It's a fair question, but do you know about Image - Adjust - HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5 proper?
A high bit depth conversion to a wide gamut profile, followed by use of the HDR Toning feature can yield some pretty striking results.
Hi Noel; Long time. I usually use 16 bit prophoto conversion, I'll try the HDR toning. To be honest though DXO is making me lazy.
I'd vote for this too.
But not for a faux HDR look, but rather for more tonal correction control. Sort of like having a Fill Light and Recovery slider, but not for shadows and highlight only, but for any tone range you like. (ACDSee Pro's Tone EQ does a pretty good job on images shot in "bad" contrasty light, if anyone tried).
Isn't Clarity the third slider in your set, Dorin?
No, not at all.
Clarity is the Photoshop equivalent of applying an USM filter with large radius. Possibly, with some smarter blending options.
The Tone Equalizer is like the existing HSL panel that works for luminosity rather than color. Each slider should adjust the brightness and contrast in given tonal range. The Photoshop equivalent would be Curves adjustment layer that masks out all but a certain tonal range. Now, imagine you have 5, 7 or 9 such layers and each has a mask built on different tonal ranges: from shadows to highlights — you get a tonal equalizer.
If we can adjust color so easily with HSL, why not the luminosity too?
What puzzles me is why just invoking HDR Toning changes the image substantially. I tried to set the sliders so there is no difference between Preview on and off to no avail. It's rather useless if I cannot start from zero.
Programmers can learn something from Walter Gropius.
At first glance, it seems debatable that a tool needs "zero" or "center-scale" settings that cause nothing to be done to the image... A software designer might think, "well, he wouldn't invoke the HDR Toning tool if he didn't want an 'HDR toned look' to the result", and also perhaps "hey, he can fade the effect after the fact with Edit - Fade, or layer transparency and masking, or whatever".
For example, if there was a new "Make Image Greenish" tool, would you expect that it should have to have a 0 setting in which the image was not made any more greenish? You might - only if all other tools worked that way (as it turns out, most DO have settings that allow you to dial-in no effect at all).
I'm not in front of my CS5 system at the moment, but isn't what you're asking for is to allow the Strength control to be able to reach all the way to 0?
Maybe Adobe gets zillions of customer complaints about functions that don't do anything, only to reach the conclusion time and again that the less-than-expert user has the "amount" or "strength" value set to 0. I note that there are pop-up dialogs in Camera Raw now notifying you of just such things (to the tone of "you won't see any results because you have such and such set to 0"). There was a question on this forum about one of those messages not too long ago.
Personally, I'm with you. Especially in a tool that allows programmability (actions, scripts) , all functions really SHOULD allow its controls to reach zero / no effect values.
If you look at ACR Camera Calibration tab, there are several sliders that affect color. They all start from zero.
What is happening in HDR is we are handed someone else's version of how it should look, and instead of finding your own look, first one has to figure out what got it there and how to circumvent it.
There are other tools that do that, notably Shadow Highlight comes to mind with a default setting not zero, but you can start there if you wish. simply dial in zero for the amount. (The default setting is ghastly. A radius of 30 is almost never called for.)
Let's not call it zero. Let's call it null. For my money, the vast majority of tools should start from a null point. Null means nothing, without value or consequence. If it isn't null, the setup needs to be transparent, ie the consequences are visible, here's where it's set and these are the values employed. The true null settings have to be present as well. It's the only sane way to operate.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like HDR guesses at values for the glow settings. They are not the same from image to image, a condition guaranteed to bring on instant !insanity! (Or at least a very loud WTF!)
So default is not only not null, it's a moving target.