Russell Brown Talks About Natural HDR Toning With CS5 And Nik NDR Pro Plugin

July 25th, 2011

Even though Russell Brown, the long time Photoshop evangelist uses the Nik HDR Pro Plugin in this tutorial to illustrate how to move away from over saturated and super sharpened HDR images. This is very appropriate for real estate photography and I believe the workflow he uses could easily be used with Photomatix or other tone mapping software. Here is his basic workflow:

  1. Use Bridge to do initial adjustments to RAW images to remove chromatic aberrations etc.
  2. Tone map in HDR software. Brown shows a unusual approach with the Gamma slider.
  3. Post processing- tonal adjustment and sharpening in CS5.

His emphasis is on keeping the saturation down and not getting carried away the the sharpening algorithm (detail slider) in whatever tone mapping software you are using.

Thanks to Steve Mather for pointing tour this tutorial.

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3 Responses to “Russell Brown Talks About Natural HDR Toning With CS5 And Nik NDR Pro Plugin”

  • I sometimes wonder if Mr. Brown is visually impaired. What he calls ‘natural’ is in fact very over the top. Look at the sky in between the clouds in the Natural Bridges image. That part of the sky is at least one stop darker than the rest of the sky. Very natural indeed…

  • Well, I am sure we have all seen much worse examples of HDR artifacts. In this example, as Johan points out, the primary problem is with the sky. The HDR process has created unevenness and haloing in the sky and mid-tone dirtiness in the clouds that weren’t there in the component photos. Also, I would like to point out that, while some feel that exposure fusion is easier to control than HDR/tonemapping, it can also be susceptible to these kinds of artifacts. I do, however, agree with his suggestion to keep the saturation down in the HDR/tonemapping process, and obtaining the right amount saturation in the subsequent processing.

  • It is easy to confuse Photoshop CS5 and its Merge to HDR Pro with Nik Software’s (totally different) Nik HDR Efex Pro. Nowhere in RB’s tut does the Nik software appear…?!?

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