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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Single shot to look like an HDR
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10/04/2009 04:07:06 PM · #1
well... i've seen many pictures on here that are single exposure but they look like they are HDR's. I was wondering how this is done.. i find that my pictures tend to look a little flat.. I know about USM 18 and 40, then USM 150 and 1 then USM 150 and 1 again Edit>fade USM 100% darken then Edit>fade USM 50% lighten... and that works pretty good.. but it still isn't a "deep" and vibrant as an HDR.. I was just wondering if anyone had any other experience that could be passed on?

Thanks everyone.
10/04/2009 04:19:00 PM · #2
There are two processes at work here. The first "HDR" is capturing a high dynamic range, which to some extent can be done by shooting RAW rather than JPEG (although single image HDRs are probably more properly referred to as pseudo-HDR), but generally refers to capturing even more dynamic range by taking multiple bracketed exposures which are combined into a single image. In order to display the image the dynamic range must be reduced to that of the display medium. A straight forward reduction of contrast does this but gives a flat image, so typically one does "Tone Mapping" which attempts to maintain contrasting edges while reducing the overall contrast of the image. It's tone mapping which gives that HDR look.

You can do tone mapping on any image, HDR or not. Likewise, you can do HDRs without tone mapping, use wide radius USM and get an image that doesn't have that "HDR look". The recent HDR contest seemed to have examples of both of these.
10/04/2009 04:20:30 PM · #3
Most of these are done with software like Lucis Arts and Topaz Adjust. HDR programs like Photomatix Pro and others can be used to tone map a single exposure, and they produce HDR-like results that way as well.

Topaz Adjust is relatively affordable, Photomatix is around $100, and Lucis Arts is very expensive. There are other, free HDR programs, but they are perhaps less versatile for single-exposure work. I'm not that up to speed on the latest offerings as I have used Photomatix for years. My recommendation, if you want somethign quick and easy to use within photoshop, is Topaz Adjust.

R.
10/04/2009 04:26:00 PM · #4
For my HDR entry I used one exposure as it was a moving object.

I opened it in Lightroom 2.4 and made four more exposures -4, -2, original, +2 and +4.

Using Dynamic Photo HDR, I first ran it through the HDR programme, then used tone mapping to get the final result.
10/04/2009 04:29:50 PM · #5
My technique (which has evolved over time) is the following:
-Convert the RAW in Photomatix basic. (freeware)
-Adjust in Topaz Detail
-Tonemap in Topaz adjust
-Add a little of the PaintShop Pro clarify adjustment on top of that.

For a stronger HDRish look, I may sometimes create 3 or more separate exposures from the RAW and merge those in photomatix.
10/07/2009 12:38:56 PM · #6
thanks everyone.. I wasn't sure if I was able to take the RAW file and change the exposures, save them, then blend them in Photomatix... I tried it once and the picture looked horrible.. I must have done something wrong i guess. I'll try it again and see what I can get.

Thanks again!
10/07/2009 12:50:45 PM · #7
Originally posted by Maver:

thanks everyone.. I wasn't sure if I was able to take the RAW file and change the exposures, save them, then blend them in Photomatix... I tried it once and the picture looked horrible.. I must have done something wrong i guess. I'll try it again and see what I can get.

It's going to look "wrong" if the HDR software produces a 32-bit image (which most do). PC monitors can't handle 32-bit images. Converting to 16-bit and tone-mapping brings the image back into "viewable" form.

I use a combination of Adobe Camera RAW, DynamicPhoto HDR, and Photoshop CS3. Sometimes with just one image, I'll simply use Topaz Adjust.

If you have Photoshop, then you can tone-map using the "16-32-16 Tone Mapping" procedure as described in my DPC tutorial. Here is a ribbon-winning (' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/50000-54999/52449/120/592341.gif', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/50000-54999/52449/120/592341.gif', '/') + 1) . ') image (by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' NikonJeb) using that tutorial:

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Have fun!

Message edited by author 2009-10-07 12:54:15.
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