I love before/after shots, don’t you? It’s fun. (I love makeover shows, too, though often I prefer the before look.)
I recently acquired a new program called Aurora HDR, 2018 (A18). Previous releases were made for Macs, but this one also offers a version for PCs. I decided to give it a try.
For those of you who don’t know: HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, meaning you can get pictures with more depth if you take a series of photos at different exposures and combine them. A18 excels at the combining. PS CS6 can also “merge to HDR” and does a pretty good job of it, but tests I did in both programs shows A18 is better.
First thing I discovered is that I pretty much hate all the presets. I stopped using them the first day. None of them delivered the look I wanted. Fortunately, A18 offers lots of sliders, so you can play to your heart’s content.
Second thing I discovered is Photoshop isn’t going away anytime soon. If I assemble an HDR in A18, then move it to PS, I can do my final tweaking there, plus use my Topaz filters. Between the three programs, I get exactly what I want.
A few weeks ago, I took a picture of a coffee shop on a side street in LaBelle, a small town not far from where I live. I was using the Canon then, and I didn’t think to set it up for an HDR. To test just how good A18 is on single photos (not even RAW but a JPG), I opened this photo.
Kind of dark, right? The awning kept the sun from the front of the shop while bouncing off that metal awning.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail A18 brought back in only a few minutes.
I’ve been purposefully taking more “brackets” for HDRs of late, especially of landscapes. These trees were a test, to see how well it handled extremes of light and dark. It did really well, plus the colors are good. This was taken with the Sony.
My current workflow is to assemble the HDR in A18, move a few sliders, then export to PS, so I can do final tweaks and use Topaz. I’m getting some very nice output.
I took this HDR series in Wisconsin, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get anything I liked. Until yesterday. A18, in combination with PS and Topaz, finally produced something I liked. Taken with an earlier Canon.
That’s it for now. See you next time!