HDR tutorial / how-to
first off, let me say that i am in no way shape or form a pro at this... as a matter of fact, im not excellent at anything at all. so if anyone better than me on here sees a mistake i may have made, please be gentle.
What is an HDR image?
an HDR image is a single image made up of several (at least 3) images merged in to one. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it basically means you're taking the high tones, mid tones and low tones from different images to create one that combines those ranges in to one super image that utilizes the best of those three qualities.
the human eye is a remarkable tool capable of seeing a huge array of colors. unfortunately the cameras made today are not as sophisticated. which is why these pictures are so cool.
How to make an HDR image
the easiest way to do this is with a DSLR or any digital camera that can shoot RAW images. why use RAW format images? because these are the uncompressed image that your camera sensor records. the more information contained within an image the more flexibility you have with it in terms of post processing. can you make an HDR without raw? yes, but you're results will be much better with a RAW.
even the most basic DSLRs have an AEB bracketed shooting mode. basically it lets you take 3 images back to back to back in 3 different exposure settings. before taking these pics in AEB, be sure to mount your camera to a tripod or prop it up with something so that you're not actually handling the camera when the camera is going off. its also a good idea to set the camera on a 2-10 second timer to ensure you're not touching the camera. the use of a wired or wireless remote is recommended as its just so much easier to do so. when preparing to shoot an HDR, i always either shoot in manual mode (M on my canon dslrs) or apeture priority mode (Av). again these modes are extremely common on DSLRs and i would be very surprised if they were not.
now you have 3 images in RAW format, now take the time to DL a little application called photomatix. this little app is by far the easiest way to create HDRs. you can also use photoshop and do it manually but i dont do it that way so i'm not going to talk about it.
open up the application and drag and drop your 3 raw images in to the app. you'll be given several choices, choose merge to HDR. when the app is done your picture will look really dark and over saturated. this is normal. you need to go to process -> ton mapping... here is where you can adjust and tweak your image to your liking when you're done just save the raw file. you can also save the file as a jpg right from photomatix but i dont recommend it as photoshop has many more options for you to edit an image with.
here's a good example showing the difference btwn an HDR image close to what the human eye sees and what you get when you take a normal picture with a digital camera.
here's an hdr of a custom made from the 3 bracketed images below it.
notice how its most similarly exposed to the normally exposed image on the bottom but it carries the highlights of the over exposed image and the shadow and depth of the under exposed image.
so i guess that about sums it up. i know it's a lot of information to take in at once, so if you have any questions feel free to ask. and please if i didnt mention anything on here let me know so i can then amend my post. thanks for reading and sorry if i bored you!
**saved for future updates**
Formerly INCOM, Supporter
Looks great, Hater! That TF is pretty hard to shoot, because of the contrasts in the paintwork. HDR really does the trick here!
I remember shooting an old building on the isle of Menorca, which was set against a bright blue sky. I don't think my DSLR has the bracketing function, but I just took the pics each with different lighting steps. Still haven't tried HDR with the pics, but I think I'll give it a shot one of these days.
Simply fantastic. Bravo. AWESOME.
I tried this a few days ago just by doing it in photoshop.... man it was not easy. I can not wait to give this a shot with the program you recommended.
this is true that you can generate hdrs from a single raw image. its not recommended. information from 3 separately shot images > information from 1 image that's been adjusted in photoshop 3 times.
Originally Posted by hydroxycut
and most people dont care about actuations on a camera you already own. just dont treat it like trash and maintain it correctly and you should have no problems :P
Just wanted to chime in on this:
Yes, there are a few ways to get an HDR-ish effect in photoshop from a single image. First, you'll want to make sure you're getting the clearest image possible, good lighting set up etc. Make sure the the light areas do not get blown out, nor do the shadows go too dark.
Playing with image>adjustments>shadows and highlights, and using the advance options can help bring the lighter and darker areas closer to the medium range of the image.
I've also had luck with duplicating the original layer, inverting it, converting the blending mode to overlay (or soft light for a less dramatic effect) and then using gaussian blur on the inverted layer.
I've had lots of luck with both of these techniques.
Also, in my experience, the biggest advantage of a raw file is that it hold its quality in post processing much more than a .jpg, but this really only comes into play with pictures you want to PRINT at a large size (16x20+) or images that weren't captured properly to begin with. The RAW gives you a lot of wiggle room to correct your mistakes.
Just another 2 cents from a photoshop guy.
what I like to knw is how to make a good black background without making oicture fade but still clear theres a lot of people can take nice shots or for that matter is it the photoshop that I need to knw how to use thnk you