In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a ‘pseudo-HDR’ (High Dynamic Range) image from a single RAW file using Photomatix software You can download a free trial version here.. The correct way to create a HDR image is to use multiple exposures, which we will be covering soon. But it is still possible and in fact in most cases I prefer using a single RAW file.
(i) Create a HDR or HDR looking image without having to compose specifically for HDR in the shooting stage.
(ii) If the subject is moving, you don’t get a bad overlapping subject, like a person or animal or even clouds and water.
First open the Photomatix software, (I’ve used Photomatix Pro 3.1 here).
Then open the desired RAW file [FILE/OPEN/...select RAW file/ENTER]
Or you can just drag and drop the RAW file into an open window.
When the ‘information’ window opens (may take a while), click “OK”.
Another window will open... your unprocessed image has now been converted to a HDR image. It will appear unpleasing at this point but it still needs to be processed, much like a negative in film. This process is called ‘Tone Mapping’. Click the “TONE MAPPING” button.
Your image will now open with the default HDR setting applied, do not be scared by what it looks like at this point, you still have plenty of room to play. On the left hand side of your screen you’ll find the “Tone Mapping Settings” dialog, that’s where you can adjust the settings. There are two tabs; ‘Details Enhancer’ & ‘Tone Compressor’
Try both tone mapping methods with your image:
The ‘Details Enhancer’ method increases local contrast. This has the effect of boosting shadows and creating a painterly effect. On the other hand, increasing local details makes noise artifacts more visible.
The Tone Compressor method produces a more "natural" look, and avoids noise and halo artifacts.
On the bottom of the dialog, there are ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ buttons as well as an option to load and save settings (very handy to save the preset for next time). You’ll also have an option to restore the default setting in case things go horribly wrong. When tweaking these settings, your image will be updated as you go, so you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the final image will look like. (Note: This preview is just an approximation so your final image may differ slightly)
Be very careful at this stage when tweaking, as it is very easy to ‘over cook’ or ‘over do’ your images with HDR especially in the details enhancer tab. But obviously you are the artist and only you can say what works for you. Read my more in-depth opinion on HDR here.
Once you have reached the result that you were looking for, Click [FILE/SAVE AS... choose name and location/ENTER]
And Voila!... a few other tweaks in photoshop like straightening the horison etc (i use PhotoPlus SE Pro).
If you learned something new, if you would like to add something please leave a comment below. If you tried this please post it here in MEDIUM size.
Feel free to ask any further questions.
Thanks Dave Atkinson.
Originally posted at 11:53PM, 25 October 2009 PDT
Africa Dave edited this topic 91 months ago.