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Photo Manipulation: Discuss HDR Photomatix...Hi ive been thinking of having a go at HDR is Photomatix the best software for this please any advice ...
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:39   #1 (permalink)
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HDR Photomatix

Hi ive been thinking of having a go at HDR is Photomatix the best software for this please any advice welcome thank you
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:12   #2 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I've got this software, but I've never really got on that well with it. This is likely to be my lack of perseverance more than anything else. It is very popular and gets lots of good press.

I recall the launch of another programme that looked really good but I can't remember the name of it right now, but one thing I do remember was the price tag - it was about £250.
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Old 03-03-2013, 13:15   #3 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I have Photomatix and like it a lot. As Dabhand says, it requires some perseverance.
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Old 04-03-2013, 23:16   #4 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I have Photomatix too, and like it a lot
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:56   #5 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I've used it for interiors and it does a good job - but hate it for anything else!
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Old 06-03-2013, 20:17   #6 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Photomatix 4 has some serious problems and is an old product. Many of the final images have hazy areas. This also occurred in V3 but only when you used auto de-ghosting; I complained to PM but they told me to use manual. Unfortunately this hazy effect occurs in V4 whether or not you use de-ghosting. Many of my camera club members have stopped using PM for this reason.

There are two excellent alternatives Oloneo and Nik Efex HDR Pro with similar excellent performance and Oloneo slightly cheaper. Another alternative is to use the 32 bit editing in Lightroom 4.3. If you take your multiple exposures and produce a 32 bit HDR file using Photoshop or another HDR product (some free products will do this), you can manually edit in LR4. It is similar to editing a regular Raw file except you now have a hugely increased dynamic range; it produces more natural colours and leaves you in control.

I recently did a test on several HDR sets to compare Oloneo, LR4 and Photomatix Pro 4.2. In one case LR4 produced the best result but in all other cases Oloneo was the best even used in Auto mode. Photomatix was last by a mile in each case because of the hazy result. The LR4 method is slower and requires good Raw editing skills but Oloneo is fast and easy to use.
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Old 06-03-2013, 21:46   #7 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Raving reviews on Amazon for Photomatix Dave
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Old 06-03-2013, 21:57   #8 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I think that Oloneo was the one I was trying to remember earlier. The price has come down a lot since I first saw it.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:28   #9 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

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Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Raving reviews on Amazon for Photomatix Dave
I bought Photomatix so have good reason to want it to work. The hazy areas look awful on many images but less noticeable on others. However, you do need to look at the output from PM and compare with the alternatives to really appreciate the difference. In our Club there are still members happily using PM while the rest find it almost unusable since V4. It may be that PM has a problem with some configurations and not others.

However, you cannot get away from the fact that PM is very old now and both Oloneo and Nik were new more recent developments using new algorithms so we would expect it to advance.

Also PM has nothing like the very special "natural" algorithm found on Oloneo (I believe that Nik have something similar). Most HDR Tone Mappers produce the wrong colours not just oversaturated. So just reducing the saturation does not correct the problem (just look at the Greens produced by PM). The Oloneo "Natural" mode corrects the colour and saturation.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:21   #10 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I would advice downloading them and trying them out before purchasing. Then you know what works best for you. I have Photomatix and like that, but have not used for a while. Also I now use Topaz Adjust for pseudo HDR work in photoshop on single files.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:33   #11 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Since reading this thread I've tried Oloneo and I'm sufficiently impressed with it to buy it

Better interface, easier to use and on a brief play better results too. Gets my vote.

The HDR engine is about £52 inc VAT, so not a million miles from the price of PM either.
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Old 07-03-2013, 22:30   #12 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Show us an example of what Oloneo can do please Graham, when you get a chance?

Dave, if you could show us an image as processed by both PM and Oloneo, so we can compare the difference, that would be very helpful.

I've not had problems with haze, so not sure really what you mean and would be interested to see an example.
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Old 08-03-2013, 00:29   #13 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

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Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Show us an example of what Oloneo can do please Graham, when you get a chance
Will do Charlotte. However I have to say that I don't have many PM images because I found I could get the same or better results from making four conversions from the RAW file and blending them. I emphasise that this is maybe because I was not very good at using it, but nevertheless ease of use has to be up there in how useful the software is and if it was easier I'd probably have more pictures available.

Give me a bit of time and I'll do one in both programmes.
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Old 08-03-2013, 18:07   #14 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I had kept some of the test images and you can see the difference when you see both. The difference is considerably more when you view a full resolution version to say print at A3 size. This was just a typical test and some PM images were much worse than these. In all cases I also produced a LR4 version from a 32 bit file and this looked similar to Oloneo in that there was no sign of the hazy effect.



Photomatix above



Oloneo Above



Photomatix Above



Oloneo Above



Photomatix Above



Oloneo Above
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Old 08-03-2013, 19:21   #15 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Oloneo is much better, how do you do it in LR4
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Old 08-03-2013, 19:56   #16 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I've just done a few quick ones for comparison. First ones are from four conversions to tiff (-2, -1, +1 and +2) and one at '0'

Photomatix has two modes of working - Detail enhanced tonemapping and exposure fusion. The following PM pictures are in this order





Oloneo has three options so I've used auto or local tone mapping and in Oloneo there is some easy tweaking to do after the initial blending. The Oloneo ones took a fraction of the time that the PM one took.





These are from three bracketed exposures from RAW one stop apart.

PM - these are more or less straight 'natural' blends





Oloneo - also natural blends with the two different options mentioned earlier.





I emphasise that I'm not very good with PM, but equally have only had Oloneo for a day so am still not familiar with it. The last two are closest to the actual conditions.
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Old 08-03-2013, 20:50   #17 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Using LR 4.3 for HDR required that you first convert your multiple exposure to a 32 bit HDR file. Most HDR software does this as a first step anyway. I tried using 32 bit files from Photomatix, Oloneo or Photoshop. In fact, if you have photoshop, it is probably the the easiest solution though I found the auto align was not as good as PM or Oloneo but that was CS4 ( I now have CS6 which may be better). If you use a tripod auto align is not necessary anyway. Once you have the 32 bit HDR file just open in LR4.3 and you can then use the standard editing controls including selective tonal adjustments with the brush. You will notice a much large range of adjustment. For example, the exposure control normally allows +/- 5 stops adjustment for Raw files but increases to +/- 10 stops for 32 bit files. It is very similar to editing a single raw files but you can bring up much more shadow and highlight detail. The big difference is that using LR 4.3 is manual and required editing skills but is fully under your control. My experiences suggest that you get better more accurate and not over saturated colours in many cases.

For HDR, I have the choice of Oloneo, Photomatix, PS CS6 and LR4.3. If I have a lot of HDR images to process (I tend to take multiple exposure on all landscapes), I use Oloneo because it it quick and easy and produces reliable results. However, when I have more time, I will use LR4.3 because I have complete control and I know it can produce excellent natural results though not always better results than Oloneo.

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Old 08-03-2013, 21:14   #18 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I've now had another play with this one in Oloneo

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Old 10-03-2013, 14:27   #19 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Cheers Dave
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Old 10-03-2013, 23:25   #20 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Oh yes Dave, I see what you mean! Contrast, sharpness and colour are much weaker on your PM versions.

Thanks Dave and Graham for taking the time to do those comparisons for us
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Old 10-03-2013, 23:55   #21 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Oh yes Dave, I see what you mean! Contrast, sharpness and colour are much weaker on your PM versions.

Thanks Dave and Graham for taking the time to do those comparisons for us

You are welcome

I think that I could have produced better results from the PM ones than I have posted, but I'm equally sure that Oloneo would still be better. Couple this with me spending at least 10 times longer on the PM ones v having used Oloneo for less than 15 minutes when I did these and I think that the Oloneo results are impressive, and it is so easy to use.
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Old 17-03-2013, 00:21   #22 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

How does this rate for a first try
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Old 17-03-2013, 00:45   #23 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

I quite like this OTT HDR style, but I think the best HDR pictures are not obviously HDR. Subtlety is the key.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:06   #24 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Are these any better, i dont think they look so severe



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Old 17-03-2013, 17:34   #25 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Much better for me
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Old 17-03-2013, 22:49   #26 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Jepster, the first one is a bit OTT, but still a lovely picture, and very good for your first try!

The two images following that one are very bright with much of the sky detail lost, and colours seem rather flat.
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:14   #27 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

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Jepster, the first one is a bit OTT, but still a lovely picture, and very good for your first try!

The two images following that one are very bright with much of the sky detail lost, and colours seem rather flat.
I think you are right Charlotte ive changed it now does it look any better thanks
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:25   #28 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Definitely going in the right direction

I agree with Charlotte's comment, but your initial versions of these pictures were much better overall than the first. These are better again.

I'm not saying there is no place for the OTT style. As I said, I rather like the 'cartoony' sort of appearance that you get with them, but last year I posted 5 HDR pictures (mixed in with others) and nobody commented on them as being HDR, so I think that this is the true test of HDR.
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Old 18-03-2013, 23:48   #29 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Quote:
Originally Posted by jepster View Post
I think you are right Charlotte ive changed it now does it look any better thanks
Difficult to say 'cos you've exchanged the photo's rather than added, so I can't see the 'before' and 'after'

Remember that the whole point of HDR is to capture the full range of tones and colours within a scene by way of bracketed shots (over-expose (for the shadow detail), under-expose (for the highlight detail) and 'correctly' expose for the midtones) because DSLR's can only capture up to 7 stops of tone, whereas a high-contrast scene (such as your shots here) may contain as much as 12 stops (that our eyes can see anyway), resulting in lost detail in either the highlights (in your shots, the sky) or the shadows (bridge, dark cloud, water), or both.

Both of your images here are over-exposed, resulting in loss of highlight (sky) detail, whereas much of the shadows have in fact rendered as mid-tones. Therefore, you need to reduce brightness in both, in order to make the dark tones dark and recover highlight detail.

I suspect you've 'hdr-ed' a single exposure, which doesn't work so well, for the reasons of camera limitation mentioned above.

Hope this all makes sense
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Old 19-03-2013, 05:04   #30 (permalink)
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Re: HDR Photomatix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Difficult to say 'cos you've exchanged the photo's rather than added, so I can't see the 'before' and 'after'

Remember that the whole point of HDR is to capture the full range of tones and colours within a scene by way of bracketed shots (over-expose (for the shadow detail), under-expose (for the highlight detail) and 'correctly' expose for the midtones) because DSLR's can only capture up to 7 stops of tone, whereas a high-contrast scene (such as your shots here) may contain as much as 12 stops (that our eyes can see anyway), resulting in lost detail in either the highlights (in your shots, the sky) or the shadows (bridge, dark cloud, water), or both.

Both of your images here are over-exposed, resulting in loss of highlight (sky) detail, whereas much of the shadows have in fact rendered as mid-tones. Therefore, you need to reduce brightness in both, in order to make the dark tones dark and recover highlight detail.

I suspect you've 'hdr-ed' a single exposure, which doesn't work so well, for the reasons of camera limitation mentioned above.

Hope this all makes sense
hmm not really but thank you Charlotte
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