Connect Images (HDR) Tool Feature?

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Postby greenmorpher » Mon 08 Oct 2007 08:33

Hello All

Having a sunny morning to contend with, I went down to Mordialloc Creek (check the location at Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia on Google Earth), armed with the mighty KonicaMinolta A200 and a little desktop tripod (it was one of the handful of accessories I took for the Rollei when I made the big European visit in 1975 [or was it 1974?]) and took pictures through the bridge arch of the boats on the other side which were in full sun.

My conclusions:

1) Yes, Connect Images works better when there is about 2 stops separation between the images.

2) Several of my tests seemed to be best when I connected just two images -- one perhaps a stop or so under-exposed and one about two stops over-exposed (for the shadows).

3) If you wanted to use this then you probably should take six or seven images about a stop apart surrounding the optimum exposure, then experiment to find the best group of images for the picture you want.

4) Even then, you should be prepared to make minor adjustments in CLUT.

5) It has limited usefulness for the general photographer because the camera MUST be on a tripod and the subject MUST be still (it's amazing how much movement there is among moored boats even when the water looks flat).

6) Most of the time, the old contrast mask trick will give you what you want or near enough, anyway, then you can tweak it with CLUT and stuff. You have no option, anyway, if the subject is moving.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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Postby Gerhard Huber » Mon 08 Oct 2007 08:44

Some basics about HDR:
I got several "HDR-Testimages" in the past. Really none of them was a usfull one!
Why this?
HDR-Connection is only usefull if you have a problematic photographing situation where you can't get the whole dynamic of the image. That means you want to take a picture of an object that is very dark or very bright on one position. The camera will create a "best" picture and there will be a full black or full white area inside. Then it would be useful to take a second, third or more image that has the missing information included (and some other information lost).
If you take three "HDR-images" with every one has no overflow, just take the middle one and use "Filter/Digital Camera/Image Optimize" and you will get best results.

Gerhard
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Postby greenmorpher » Tue 09 Oct 2007 00:38

Hiya Gerhard

I was selecting my images on the basis of what I remembered of a Photoshop tutorial I saw some time ago. I just went searching for it to illustrate my point, but instead found a much better tutorial which backs up what you are saying, I think. Have a look at:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutori ... -range.htm

I think this is working through the kind of thing you are talking about, Gerhard. It puts HDR into context as one more tool in the photographer's arsenal rather than the amazing cure-all it was presented as in the first tutorial I saw and Adobe's promotion of it.

However you said:

If you take three "HDR-images" with every one has no overflow, just take the middle one and use "Filter/Digital Camera/Image Optimize" and you will get best results.


No such command in PL32 I am looking at. There IS "Filter/Quality/Optimise Contrast". Is that the one?

Koyaanis, I think you mentioned colour shift problems when using HDR although I can't put my finger on it right now. Have at look at the tutorial I pointed to above. Apparently, HDR in P'shop has the same problems.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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Postby Koyaanis » Tue 09 Oct 2007 05:45

greenmorpher wrote:Hiya Gerhard

However you said:

If you take three "HDR-images" with every one has no overflow, just take the middle one and use "Filter/Digital Camera/Image Optimize" and you will get best results.


No such command in PL32 I am looking at. There IS "Filter/Quality/Optimise Contrast". Is that the one?


I believe he is referring to a newer filter built into v13.9 of PL32. I had the privilege to see, and am now using, one of the betas. They have made some very interesting improvements and features. Least of not which is how the HDR tool is used. Now including the ability to align your images even if taken hand-held between changing camera settings. Really handy for those that have to do it manually without any auto-bracketing modes or even a tripod. Or those times where you were caught without tripod and you realize that scene could greatly benefit from HDR techniques. It'll even compensate for a change in zoom if you happen to accidentally change that.

Koyaanis, I think you mentioned colour shift problems when using HDR although I can't put my finger on it right now. Have at look at the tutorial I pointed to above. Apparently, HDR in P'shop has the same problems.


Yes, and the more that I check into this people have problems with HDR methods across the board in all platforms, programs, and all image formats (jpg, raw, etc.). Some find it to be a gimmick that just destroys most photographs no matter how well it is applied. But ... I think when used with the right photos, taken with the right exposures, it can be used to create some startling photography. Like all tools they have to be used subtly and within their limits, you're not going to improve a photo by applying a 200% saturation increase. :-) (Well, some photography I've seen they couldn't make it any worse. :-) )

While I still get some of the saturation drop-outs when using PL32 for this, I tried some of the other tools, as suggested by Gerhard in emails, after the HDR image is created. Surprisingly, and I don't know how it does this, the Filter > Automatic > Automatic Correction, manages to put back in some of the saturation lost, and only in those areas where it was lost in the final HDR image.

I think that to use any HDR method effectively some pre-planning has to go into when and how and why you are going to use it. No matter the software you use to create it. I too found that 2 extremely different exposures does better than 3 when using PL32, throwing out the middle-exposure of a -2, 0, +2 triad is usually the fix. But that might be because I'm not that well versed in HDR techniques. Other software, like when using PhotoMatix (dedicated for HDR only, hdrsoft.com), seems to do well when people use 5 or more images. Unfortunately their images take on a "hand-painted image" quality, where all areas have the same contrast ranges, saturation depths, and an overall hand-made/manipulated appearance about it. Some hate it for most images even if dedicated software is used to create it, and I agree. For many subjects it can really destroy a scene in trying to include too much that shouldn't be there. Some think it's just "cool!", again I agree that on one or two photos I've seen it can have an amazing effect, when used properly. That's my challenge, learning how to use it properly. :-)

I think it's a great feature, and a nice one to have in any editor. But it's never going to compensate for taking a good photo to begin with. If the content isn't worth seeing no way of presenting it will improve it. I love having the options to try to make them better in the darkroom though. It gives me hope when the eye that took the original photo failed me.
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Postby greenmorpher » Wed 10 Oct 2007 00:29

Koyaanis wrote:
greenmorpher wrote:Hiya Gerhard

However you said:

If you take three "HDR-images" with every one has no overflow, just take the middle one and use "Filter/Digital Camera/Image Optimize" and you will get best results.


No such command in PL32 I am looking at. There IS "Filter/Quality/Optimise Contrast". Is that the one?


I believe he is referring to a newer filter built into v13.9 of PL32. I had the privilege to see, and am now using, one of the betas. They have made some very interesting improvements and features. Least of not which is how the HDR tool is used. Now including the ability to align your images even if taken hand-held between changing camera settings. Really handy for those that have to do it manually without any auto-bracketing modes or even a tripod.


That sounds like very clever stuff, indeed. That will make HDR HUGELY more useful. I'll look forward to the new version when it is out. I remember seeing Gerhard mentioning giving you a look at what was developing shortly after I bought PL32 and joined the forum. I must say, I like that level of openness. I get bored with the hysteria and secrecy which surrounds most software development.

Koyaanis wrote:
greenmorpher wrote:Koyaanis, I think you mentioned colour shift problems when using HDR although I can't put my finger on it right now. Have at look at the tutorial I pointed to above. Apparently, HDR in P'shop has the same problems.


Yes, and the more that I check into this people have problems with HDR methods across the board in all platforms, programs, and all image formats (jpg, raw, etc.). Some find it to be a gimmick that just destroys most photographs no matter how well it is applied. But ... I think when used with the right photos, taken with the right exposures, it can be used to create some startling photography. Like all tools they have to be used subtly and within their limits, you're not going to improve a photo by applying a 200% saturation increase. :-) (Well, some photography I've seen they couldn't make it any worse. :-) )

While I still get some of the saturation drop-outs when using PL32 for this, I tried some of the other tools, as suggested by Gerhard in emails, after the HDR image is created. Surprisingly, and I don't know how it does this, the Filter > Automatic > Automatic Correction, manages to put back in some of the saturation lost, and only in those areas where it was lost in the final HDR image.


Subtlety is the key for the best result, I agree, whether you are looking for a naturalistic picture of a distorted one. I'll try the Automatic Correction tool. I do find PL32's tools to be excellent, generally.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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