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Old Nov 5, 2010, 4:25 PM   #1
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Default Has anyone tried Nik's new HDR software?

I downloaded the trial version and started playing around with it. I need to go back and try some better sets before posting anything. Though the ones I chose were taken because I wanted to see how the alignment and anti-ghosting worked. It's pretty impressive, I could fairly easily get nice results with hand-held 5 shot sets of jacarandas in leaf, a very difficult subject. There's also the ability to locally adjust parts of a picture (controls similar to Viveza). I need to play some more with it, but I suspect that I'm going to find (in the next 15 days) that I prefer it to PhotoMatix. Not sure I want to - it's much more expensive than the other HDR software packages. But it also does more, too.

Would love to know what others think of it, if anyone else has tried it.
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 9:55 AM   #2
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I have just started to have a go at it - revisiting some of my older shots since I haven't done any new HDRs since June or something. (I know - I need to be punished for this)

Im actually liking it more and more. It's defintely more "hardcore" as you might say than the other HDR softwares.. There are SO MUCH you can do and it's actually quite difficult getting the results you might like because of it since you'd (or me at least) want to try every possibility there is, whereas there aren't THAT many different ways to go about in DPHDR and especially Photomatix.

if you want to I'll upload a merged image of my previous and the new rendered HDR through Nik's HDR Efex to see a comparison.

It is however hard to say what is the better software in the sense that HDR is so much more than just the effect... It depends very heavily on the scene , the colors what you want to tell about the scene and so forth.

I hope you all get a chance to play with this to see what you can come up with

HERE IS LINK TO IT'S HOMEPAGE
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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I just bought and activated this morning and LOVING it and as stated above, it's surely a nice piece of software and it IS dependent on the scene you use with so many variables. I too am playing with old pics so don't judge the pic as I am just messing around and a lot of ram will surely help or at least keep the background programs off to save ram but here's a screenshot of the software in action in LR3
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 12:43 PM   #4
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is this a standalone or a plugin?
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Plugin for adobe LR or PS
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 8:07 PM   #6
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I've been playing around with it some, here's some of my one-day impressions.

First, it's a plugin that works with CS5 (not CS4), LR3 and Aperture. I have LR3 and CS4 - at first that sounds like a limitation, but since I always use Photomatix from LR anyway, it isn't a big deal for me at all.

It seemed to me comparing simple sets, both Photomatix and HDR Efex can give you outstanding results, and there's quite a bit of variation/artistic interpretation you can do with both programs. HDR Efex has tons more controls, giving you a lot more control over things - its going to take me a while to really figure out how to get the best from the program.

I had been thinking about trying it ever since I heard about it (before release) so had some auto exposure sets I hadn't played with. All of the sets were hand-held and several were of trees or palms, I really wanted to see how the program would handle very difficult subjects.

The program has several settings for dealing with ghosting. In one case where I took pictures of jacaranda branches it handled quite well on the "adaptive, low" setting. It did some weird things in some spots when I tried medium and high. Photomatix's anti-ghosting, set to high, didn't do as well and I wasn't quite as happy with the color (Photomatix often struggles with bright green). Color was better with HDR Efex.

The palm tree pictures didn't fare as well - the program left ghosting artifacts no matter what option I selected. Photomatix, set for high anti-ghosting had no trouble, no artifacts. However, it struggled with the color, leaving a bluish tint to white clouds and blowing some of them out. While I preferred the HDR Efex over-all, it would have required quite a bit of cloning to delete the artifacts.

This morning had a nice sunrise. Wasn't spectacular but nice enough to play with. For some reason Photomatix struggles with sunrises. I've had excellent results with night lights but sunrises always seem to be horribly noisy.

Here's the set of pictures I used:



Here's the Photomatix version - it's the default setting. I did try to change a few things to see if I could lower the awful noise but didn't find an answer. I also tried to run it through DeNoise but the program didn't recognize the junk as noise to be removed.



Somehow when it's reduced to this tiny size, it doesn't look as bad as it really is. If you want to see a portion of it (it's been resized to about half the original size then cropped), so you can see just how hopeless this picture is:



The HDR Efex version had noise (the originals were noisy - one was at ISO 2500) but it was manageable. I resized it down to screen size and then ran it through DeNoise. Here's the results:



There are still some issues with the picture, I wouldn't want to blow it up. But it works well for monitor size.

Another sample/comparison from this morning. This was the first set I shot. Here's the middle exposure, to give you an idea of the dynamic range of the scene. The picture has had no processing (no noise reduction), just resizing. ISO was 2500. Even though it's been resized so small, you can still see the noise.



Photomatix made this of it. I didn't try to run it through noise reduction software, figured it was pretty hopeless. Plus Photomatix smeared some of the foreground. Granted, I only used 4 exposures - the 5th one was too slow for my hand-holding.



Here's what HDR Efex and Denoise made of the same pictures. There was a fair amount of noise so the picture shows a fair amount of smearing from the aggressive noise reduction - but compared to the Photomatix product, it's amazing.



So far my conclusion is that Nik's software really shines when it comes to sunrises (a big weakness with Photomatix). It's behind Photomatix for some anti-ghosting capability.

I haven't yet tried some interior pictures, where I've always gotten good results with Photomatix. From what I saw with the trees, I think both programs will give you good results, it may be a toss-up which one is better. There's more I can say about the program but this post is already too long. More perhaps later.
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