HDR + ACR in Photoshop CC

My guess is that many of you already appreciate the wonders of HDR. But just in case, here’s the idea: Armed with a digital camera, you capture multiple exposures of a single scene. (Most commonly, you set your DSLR to rapid-capture three or more “bracketed” shots, which can be accomplished handheld or with the aid of a tripod. Check your manual.) Then you use some form of software to merge the exposures into an astonishing work of highly detailed imagery.

If you live and breathe HDR, the best tool is a program called Photomatix Pro from HDRsoft. It costs $99. Which is only fitting this time of year. You deserve a gift, am I right? Yes, I’m right.

Meanwhile, for you Adobe enthusiasts, there’s Photoshop CC. It offers the ability to merge multiple exposures into a whopping 32-bit-per-channel composite and then develop the result in ACR, better known as Camera Raw. Photoshop CC costs considerably more than Photomatix. But, of course, Photoshop has other jobs to do.

Here’s an example of HDR in Photoshop CC:

Skyline Arch in Photoshop HDR

That first image is the initial HDR merge of five exposures that I caught of Skyline Arch (high atop Arches National Park, Utah). The second is my development of the 32-bit-per-channel image in Camera Raw. In the third image, we start tripping with Motion Blur set to the Luminosity mode. And fourth, the best use for Radial Blur I’ve come up with in years, set to 7% opacity.

The overhead is huge. A typical 32-bit 22-megapixel ACR-HDR composite weighs in at close to 1GB. (Seriously wtf?!) But what you can do, you would not believe.

I reveal all in next week’s Deke’s Techniques.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 280: Developing HDR Images in Camera Raw

Previous entry:New Course: Introducing Illustrator (with Free Samples!)


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