EtterVor PRO 6:58pm, 25 March 2006
I've been admiring some of the flickr photos with
sharp color, and often they speak of photomanipulation software to produce high dynamic range. Does anyone know whether this is something GIMP will do?
DouglasO Posted 12 years ago. Edited by DouglasO (member) 12 years ago
I don't know of any HDR plugins (If anyone does know of one, please point me at any any that work for the current 2.2x version of the gimp) for the gimp, but it's pretty easy to make a "DRI" picture. If you camera is capable of making bracket shots or you have a tripod stable enough for you to set this up yourself. take more then one shot with different exposure settings. Break up the pictures with selections or masks to pick out the parts you want to combine and put this back together into one picture. Here's my first attempt at this, made with two pictures.

a dark and stormy night

There's one other was to make DRI pictures, if your camera can shoot in RAW mode, and you use a RAW reader that is capable of making pre-conversion adjustments to the picture (I use UFRAW myself). Do the exposure adjustments while still in raw, and import into the GIMP. do this twice with differnt settings. Using the method I talked about at the top of this post, put them back together into one picture.
chris_wilson 12 years ago

My first attempt at creating an HDR image using The Gimp.
han Soete PRO 12 years ago
You can do this in Gimp yet there is special software available to create HDR.
David Wilson Clarke PRO 12 years ago
tuxcomputers 12 years ago
I prefer to use the method from this page:
Jim Skea 12 years ago
Just to clarify, exposure blending is *not* HDR (or HDRI).

HDR produces images with a large range of luminance (typically of the order of 10¹², or a trillion). The problem is that, unless you have an HDR graphic card and state of the art monitor, your monitor can only display a range of the order of 300. So what do programs like Photomatix and Photoshop do? They compress that large variation into the 256 possibilities displayable on your average monitor by a process called tone mapping. There are various ways, or algorithms, to do this but typically they preserve local detail (and contrast) at the expense of large-scale contrast. So you end up with your typical detailed, colourful and tonally flat "HDR".

Exposure blending is a different animal altogether. It doesn't construct an interemediate file with a high dynamic range - it just picks what the user selects from 2 (or more) images with your normal 300 range. The end result is different, too - large scale contrast is usually not so compromised but, on the other hand, small scale contrast isn't really enhanced either. In general exposure blending requires more work too as there's more liberty for the user to make decisions about where and how to blend.
avidday PRO Posted 12 years ago. Edited by avidday (member) 12 years ago
Gimp can't do true HDR because the Gimp engine is limited to 8 bits per colour channel.

Dedicated HDR software such as the Photoshop HDR subsystem and Photomatix use either 16, 24 or 32 integer bits per colour channel or floating point representation to provide extended dynamic range. Gimp cannot do that, and there is no indication from the Gimp development team that anything will change in the foreseeable future.

There is, however, a fork of the Gimp 1.x tree called cinepaint, which has been developed for high colour depth applications (mainly CGI) and is used by a lot of the big movie production houses. It has an experimental HDR plugin, which in its current state of development, can generate HDR images from 8 bit per channel sources. No word on when either direct 12 bit Bayer or converted 16 bit RGB material import will be implemented
brave geese [deleted] Posted 12 years ago. Edited by brave geese (member) 12 years ago
It's not gimp but you might be interested in creating, handling and tonemapping HDR images with pfstools. Here's a short overview. I use gimp for some parts of the workflow, like NEF handling, cropping, retouche..

Ludwigsburger Schloss
Mulad PRO Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Mulad (member) 12 years ago
I haven't done any true HDR yet, but I think I've found a method that closely approximates the final product many people get. I jotted down what to do on the page for this photo:

radio, lamp, and meter in faux HDR

I need to try it out on some more interesting subjects, though. I tried my process on the sample photos listed at the mkhdr website, and it seemed to produce a fairly good result. I'm not exactly sure how the licensing works for those photos, so I haven't posted what it looks like.
proud education [deleted] 12 years ago
A simple way to do exposure blending if you shoot in raw is to use the Raw software to tweak the exposure to bring out the areas of the picture you want. You then process these to TIF and open the GIMP.

Use one as a base layer (I usually use the most shadowy layer as the base) and then layer up the other images on top. As they are all the same size select all and paste gives optimal alignment.

Then use a layer mask on the upper layers and paint in the elements you want to show through.

Another little trick I found in GIMP itself to, say improve a washed out sky is to duplicate the layer with the best sky exposure and then set the blend mode to overlay. If this overly darkens other areas youcan use layer masks again to remove the blend from that area
physical guitar [deleted] 12 years ago
Is it just me or do the HDR pics looks completely awful? They look so fake. They remind me of the technicolor movies ...

Vieira PRO 12 years ago
Claudio, "overdone" HDR do look ugly. But I've seen a HDR picture of the moon - boy how it is great!

I think that with HDR you have to be careful - as with many other techniques. But I can't really tell, I've never tried it myself.
Findo PRO 12 years ago
I think I've seen 2 HDR shots ever that don't look fake.
GomoX 12 years ago
I think I've seen 2 HDR shots ever that don't look fake.

Take a look at the TTHDR group:

It's devoted to non-fake looking, increased dynamic range shots. The pool is quite polluted ATM but it gets cleaned often to get rid of all the Photomatix-type shots. Bunch of great photos there.
【Rez】 12 years ago
My first attempt at HDR using the Gimp. I followed whats on this page using the "Layer Mask" method and got the following results:

Final Image
Final Image

I'm new to this and still learning...
kruemi 12 years ago
This is my first attempt to do a hdr image
Kathedrale St. Gallen HDR

I've read some tutorials. as I don't like to create masks and so on, i tried another approach.

I've just stacked all the images in layers in gimp. (brightest the lowest and darkest the most upper one). Than I added a layer mask to every layer (except for the brightest one)
After this I just divided 100% by the number of pictures and took a gray with this brightness (in this case almost black). With this color I filled all the layer masks. This makes the images allmost transparent and (only 7% left) and let's the layers beyond "shine thru".
That's it. One can discuss on the results, but i'm almost atisfied for a "first".
Just wished I had some more RAM, with only 512MB is definitely not funny anymore with 14 layers each 2048x1536.

I attempted something for the first time with this one -- just what douglasO suggested: different exposures in Rawshooter Essentials, then selecting the parts that i wanted to replace...

Natural pool
ukpidgeon 12 years ago
Try using the Gimp 2.x "Retinex" filter:

avidday PRO 12 years ago
How does that constitute extended dynamic range?
AccidntlTourist PRO 12 years ago
"The result is much like a "single-shot" high dynamic range image."
- ukpidgeon

As someone new to this subject, it seems as though the lower third of image now has a greater dynamic range.

Thanks for directing me to this plug-in. And I agree it is tough to adjust settings when the preview does not give an accurate depiction (any recommendations for settings?).

Could the second image be masked selectively and added to several takes for a successful HDR result?
ukpidgeon Posted 12 years ago. Edited by ukpidgeon (member) 12 years ago
For this photo the Uniform/High/Low setting didn't have much effect,
although I would assume that it refers to modifying the whole image/
just the light parts/just the dark parts.

The Scale setting produces something very like an edge strength image
if set too low, so medium to high values seem better.

The Scale Division setting seemed to have no great impact on the result,
other than smaller values possibly producing a slightly smoother (and
faster) result. A value of zero produced a completely black image.

The Dynamic setting gives more natural looking colours at higher
values, and much more saturated ones at lower values.

It looks like you can get a slightly more pleasing effect by decomposing
the image to HSV, and only filtering the Value layer (converted to
RGB first) then re-composing (converting back to greyscale first):
wisze PRO Posted 12 years ago. Edited by wisze (member) 12 years ago
Below is an attempt to use exposure blending in Gimp using an underexposed night image in combination with a day image and an overexposed day image. The lights of the photo exhibition show up nicely and give it a nice strange effect.
paulwb Posted 12 years ago. Edited by paulwb (member) 11 years ago
edwin: Thats a great idea. I like the effect. Although I never thought that you mixed a night picture in there.

Arriving_at_the_horizon: This photo is great. I like the result.

My first attempts.... is no "true HDR". The tipical under- and overexposed images merged together.

The original photos are in the same album there, too.

[EDIT] I removed those photos, but I have a real hdr, tonemapped in my flickr album:
wisze PRO 12 years ago
The night photo really only shows up in the lights over the photos. Also you see the lights shine on the ground.
I am going to make more attempts at this. The idea was stolen from Magritte's day/night paintings by the way.
seamusGregory 12 years ago
Here is my attempt at HDR with the GIMP.

Almost HDR
paulwb 12 years ago
Talking about HDR... Well, to create true HDR images there is no way with Gimp yet. But I found a nice tool, a frontend for pfstools with a GUI similar to Photomatix. Works fine.
jmusther 11 years ago
For photomatix type blending, use this contrast blending plugin for the Gimp, it's easy, quick, and produces a better result than photomatix (I tried both and compared).

I think an awful lot of HDR images (actually, they're not HDR images, they're blends of differently exposed images, HDR is quite different) look really bad. This technique has been around as long as digital imaging, and what it can be used for are images where there's almost a definite line along which you can blend from one image to another (in fact that's how it always used to be done). Running these automated scripts on any old bracketed set makes can make a real mess. Having said that they can look great. Mulad's image above is a great example, it doesn't look like he's done anything to it, it looks like he just has a magic camera which takes great tones and has a huge dynamic response. Some of the others look great too.

This is of course, just my humble opinion.
xooorx 11 years ago
From my first batch of attempts:

DavisColby 11 years ago
I have not tried this yet, which I found through the GIMP Registry:
jeffegg2 PRO 11 years ago

Playing with the HDR plug in in Gimp 2.4!
Alasdair Forbes Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Alasdair Forbes (member) 10 years ago
There seems to be quite a bit of purist stuff out here ("HDR is NOT the same as exposure blending" etc etc) but it seems to me there is a place for this stuff, whatever you want to call it, solely in terms of artistic merit.

For me, there are two possible reasons for using HDR (or exposure blending, okay, okay):

1. To improve an existing photo by making it a little more vibrant. Here is the original of a beach photo I took (got lucky with the gin palace which just happened to float past):
The pic's okay, but this version's better, I reckon:
I learned how to do this with GIMP here:

2. To create something seriously new and striking. Take alook at these, for example:

There are others in the same place - - some more successful than others, but all of them go beyond normal photography and into (at least attempted) art. Yes, some people will get sniffy about this, and others will be sniping cos they "didn't use RAW images" or some such, but it seems to me one can only judge photography on its artistic merits. The camera, after all, lies all the time, especially now with the help of Photoshop/Gimp. Good thing too.

After all, do you see red the way I see red?

And how the hell do you put pix in a post??????
PLskell 10 years ago
I tried HDR a few times with no success but that is because I have no idea how to use layers or anything with GIMP and got frusturated... after hours of trying to follow a PS tutorial and using GIMP. Not the best idea unless you have used ONE of them before. With that said, check out the flickr ID:

This guy produces absolutely stunning images using HDR techniques... to me anyway. Some of the most interesting images I have ever seen. He also uses Lucisart and some other stuff but he is pretty new at all of it apparently... I think he started a cpl yrs ago. Some of the lucisart stuff looks more like...caricature is the only word I can think of but he is super talented and doesn't go over the top on the HDR. If you like his stuff, go through the stream thoroughly and click on a lot of images...LOTS of them. You will find here images where he actually shows the before and after and how he did it..makes it seem super easy. Notice his composition as well... For my novice eyes, this guy found his true calling whether or not he sells his stuff and makes money is irrelevant (although i think he could make a LOT of money in the art world if he chose to). I think he just finds (or I hope he does anyway) that he is able to express how he sees the world through his camera and processing. BTW- He does nto have alot of expensive gear.... 8mp canon rebel and a cpl lenses, the nicest being a sigma 10-20 I think. Well worth the time if you like HDR!
tkelley_nola 10 years ago
I did a few fake HDR pictures in Gimp .. they came out OK even if not like real HDR

ghost of a flea

Le Beau
freespiritted 10 years ago
Here is my attempt at using the HDR plugin for gimp, I like it, worked nicely in my opinion.

snowy seat
King Dumb Posted 10 years ago. Edited by King Dumb (member) 10 years ago
I am not too sure if it has been mentioned here but it seems that with gimp 2.6 you are no longer limited to 8 bits per color channel. should be good news for handling raw formats and hdr !?
monoceros84 10 years ago
Not right at all. The engine is working partly with 16bit but after each computation it is reduces to 8bit again. So no changes for you - just a step into the right direction.
wynd 10 years ago
Is there a new HDR plugin for 2.6? Seems the Instructables is still adaptable but a little outdated? Thanks.
Andy Milner 10 years ago
A fake HDR Version of the frozen waterfall I took

Frozen Waterfall HDR

The original for comparison...
jinyi solar water heater Posted 9 years ago. Edited by PhotoComiX (admin) 8 years ago
spam removed
solarcollector Posted 8 years ago. Edited by PhotoComiX (admin) 8 years ago

spammers here are immediatly banned from the group (and reported to flickr)

Go spam somewhere else

thskyt 8 years ago
I don't know if this topic is still being discussed, but I found a script for Gimp that appears to be working well in version 2.6:

I'll try it out on actual real-life footage later today and post the results. For now the approach is astoundingly simple. You take three shots at different exposure-levels, stack them on top of each other, run the script and watch as magic happens. :-)
thskyt 8 years ago
At long last, I managed to produce a useable result.

Here's the original, normally exposed shot:
Normally exposed version of the photo by thskyt

And the combined shot:
Pseudo-HDR version of the photos by thskyt

Yes, the result is slightly out of phase, but I did not use a tripod.
And yes, there's a blue tint to the lamp's neck. Unfortunately, my 28-80 lens appears to have some chromatic abberations. :-/
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