Luckily, these days even basic computers are much more powerful and efficient, and can handle the heavy lifting of HDRI processing gracefully. For starters, you should be working with at least 2 GB of ram, but 4 GB or more is better. A modern graphics card will make your life a lot easier too. A bit OS will work fine in most cases, but check the specs of the software you plan to use to make sure you can run it on your system. Keep in mind, a bit system can shuffle data around a lot faster.
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Linux, Mac, and Windows all have appropriate 32 and bit versions. In terms of software, there are several software options that attempt to be a complete HDR workflow solution. The only way to find out which one is really the best is to try out as many as you can until you find one that you like. Some of these are commercial while others are freely available.
Some will be available for your OS and others will not. Nevertheless, most of them at least have trial versions that you can evaluate to find out which one yields the best results for you. Whatever software you end up choosing for your HDR creation, the concept and the logical process is going to be pretty well the same set of steps as we describe in this guide. This is an excellent place for HDR enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with the process, because it is open source and free to download and use.
It is also the software that will be described in later steps. It is available in pre-compiled 32 and bit versions for Mac and Windows. Alternatively, if you want to custom compile it for your system, the source is also freely available for download. You can, and in all likelihood will, spend a lot or even most of your time in post-processing working with curves, HSV levels in order to get just the right effect. While this is pay-to-use software there is, as usual, a robust open source alternative called the GIMP. This is the minimum post-processing software you should think of having.
You can get a copy of the GIMP from their website at http: Alternately, you may already have your own favourite photo manipulation program or suite of programs that you are already familiar with. If you are a seasoned photographer, this is probably the case. There exist a number of solutions for post-processing including:. As with the HDR software, post-processing software is really up to personal taste.
The best solution for you will depend on what you want to accomplish. This is so the three pictures turn out to be geometrically as similar as possible to one another.
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For best results, pictures should be taken at the highest resolution your camera will allow. The trade-off is that RAW format pictures can be huge because of the extra colour information they contain and therefore take longer to process afterward. You should determine whether your camera has an auto-bracket feature. This is the best and perhaps easiest way to capture your shots. What auto-bracketing allows you to do is, in advance, set up the desired EV settings for three perhaps more shots that will then be taken in rapid succession.
As mentioned earlier there are other ways to manually change the exposure in your shots. More sophisticated implementations allow you to also change the exposure-compensation of your zero-EV reference image in addition. Tv, shutter priority, is probably the best one to go with especially in low light conditions or rapidly changing scenes because it is quicker for the camera to simply adjust the aperture and thus the quickest way for the camera to take successive shots.
Although not a major consideration, be aware that by changing the aperture, you also change the depth of field. At this point you would skip to the processing stage to create the HDR image. For this you will need to manually set the values for aperture, and shutter speed.
Remember to keep the ISO as low as you can to ensure the highest possible image quality. Select an appropriate ISO and initially, using a full-auto setting, snap a shot of your subject. Once you have your zero-EV reference image, you need a least one overexposure and one underexposure. There are two intrinsic settings you should be familiar with to achieve this:.
To keep things simple when it comes to HDR photography — at least in the beginning — plan to implement just one or the other. Apart from those settings, there is a third adjustment you can make called EV-compensation that will be explained in turn. And to decrease the exposure by half, increment the shutter speed. It actually refers to the time that the shutter remains open. This really takes any guesswork out of changing up the exposure levels. This adjustment may only be available in certain manual shooting modes on your camera.
Make sure your flash is disabled. Generally speaking, for best results keep the ISO as low as possible. Lower ISO settings lead to lower graininess and better colour. Then load your set of three bracketed images. If the camera moved at all during the shoot, the software will attempt to compensate for it. The next step is tone-mapping the image. In the panel along the left side you are presented with a number of operators from the drop-down list.
A technical discussion of the options of each of the operators is beyond the scope of this manual. However, the resulting low dynamic range LDR image is largely subjective — a matter of personal taste and artistic license. For that reason, the operators should be explored on an image by image basis. For this section, the GIMP image processing software is probably one of the easiest packages to use and become familiar with for accomplishing some final simple tweaks.
As always however, feel free to use any other program s you are more familiar with for this process.
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Additionally, there are a number of existing guides, freely available online that cover anything from the basics to advanced use of the GIMP and other Photoshop-like software. Some rudimentary adjustments you can do to punch-up your image are:. A simple s-curve, and selecting an appropriate black-point can work wonders to increase the contrast in any photo. If you find your image is a little too grainy, you can smooth it out with, among other things, the Despeckle tool. This setting really enhances shadows and makes colours pop. The list of things you can do in post processing is really limited only by your imagination, and sense of adventure.
To find out more about the GIMP, including tutorials and user manual, go to the documentation section of the website at http: There are many other program you could use in lieu of, and in addition to, the GIMP and you are encouraged to try them. At this point, now that you have the firm foundation in the basics of HDRI with which to begin building a spectacular portfolio of HDR artwork, you are encouraged to peruse the list of resources provided to help you develop your skills and deepen your knowledge of digital photography.
Myriad excellent resources exist on the web to help you hone your skills in HDRI. In fact, to begin with, look no further than these articles on MakeUseOf. Adobe Photoshop , Longform Guide , Photography. Your email address will not be published.
Email Facebook Whatsapp Pinterest Twitter. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. An extremely basic introduction to hdri. This is intended for people who have heard the term and know it has something to do with photography. Essentially, if you know enough to search for a guide to hdr then this is already too basic.
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