18 Replies Latest reply on Apr 25, 2015 6:20 PM by Bazsl

    Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!

    Bazsl Level 1

      I have tested the HDR merge feature in Lightroom CC 2015 using photos taken inside rooms with windows that provide a view of a sunny outdoor area. Both HDR Efex Pro and Photomatix render the rooms interior and the details of the exterior as seen through the window. Using LR HDR the window is just one big blown out highlight. Other problems include:

       

      1) No ability to adjust the amount of tone compression

      2) Limited ability to adjust the HDR output in the develop module because the Highlights slider is at zero and the Shadows slider is around 70%.

      3) If you click the reset button in the Develop module you get an image with both the highlights and shadows completely blown out instead of the tone mapped image you would see in HDR Efex Pro or Photomatix.

       

      I am stunned that Adobe would provide a feature that works so poorly. With the images I have tried it really does not work at all. What's the story?

        • 1. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
          Joshua Cohen Level 3

          Are you saying you took two shots at different exposures and tried to combine them with the HDR feature and got this result?

          • 2. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
            Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            It works really well for me but I deeply dislike the HDR toning that Photomatix and others like that do in their default settings so perhaps I am not the best judge of it ;-). The thing to remember is that what this feature does is generate a pseudo raw file that has the raw data of the source files combined in a 32-bit file. You then use the standard Lightroom tools to tone it. It basically behaves like a raw file that simply covers more dynamic range than a single raw file. There are no new toning algorithms, just a way to generate raw files that have more dynamic range than you could capture with a single exposure. You could get a similar result before by combining raw files in Photoshop's HDR Pro and NOT doing any toning and saving the file as a 32-bit tiff. This file behaves very similarly in Lightroom as the dng files do that Lightroom CC generates with the difference that the LR file has more editing latitude in that you can apply different camera profiles, have an absolute white balance scale, can do the same kind of brushing of exposure adjustments as you can in a single raw file, etc. I think it is well done therefore but indeed does not do the intense tone compression that you could get in a dedicated program as the toning tools are no different than from a single raw.

            • 3. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
              Bob Somrak Level 5

              Seems to work ok for others doing inside of room photos.

               

              What is HDR really doing?

              • 4. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Can you supply the originals you're working with?  Upload to www.dropbox.com and post a public share link, here.

                • 5. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                  ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  The toning tools are slightly different.  When toning ah HDR-DNG the range of the Exposure slider expands from a -10 EV to +10 EV.

                   

                  I am not sure if some of the other controls like Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks act differently, too, but their ranges seem to remain the same, so it's hard to tell.

                   

                  What may be needed is these other four controls also have their ranges expanded. 

                  • 6. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                    Bazsl Level 1

                    All comparisons were done with either 3, 5 or 6 shots at 2 stop intervals. All were processed in LR, HDR Efex Pro and Photomatix.

                    • 7. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                      Bazsl Level 1

                      Thanks for the detailed explanation. The fact that LR does not do any tone mapping explains why the highlights are blown in some of my test even though the highlights slider is at zero. The lack of tone mapping also explains why HDR Efex Pro and Photomatix will handle a much wider dynamic range than LR. I will say that I like the natural looking results that LR produces when the dynamic range is small enough to produce an acceptable image.

                      • 8. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                        Michael D Sullivan Level 3

                        Julianne Kost's video suggests that the HDR feature in LR (and ACR) works best with just two images, rather than a greater number.

                        • 9. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                          Bazsl Level 1

                          Saying that the HDR merge feature works best with two images is just a polite way of saying that it does not work well and will not be usable in many, if not most, situations where HDR is needed. If it does not work well with 3, 5 or 7 images then it does not work IMHO.

                          • 10. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                            Bazsl Level 1

                            I agree that the toning tools need more range when adjusting a 32 bit HDR image. Ideally LR would normalize the sliders to zero after creating the HDR image so that, for the LR user, adjusting an HDR image would be like adjusting any other image.

                            • 11. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                              Bazsl Level 1

                              I should have said, "...3, 5, or 7 images that are two stops apart...".

                              • 12. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                landoloons Level 1

                                I've tried it and was also disappointed with the result.  I think Adobe is inviting a lot of negative kickback by calling this "HDR" because it doesn't do much compared to a real HDR program like Photomatix.  Adobe has also released this without any real explanation of what it does or how to use it.

                                 

                                From what I see, It produces an image not much different from what you could get by just working with the single 0EV image - ignoring the bracketed shots - and maxing out the shadow and highlight sliders.  The intent seems to be to produce an image that does NOT look like what most people think of as "HDR".  It will NOT pull in the detail of extreme highlights via compression or tone mapping, even if they are present in a bracketed 2EV shot.  As others have pointed out, the extended dynamic range of the output file is of little use because the Highlights and Shadows sliders are already maxed out.  

                                 

                                Those of you who were happy with the result - try just copying the Develop settings from the output file and pasting them to the 0EV (middle) image of your bracketed set - you'll get basically the same thing, just with less noise in the shadows.

                                 

                                HDR was the big reason I bought the update and I'm totally let down, and really hoping there's more to this feature than I'm seeing so far.

                                • 13. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                  landoloons Level 1

                                  Jao vdL wrote:

                                   

                                  It works really well for me but I deeply dislike the HDR toning that Photomatix and others like that do in their default settings so perhaps I am not the best judge of it ;-). The thing to remember is that what this feature does is generate a pseudo raw file that has the raw data of the source files combined in a 32-bit file. You then use the standard Lightroom tools to tone it. It basically behaves like a raw file that simply covers more dynamic range than a single raw file. There are no new toning algorithms, just a way to generate raw files that have more dynamic range than you could capture with a single exposure. You could get a similar result before by combining raw files in Photoshop's HDR Pro and NOT doing any toning and saving the file as a 32-bit tiff. This file behaves very similarly in Lightroom as the dng files do that Lightroom CC generates with the difference that the LR file has more editing latitude in that you can apply different camera profiles, have an absolute white balance scale, can do the same kind of brushing of exposure adjustments as you can in a single raw file, etc. I think it is well done therefore but indeed does not do the intense tone compression that you could get in a dedicated program as the toning tools are no different than from a single raw.

                                  In a recent blog post, Julieane Kost says the merged image is just 16-bit.

                                  • 14. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                    Wolf Eilers Level 4

                                    It's not "just 16-bit". It's floating point 16-bit, a big difference from 16-bit integer.

                                    • 15. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                      Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Yeah it appears I was wrong to think it was 32-bit, but 16-bit floating point is a good compromise to not have the file size balloon. Far better than 16-bit integer indeed.

                                      • 16. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                        ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Here is a +/- 3 EV HDR that both LR6/ACR9 and PS-HDR Pro do a reasonable job with, where the only adjustments are clicking Auto in LR:

                                         

                                        Here are the three images, EV+0, EV-3, EV+3, where to get a reasonable view out the windows, the interior was nearly black and to get a reasonable view of the interior, the windows are nearly white.

                                         

                                        Here is a side-by-side of the EV+0 shot with various adjustments applied vs the LR6/ACR9 HDR result with Auto clicked.  Tonally they look similar.  What is better with the LR6/ACR9 version is the view out the windows has more detail and less clipped, and the noise in the darker areas is much better, meaning LR6/ACR9 used more of the brighter image for the floor and more of the darkest image for the view out the windows, which is exactly what HDR is supposed to do:

                                        • 17. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                          Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Great illustration ssprengel!

                                          • 18. Re: Lightroom CC 2015 HDR does not work!
                                            Bazsl Level 1

                                            Thanks for that. I think most graphic cards support the IEEE binary16 half

                                            precision format now so it is a good compromise of file size, precision and

                                            processing speed.

                                             

                                            On Sat, Apr 25, 2015 at 1:30 PM, Wolf Eilers <forums_noreply@adobe.com>