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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos HDR Creation 
Thread started 01 Nov 2009 (Sunday) 22:19
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Zero Noise Extended DR Mini Tutorial

 
wolfden
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Jul 02, 2010 04:44 |  #76

I've been using it on windows 7 x64 for most of the year here. I'm not sure why people are having problems.


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kirkt
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Jul 02, 2010 10:08 |  #77

Brain Mechanic wrote in post #10463695 (external link)
Man...this thread has been running since almost 7 months now and the main point of discussion is how difficult this program is to get to run right....whats the use?? Five pages and only a few examples of the actual final product. IMO, this is complete failure. I had it for a while and was never able to get it to run...finally got tired and went another route.

The point of the thread was to start a discussion about ZN and how to use it. If you haven't been able to get it to work, I would guess it is either a problem with your computer or your ability to get it to run the program. While it may be buggy in some instances, it requires some working knowledge regarding the use of dcraw and the command line. This program was written to accomplish a specific task, it does not have a slick installer script that does all the work for you - dcraw is not "built in" because dcraw is always being updated - new dcraw?... just drop the new version of dcraw at C:\dcraw\dcraw.exe and you are good to go. If you don;t know about paths on your windows machine, do a google search to learn a little. Otherwise, just follow the instructions in this thread. If you are still having problems, post a specific description of the problem here and we can try to figure out what is going on. Most of the time, it is a path issue or the incorrect version of dcraw that causes the problem, without verbose error reporting. I encourage everyone to try the version of dcraw they install on their machine - cd to the dcraw directory and simply type dcraw.exe at the DOS prompt - dcraw should report the usage "help" file. This way you know your install of dcraw is the correct one for your machine.

I am a Mac user that has gotten the program to run on my Mac in XP and Linux. I encountered the short file path issue and found the solution through the dcraw pages and Guillermo - that's why I posted it here. The interface is not so easy to understand if you do not know what dcraw is and how it works. I use dcraw occasionally, from the command line, so I knew what was going on. I figured I'd share the workflow for those that couldn't understand the workflow. If you are used to the mindless, rainbows and unicorns world of Photomatix, this app may not be for you. But, if you understand the concept behind ZN and are willing to experiment and dig around the web for information about its core parts and the conceptual workflow, then I think you might find that ZN is an indispensable tool to add to your photographic tool kit.

Another "issue" with ZN is that the file it produces leaves new users disappointed - after all, Photomatix spits out a beautiful final image, filled with awesome features like blue color casts, haloes, color shifts and the like. ZN produces a dark, underexposed mess that is not suitable for anything - or so it seems. Another critical part of using ZN is the post-production required to take all of the data it produces and mold it into the final image. Of course, nerds like me love this part of the workflow - I can push pixels around without a care, make ridiculous curves without worrying about noise and posterization. But, if you are not interested in the time it takes to learn this part of the workflow, then ZN is not for you. One needs to know how to import the image into Photoshop, assign it a color profile properly, work with curves and the like and then use sometimes non-conventional techniques to conjure an image from the darkness. But the benefits are worth it. ZN is like Enfuse or Tufuse on steroids, giving you the best pixels in 16bit.

While some may disagree, I think ZN is a success and this thread, hopefully, has been helpful to those interested in pursuing this somewhat non-traditional extended dynamic range technique. One of the reasons why ZN image data tends to give pleasing results is that it is well suited to contain the DR associated with human vision and perception, in a natural, non-cartoonish manner. You can use any kind of processing technique you want to, often with greater flexibility due to the lack of significant noise in the deepest shadow tones.

I'll try to post some more images here to demonstrate my point and hopefully inspire you to give it another try. If you think the program needs some work to make it more useable, you can always donate to _GUI_ via the web page and encourage his efforts.

Kirk


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kirkt
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Jul 02, 2010 11:37 |  #78

And here it is running in Wine, on my Mac Book Pro, SL 10.6.4.

Kirk

IMAGE: http://kirkt.smugmug.com/Photography/Photo-of-the-Day/ZNWineSC/920891926_f7MCU-X3.jpg

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ae86trueno
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Jul 02, 2010 20:51 |  #79

wolfden wrote in post #10465148 (external link)
I've been using it on windows 7 x64 for most of the year here. I'm not sure why people are having problems.

Hi Wolfden, how to get the DCRaw 64 bit? I'm using win 7 64bit, when I try to run the DCRaw from http://www.insflug.org​/raw/Downloads/ (external link) it told me the software incompatible due to im running 64 bit windows. Thank you


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ae86trueno
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Jul 03, 2010 01:34 as a reply to  @ ae86trueno's post |  #80

Managed to get this working...
First test was done on photo set that was taken accidentally under ISO 3200 (H). The difference is simply blew me away... :eek::eek::eek:

Two thumbs up.. Im totally speechless by the result

This show the difference...

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Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i905.photobucke​t.com …mparison.jpg?t=​1278138528 (external link)

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Kenith ­ Olson
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Jul 03, 2010 12:17 |  #81

Kirk,

Thanks for sharing your Zero Noise Tutorial and tips!

"The point of the thread was to start a discussion about ZN and how to use it." Really appreciate having an English thread to discuss ZN problems.

Have now been able to get everything working and made a series of Screen Captures of each stage and would be glad to post if there is any interest.

My ZN problems on WinXP (have not tried Linux ver) were due to:

1. My lack of knowledge of DOS and Command Line.

Am using a Dell with OEM WinXP Home so do not know if this applies to "Real WinXP Users"

After using cd to go to DCRAW dir it left <DCRAW> and I typed dcraw.exe and it went back to <DCRAW> My first mistake was assuming that I could just type "-v -a -q 1 -T <filename>" Wrong you must do the entire "dcraw -v -a -q 1 -T <filename>"

2. Where to place RAW photos. By the time I solved #1 had read this tread and knew about "Guess where you want to put your folder with your images? That's right, at the root level of your machine! C:\image_folder\image1​.CR2 ... imageN.CR2" This did Not work on my PC so tried putting 1 RAW in the DCRAW dir--Worked!!!

While I am still at the bottom of the ZN learning Curve at least everything is working.

Ken




  
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Kenith ­ Olson
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Jul 04, 2010 08:52 |  #82

I have been searching for an English Zero Noise forum but to date not found one.

Is there one? If not is there any interest in starting one?

Ken




  
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_GUI_
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Jul 05, 2010 01:48 |  #83

ZN news

Hi all,

Special thanks to kirkt for taking so much effort in trying to explain what ZN is about and how to make it work. I admit ZN is not as easy to install, run and understand as general commercial tools. The reason is that I am not a programmer, so although I do my best, I mainly focus on improving those features that I find more interesting in the tool (basically those regarding performance), rather than ease of use and installation.

Today I start my holidays for two weeks in Scotland but after that will upload a new version that allows to merge 3 images without the watermark. I have also replaced the output GIF files for the blending map, by PNG files than can be open straight into PS without the aspect ratio issue that was usual with the GIF files. In addition to this, PNG have the same compression ratio as GIF files but open straight in RGB mode, ready for blending map edition in Photoshop (for instance for antighosting).

One of the drawbacks of ZN today is that it doesn't allow to use your own RAW developer to develop the RAW files, so that you can apply your usual workflow (including white balance, chromatic aberration corrections, distortion correction, even noise reduction,...), that are difficult or impossible to apply in DCRAW (ZN's default RAW developer). To fix this there are 2 solutions, and both are going to be implemented:

1. Soon I will add a new file-open button that allows to open straight TIFF source files, i.e. those coming from your favourite RAW developer. It is a must that those TIFF files were produced through a neutral RAW development with ALL adjustments that affect the histogram (bright, contrast, shadow or highlight recoveries, curves, saturation,...) set to zero. Otherwhise the optimum ZN blend will fail and produce strange results, this will not be a fault of ZN but of the user. ZN is very demanding in dealing with totally linear files in order to apply its procedures.

This can be actually done with the present ZN version, and some people are already doing it in a messy way: just need to cheat ZN renaming your RAW developer output files with exactly the same .tiff names ZN is expecting after its development stage, and continue with the ZN process at the 'Calc EV' stage. The output gamma must be set to 1 since the input files will now be already 2.2 gamma in Adobe RGB (1.8 if ProPhoto RGB was used).

2. The brightest future for ZN, and only way to survive actually, is however a DNG output version, i.e. a version that doesn't produce output TIFF files but that outputs an undemosaiced noise-free output RAW file (see the article Zero Noise virtual RAW (external link) to understand what's this about). I actually find hard to believe no company has developed this idea yet, and would love that someone reads this and does it.
However this will take more time and I need help for this (if some C coder thinks he can manage to build a DNG file from input DNG files, using the Adobe DNG SDK, just let me know). I plan to translate the entire ZN code from VB6 into C# under VB.NET, and need assistance for this DNG building stage.

Regards

PS: lately I have found that ZN + TuFuse (external link) make a winning couple for most scenes, specially those with clearly outlined boundaries between the dark and bright areas (like those found in interiors with windows open to a much brighter outdoor scene), where dealing with curves and mask layers may become tricky:

  • We use ZN for optimum blending (max. noise reduction through optimum pixel selection, max. sharpness through the lowest blend progresiveness, and anti-ghosting through blending map manual edition)
  • And use the default sigma 0.5 TuFuse algorithm to effortlessly achieve the difficult part in the tone mapping process: strongly lift the shadows while preserving the highlights.
  • Finally go to PS to apply a simple S-shaped contrast curve (no layer mask needed), to achieve final desired bright and contrast.


Will post an example in a minute.

Regards.

http://www.guillermolu​ijk.com (external link) to subscribe click here (external link)

  
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_GUI_
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Jul 05, 2010 02:59 |  #84

This weekend I taught an HDR workshop in (URL: Blacklisted URL removed)Alto Campoo (this is a skiing centre in the north of Spain). Unluckily the fog only allowed to have a view through the windows of the hotel early in the Sunday morning, so the light was not hitting straight the room. However the dynamic range of the scene was quite high (10-11 EV), making it necessary to shoot at different exposures if we wanted to preserve both detail in the highlights outside, and in the shadows inside:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png'


So I bracketed {-2,0,+2}, making -2 be the most exposed shot that allowed to preserve the highlights:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png'


The blending map shows which RAW file provided each area of the scene (white areas mean the least exposed RAW file, black areas the most exposed RAW file, gray areas middle).

I fused the 3 RAW files in Zero Noise (external link) outputting an autobracket sequence of 4 images 2EV apart, that were fed into TuFuse (external link) with default parameters (i.e. no parameters were set at all):

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png'


(Note this output bracketing was produced from a single blended file already containing all the dynamic range of the scene, the one in which ZN summarizes all the useful information of the input RAW files. So this is not the input bracketing that was shot with the camera in separate RAW files).

The resulting image was finished with a S-shaped curve to increase brightness and global contrast:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png'



Finally a noise comparision between the least exposed RAW file (the only one that preserved the outdoor highlights) and the final image, in order to check a single shot would have not been enough if our goal was to preserve detail both in the shadows and the highlights:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png'



Regards

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Marlon0723
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Jul 05, 2010 21:26 |  #85

Thank you Kirkt and Guillermo for your great effort to explain to us about the Zero Noise..

I am looking forward for the new Zero NOise and very excited to get it immediately...I will definitely get Tufuse as well once the new ZN is already available.

Thanks again to Kirkt and Guillermo...hope you will continue helping others...God Bless..




  
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wolfden
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Jul 05, 2010 23:53 |  #86

Sounds like better things are a coming in the near future. All good news and exciting to hear.


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kirkt
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Jul 06, 2010 09:02 |  #87

Very cool Guillermo.

Kirk


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verb1
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Jul 07, 2010 18:15 |  #88

I run Windows 7 64-bit with no problems.

Thanks, Guillermo. Can't wait for the non-watermark version!


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kirkt
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Jul 08, 2010 17:15 |  #89

Here is a 4 exposure ZN image of an equirectangular panorama. I tricked ZN into accepting the stitched, linearized TIFFs. ;)

Kirk

IMAGE: http://kirkt.smugmug.com/Photography/Photo-of-the-Day/ZN151238sRGBg22a-1024/927930536_MSxfV-X3.jpg

This is part of this thread:


https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=899321

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Marlon0723
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Jul 08, 2010 21:47 as a reply to  @ kirkt's post |  #90

wow! the photo looks very nice..the exposure is great...:D
just one question...did you do any sharpening on this? thanks..




  
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Zero Noise Extended DR Mini Tutorial
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