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Creating High Dynamic Range Images with Photomatix Light 2.0

Article Description

High Dynamic Range (or HDR) photographs have an “image problem,” if you’ll pardon the pun. Aside from the assumption that all HDR images have an unnatural, painterly quality to them (not so!), there is also the perception that it is difficult to create HDR photos. Photoshop master Dan Moughamian presents the second in a series of articles focused on affordable and quick High Dynamic Range (HDR) software tools that can help you get started with your own HDR photography portfolio. This article covers Photomatix Light 2.0, which is an application sold by French developer HDR Soft.
Merging Your Exposures

Merging Your Exposures

The next step is to launch Photomatix Light 2 and bring the exposures together to create the merged image preview. You can do this either by dragging image files (I typically use raw files, but JPEG is okay, too) into the dark grey box or by clicking the Browse button shown in Figure 1. The “launch screen” for Photomatix Light makes it easy to quickly set up you preferences, bring your bracketed exposures together, and even find some help info if you need it!

You can also use this window to set your alignment and noise reduction preferences. When shooting at a relatively low ISO, I find the following settings to work well, especially when there’s no time to make raw edits first: Align Images - Always; Align with method - By Matching Features (Crop Aligned Images); Reduce Noise - Always; Apply noise reduction on - Underexposed image(s) only.

When you’re ready to start editing, click the Next button (located next to the thumbnails). After several seconds, the main editing window will appear, displaying all of your editing controls at left and preset styles (as thumbnails) at the right, with the main preview in the middle, as shown in Figure 2. The Photomatix Light editor provides all the controls and information you need in a compact space.

3. Making the HDR Edits | Next Section Previous Section