32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

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32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Murray Foote on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:46 am

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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mr Darcy on Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:35 pm

Thanks Murray.
I gave this a whirl tonight, and while I can't say I nailed it, I do have to say I am impressed with the results and how easy the process is. About two minutes processing time for me.
My test shots were a a five shot bracket taken handheld, so not the best of starting points. I probably should have used a 9 shot bracket as the clouds are still blown (I do wish Nikon would allow 2EV steps in a bracket!) Mind you I was pretty much shooting straight into the sun.
Note that I only used four of the shots in the HDR.

Here are my starting shots:
Image
Image
Image
Image

And the final result:
Image

Apart from the HDR processing these are pretty much SOOC. 16mm lens ISO100 f4.5 1/30... 1/500 shutter.
Next time I will use a tripod and at least a 7 EV spread. maybe more even if I have to do it manually.

EDIT: Mind you the TIFF file is 436 Mb, so not for the faint hearted. Not if you use a D800 anyways.
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:54 pm

I haven't tried it myself yet (lots of things on at the moment) but that does look good, given that you didn't have a shot with the clouds correctly exposed. Come to think of it, there's probably no reason not to get the clouds in a real situation because the 32-bit HDR process will presumably even out the shadow noise.

And you also managed to avoid getting taken out by the tyre!
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Murray Foote on Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:50 am

I finally got round to trying it out

Image

This first file came through my HDR programme...

Image

... and the second one did the Lightroom/ Photoshop round trip.

It's a six-image stack, looking through a corridor in deep shadow to a sunlit scene with snow. Well beyond the capacity of a single image of even a D800. The Lightroom/ Photoshop version works pretty well. One thing I noticed is that you need to adjust the 32-bit exposure slider while in Photoshop. And the anti-poltergeist button might be useful, especially for those with Catholic backgrounds who don't have garlic (no, that's vampires). There are some differences in colours and tonality; I'm not sure whether that's processing choices or inherent. The Lightroom/ Photoshop version is less sharp though at 100%. Initially I preferred the second one. I prefer the first one now.

You'd never think that was the front corridor of the Paramatta Leagues Club, would you?
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mj on Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:38 am

Murray Foote wrote:You'd never think that was the front corridor of the Paramatta Leagues Club, would you?

The things they can do with renos theses days!!!

Pretty hard to see much difference between these, at least at sizes. Given the LR version needs both LR and PS what is the value of this approach over the other options?
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Murray Foote on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:59 pm

Mj wrote:Pretty hard to see much difference between these, at least at sizes. Given the LR version needs both LR and PS what is the value of this approach over the other options?

I can't see any reason these days why any half-serious photographer wouldn't have a current copy of Lightroom (well, I suppose there's Aperture, DxO, Capture 1 and Capture NX2 which collectively are a very small minority). If you then have CS5 or CS6, this offers a very quick and easy route to realistic HDR which you can then optimise with the quick and powerful Lightroom controls, now operating on a 32-bit file. Most HDR programmes are not very capable at realistic HDR and lead you down the overbaked pseudo-trendy cliché route. Using HDR Pro in Photoshop doesn't always give good results and is not very flexible. Doing it manually in Photoshop is often very tricky where you have complex transitions.

So this is a very quick and powerful option if you have CS5 or CS6 but not worth the price of an upgrade for this alone.
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mj on Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:07 pm

Ok... so the bottom line is that this approach can result in a more realistic output with least technical jiggery-pokery... that would certainly make it worthwhile. btw... I wasn't suggesting that LR itself is not a worthwhile product... I would almost always recommend the LR/PS combo as the way to go unless budget is an overriding issue... in which case I would still suggest LR only.
I've tended to avoid HDR type photography and as much of my work is studio based there is very little call for it.
I am however always keen to know the best tools and process for different image scenarios, HDR being one important one, Focus Stacking, and landscape filtering being some of the others that interest me.

I'll be keen now to find a suitable subject to test this out on.

:cheers:
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:46 pm

Mj wrote:Given the LR version needs both LR and PS what is the value of this approach over the other options?

While I have CS5, anything that keeps me away from it is good news to my ears.
I played with CS5's HDR capability when I first got it, but quickly gave it away as I couldn't achieve a natural looking HDR. And I am just not interested in those over baked ones.
And it took ages.

When I tried the above method, it just worked in almost less time than I spend on a normal photo. HDR is back on the menu boys. :D
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mj on Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:15 pm

Your little example showed a pretty straightforward capability to get a natural looking outcome... works for me.
There's a time and place for the baked look... but plenty of times where it's not desirable... I'll certainly be giving this option a go... might even have the odd model shoot where it might add some value.
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Murray Foote on Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:40 pm

Outside, I presume you mean, which is where the anti-poltergeist button would come in handy (for a potentially moving subject).
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby Mr Darcy on Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:43 am

Murray,
I wish you would get it right.
It is an anti-espionage feature put in at the express request of Julian Assange
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Re: 32-bit HDR processing in Lightroom 4.1

Postby stubbsy on Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:10 pm

It's an interesting approach, but I'm not totally convinced. Here are the results from a 5 bracket set taken on a recent visit to Cockatoo island. One image is processed using the approach above and the other is using the Nik Lightroom HDR Efex Pro plugin. You be the judge - which works better. I'm not saying which is which :-) although if you snoop at the filenames you'll be able to tell.

Image


Image
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