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Can HDR be done without multiple exposures?

what program allows this

what websites teach HDR well?

thanks in advance. :)
Technically "sometimes". It is possible to take a single RAW image and using the right software still tonemap it and get a pseudo HDR image. It's not really HDR though and any serious changes in contrast will kill shadows and highlights. But in some circumstances, and when used lightly it can produce good results. You really must use RAW though, JPG's at 8bit just don't have the dynamic range.

True HDR needs three or more exposures. The main problem comes from the need of a tripod and movement of objects. It doesn't like scenes where there are people, cars or even blowing leaves and moving clouds.

http://www.hdrsoft.com/ is where you'll find photomatix, which is considered one of the best HDR software. It does cost money, but hey, HDR is for serious photographers anyway, not snapshooters.

HDR increases noise enormously, so a good DSLR is always better in this respect, compacts are noise buckets. On the other hand, they also pull out dust on the sensor, so keep it very clean.

You don't really need a manual or guide, just play around until you see what you like. Just keep in mind that to create realistic looking photo, don't go overboard.
 

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Nihongo Luvr
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Single shot can be used to produce an HDR shot - I have done so a couple of times.

The problem is that they generally have decent image quality only in significantly reduced size. For instance, I made one from a 8 mpix image (EOS 350D), but it looked good only at around 800 by 533 size and smaller, because, as Justme pointed out, adjusting shadows and highlights often just makes them more grainy.

Photomatix, btw, is a very easy-to-use software. You can download a shareware version for free on the net.
 

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Single shot can be used to produce an HDR shot - I have done so a couple of times.
Let's just be clear here. They are not actually HDR photos, but pseudo HDR photos. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, a single shot "HDR" has the same dynamic range as a normal photo, just "processed" to look like an HDR image, but without the depth of tonal range.

Look at it this way, you can have a 2megapixel photo and enlarge it to 12megapixels. You do technically end up with an image of 12megapixels, but it has no more detail in. When you look closely, you will see the pixalization. However, a true 12megapixel image would have extra detail which is not in the 2mp version.

Back to single photo HDR. There are some instances where it can improve a photo, there is no doubt, and it comes in handy on some photos where there are people or other objects moving (so you can't take a traditional multiexposure HDR) but it has severe limitations as well and is only a pseudo HDR image, not a real one.
 

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Fine, they're pseudo-HDR photos. Nonetheless, if you're not planning to produce a 30X45 cm print, a pseudo-HDR shot can be sometimes much nicer than a traditional photo. ;)
Hmmm. the degeneration of pixels in a single image tone mapping can be so destructive that it is noticeable on a 800x600 screenshot, especially in the darker area’s. no need for a large printout. That said, there are times when you will get a nice effect that can improve the photo – especially in tonally flat images, but these are not as common as you make out. Especially as HDR is supposed to increase dynamic range in a photo with large contrasts between bright and dark area’s, the very photos that a single frame tone mapping fails the worst in.

Even photomatix’s manual points out that you need 3 exposures or more for HDR, and that a single exposure (which requires a RAW file) is not HDR but Tone Mapping a single image.

There is a very big difference between tone mapping and HDR. They shouldn’t be confused.
 

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Nihongo Luvr
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What about if you shoot raw and make a HDR out of it? Raw files have the same initial DR as JPEG, but it has more "adjusting range". That is, you can sqeeze out more DR from a raw, if you choose to adjust it, which you can't do with JPEG. In other words, couldn't you marginally increase the DR of a raw image with making two different "exposures" of the same file?

Hope you catch what I'm trying to say. :D
 

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What about if you shoot raw and make a HDR out of it? Raw files have the same initial DR as JPEG, but it has more "adjusting range". That is, you can sqeeze out more DR from a raw, if you choose to adjust it, which you can't do with JPEG. In other words, couldn't you marginally increase the DR of a raw image with making two different "exposures" of the same file?

Hope you catch what I'm trying to say. :D
Year, I know what you mean, and this can certainly be done. It is possible to process different versions of the initial RAW image. One for the highlights and one for the shadows. Then, you could technically run this through HDR software.

It can produce slightly better results than just tone mapping a single RAW. But one must remember that a RAW image isn’t 16bit compared to the 8bit JPG. Depending on the camera, most RAW images are between 8bit and 12bit. Then any splitting up still is taken from a single exposure that was metered at one level. In other words, you can only get so much extra range than a JPG. It is still always worth trying to improve a photo when you couldn’t take a normal HDR, but we shouldn’t expect miracles ;O)

Remember, I am not knocking tone mapping or the above method with a single photo that needs “help”, I do this myself. I just wanted to clear up that it’s still not technically HDR as there is no extra dynamic range. It’s just pushing what there is a few steps more – a bit like enlarging a single image does make a bigger image (and using the right software can sometimes do a very good job) but it’s still not as good as starting out with more pixels
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
so tone mapping can be done by a single exposure with a RAW file in Photomatix...HDR is (3) RAW files together in photomatix?

I'm not confused but I'm going from a "traditional" stance to the more involved HDR - Hi Def stuff now, forgive me.

Also, I'm not running PhotoShop...though I have it, would it be a better option at this point or no? I currently using Microsoft Picture-it 10.

I'll be back with more questions soon I'm sure.
 

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so tone mapping can be done by a single exposure with a RAW file in Photomatix...HDR is (3) RAW files together in photomatix?

I'm not confused but I'm going from a "traditional" stance to the more involved HDR - Hi Def stuff now, forgive me.
Correct. Tone Mapping is a process used by Photomatix to even out the exposure. Think of it a bit like a more versatile "curves" option. The difference is, it can work with 3 or more exposures together which is where the HDR technology comes in.

Also, I'm not running PhotoShop...though I have it, would it be a better option at this point or no? I currently using Microsoft Picture-it 10.

I'll be back with more questions soon I'm sure.
I think from another thread you mention you sell your work. Photoshop is made for people like you. So many people use photoshop, but few actually need it. However, in a professional environment it is a very useful tool.

Whether you "need" it or not is a different question, but I would suggest buying a good book which explains photoshop technique for photographers, or start buying some of the pshop magazines out there. It's easy to use the program at a basic level, but to do complex stuff it has quite a steep learning curve. There are so many "hidden" techniques that can also make all the difference.

By the way, Photomatix also has a tone mapping filter for photoshop, so you can work within the one application.
 

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so tone mapping can be done by a single exposure with a RAW file in Photomatix...HDR is (3) RAW files together in photomatix?
Pretty much.

HDR is meant to be used in situations where the dynamic range of the light is beyond the camera sensor's ability to capture - eg indoor shots by a window where you generally end up with a well-exposed outdoor scene and black interior, or a well-exposed interior and washed-out window.

The idea is to shoot as many shots as you need to capture the full range - this could be as little as two, or it could be ten or more. The HDR software combines the photos to make a HDR image, which has too much detail for a monitor or printer. It then tone maps the image down to something that your monitor can display.

So yeah, you need multiple images to produce true HDR, but you can get the surreal look that most associate with HDR by tone mapping a single exposure (or even use it to extract a little more detail from a RAW file, but you can do that with any RAW editor that has decent shadow/highlight contrast options).

For example, this photo was produced as a HDR from multiple exposures to stop the lights blowing out without darkening the overall scene. The tone mapping was done with fairly conservative settings and so it doesn't have the typical "HDR look":



This photo is tone mapped from a single RAW (ignore the colour, that's a coloured polariser at work). More wacky settings have caused it to have the look we associate with HDR images, but it's not HDR - as you can see, in real life there wouldn't be a huge range between the brighter and darker areas of the image:



As for the Photoshop question, an easier way to answer it would be to determine what you want to do with your photos, and whether Photoshop can help you do these things more effectively than other software can.
 

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That surreal look that HDR can produce is often done by people pushing it too far. Of cause, sometimes that over processed look is what they want and it works, but what some people forget is not to always push it too much. Sometimes just a little adjustment is all that is needed and then you get an improved realistic photo.

One problem that the current batch of HDR software have is distructive halo's around darker objects. A classic example is say a skysrcaper over a sky. The sky around the skyscraper is brighter if pushed too hard in the HDR software. Sometimes this can produce a desired effect (I've had one classic example of this that made the photo extremely special) but often it just ruins the composition.

You cen see this effect in that photo (which I like by the way) of the Thames. Look at the top boat and the bridge support and around it is a halo. Personally, I'd burn that out in photoshop (dodge and burning can really help, but can take a lot of work to get even), but of cause it's up to each photographer. Nice work there Mugley - I really like that internal shot. Great with the angle as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
alright here is the deal, I have just started working with CS2...wow, what a difference, gonna take some time to learn that program. Photomatix seems decent and I'll keep reading up on that as well as Tone Mapping and HDRI.

I'm going to do some studying before I start testing...I already understand it 400x better now than last week.

thanks guys. :)
 

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Cheers mate. The best way to flatter Melbourne is to mistake the Yarra for the Thames! :)
LOL, I can't believe I fücked that one up. Just goes to show, one should look also at the context of the photo rather than just the technical side ;O)

Year, all I had to do was see the stadium in the background.

Please forgive me here. Actually, I'm a little embarrassed ;O)
 

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Nihongo Luvr
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LOL, I can't believe I fücked that one up. Just goes to show, one should look also at the context of the photo rather than just the technical side ;O)

Year, all I had to do was see the stadium in the background.

Please forgive me here. Actually, I'm a little embarrassed ;O)
:eek:hno: :D

I thought you were an Australian yourself, Justme.
 
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