June 27th, 2012
If you shoot brackets, have Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5 or CS6 you need to checkout Matt Kloskowski’s video on a cool new feature in Lightroom 4.1 over at lightroomkillertips.com. This is indeed a killer Lightroom tip! Thanks Matt! And thanks Sonny Epps for pointing Matt’s post out.
Here is an overview of what Matt shows you how to do:
- In Lightroom 4.1 (you must have the most recent update) you send Photoshop some brackets.
- You tell Photoshop to just create a 32 bit “HDR” file with the brackets.
- Photoshop sends back a huge (when I did this PS CS6 sent back a 250meg tif file) that has the hole tonal range of all the brackets.
- You can then use the controls in Lightroom to adjust this file to make it look like you want. The exposure range in this file is -10EV to +10EV.
I’m not sure what to call this process. It’s not really HDR. It seems more like Exposure Fusion although I don’t have a clue what the algorithm is that’s combining the bracketed images you send Photoshop. There are some pluses and minuses to this process:
- You can work with the intuitive Lightroom sliders you are familiar with instead of the wacky, unintuitive sliders in most bracket processing software.
- Commenters on Matts post said this works with CS5 as well as CS6. It may also work with with other versions of Photoshop before CS5.
- This process appears that it’s not traditional HDR processing
- With 4- 21meg RAW files as input (on a fast iMac with a SSD drive) the whole processing time out to PS6 and back seemed slow compared to other bracket processing software.
- The final results were good but it didn’t take my breath away.
Update: Just after I posted this I found another video tutorial by Julieanne Kost that explains this same technique.