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How to create a natural HDR?

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Thread started 03 May 2012 (Thursday) 18:34   
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kaitlyn2004
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I'm looking to use my -3, 0, +3 exposure shots to help bring out some of the shadows and highlights in a few of my shots...

The problem is when I bring it into Photoshop's HDR Pro or Photomatrix, it looks super "fake". How can I get the more natural look, just being able to bring out some of the details?

Post #1, May 03, 2012 18:34:20


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MCAsan
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Isn't"natural HDR" an oxymoron? LOL

I tried CS5 HDR and hated it. I use Nik HDR plugin to LR. You can adjust the tone compression and strength plus several other variables. You can go from deep grunge....to an image you would swear has not been touched. I highly recommend the Nik Suite.

Post #2, May 03, 2012 20:03:09


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Hikin ­ Mike
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kaitlyn2004 wrote in post #14375405external link
I'm looking to use my -3, 0, +3 exposure shots to help bring out some of the shadows and highlights in a few of my shots...

The problem is when I bring it into Photoshop's HDR Pro or Photomatrix, it looks super "fake". How can I get the more natural look, just being able to bring out some of the details?

Hand-blending. I have a short article in my sig below...

Post #3, May 03, 2012 20:37:17


Images in the Backcountryexternal link | Facebookexternal link | Google+external link | Twitterexternal link
SEO for the Photographerexternal link | Creating HDRs Using Layer Masksexternal link
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imjason
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check out the natural hdr thread

http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​142065

Post #4, May 03, 2012 20:39:01


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PixelMagic
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You can use luminosity masks in Photoshop to blend several exposures together and increase dynamic range (however, exposure blending is not the same as HDR).

Most of the time though I just use Lightroom with the LR/Enfuse plugin to give really natural looking results with minimal effort: http://www.photographe​rs-toolbox.com/products/l​renfuse.phpexternal link

kaitlyn2004 wrote in post #14375405external link
I'm looking to use my -3, 0, +3 exposure shots to help bring out some of the shadows and highlights in a few of my shots...

The problem is when I bring it into Photoshop's HDR Pro or Photomatrix, it looks super "fake". How can I get the more natural look, just being able to bring out some of the details?

Post #5, May 03, 2012 21:06:13


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IslandCrow
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I actually like Photoshop CS5 for more natural looking HDRs. It definitely takes some practice (of which I certainly need more). But this was an HDR composite done with Photoshop where I think I achieved a pretty natural look, so it is possible. . .

IMAGE: http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f368/IslandCrow/Facebook/South%20Dakota%20Autumn/65980_1636970932949_1497010341_1703100_8270777_n.jpg

Post #6, May 04, 2012 14:40:58




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pophoto
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I've had a lot of success using just ONE (1) RAW image in Photomatix to create a realistic looking HDR. A little more processing in CS5 - Nik Color Efex Pro adds an element of pop to the images.

Post #7, May 04, 2012 15:08:18


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socalrailfan
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Oloneo does a great job, check out my Flickr photos for examples.

Post #8, May 05, 2012 09:06:40


Dave - Riverside, CA PhotographersNature.co​mexternal link
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IslandCrow
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pophoto wrote in post #14380009external link
I've had a lot of success using just ONE (1) RAW image in Photomatix to create a realistic looking HDR. A little more processing in CS5 - Nik Color Efex Pro adds an element of pop to the images.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but if you're just using one image to do an HDR, and you want it to have a natural look, then what's the point? The way I see it, there are two reasons to do HDR. First is to expand your dynamic range. Second (and this is really tone mapping, not HDR) is to get that "HDR" look. Otherwise, wouldn't you just use the original picture and skip the HDR software entirely? Can't get much more natural than that.

Post #9, May 08, 2012 17:23:02




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socalrailfan
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To me using one image is not producing an HDR image. I have used Oloeno and then Topaz Labs to take one image and make it look like an HDR, but it's still not an HDR to me.

Post #10, May 08, 2012 18:15:43


Dave - Riverside, CA PhotographersNature.co​mexternal link
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kaitlyn2004
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If I layer my exposures in photoshop and then mask away, won't it NOT blend properly? When I have the -3 and +3 sometimes those may not be "properly" exposed for the lowlights and highlights - so I guess I would have to adjust those to retain some of the detail and then mask accordingly?

I find I rarely have the luxury of determining exactly what the +/- range is for a given scene and being able to truly bracket easily for that. 99% of the time its -3/0/+3... :(

Post #11, May 08, 2012 20:53:11


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Numenorean
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Use filters and just take one shot ;)

Post #12, May 09, 2012 09:52:19


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gremlin75
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MCAsan wrote in post #14375805external link
I highly recommend the Nik Suite.

Same here. Nik HDR is simple to use and gives you lots of control over the image or you can just chose from one of their presets.

All the Nik plug-in's are amazing.

Post #13, May 09, 2012 13:18:27




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IslandCrow
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Numenorean wrote in post #14404479external link
Use filters and just take one shot ;)

What about a picture inside a building with sunlight streaming through the windows and deep shadows in other areas, or a backlit scene in a forest. . .there are plenty of times a GND simply won't allow you to take a single photo that is properly exposed in all areas. HDR programs can be very useful tools. When used correctly, they can accomplish in minutes what would otherwise take hours with manual blending. When used incorrectly, it looks like something out of a cheesy sci-fi movie.

Post #14, May 10, 2012 12:56:24




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ee_guy
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I have two sets of defaults i use in photomatix that i think give more natural looking photos. The settings depend on the level of exposure difference and how i feel about them.
My first one:
Exposure Fusion, method: adjust
Accentuation -1.9
Blending point 6.8
Shadows 6.2
Sharpness 5
Color saturation 2.5
White clip 10
black clip 10
midtone -7.2

My second:
Tone Mapping, Details Enhancer
Strength 100
Color Saturation 42
Luminosity 0
Detail contrast 0
Light adjustments -0.9
Smooth highlights 0
White point 0.746%
Black point 0.25%
Gamma 1
Temperature 0

Bear in mind these settings will change slightly with each set of bracketed photos depending on whats going on in the scene. Try these and then play with the sliders, find a nice range and then save off some presets to start from for future photos. If you take a look at my last 5 uploads to flickr you'll see these settings in action. Also bear in mind that no HDR is going to be perfect out of photomatix. You need to trade off close enough to real and then fix the other non-real parts in photoshop. This is often ghosting if things were moving, dark or dirty skys if the sky was relatively white. Blown out areas that will need to be blended away with a stack of the originals. These are just a few of the things that may or may not need to be fixed. Again they are always changing so youll need to decide at what level the photomatix is good enough and fix the rest in post.

Post #15, May 18, 2012 12:59:16


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