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Old Aug 10, 2010, 4:27 PM   #1
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Default AutoHDR or Manual Adjustment: What's better?

I've been playing around with the fine (and free!) AutoHDR program from Martin Sykes. (http://www.autohdr.co.uk/) The pics below have all been downsized, but the quality should be good enough for you to see what I'm trying to do.
The first picture is the original. The roof of the barn was so blazing white that I had to take a few pics with various EVF settings. I think this was a -1.

Second pic: Using Photoshop Elements, I did quite a few adjustments with shadows, highlights, saturation, etc. and ended up with this.

The third picture was achieved using the AutoHDR program. (Note that you only need a single picture for it to work, so this actually is kind of a pseudo-HDR that is better described as local tone-mapping.) I had to run it a few times to get settings I liked that didn't make it too 'over the top,' but the program does allow for adjustments for Detail (I used 4), Str. (5), Contrast (7), Saturation (9). Here's the result.

The last one using AutoHDR does have something of a processed look to it, and I like the foreground grass better on the second, but I'm wondering if others think it is superior to the second one. I like the sky and the roof and the fence, and the extra punch of brightness and color seem to fit this scene. (I wasn't able to duplicate those aspects in Elements, but someone with more skill or a better program might be able to do so...)
Thanks for comments/suggestions.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 5:26 PM   #2
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I prefer the last one.

But. I'm out of town viewing the images with a tiny netbook display right now. So, it's probably a bad idea to jump to any conclusions based on what I'm seeing. :-)
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 6:18 PM   #3
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The second one has a very nice reflected sunset color on the side of the barn, which forms the center of attention to my eye on that photo. The third image has a much more interesting sky, but not nearly as interesting a sunset red reflection on the side of the barn. For the third one, my eye is more drawn to the animals in the barnyard for some reason. In either case, the branch in the center top of the image should be cloned out -- it has the same irritating effect to my eye as having my hair fall in front of my vision. I could go with either of the two processed images, and don't have a strong preference either way -- although they have quite different visual centers of mass, if you will.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 8:32 PM   #4
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Third one look best, will have to look into that program.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 9:51 PM   #5
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Hmm, the detail in the third image is really good, but the overall lighting looks a bit more realistic in the second. What I sometimes do in these situations is to copy the processed image and layer it back over the original, using luminosity mode, and adjusting transparency to suit. This can make for an oversaturated image sometimes, so another paste using saturation mode, with adjustment, can bring things back to a more natural look. (if that is what you are looking for).

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Old Aug 10, 2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tclune View Post
The second one has a very nice reflected sunset color on the side of the barn, which forms the center of attention to my eye on that photo. The third image has a much more interesting sky, but not nearly as interesting a sunset red reflection on the side of the barn. For the third one, my eye is more drawn to the animals in the barnyard for some reason. In either case, the branch in the center top of the image should be cloned out -- it has the same irritating effect to my eye as having my hair fall in front of my vision. I could go with either of the two processed images, and don't have a strong preference either way -- although they have quite different visual centers of mass, if you will.
Thank you. I see what you mean, and I agree. I think the animals stand out in the last (which I like) because the ground is lighter and makes them stand out more.
And yes, that branch should go. In the original, the branches provide a frame around the entire corner, but when I cropped it, you see what's left. Yes, that needs to go... Thanks again.
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Old Aug 10, 2010, 10:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
Hmm, the detail in the third image is really good, but the overall lighting looks a bit more realistic in the second. What I sometimes do in these situations is to copy the processed image and layer it back over the original, using luminosity mode, and adjusting transparency to suit. This can make for an oversaturated image sometimes, so another paste using saturation mode, with adjustment, can bring things back to a more natural look. (if that is what you are looking for).

brian
Thanks. I tried your suggestion but wasn't able to get a result I liked. So I used the processed one as the base, layered the other over it at about 50% opacity, then erased some areas like the sky to keep it more vibrant. Here's the result. (And the branch at the top is gone too )
The reduction here has blurred some of the details. It looks sharper on the version on my computer.
Thanks again for the suggestions.
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