HDR Photos [Photoshop and Luminance HDR]

HDR Photos

It’s been a while since I posted anything about HDR imaging, and I realized that I never put Adobe Photoshop CS5 to the test. I did try creating an HDR image with CS4, but was disappointed with the results…

In the image above you can see my final output of an image. On the left side is all Photoshop, and on the right side is Luminance HDR (formerly “Qtpfsgui” for you old timers.)

Now for both of these images I did the HDR+ thing I talked about a while back, where I blend an HDR image with a normal exposure. Personally, I like the way those turn out, so it’s pretty much how I do HDR.

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Photoshop. (View it large at Flickr.)

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Luminance HDR. (View it large at Flickr.)

I think the Photoshop image looks better in the sky… it looks a bit cleaner, while the Luminance HDR image has a little bit of banding going on. You can also see some differences in the trees, and the water, but I think the rocks in the foreground really show the difference, and I prefer what Luminance HDR did.

This is only my first attempt at comparing the two applications, so it’s not entirely scientific. I did go into each file and tweak it a bit to try to match them closely as far as the color balance, but the detail is where the difference is most apparent. I also didn’t see any way to adjust the tonemapping in Photoshop, while Luminance HDR has a ton of sliders and options to twiddle with.

I suppose next time I could combine the two final images into a ‘final final’ image that would be some sort of SUPER HDR+ image. (I’ll add that to the ‘to do’ list.)