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
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