Jul 242013
 
“As a professional photographer, my HDR images need to be clean, halo free and color accurate.  
HDR Expose 3 is my go to HDR software because it provides these qualities. 
Without a doubt, HDR Expose 3 & 32 Float v3 share the best tone-mapper in the business.”
 
sig10000r

httpvh://youtu.be/LbvyjvCmb1Y

HomePage_BookGiveAway_violator

Unified Color Technologies, the experts in high dynamic range imaging (HDR), today announced the latest upgrades to its professional-level HDR software lineup. These upgrades improve the HDR workflow and significantly reduce the traditional limitations of HDR techniques, and most notably eliminate the need to photograph static scenes and the absolute necessity of a tripod to steady HDR exposures. New state of the art merge, alignment and deghosting algorithms have made the standalone HDR Expose™ 3 the most powerful and intuitive professional HDR application available. With its comprehensive, 32-bit color editing capabilities, also available in the Photoshop® plug-in 32 Float V3, the upgraded software ensures photographers can realize their vision for the most true-to-life HDR images possible.

The single most frustrating issue cited by HDR photographers, and a major impediment to those adopting HDR techniques, is the complexity of working with multiple exposures. Because the bracketed exposures must be perfectly aligned to prevent ghosting artifacts, often requiring a tripod, HDR was limited to near-motionless scenes. Single pass tone mapping very wide dynamic range scenes to preserve consistent contrast and detail across the whole tonal range, from dark shadows to bright highlights, has also been a challenge for many. To address these pain points, the company’s R&D team have taken its proprietary Beyond RGB™ color technology to the next level, and reengineered the software with an intuitive combination of merge, alignment and deghosting and adaptive tone mapping algorithms that will change the way photographers approach HDR.

In his early testing of the new software upgrades, professional photographer, and author of HDRLabs.com and the new HDRI Handbook 2.0, Christian Bloch, said of the applications, “The true benefit of Unified Color programs lies in their Beyond RGB color technology which always treats color and luminance channels independently from each other. That means colors stay closer to the original capture – oversaturation artifacts, cross-channel pollution, and undesired color shifts simply don’t occur.” says Bloch. “My favorite features are the ability to perform very precise color tweaks and white balance adjustments, while keeping the output in full 32-bit. This is what makes HDR Expose 3 (and its sibling 32 Float v3) mature tools for professional HDR work.”

Key upgrades will ease the planning process behind HDR photography, making the creation of HDR images possible even when a tripod, long a mainstay of the HDR workflow, is not on-hand. While every photographer has their own limitations in terms of shutter speed and ability, they will now be able to create these images without a tripod as long as they are able to capture sharp, rapid-fire exposures. This technological advancement is made possible by a series of breakthroughs, including:

  • New Adaptive Tone Mapping: This new capability automatically enhances control over local contrast, color, and detail retention within the all-important highlight areas of a merged HDR image while maintaining optimal contrast and color in darker areas of the image. This new functionality will be especially welcomed by professionals when  photographing interior and exterior real estate.
  • Upgraded Alignment Capabilities: HDR Expose now offers two completely redesigned alignment options: a fully automatic option with key frame selection and, for the most challenging exposure series, a manual assist option. Powered by redesigned alignment algorithms, the software can detect specific image features and calculate necessary transformations in order to provide optimal fitting and alignment.
  • Reengineered Deghosting Algorithms: HDR Expose will now feature local and global deghosting algorithms to mitigate movement within or through the scene by working off of a key frame (against which all others are automatically compared and analyzed for moving objects.) Users can rely on the fully automatic deghosting default, increase control over the process by choosing optimal key frames, or take full control with powerful local deghosting tools to select individual objects for inclusion or removal.
  • New File Browser: To help manage the multiple exposures, HDR Expose now offers a new file browser functionality that displays thumbnails rather than just file names, and automatically detects and groups exposure brackets for the merge process. For working professionals processing entire HDR shoots, the program also includes a batch merge that can automatically group, merge and apply presets to an entire shoot simultaneously.
  • Improved Color Safe Dodge and Burn Brush: Leveraging the power of the software’s Beyond RGB color space, the dodge and burn brush allows photographers to selectively lighten and darken areas of the image without changing or shifting colors. The new 500 pixel brush is better suited for larger higher resolution files.

httpvh://youtu.be/DhZsTlx_ox4

httpvh://youtu.be/ehZspJjPkQE

httpvh://youtu.be/6kRiRlMOPtI

Mar 092012
 

Photo: © 2012 John Santoro

Most HDR Software can accept JPEG, TIFF or RAW files as input for the merge process, and HDR Express and HDR Expose are no exceptions. If you only have JPEG or TIFF legacy images that you want to process you don’t have an option, but going forward you will get better results if you shoot and process RAW image files for HDR.JPEG and TIFF files are great final output file types, but they have been processed causing clipped exposure ranges, artifacts due to applied contrast curves and in the case of JPEG files, artifacts due to compression.

When we merge individual images into 32-bit HDR images, we need to undo most of those changes to create the linear data to process the areas of exposure overlap. In many cases this works well, but in some cases such as extreme lighting conditions working with JPEG or TIFF source files can create areas of posterization where especially highlight data can be clipped in processed files. JPEG source images have the additional disadvantage of compression artifacts that will change the between the different exposures and create alignment issues.

Closeup of merged RAW image


Closeup of merged jpeg image with artifacts circled

 

You want to isolate the differences between the bracketed images to only exposure times. If each image has different JPEG compression artifacts in different areas of the image these changes will be exaggerated when merged.

RAW Files provide us much better source data to work with. The data is linear and has not been process or had tone curves applied. Also, RAW files typically have 12 or 14-bits of data with extended highlight information. This allows us to create 32-bit HDR images with much smoother transitions and less potential for posterization with no compression artifacts.

So if you have a choice going forward when shooting for HDR set the camera to RAW and do the HDR merge and tone mapping operations first on 32-bit HDR data. Then, save the image as a TIFF file. If you still have some local corrections or retouching to do, work on the output TIFF file then.

The fundamental workflow rule of digital photography processing is to start with the big items first and work your way down to the smaller details. In HDR, processing the merge and the tone mapping are the first order of business.

For more information on Unified Color HDR software products including HDR Expose 2, HDR Express and 32 Float please click the link below:

HDR Expose discount

As a reader of HDR360pro.com you will receive a discount on any Unified Color software.

Your coupon code “HDR360pro” will be applied automatically.

Feb 062012
 

“This week it was a real thrill for me to host a live webinar with photographer Richard Sisk to talk about HDR panoramic photography. Richard has been shooting panos professionally for many years and was able to share some of his legacy work as well as tips and techniques for creating digital HDR panoramas.”

John Omvik, Vice President of Marketing, Unified Color Technologies

HDR Panorama Photography with Richard Sisk Parts 1 &2 recorded on 1/31/2012

This presentation looks best in full screen.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89LHQ51XEZw

.

“In this next tutorial photographer Richard Sisk shares his tips and techniques for creating stunning HDR Panoramas. In part 2 of 2 Richard demonstrates how he processes his stitched and merged 32-bit HDR Panoramas using HDR Expose 2.”

John Omvik, Vice President of Marketing, Unified Color Technologies

This presentation looks best in full screen.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jYaBj1FkK0

Community

Save 20% on the new HDR Expose 2 by clicking the link below:

HDR Expose 2 » HDR360pro.com

Coupon code: “HDR360pro” saves 20% on HDR Expose 2.

Download the free trial now!

Jan 212012
 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEwFCIPRrFk

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csiGGJyZ2VE

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMeZQsF9Yu4

Coupon code: “HDR360pro” Save 20% on HDR Expose 2.

HDR Expose 2 » HDR360pro.com

HDR Software | HDR Photography | Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture Plug-ins

Nov 122011
 

Useful Tips on Creating HDR Images from John Omvik!

 

In order to capture the dynamic range of an HDR scene you need to bracket several exposures. For the best results you must ensure, that with the exception of exposure times, little varies from frame to frame. The best way to do this is to lock your settings in manual mode.

Most modern cameras allow you to save custom user settings in the camera so that they are easy to recall when you need them. If you are serious about HDR photography it makes sense to dedicate one of these custom user settings for HDR.

Here is the list of settings I recommend.

– RAW Image Capture: This ensures that you get the most from every shot. Some cameras allow you to choose between 12 and 14-bit RAW files. If you have an option always go with the higher bit depth. Never use reduced resolution RAW files, always choose the full size. Like my grandmother used to say, never worry about the sausage that is too long, you can always make it shorter, but not the other way around.

– Manual White balance: When shooting RAW, the white balance really doesn’t matter since you can always change it later. I recommend picking one setting and sticking with it. Choose Daylight or Tungsten, if you are really picky create a custom WB setting, but always use the same setting for the whole sequence.

– Shoot Aperture Priority or Manual Exposure: Regardless of which one you use, you want to lock the aperture down and only vary the shutter speed. Varying the exposure with different aperture settings or f-stops will set a different depth of field for each frame which will create problems in the merge and alignment process.

– Set your EV increments to 1EV: Most cameras are set to 1/3 EV increments by default, each time you move the command dial one click it changes the exposure by one third of a stop. For HDR 1/3 EV is just too fine an exposure resolution. Change the camera settings so that a single click adjusts the exposure by 1EV and you’ll need to touch the camera less between each exposure.

– Use the AF Lock button to focus: Most cameras are set to focus by default when the shutter button is pressed halfway down. This is a great feature for most types of photography. For HDR however, you don’t want to have to acquire focus for each shot of a sequence and risk focusing on different areas of the image by mistake. Having different areas in focus can also cause problems in the merge process. It is much better to set your camera so that it only focuses when you press the AF-On or AF-Lock button. This way you can lock your camera down on a tripod, frame up your scene, acquire focus once and lock it and shoot your bracketed set of images without refocusing. Just make sure to lock down the focus first for your next scene as well. Remember even if you use a cable release, if the camera is set to focus on half shutter press, pressing the button on the cable release will be the same as pressing the actual shutter button.

If you follow these tips and set your camera up in manual mode, you will get much more reproducible bracketed exposure series and be more likely to get better HDR results.

In the next tip, I’ll explain in more detail why RAW capture produces better HDR images than TIFF or JPEG.

HDR Software | HDR Photography | Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture Plug-ins

Please see the “HDR360pro” discounts page:

Unified Color » HDR360pro.com