3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 2, 2017 12:17 AM by Stephen_A_Marsh

    Methods of selectively blending bracketed images into one dynamic image


      Hello everyone:


      I'm trying to figure out the best methods of blending multiple exposures.


      With my bracketed images, how do I layer the images to selectively to preserve the data in the highights, midtones, and shadows. Now I want to avoid a general blending method like HDR, I need to ability to have specific selection omitted or include. Should I use luminosity masking or is there a better dodging and burning method?


      Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this convoluted question.

        • 1. Re: Methods of selectively blending bracketed images into one dynamic image
          S_Gans Adobe Community Professional

          Personally, I've often started with luminosity masks for this - but I often find that even those masks require manual tweaking, and often make choices I don't want, or have edges I don't want. Depending on the nature of the image, I'll try the luminosity masks as you're doing, but I do LOTS of hand masking/unmasking as well.


          They made a lot of improvements to the dodge and burn tools, but they're still intended for destructive layer work - can't do it on a duplicate layer


          Another old-school method that I often use is to make a New Layer (but when using the New Layer icon, hold Option/Alt. It brings up a dialog box, on which, in the bottom, I change the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay (depending on the strength of effect you want - you can always change it later to test between the 2. I keep my opacity at 100% while creating and tweak that later as well. When choosing either of these blend modes, I get the option to fill with the "neutral color" - 50% gray, which is invisible in Soft Light and Overlay - unless you paint with white or black or variations of gray on it - then it acts like a NON-destructive dodge/burn. Using this method, I find make lots of them, with varying levels of opacity (changed through the layers panel) and with varying options - like one for highlights, one for shadows, one for objects I just want to bring out a little, etc...


          Hope that helps.

          • 2. Re: Methods of selectively blending bracketed images into one dynamic image
            davescm Adobe Community Professional


            Although you say you don't want to use "general blending " like HDR have you considered using Lightroom or ACR to make a 32 bit smart object from your images.

            You then have the ability to use ACRs local adjustment brushes to dodge and burn to your hearts content all on the 32 bit file which is a smart object within your Photoshop 16 bit image file. Being a smart object you can of course re-open and readjust at any time.


            Just a thought - you may have other reasons to avoid such a workflow .



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Methods of selectively blending bracketed images into one dynamic image
              Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

              Select your files in Bridge, then use Tools > Merge to HDR Pro




              Bridge, Tools > Load Files into Photoshop Layers… then target/select all the layers and convert to smart object, then use Smart Object Stack Mode and play around (probably using mean, median etc).




              Use third party exposure blending software, such as “Enfuse”.

              1 person found this helpful