Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A quick stab at HDR and Tone Mapping

Can and HDR/Tone Mapped photograph still look like a photograph and not like a photograph that's pretending to be a painting? Quick answer - Yes.

After a little time messing around with Photomatix and some very tricky to process photographs, I can say that I am impressed with HDR's capabilities to produce a digital file with an amazing amount of dynamic range information. And it can do it without ending up with the heavy-handed look that is evident in a lot of HDR work that is currently surfacing.

IMO, it's definitely worth getting to know your way around HDR and Tone Mapping.


Anonymous Joel Truckenbrod said...

Like I mentioned in my earlier comment on Larry's posting, there are examples of HDR done in a manner that looks natural, this is pretty darn close.

This said, what do you think the deal is with all of the "plasticy" HDR work out there? Simple user incompetence? I'm not familiar with the controls available, so I'm unsure of where the pitfalls are in the process. Regardless, It's somehow strangely comforting to know that photographer is still important to the final result.

Also, what implications does this have on photographers today (in a more global sense)? I've certainly noticed a shift in accepted tonal aesthetics since the day's when Velvia ruled the calender club's world. It will be interesting to see what HDR is seen as in time, when the novelty of the idea wears away.

11/09/2006 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Eric Fredine said...

The HDR halo's drive me crazy - quite evident in this photograph - especially egregious around the sign. I hardly ever see an HDR photograph where I don't immediately notice the halos. It's an inherent characteristic of the process.

I think HDR will be nothing but an interesting historical side-note - a work-around to a technical problem. Exactly the way graduated neutral density filters are (were?) used to overcome the limitations of slide film. The real solution is digital imaging systems with better inherent capability to capture a wider dynamic range. Once that happens we won't have to fuss with work-arounds like HDR.


11/11/2006 05:16:00 AM  

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