10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2013 6:42 PM by Rafael Aviles

    Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?

    Rafael Aviles Level 3

      I am using PSCC on an iMac (Mavericks). When I bring bracketed shots into PSCC's Merge to HDR Pro, I can work the settings and/or presets to get an image that looks OK. However, when I exit from HDR Pro by clicking OK, the image displayed in PSCC is very different from what I was just looking at in HDR Pro. The screenshots here show just one example, working in 16-bit mode. Other images show even greater differences. Working in 32-bit mode makes it even worse. This did not use to happen in my earlier versions of PS (perpetual license). Am I missing something or doing something wrong?

       

      Image in HDR Pro:

      ScreenShot1.jpg

       

      Image in PSCC after clicking OK:

      ScreenShot2.jpg

        • 1. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
          ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          In Preferences / Performance, try turning off Use Graphics Processor and see if that changes things.  If it does, then turn it back on, but go into the Advanced Settings and change your drawing mode and the other checkboxes to see if there are any differences in how things work.

           

          It also might be wise to separate the merging from the toning when you're experimenting, so after merging your images in HDR Pro, set the mode to Exposure/Gamma with Exp 1 Gamma 0 which should be no change and exit to the main PS window.  That should give you a history-state of your 32-bit untoned image. 

           

          To tone your image, you can go into Image / Adjustments / HDR Toning and see if the settings stick better, there.  These should be the same adjustments as you had immediately after merging to 32-bit HDR.

           

          An alternative toning method, is to use the Camera Raw engine, via Filter / Camera Raw Filter and use the various controls, there.  A benefit of using this toning method is that you can do it on a layer or as a smart layer whereas the HDR Toning operation flattens the document.

           

          After either of these toning operations, you'll still have a 32-bit image, which you can apply either toning method to, again, but eventually you'll need to go to Image / Mode / 16 or 8, but don't re-tone it, there, just use Exposure 0 / Gamma 1, as you exit.

           

          I don't have any 32-bit HDR images like yours to experiment with, but it's possible to create a 32-bit gradient that covers many, many stops, by creating a 32-bit new image, then setting the black and white colors in 32-bit mode to extreme values.  When I do this and toning with the HDR Toning menu item, I don't see any shift in brightness like you're seeing; however, it may be that a smooth gradient obscures this change. 

           

          If you want someone else to try toning your image to check for the same issue, upload the 32-bit (Exp 0, Gamma 1) version to somewhere like www.dropbox.com and post a public download link, here.  It can be a junk image, as long as

           

          Another thing to check is your working color-space.  I assume it'd be ProProtoRGB, but if it is something narrower, then that could be a problem where PS is converting to that colorspace as you hit Ok.

          • 2. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
            Rafael Aviles Level 3

            ssprengel wrote:

             

            In Preferences / Performance, try turning off Use Graphics Processor and see if that changes things.  If it does, then turn it back on, but go into the Advanced Settings and change your drawing mode and the other checkboxes to see if there are any differences in how things work.

             

            Thanks, ssprengel. I tried turning off Use Graphics processor but it did not change things. I also tried unchecking Use OpenCL in the Advanced Settings, no change either.

            It also might be wise to separate the merging from the toning when you're experimenting, so after merging your images in HDR Pro, set the mode to Exposure/Gamma with Exp 1 Gamma 0 which should be no change and exit to the main PS window.  That should give you a history-state of your 32-bit untoned image. 

            I believe you meant Exp 0, Gamma 1? (The other way around makes for a very weird picture!) I tried that and there was still a large difference in brightness between the image in HDR Pro and the result in PSCC.

            To tone your image, you can go into Image / Adjustments / HDR Toning and see if the settings stick better, there.  These should be the same adjustments as you had immediately after merging to 32-bit HDR.

            Launching HDR Toning in Image>Adjustments changes the image according to whatever settings were used last. Resetting the levers to what was in HDR Pro brings the image back to what showed up in PSCC immediately after the merge (which, again, is diffferent from the one shown in HDR Pro).

             

            I am familiar with the use of Camera Raw to do the toning, either as a filter after creating a 16-bit merged image, or directly from HDR Pro if the 32-bit mode is selected and the Tone in Camera Raw box is ticked.

             

            I don't have a problem with toning the image after the merge, using any of the techniques mentioned above. What I find puzzling is the significant difference in the image that shows up in PSCC after the merge. None of the video tutorials I watched (Julianne Kost and Russel Brown, I believe) shows such a difference.

             

            I also played with the settings in View>32-bit Preview Options, which allowed me to get the PSCC picture to look closer to the one in HDR Pro, but there were still differences in brightness and color balance.

             

            The bracketed pictures I used for this example are RAW files from a Nikon D300 camera, imported into Lightroom and then sent to Merge in HDR Pro in PSCC via the Edit In option in Lightroom. I could put them in Dropbo if that would help.

             

            Thanks for taking the time to help!

            • 3. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
              ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              So you feel that exiting from HDR Pro is the issue, not conversion from 32-to-16-bits?  That wasn't clear because the difference was shown after the toning had occurred.  If you separate the toning from the merge, and the only difference is out of the merge, then having the three individual files would be needed.

              • 4. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                Whatever is causing it, that workflow is out of date now.  The ability to use all those familiar, predictable, and user friendly ACR tools directly to the 32 bit image (especially the local adjustments) — and do this non-destructively to a Smart Object — has made Photomatix and similar apps redundant, and probably down right dead in the water.  It would be worth upgrading to CC just for that feature.

                 

                http://tv.adobe.com/watch/the-complete-picture-with-julieanne-kost/adobe-camera-raw-as-a-s mart-filter-in-photoshop-cc/

                • 5. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                  Rafael Aviles Level 3

                  ssprengel wrote:

                   

                  So you feel that exiting from HDR Pro is the issue, not conversion from 32-to-16-bits?  That wasn't clear because the difference was shown after the toning had occurred.  If you separate the toning from the merge, and the only difference is out of the merge, then having the three individual files would be needed.

                  Exactly. The problem happens upon exiting Merge to HDR Pro, regardless of the mode I work in (16 bit, 32 bit), before I do any toning.

                  Here are the Dropbox links to the five NEF files I used in the example. I think you can reproduce the issue with just three, though.

                  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/92773392/_DSC6971.NEF

                  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/92773392/_DSC6972.NEF

                  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/92773392/_DSC6973.NEF

                  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/92773392/_DSC6974.NEF

                  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/92773392/_DSC6975.NEF

                  • 6. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                    Rafael Aviles Level 3

                    Trevor.Dennis wrote:

                     

                    Whatever is causing it, that workflow is out of date now.  The ability to use all those familiar, predictable, and user friendly ACR tools directly to the 32 bit image (especially the local adjustments) — and do this non-destructively to a Smart Object — has made Photomatix and similar apps redundant, and probably down right dead in the water.  It would be worth upgrading to CC just for that feature.

                     

                    Trevor,

                     

                    As I stated in my posts, I AM using Photoshop CC. The native HDR tool in Photoshop is called "Merge to HDR Pro", it is NOT a Photomatix tool.

                    My entire workflow is in Adobe CC software (Photoshop and Lightroom), no plug-ins.

                     

                    Thanks for responding, anyway.

                    • 7. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                      ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I'm seeing the same sort of thing...the HDR Pro Merge view is slightly lighter than once I am in PS, before adjusting anything, so I'd just ignore the HDR Pro preview, exit in 32-bit mode w/o any adjustments, and continue toning in whatever tool you choose:

                      2013-12-08_190426.jpg

                      • 8. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                        Rafael Aviles Level 3

                        Ssprengel,

                         

                        Thank you very much for checking it out. I agree, I will just ignore the difference and continue to tone elsewhere. Interestingly, as you can see, the difference is not as bad when you use only three shots instead of five. I also found that there is virtually no difference if I do the merge in 8 bit mode. The 32 bit mode does give you a lot more range, though. I still wish I understood where the difference is coming from.

                        • 9. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                          Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                          Rafael Aviles wrote:

                           

                           

                          As I stated in my posts, I AM using Photoshop CC. The native HDR tool in Photoshop is called "Merge to HDR Pro", it is NOT a Photomatix tool.

                          My entire workflow is in Adobe CC software (Photoshop and Lightroom), no plug-ins.

                           

                          Thanks for responding, anyway.

                           

                          Yes I realised that.  There are now quite a few applications for processing HDR, and IMO Photomatix has always been the best of them, and certainly did a better job than Photoshop.  My point was that the old 'Merge to HDR Pro' workflow is now redundant if you have Photoshop CC, and that using Camera RAW as outlined by Julianne Kost, has suddenly leapfrogged all the competition by an order of magnitude.

                           

                          So I strongly urge you to take Mr Prengel's advice. Output the image in 32bit, and use ACR to process it.  Did you watch the video tutorial I linked to?

                           

                          You certainly shouldn't get all pixel-peeper about how the 32bit image looks on your screen.  It is not possible to show the tonal width of a 32 bit image on a computer screen, so you are seeing a 'representation' of how it might look after processing.

                           

                          FWIIW I have taught HDR (and Photoshop) to some of the best photographers in the world at two PSNZ National Conventions back in 2010 and 2011, so I kind of have strong opinions about it.  Not that I use it excessively, but it is a very handy tool to keep in your photographic skills repertoire.

                          • 10. Re: Merge to HDR Pro: What you see is not what you get?
                            Rafael Aviles Level 3

                            Trevor.Dennis wrote:

                             

                            Yes I realised that.  There are now quite a few applications for processing HDR, and IMO Photomatix has always been the best of them, and certainly did a better job than Photoshop.  My point was that the old 'Merge to HDR Pro' workflow is now redundant if you have Photoshop CC, and that using Camera RAW as outlined by Julianne Kost, has suddenly leapfrogged all the competition by an order of magnitude.

                             

                            So I strongly urge you to take Mr Prengel's advice. Output the image in 32bit, and use ACR to process it.  Did you watch the video tutorial I linked to?

                             

                            You certainly shouldn't get all pixel-peeper about how the 32bit image looks on your screen.  It is not possible to show the tonal width of a 32 bit image on a computer screen, so you are seeing a 'representation' of how it might look after processing.

                             

                            FWIIW I have taught HDR (and Photoshop) to some of the best photographers in the world at two PSNZ National Conventions back in 2010 and 2011, so I kind of have strong opinions about it.  Not that I use it excessively, but it is a very handy tool to keep in your photographic skills repertoire.

                            Trevor,

                             

                            I am sorry if I misunderstood your post. I am actually using the same workflow as Julianne Kost in her video (which I had watched prior to posting here). And, as I posted above, I do agree with Mr. Prengel that I should just take the 32 bit image into Camera Raw and do the toning there. As a matter of fact, that is what I have been doing in Photoshop CC (sending the pictures from Lightroom, same as Julianne Kosts does), and I can do a very good job, if I say so myself.

                             

                            So the question I had was merely one of puzzlement at seeing the difference between the image just before exiting HDR Pro and what shows up in Camera Raw. In the examples I provided, and in many other cases, it clearly went beyond pixel-peeping: they were two very different images. But I think I understand now why this is, which you kindly pointed out: it is not possible to show the tonal width of a 32 bit image on a computer monitor. I had not considered that and I thank you for mentioning it.

                             

                            It may be that in some cases (as in Julianne Kosts's video) the representation in HDR Pro is actually pretty close to the initial view in Camera Raw, but in other cases (my examples) it is not. Not really an issue, I agree.