is also backed by well-exposed clouds and/or a sunset ... but such a pic looks great!

I've got a bunch of series I've taken from different hikes but haven't gotten around to processing them all - getting more pics is more fun than processing!

btw, the ImageLobe mentioned above is a MAC only program - but PS and PSE have most if not all of those effects built into them too.

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