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Bracketing then HDR - recommended workflow with ACDsee

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  • Bracketing then HDR - recommended workflow with ACDsee

    If the dynamic range of a scene is very high I can use “bracketing” (with my Nikon D7100) to take a series of shots, holding the camera still, while each shot gets a different exposure.

    What is the best way, using ACDSee, to combine these images again and then adjust to create those subtle HDR images.
    I guess I’m looking for a HDR plug in ?
    At the moment I’m using ACDSee Pro 8
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions

  • #2
    I use Picturenaut 3.2. It's a free software that does only HDR. I use it as the first step in the workflow to read the RAW files directly and create a large TIFF file which I then develop in ACDSee to get the stylized picture. The LightEQ tab is especially useful to get the desired effect.

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    • #3
      The problem with HDR is adjusting and deghosting the images if necessary. Can Picturenaut do this?

      I use NIK HDR Efex, which is ok, but not as good as I hoped for.

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      • #4
        Picturenaut has an automatic deghosting option. Nothing very fancy.

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        • #5
          dnaveh, I went to the Picturenaut site and had one question unanswered, at least I didn't see any indication of it. I frequently use the Corel HDR utility found in PSP X6, and I THINK in AfterShot Pro 2. A feature I like is single raw photo, that develops a raw photo with 3 different exposure settings and then processes them as if they were 3 different photos merged into an HDR. I find the results to offer great detail and subtle Dynamic Range that can't be duplicated in any other way. Is Picturenaut capable of that sort of manipulation? And if so, what do you think of it?

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          • #6
            Thanks all for the replies, seems the way to go is with an external editor program, since ACDsee doesn't have this built in.
            So far I've used the graphic equaliser in Develop mode with single RAW image, and it's very good but obviously has its limits.

            ...now just to find the best HDR plug in,...
            I can see the praise here for Pictonaut and it loooks quite good.
            Just found this link which gives Pictonaut 3 stars some of theothers get 4 or even 5 stars
            http://captainkimo.com/hdr-software-review-comparison/

            I don't mind spending a few Euros if necessary for a good program, so might try some of these suggested ones.

            I've been handholding the test shots I made, so it has to be good at deghosting and I'd like a nice gentle realistic rendition of the final result.
            ...So as soon as I find the time to experiment.....

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            • #7
              Photomatix is considered one of the best HDR software programs. You can probably download a trial version here: http://www.hdrsoft.com/ The Essentials version is only $39.00.
              I have also used Dynamic Photo HDR and like it quite a bit. It's full featured, and you can use it unlimited by time but with watermarks. Cost is about $65-70.00. Go here: http://www.mediachance.com/hdri/

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              • #8
                Another vote for Photomatix. I regularly use it for interior Real Estate photography. Extremely full featured. It includes a blending mode (fusing) so as to avoid the unrealistic HDR look.

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                • #9
                  Reeka and others - what is your workflow with Photomatix and ACDsee please.

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                  • #10
                    So long as you're shooting in a file format that is supported by Photomatix, the most efficient workflow would be to load the bracketed raws into Photomatix to merge the exposures and then export the final images into a folder on your hard drive. From there you can navigate to the folder in ACDSee and perform any further adjustments in the develop or edit modules.

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                    • #11
                      Peggy, I agree with bmcnich. I also recall your post of last month so, with that in mind, I’ll add these comments.

                      I do real estate photography for local agencies. Each end photo results from the blending of several bracketed images via Photomatix. The bracketing spans a wide range of exposure settings. The blending (fusing) then becomes the first step in my workflow. I batch load the jpeg photos into Photomatix which then provides an automated process yielding light-blended images. These resulting images often require some additional adjustments in ACDSee (e.g. crop, perspective, color balance, resize for MLS, etc.) For a typical home that contains 8 rooms, I might provide the real estate agent 30 photos of the interior and exterior. If I take 40 (from which I choose the final 30) and bracket at 9 shots, I will load a batch of 360 jpegs into Photomatix. In less than 30 minutes the 40 blended images will be finished. Developing them further in ACDSee may take longer.

                      I understand that the process that works for me may not work for you. For example, I don’t use flash and I don’t use ACDSee for blending. Your December 2017 post (“Blending Flash Layers with Ambient”) implies that you do use flash and that you are hoping to blend in ACDSee. Flash is preferred by many real estate photographers, especially those who do high end commercial/architectural work. When I first started out, I used flash also but I eventually found that, for the kind of work I do, the added burdens in time and cost that flash brings to the job can be avoided by using Photomatix (or Enfuse or something similar.) Photomatix allows you to customize your blending parameters. You can develop a preset that accounts for the things that are important to you like saturation, brightness, contrast, white clipping, etc. and the settings you pick will depend on whether you do mostly indoor, mostly outdoor, mostly flash, etc. You can develop as many presets as you need. But as a result of dozens of iterations, I arrived at a compromise that works for me in most of the situations that I am likely to encounter. Using only one preset yields big savings. Bottom line is that this kind of work becomes an ongoing challenge involving both efficiency and quality. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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                      • #12
                        I use NIK's HDR Efex Pro as an external editor to ACDSee. It's now a Google product and free. Go here: https://www.google.com/nikcollection.../hdr-efex-pro/

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