32 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2016 4:58 AM by martin:)

    HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos

    JMarkTurner Level 1

      Is there a way to avoid extreme shadow noise in Lightroom CC HDR Merge?

       

      LR-HDR-Noise.jpg

      This screenshot of a 1:1 view of a merged image shows very high levels of noise in the post and tree trunks. There are also halo effects where the island intersects the dark verticals. Both artifacts are completely unacceptable and do not appear when merging the same 7 source files with LR/Infuse. The noise does not appear in other shadow areas of the photo (including other posts like the one in the screenshow).

       

      Further, the default highlight & shadow slider positions on this image in the Develop module don't leave any room for adjustment: Highlights was at -100, Shadows +67.

        • 1. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
          andrewfreeman Level 3

          Crikey, I've used the tool several times now and not seen anything like that. In fact quite the opposite: I've been very pleased with the low noise level. I presume you don't process the images prior to merging? What camera model? These are RAW files too I presume?

          • 2. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
            JMarkTurner Level 1

            Original raw files from Canon 5D Mark III, no pre-processing for either LR HDR or LR/Infuse. This is the first LR HDR merge I've tried after installing LR CC yesterday.

            • 3. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
              andrewfreeman Level 3

              Same camera  as me.... interesting..... I was rather pleased with the feature because it allowed me to create far more natural looking HDR DNGs and finally be able to push the shadows without revealing noise: something I've never been able to do before. I might have to do some more experimentation. Sorry I can't be of more help at the moment.

              • 4. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                Ian Lyons MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                Mark,

                 

                You mentioned 7 source files. I'm not suggesting this the problem, but my experience is that 3 images and very often only two is sufficient. The trick is finding those 2 or 3 images. Also, worth noting that images that have been substantially under exposed in order that some import important highlight area is correctly exposed will tend to be noisy, and this can become very prominent in final blend. So, look to see if you have a have brighter image that shows enough highlight area info that the HDR blend along with some post processing gives a more pleasing and less noisy image.

                • 5. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                  Bob Somrak Level 5

                  I too have used a Canon 5Dmk3 with both Lr/Enfuse and Lr/HDR using 3 photos.  LR/Enfuse does a GREAT job but LR/HDR seems to be working well also in my few tests.  If I had to pick one I would give Lr/Enfuse the win now but Lr/HDR will hopefully get some improvement.  Using Lr Process Version 2012 I find I do not have to do too many HDRs so do not have to do this too often.  The LOWER noise in the shadows is the main place where LR/HDR really improved the image.   One problem with the HDR tool is that there needs to be MORE room on the +Shadow/-Highlight sliders, maybe 125 to 150 instead of 100 because the data is there but the sliders limit the recovery.  This is what your are using the HDR for in the first place.   The Exposure slider should be moved back to +/- 5 instead of +/-10 as I have yet to see a photo that needs this much latitude in the exposure slider.  All it does is just make it harder to finely tune the exposure with NO benefit I can see.  If someone has a properly done LR/HDR photo that benefits from more than +/-5 exposure I would really like to see it.

                  • 6. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                    ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    If HDR process was working optimally, it would be ignoring the dark areas of the image exposed to capture detail in the brightest highlights, right?  The whole point of HDR is that the details of the shadows are from the brightest image and the details of the highlights are from the darkest image.  You can do this by masking out the non-optimal areas of each image and blending the remaining areas together, or you can do this by averaging all the images together so the noise in the darkest image is mitigated by the lack of noise in the brightest image.

                     

                    If the shadows are ok in the brightest image but noisy in the resulting HDR then something is wrong with how the HDR is being constructed from the source images.

                    • 7. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                      ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I agree that the Shadows/Highlights need more range for HDR images.  Maybe Contrast and Clarity, too.

                       

                      I think the Exposure slider range is there in case the HDR's initial exposure is way off, which hasn't happened in any I've tried.  Perhaps it happens more for 32-bit HDRs coming from PS that have a way to adjust the initial exposure.

                      • 8. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                        Bob Somrak Level 5

                        If the expanded range for Exposure is there for a reason when using LR/HDR and not because it is a carryover from 32bit HDR's than it would be fine but as it is now it seems useless (still wanting to see a photo that benefits from this) and just makes the slider less sensitive. 

                        • 9. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                          Ian Lyons MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          Steve Sprengel wrote:

                           

                          If the shadows are ok in the brightest image but noisy in the resulting HDR then something is wrong with how the HDR is being constructed from the source images.

                           

                          I don't disagree. However, if all of the images, even the brightest is still sufficiently dark that it has noise in the shadow area then there isn't a lot that HDR can do to avoid the issue. I have a handful of examples from my own library that demonstrate this.

                           

                          BTW, looking at the original posters screenshot in more detail I recall seeing similar artefacts when Deghosting was off or at a low value. Setting Deghosting to Medium or High eliminated these artefacts.

                          • 10. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                            itg237

                            I can confirm the problem. This extreme noise is visible in those places of the final HDR Image, where Lightroom applies it's "de-ghosting" algorithm (the red-marked areas in the HDR preview). These areas are bigger or smaller depending on how strong you set the de-ghosting value.  In my example, De-ghosting high succesfully removed the ghost images of moving persons / dog, but the noise of the affected Image parts and significant parts around it made the image look very bad.

                             

                            Applying no de-ghosting to the same images creates beautiful HDR (better then the in-camera ones) with nearly no noise, but leaves ghost images in of course. To me this seems almost like a bug in the Lightroom CC HDR function.

                             

                            See attached example screenshots. The first image uses no de-ghosting (see legs in white trousers and dog), bau also no noise visible. The second image uses medium de-ghosting, so the gost Images were fixed, but the noise is significant without apprent reason. I have highlighted the affected areas with red circles. I have used a Canon EOS 7D MKII.Ghosting Noise Example - No Correction.JPGGhosting Noise Example - Medium level.JPG

                            • 11. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                              martin:) Level 1

                              itg237 wrote:

                               

                              Applying no de-ghosting to the same images creates beautiful HDR (better then the in-camera ones) with nearly no noise, but leaves ghost images in of course. To me this seems almost like a bug in the Lightroom CC HDR function.

                              I can confirm that: the higher the deghosting amount the more pronounced the noise and other problems in the dark areas become.

                              • 12. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                What you're seeing is normal if LR had to choose the darkest image as the one to keep to remove the motion.   LR/ACR needs a more sophisticated HDR interface that lets you choose which one to keep.

                                • 13. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                  itg237 Level 1

                                  OK, thanks. So it's not a bug but a "Feature". This makes de-ghosting unfortunately of limited use - at least for full-resolution pictures.

                                  Can you or anyone explain to me why it has to be that way? None of the three individual source images shows noise at that extreme Level. They were all shot at ISO 100. If Lightroom would just copy part of the (e.g. medium exposed) source image on the proper location, the end result should look better. Why not?

                                  Many thanks.

                                  • 14. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                    trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Ian Lyons wrote:

                                    BTW, looking at the original posters screenshot in more detail I recall seeing similar artefacts when Deghosting was off or at a low value. Setting Deghosting to Medium or High eliminated these artefacts.

                                    Isn't this in contradiction with the results posted by

                                    Ian Lyons wrote:

                                    However, if all of the images, even the brightest is still sufficiently dark that it has noise in the shadow area then there isn't a lot that HDR can do to avoid the issue. I have a handful of examples from my own library that demonstrate this.

                                    The OP scan examine the 7 bracketed image files. The highest exposure image should reveal proper exposure for the column area showing high noise. If it appears appears dark with no adjustments applied then the bracket is under-exposed for the scene dynamic range. what exposure bracket amount did you use for the 7 images (?.?EV)

                                    • 15. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                      JMarkTurner Level 1

                                      My original seven-image bracket was shot at ISO 400, f/8, shutter speeds in full-stop increments from 1/100 to 1/6400. In the brightest exposure, there's detail in the shadows and no more noise than one would expect with a Canon 5DIII at ISO 400. In the darkest frame, the pillar is very nearly pure black (2.6, 2.4, 1.8%).

                                       

                                      I blended the same 7 frames with LR/Infuse and got a much cleaner result. That's the version I ultimately delivered to my client.

                                       

                                      I also tried blending just the brightest, darkest, and middle exposure with Lightroom's HDR module and that one is cleaner in the shadow area, too.

                                       

                                      Finally, I ran the merge with all 7 files again in Lightroom, but with Deghosting off. This time, the shadow noise on the pillar is gone. There are still some objectionable halos around some of the tree trunks and posts where they intersect the island, the same as in the original version I posted here a few days ago.

                                       

                                      For now, I'm going to stick with my LR/Infuse HDR workflow, although it doesn't always give the results I'm after, either.

                                      • 16. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                        ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        The darkest image must be brightened to match the exposure of the surrounding image and that increases the noise.  Brightening the exposure is like turning up the ISO sensitivity. 

                                         

                                        I usually have Deghosting turned off because it tends to cause discontinuities in the sky. 

                                         

                                        Can you produce an HDR out of the two brighter images, foregoing the darkest one, or are there only two?

                                        • 17. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                          trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          I just looked at your LR Develop module screenshot in the original post. Looking at the Detail panel settings you are applying a very high amount of Sharpening to the HDR DNG file:

                                           

                                           

                                          With my Canon 5D MKII raw images shot at similar ISO (400 or less) the Merge to HDR DNG file has very low noise and good sharpening using my LR default Develop settings. The merging process should significantly reduce noise and slightly raise overall sharpness of the image when compared to the "best exposure" individual bracketed image file.

                                           

                                           

                                          Is the "haloing" reduced in the HDR DNG when you apply the above Detail panel settings?

                                          • 18. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                            JMarkTurner Level 1

                                            Ssprengel, your comment "The darkest image must be brightened to match the exposure of the surrounding image and that increases the noise.  Brightening the exposure is like turning up the ISO sensitivity." doesn't make sense to me. I may be totally wrong here, but I thought the whole idea of HDR was to take the properly exposed portions of each frame being merged, so the bright areas come from the "underexposed" frame, the dark areas from the "overexposed" and the midtones from the "correct exposure." This is the first I've heard of brightening the dark exposure before merging.

                                             

                                            I shot a series of 7 exposures to capture detail from the deep shadows under a porch and the detail in the bright clouds overhead There wouldn't be much point in only blending the two brightest frames because they have clipped highlights.

                                            • 19. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                              trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              JMarkTurner wrote:

                                               

                                              Ssprengel, your comment "The darkest image must be brightened to match the exposure of the surrounding image and that increases the noise.

                                               

                                              I shot a series of 7 exposures to capture detail from the deep shadows under a porch and the detail in the bright clouds overhead There wouldn't be much point in only blending the two brightest frames because they have clipped highlights.

                                              Ssprengel is trying to determine if the two highest exposure (i.e. brightest) image files actually have low-noise in the shadow areas. Forget the highlights for now since they appear to be OK. This is simply a test to see if the 7 bracketed images are shifted towards under-exposure. In other words you may have needed to shoot the the 7 bracketed images with an in-camera +1 or +2 EV Exposure Compensation.

                                              • 20. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                I didn't realize you had 7 images, total, and was suggesting using the brighter two out of maybe three.

                                                 

                                                I'm basically suggesting to try various subsets of images until the deghosting chooses the other leg position that is in the brighter set of images so won't need to boost the effective ISO (and therefore noise) of the darkest one(s).  It may be impossible to get things to look right.  And there needs to be a way to give manual hints about which parts of which frames are to be chosen.

                                                 

                                                The AutoPanoGiga software I use has a reasonably good way to do this for when there is movement in the overlapping areas of a panorama image set.  I'd guess Adobe will never try that hard, though.

                                                • 21. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                  martin:) Level 1

                                                  ssprengel wrote:

                                                   

                                                  What you're seeing is normal if LR had to choose the darkest image as the one to keep to remove the motion.

                                                  The problem is that it always seems to choose portions from a darker image. I agree that the interface could do with more options to control the merge.

                                                  • 22. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                    John MacLean Level 1

                                                    This page explains why this is occurring, but yes I concur with you. At least in PS 32 bit HDR you could choose your source file.

                                                     

                                                    http://www.ddroom.com/lightroom-cc-merge-to-hdr-ghosting-and-noise-issues/

                                                    • 23. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                      BKKDon Level 4

                                                      Hi,

                                                       

                                                      Just asking if there has been any progress with this issue of noise in the Merge to HDR process ... in this case on the left you see the resulting DNG from LR6 Merge to HDR and on the right is 32bit Merge to HDR in CS6 where I chose the -2EV image as the reference image for de-ghosting. Seems as though there are still serious issues that Adobe has not yet resolved.

                                                       

                                                      LR6-HDR Merge.jpg

                                                      • 24. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                        trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                        What are your Luminance and Color NR settings showing in LR for the HDR DNG file?

                                                        • 25. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                          BKKDon Level 4

                                                          trshaner wrote:

                                                           

                                                          What are your Luminance and Color NR settings showing in LR for the HDR DNG file?

                                                          Basically they are set to default (0 & 25) on both input and output. There is no visible noise on any of the 3 input files (-2,0,+2) and there are no develop settings used.

                                                           

                                                          Wit a combination of both Luminance and Color noise reduction some, no all, can be removed but you have to move it up to +100 and that brings in too much smoothing.

                                                           

                                                          It seems as though the process is simply using the wrong areas for the blending because even if I choose the Dark image for the ghosting reference, as I did in CS6 HDR merge, there are no issues with the output. I tried with LR/Enfuse, Protomatrix & Nik and of course the best exposure blend result is LR/Enfuse but no ghosting removal.

                                                           

                                                          It just seems like it uses the -2 image for the pivot frame and the 0 image for the shadows whereas it should use the +2 image with the better darks and shadows.

                                                           

                                                          Obviously this issue has been around since release and there is a explanation given by Mark Fitzgerald in the link above ... because as you can see from this screen dump if you turn off de-ghosting it seems to give a reasonable exposure blend.

                                                           

                                                          LR6-HDR Merge DGOff.jpg

                                                          • 26. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                            trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            I suggest adding your vote and comments here: Lightroom CC HDR deghost results in noisy image It looks like Adobe needs to add the option of select the deghost reference frame same as in PS Merge to HDR.

                                                             

                                                            The other suggestion I have is to shoot with a wider exposure bracket. The in-camera highlight clipping indicator is rarely accurate, which leads to under-exposure. Shoot least five bracketed frames and then check them for highlight clipping using RawDigger. You can't check raw data clipping in LR because a camera profile has been applied! The lowest exposure frame should have very slight highlight clipping or none. The highest exposure frame should have very slight shadow clipping or none. Depending on the lighting a 4EV bracket set (+2, 0, -2) may not be sufficient. Here's an example I shot that required a 6EV exposure bracket set and still had some clipping. The below bracket range HDR required Luminance 15 and Color 3 NR. There is another issue in both LR and PS HDR that causes deep red colored objects to lose saturation when Color NR is applied, which is why I only use a setting of 3. PS's HDR is worse in this respect, but shouldn't need any NR since it's applied during the LR Edit In process.

                                                             

                                                            Re: Which one is the best method for creating HDR files?

                                                             

                                                            RawDigger Clipping +3EV and -3EV.jpg

                                                            • 27. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                              BKKDon Level 4

                                                              Hi,

                                                               

                                                              Thanks for the tip and I have use RawDigger in the past but I have found that for the 5DsR the in-camera highlight clipping is quite accurate and I think that your comment about the de-ghosting reference frame is valid. It is a mystery though.

                                                              • 28. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                                Geoff the kiwi Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                Also what do you get it you just use the -2 and +2 frames??

                                                                • 29. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                                  BKKDon Level 4

                                                                  Geoff the kiwi wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  Also what do you get it you just use the -2 and +2 frames??

                                                                  I haven't tried that but as I said above without de-ghosting the exposure blending is fine. Let me try and i will get back to you.

                                                                  • 30. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                                    BKKDon Level 4

                                                                    Hi,

                                                                     

                                                                    Tested and it is fine ... except for the de-ghosted areas, see below:

                                                                     

                                                                    LR6-HDR Merge -2+2 Deghost.jpg

                                                                    • 31. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                                      Geoff the kiwi Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                      Thanks, let me point this out to the team......

                                                                      • 32. Re: HDR Merge Shadow Noise & Halos
                                                                        martin:) Level 1

                                                                        I hadn't done any merges requiring deghosting for a while but it seems things have improved with recent updates. Results are definitely cleaner now.