Monday, November 16, 2009

BOP Studio HDR Workflow Outline

I've been fine-tuning my HDR workflow and decided that it was evolved enough that I should outline it for posterity. I share it here in the chance that someone else might learn something from or teach me something about it. [what is HDR?]

HDR Photo Workflow

  1. Group HDR set images together in Adobe Bridge
  2. Review HDR sets . Give star-rating to desired candidates for easier retrieval.
  3. Discard individual images that are obviously out-of-range.

  4. Process candidate sets in Camera RAW. Most of this can be done globally to the sets except step 3 ("correct chromatic aberration"). which should be double-checked on each image.
    • Set White Balance
    • Enhance Exposure
    • Correct Chromatic Aberration as much a possible
    • Capture-sharpen
  5. Process individual sets in Adobe Bridge to create the high-dynamic range image file via Tools/Photoshop/Merge to HDR*. Find something productive do while waiting. (*Even though "Process Collections in Photoshop" would be easier to invoke than babysitting "Merge to HDR", I don't like to use it because it follows some rules about what images to use that will often leave some out or result in more sets of fewer images than I desire.)
  6. Save merged image from Adobe Photoshop as HDR Radiance files following the naming convention:
    Yearmonthday HDR – Genre – Location – HDRfile#_version#.hdr
    20091106 HDR – Nature – Lake Creek Falls 1_0.hdr
  7. Tone-map HDR files in Photomatix Pro. Save tone-map settings for re-use if processing many similar images.
  8. Save as 16-bit TIFFs.
  9. Post-process TIFF files in Adobe Photoshop and save as PSD files (early and often).

Things to keep an eye out for while working the Adobe Photoshop mojo:

  1. Ghosting artifacts around moving objects
  2. Chromatic Aberration around areas of extreme contrast
  3. Grey, flat tones where local contrast has been over-equalized.
I find that it is often desirable, or even necessary, to composite portions of individual exposures back into the HDR image. I prefer to add the individual exposures as layers and use layer masks to paint-in detail or touch-up artifacts.
Hopefully this will have proved useful to someone other than myself. Please comment, I'd love to know your thoughts on shooting and processing High Dynamic Range photographs.


Unknown said...

Hi, thanks for sharing. I love the HDR image. They show all the beauty of photography. I am in my work with photos using it, it's my choice. Previously used Photoshop. I advise everyone to turn their photos into masterpieces of art. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes hdr photo editing is the best way, but lot of photos can be easily enhanced with some free soft, fo example: or pixlr or anything like this...