February 19, 2006

Photoshop and HDR imaging on Flickr

Though by now I’m sure it’s so six days ago, it’s been exciting to see all the discussions this week around the growing mainstream use of high dynamic range photography. Photoshop CS2 marks the app’s first steps into 32-bit imaging, enabling the creation of HDR files by merging multiple exposures (typically 10-12 bit for most raw files) into single images. While HDR editing has been immediately embraced by film and special effects pros, it’s only recently that a good number of photographers are taking notice. Flickr now features an HDR pool containing some striking stuff. [Via]
Chris Cox, the engineer who’s been implementing much of Photoshop’s HDR support, groans when seeing some of this early experimentation, concluding (rightly) that we need to improve the algorithms and interface to avoid weird halos when mapping from HDR to lower bit depths. I reply, however, that a good chunk of the appeal of HDR now is attached to the slightly bizarre results the techniques produce. I mean, look at the popularity of everything from Lomos to Lens Babies. Part of me thinks that when HDR is really mainstream (captured directly in a single frame, and easily manipulable), we’ll have lost some of the happy accidents occurring today.
For more on HDR, see this intro from Jon Meyer and this tutorial from Michael Reichmann. The best is yet to come.

Posted by John Nack at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2006

Comments

  • Michael Freeman — 6:00 AM on December 31, 2006

    I’ve been using HDR quite heavily for more than a year, and also feature it in my latest book The Complete Guide to Light and Lighting in Digital Photography (publishers: Lark). The technical issues are certainly important – I had the difficult experience of presenting CS23’s HDR tools with an hour’s familiarisation last year in Helsinki at the digital show, and there is a lot needed in guiding people through the tone-mapping procedure.
    But beyond this, HDR raises some fundamental questions of realism and expectations. I’ve put an excerpt from my forthcoming new book, The Photographer’s Eye, on the following site. I’d welcome your opinions…
    http://web.mac.com/michaelhfreeman/iWeb/Site/Blog/Archive.html
    [Cool--I look forward to checking it out. --J.]

  • Steve Nagel — 3:01 PM on December 07, 2008

    Imagine a camera that had autobracketing, HDR imaging, and wifi. The ultimate tourist camera for posting literally unbelievable, “don’t you wish you were here” photos.

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