Posts Tagged ‘efex’

 

The Infinite Road Uncorrected

Hi to all. During my exam period at the university I didn’t pass throught one exam and I’m waiting for second term. This term is planned on February 1st and my last exam was taken on January 17th. So this whole time I’m at home having nothing to do, because most of my friends are in Prague or spread around whole republic and, Slovakia, Russia, USA, UK, Austria, Australia and more countries around the world. So the only way how to keep in touch with them is using Social Network. Also because the bad weather I didn’t go out and make some pictures but today everything changed! 🙂

HDR from the Walk, Unprocessed

The temperature was quite good, about 0°C (32°F), no rain, no snow but just the sky wasn’t anything interesting. To be honest the sky was just one huge plane of grey color mixed sometimes with darker and lighter grey. And I wanted to go out in these conditions and shoot landscapes? Yes, not nature but landscapes!? I really had to be crazy ….

But really, the tip for today, and not just for today is simple. If the sky doesn’t look good, don’t put it into the scene. It is simple and effective. At least you won’t have that boring plane of grey color on the top of your images. Also sometimes this can help and you can use it to your advantage. With this plane made by clouds you get a free extra super large softbox and that is cool for portraits. This can be the plan B when weather isn’t so great outside.

In the begining of the post I put two images, both weren’t finished. The Infinite Road isn’t bad at all, but the white balance is absolutely somewhere else than it should be and with the HDR you can see a really bad blue tint. Here are the final images. For the road I used only Lightroom 3 to process it, for the HDR I had to jump into Photoshop, set black, white and grey point using curves and than I used a plug-in. The secret ingredience … Nik Software Color Efex and it’s Brillance/Warmth preset. Hope you’ll enjoy them.

The Infinite Road Processed

HDR from the Walk Processed

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So after some time I checked again the status about Nik’s HDR software. Some people including me had the trouble with UI that loaded but I wasn’t able to see a thing. And to process the photo without seeing it is really crazy idea and quite impossible. What can cause this trouble?

Well if I got right what Nik said than they moved to a new graphic engine. Quite familiar technology as Photoshop moved to in CS4 version. When you opened your photos in CS4 and you got just black screen, then it is about graphic card so you needed to go under Preferences and uncheck that advanced graphic thing. But here with Nik it is about the same but different. You still get that black screen, but you cannot turn it off anyhow. And that is a huge problem.

But let’s be honest, there has to be a way how to test it. And I found it. Even for my PC. As you might know I’m using Windows 7 64 bit edition. And the software doesn’t work correctly with my ATI Radeon Mobility x2500 graphic card. But I’m so into Mac and Apple products overall. And under Mac I’m able to run this program! Isn’t it cool? I don’t know why but that is the way it is at will be. So I’m really looking forward to give it a try and then report it back to you in some kind of review. I might also compare it with Photoshop’s HDR Pro and Photomatix.

As you might know, HDR is becoming a huge “new” way in photography. I won’t be talking about how to shoot it but how to process it. Exactly in what software.

There are many programs that allows you to merge photos to HDR. Some are well known, some are not. At this website you can find a quick list of them.

Lets go through three of them, two from list, one new one.

Photomatix Pro

When I got into HDR, I used this software. It wasn’t bad. User Interface is quite nice and simple. Whole effect is done by 3 or 4 sliders. You don’t have to go through whole software and change or set the settings. It also has it’s own auto align and some other cool features.

A huge con is noise. Digital noise is a huge problem and even bigger with HDR. If you are combining 3 or more pictures shot even at ISO200, there will be noise and you will notice it on the final image. It’s noise reduction is lame and also HDRSoft, company that makes Photomatix, sais that you should export your photos from Lightroom first and then add them to Photomatix.

Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro

Photoshop overall is great peace of software but in comparison with Photomatix it’s very expensive. HDR Pro has better noise reduction, but it’s slower and you have to set many things. Cool feature is remove ghosting.

If you are shooting some scene where something is moving, like sea, you can remove ghosting artifacts thanks to this option. That is really cool.

But the end image wasn’t as nice as from Photomatix, unfortunately.

Nik HDR Efex Pro

This is the newest piece of HDR software and according to many photographers, it’s awesome. I wasn’t lucky enough to try this, because somehow I cannot force it to run on my Windows 7 😦

Great thing is that every HDR program you used just for merging photos together. Than you had to go back to Camera Raw or Lightroom and make some finishing adjustments. Not with HDR Efex Pro.

It will give you “full service” aka all inclusive. You can make all the adjustments right in the software without any trouble and it will look great. I’ll try to make it work asap and then I’ll post a review.