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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> How do I combine diff. exposures of a RAW file?
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Showing posts 1 - 25 of 40, (reverse)
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07/28/2006 12:21:54 PM · #1
Not sure that makes sense but I've read it's ok to save the same RAW file with different exposure levels and then combine them in post processing for more tonal depth. I cant figure out how though. I've tried opening then dragging the others on top of it and that just resulted in the top one showing so then I made the Opacity of the two top ones 50% but I don't think i'm getting the correct outcome. any tips?

Crystal
07/28/2006 12:27:19 PM · #2
layers and masks...may be something in the tutorials.
07/28/2006 12:27:57 PM · #3
the easiest way I know of is masking. Put one on top of the other and with a brush set to about 6% opacity start masking out the top image where you don't want it. I set the opacity so low as it lessens the chance of the two exposures being noticibly two exposures. I've used this with up to 4 exposures and it works pretty well. Once you get the hang of it it goes pretty quickly...
07/28/2006 12:44:51 PM · #4
is the outcome sort of like dodging and burning? How am I to know what to mask off? like just keep the darkest areas of the underexposed shot and the lightest of the overexposed one? Do any of you possibly mind putting up a before and after shot that you've done before so I can see what the outcome shoudld be? I've read about this and it sounds great in theory but I havent a clue what difference it really should make.
07/28/2006 12:50:37 PM · #5
Here's a good place to start: Luminous Landscape: Blending Exposures

It's a LOT more sophisticated than anything you can accomplish with dodging and burning. In CS2 I think HDR blending is one of the built-in features. You can find a stand-alone program to do it very nicely at www.hdrsoft.com also, and Fred Miranda has a "DRI Action" (described in the luminous landscape article) that works well.

Robt.

Message edited by author 2006-07-28 12:55:46.
07/28/2006 12:52:30 PM · #6
[quote=Bear_Music] Here's a good place to start: Luminous Landscape: Blending Exposures

It's a LOT more sophisticated than anything you can accomplish with dodging and burning. In CS2 I think HDR blending is one of the built-in features. You can find a stand-alone program to do it very nicely at www.hdrsoft.com also.

Robt. [/quote

Cool. Thanks. I use CS2 I've never noticed that, I'll have to go look for it! :) Thank you. I'll check out the link as well.
07/28/2006 01:26:08 PM · #7
OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo Yay! I found it! It took me forever though. They dont just put it with the merge options for some reason. but off to play with some photos now. yay, merge to HDR! I love you already. ;). I'll post some examples of what I get from it later if it works out well. Thanks a bunch Robert! I would have never known to look. :)
07/28/2006 01:36:26 PM · #8
Keep us updated Crystal... I was messing around with using merge to hdr is PS earlier and I didn't have "enough dynamic range" for it to build the HDR. I wanted to just use 3 exposures from a single converted RAW file, apparantly I need to get 3 different exposures from the cam. I'm going to give HDR soft a shot, as I have it around here somewhere from my animation days...
07/28/2006 02:15:22 PM · #9
Originally posted by otisXmike:

Keep us updated Crystal... I was messing around with using merge to hdr is PS earlier and I didn't have "enough dynamic range" for it to build the HDR. I wanted to just use 3 exposures from a single converted RAW file, apparantly I need to get 3 different exposures from the cam. I'm going to give HDR soft a shot, as I have it around here somewhere from my animation days...


I've had the same experience as you. I tried several shots and it seems one file cant provide "enough dynamic range". guess it wont help for challenges then. i'll have to learn the masking thing. but i'm going to go take a three shots 1.5 stops apart and try that. if it does work then at least i'll see what it does and know better what to on my own with masking. It could still be cool for everyday shots. DPC isnt everything? :::looks around paranoid::::..... Right? Hopefully I don't get lynched for saying that. ;)
07/28/2006 02:23:37 PM · #10
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

DPC isnt everything? :::looks around paranoid::::..... Right? Hopefully I don't get lynched for saying that. ;)

<finds the set of torches he got from Art for a birthday present>
Someone mention a lynching? Who's got the rope?

j/k
07/28/2006 02:46:41 PM · #11
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Using three different shots worked but this is what I got. Yuck. I know it's hard to tell at that size but it's all pale and the sky detail was lost. I'm now more confused than ever. lol
07/28/2006 02:50:37 PM · #12
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

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Using three different shots worked but this is what I got. Yuck. I know it's hard to tell at that size but it's all pale and the sky detail was lost. I'm now more confused than ever. lol


Nah, that's not right for sure :-) Based on the original, you don't even NEED any HDR for this image. Go shoot something backlit with a lot of foreground shadows. Make your exposures + and - two stops, see how that works.

R.
07/28/2006 02:56:47 PM · #13
oh ok. so that technique doesnt work/help everything? I thought it was like an overall help. I'll try to find something backlit and try it. I did go two full stops over and under for that last example. thanks for such quick responses. i'm learning a LOT today! :)
07/28/2006 02:59:19 PM · #14
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

oh ok. so that technique doesnt work/help everything? I thought it was like an overall help. I'll try to find something backlit and try it. I did go two full stops over and under for that last example. thanks for such quick responses. i'm learning a LOT today! :)


Oh, it's DEFINITELY not for everything; use it on an image with good tonal range and you will make it into a flat, unattractive mishmash. For images that are nearly right, not blown-out or anything but a little too contrasty, use the shadows/highlight tool in CS2 or the cntrl-alt-tilde contrast-masking technique.

R.
07/28/2006 03:01:33 PM · #15
Does anybody use "Miranda's Dynamic Range Increase (DRI) Action" the one mentioned in Robert's post? The manual way is definitely a bitch. :P
07/28/2006 03:39:27 PM · #16
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Well that worked better, everything looks great in the after shot except for the window. so i'm on the right track at least.
07/28/2006 03:50:58 PM · #17
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

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Well that worked better, everything looks great in the after shot except for the window. so i'm on the right track at least.


The interior definitely looks better. BTW, I love the crown molding in your house. :-)

Message edited by author 2006-07-28 15:51:30.
07/28/2006 04:02:27 PM · #18
do you love the disassembled table and the rolled up rug too? You can have 'em! just kidding. that room's going to be the studio and we need to get rid of them for space but we cant even friggen give them away. why does no one want a friggen 1,000 table? It's not cause it's ugly because no one has even gotten to the "coming to look at it" stage. lol it's driving me nuts because i want to move forward with the studio but can't until it's gone. ARGH! See?.... the stress has turned me into a pirate. lol
07/28/2006 04:43:01 PM · #19
Uhhh, well... believe me, I know how it feels to have your "studio" filled with crap.
07/28/2006 06:08:30 PM · #20
I'm not sure how you are doing a before and after pic unless the before is just one of the three or more pics you used in the HDR. Normally in HDR you use at least three pics, one exposed properly and the other two 2 stops under and over exposed. Is the before pic you are comparing the one that is exposed correctly? If so it really is not exposed correctly in the room example. In the landscape example it is about right. Be careful on the first step when setting the white point. If ya mess it up you will never get the full effect you are looking to get. Again in HDR you should be using it to avoid blown out parts of the picture and bring detail out of dark areas. Good luck!
07/28/2006 08:04:24 PM · #21
yeah the before is the "correctly" exposed photo. I was using the av mode. and had it set to expose correctly. and then 2 over and 2 under. thats as far as it goes. if i did anything other than the mid exposure than I wouldnt get the full two stops in both directions. does that make sense?

Message edited by author 2006-07-28 20:05:03.
07/28/2006 09:43:57 PM · #22
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

yeah the before is the "correctly" exposed photo. I was using the av mode. and had it set to expose correctly. and then 2 over and 2 under. thats as far as it goes. if i did anything other than the mid exposure than I wouldnt get the full two stops in both directions. does that make sense?


Yeah sure, that makes sense. But in a properly-created HDR image you should be able to have both the room and the view through the window correctly rendered. You're looking for something like this, which is a straight HDR merge of the 2 exposures you showed, with no further adjustments at all:

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Robt.
07/28/2006 10:01:55 PM · #23
I was confused too as to how all the definition in the window was lost as two of the three exposures had some. I think masking will be a better option. for your results did you use the CS2 merge to HDR option? Maybe that's where my problems are stemming from. Easier usually doesnt mean better I guess. Here are the actual exposures I used so you can see what I mean about there being some detail in the window before merging. There was only one option I had after merging and before saving to customize the HDR and it did change the white balance but also brought back the shadows in the foreground when changed. kind of a catch 22.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371040.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371040.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371041.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371041.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371042.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/56797/thumb/371042.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
07/28/2006 10:10:24 PM · #24
I donno about CS2, I've never used it. But it HAS to be better than that, you're not doing something or you're doing something wrong, or something. I did my version in HDRsoft's "Photomatic Pro" and it took all of 15 seconds; there's absolutely NO customizing or further post-processing, though I'm sure it could be improved if I went a couple steps further.

R.
07/28/2006 10:17:33 PM · #25
It would definately seem I'm doing something wrong. I generally wouldn't put it past me. ;)But the process deosn't actually give me much choice to do something wrong. just pick the pictures to be combined. wait a minute while it does its thing then change the slider to make the overall picture darker or brighter(which i did not do for the one posted, i accepted its suggested settings) and thats it. maybe I am missing something. I would hope I am. lol. but as OtisXMike mentioned above in this post it doesnt work on different saved exposures of the same RAW file for some reason so it's not actually that important DPC wise anyway. I'm going to go try and find a few tutorials for this specific process using the merge to HDR option in CS2 and see if i find similar results. Maybe it's just a glitch. not sure how possible that is though.
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