Photomatix Question, help, hdr photomatix pro tips and tricks

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I just got Photomatix and am impressed with the ease in which it blends photos. Right now I have been doing the blends with ORF files and that seems to work pretty well. But being the lazy person I am, and not wanting to spend the time figuring it out myself, I was wondering if there is a more preferable way to handle the workflow. So what do you guys do?

Do you “develop” in Studio or the RAW developer of your choice and then go to Photomatix?

Do you develop then do your photo “cleaning” with the processing program of your choice and then go to photomatix?

Do you blend in photomatix and then go to your processing program.

Or are you just so darn good you don’t need to do anything more after you blend in photomatix….

Or do you do something different?

What I am trying to find out is your thoughts on the best workflow to preserve the quality of the image.

Thanks folks.

i’ve downloaded the photomatix trial and quite keen to buy, BUT have the following problems:-
1) have had some really weird areas of posterisation which are visible when zoomed in – i didn’t have it set on max strength and the images weren’t a big dynamic range, so it worries me that on this type of thing i am getting this posterisation. Any tips to avoid this.
2) my final image seems very lacking in contrast (i know i can edit this in CS3, but any tips here within photomatix?). Plus green and yellow colours seem very saturated – have tried reducing saturation in photomatix, but when i press the process button, the colours seem to change again as photomatix doesn’t seem to give a true colour until you process it.
3) very bad noise levels !! – anybody recommend neat imaging or imagenomic products – or does CS3 give as good results at reducing noise (i dont want to end up with an incredibly soft image, but dont know whether its better to go for standalone software that may, or may not, be better as is more specialised).
Is photomatix the best HDR tool out there, or is it better to blend in CS3/ or a different product – would rather have a less time consuming option. Any views?
i guess at the moment i am a bit dissapointed with photomatix but really want the ability to be able to produce HDR pics (I use grad filters, but these only ideal for a straight horizon, but if not then you need to be able to do HDR).
thanks

I downloaded a trial in Photomatix to HDR my photos, and when i save them it comes out with Photomatix in my image on the top left. how can i remove that or is there a button i have to click? in need of help! thanks

After batch processing 3 images in Photomatix then importing the finished image back into aperture; the finished image is appearing small. I have tried importing back into aperture as tiff or jpg; neither makes a difference. Aperture will allow me to modify or crop but not zoom. Interesting problem. I can’t seem to find a solution. Thanks for any suggestions.

I use a good noise reduction software prior to feeding TIFFs to photomatix and turn off noise reduction there (it isn’t near as good as noise ninja/topaz denoise/etc). The slider micro smothing also fixes the noise on the sky.

It’s my first time using photomatix, or attempting HDR. I shot this image raw. I then opened it in photoshop and adjusted the exposures to -2, 0 and +2 and saved them as three seperate files. I loaded them into photomatix and this is what I came up with. Would this be considered HDR? This may sound like a dumb question but if I can adjust my exposure in raw is it still necesarry to bracket? Also, would you consider that haloing around the top of the trees. I can’t make up my mind if it’s that or just the way the clouds look. This is just practice but any c&c is welcome.

Photomatix Question:
I recently sent this question to the support folks at Photomatix. I would be interested in your opinions, as well.
I am a Real Estate Photographer. I shoot homes for use on
the internet and brochures for real estate agents. I process all of my exterior
shots in HDR with Photomatix Pro 64 Bit. I feel that I have become fairly competent in its
use. However, I still struggle with maintaining sharpness and clarity. 99% of
my exterior shots are on a very sunny day at approximately noon. I shoot with a
Nikon D300 and D3S and a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens in Aperture Priority mode. I
shoot in the high speed continuous mode with AEB set for 5 shots in one stop
increments. Currently I set my aperture at f16. At ISO 200, this will
give me a shutter speed of 1/125. At -2 the shutter speed will be 1/500 and +2
will be 1/30. I process the files in Photomatix Pro 64 bit. At this setting I
have to do extensive sharpening with Photoshop CS3. I have run test shots at f8 and found that the
sharpness actually decreases from the f16 setting. It would seem to me that it
should be the other way around. At f8, the shutter speed increases to
1/400 and the -2 shot increase to 1/1600. If I take what should be the sweet
spot of the lens, f5.6 to f8 and combine it with the higher shutter speed,
shouldn’t the result in Photomatix be sharper with more clarity?

18 comments

  1. If you only have a single image, you are wasting you time creating “faux exposures” – it does not give you any additional dynamic range and will often yield a poorer result. You are better off just processing the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw / Lightroom or you can use HDR s/w like Photomatix to tonemap it. However, it is not a true HDR image.

  2. uh, shoot at as low an ISO as possible Paulo! 100 if you can, which is why most HDR is done on tripod. Shoot RAW. Reduce noise before going into Photomatix, and use LR or PS to reduce it again after if needed. Oh and make sure to shoot enough images because if you don’t have enough it will try to pull out detail that isn’t there and thus noisy shadows will
    appear.

  3. uh, shoot at as low an ISO as possible Paulo! 100 if you can, which is why most HDR is done on tripod. Shoot RAW. Reduce noise before going into Photomatix, and use LR or PS to reduce it again after if needed. Oh and make sure to shoot enough images because if you don’t have enough it will try to pull out detail that isn’t there and thus noisy shadows will

    appear.

  4. Protomatix Pro was an app I’d not tested post Lion upgrade (it is listed as OK here

    I found that when right-click editing in A3 to use Photomatix Pro app (not the plug-in), it created the TIFFs of the RAW

    images I had cmd-clicked, but would not successfully launch Photomatix Pro any more.

    I could launch from outside of A3, and then the HDR created was no diff. to normal, ie. no ‘smaller’.

    I checked the HDRsoft website and found my app and plug-in installs were out of date (app 4.0.2 –> 4.2; plug-in 1.1.6 –

    -> 1.2). So have downloaded, installed and retested. No problems for me now with Lion.

  5. If it’s a free trial, that watermark is what you would be paying to remove when you buy the full program, along with additional features, possibly. There is no way to remove it without purchase.

  6. Do you “develop” in Studio or the RAW developer of your choice and then go to Photomatix?

    it all depends on the source images.

    Do you develop then do your photo “cleaning” with the processing program of your choice and then go to photomatix?

    If they’re noisy, I process them first in bibble before sending them the photomatix.

    Do you blend in photomatix and then go to your processing program.
    yes, I usually go back frmo photomatix to edit colors and such (to get rid of that typical tonemapping look)

    to summarize, my workflow is like:
    if the originals are ok noisewise, I send them to photomatix directly, and after generating a tonemapped image, send the result to post-hdr-processing..

    if the originals are noisy, I develop them first in bibble. Noise gets amplified if you combine images.. hence I throw in a bit of NN love.

    if I shot with my E400 I _have_ to develop first, since photomatix won’t recognize my raw files

    1. As Marcof said, it all depends on the source images.

      I usually make some preliminary adjustments in Lightroom and then export 16-bit tiffs to combine in Photomatix. Once I’m satisfied with the Photomatix result, I discard the 16-bit tiff source files. Occasionally, I’ll need to do some additional adjustment in Photoshop and some noise clean-up. I have also worked directly from ORFs but only when I know the images don’t need preliminary adjustment (e.g., white balance).

      I’ve found that ‘less is more’ with Photomatix. It is capable of some dramatic effects but it’s easy to over-do it.

      1. All interesting approaches. When I went through the tutorial, they indicated that the best results came with the images being 2EV apart, so that is what I have done. I’ve been impressed with the results. But it depends on the setting – not everything looks that great in HDR, but when you get the right one, MAN! It is pretty incredible. So some of you have good results with just 1EV apart? That is interesting, I might give that a try. Although the whole concept of HDR would seem to promote blending images that have larger EV ranges so as to take in all the values.

        BTW – for those of you with E-1s, is there any way to “customize” the bracketing function so that it will give 2EVs rather than 1 for the 3 bracket sequence? I find that I get my best results when blending 3 exposures and I have tried up to 5. The only way I know to get the 2EV separation right now is to go with the 5 bracket 1EV sequence and drop out two of them.

  7. To me the f/16 crop look less sharp than the f/8 one – diffraction is very likely playing a role in softening the image at f/16. AFAIK, the 24-70 is also not a lens that is at its best at or near infinity – it appears to be optimized for event shooting and their closer distances.
    Now, another question – do you do CA correction. There is a bit visible in the crops – and the correction will shift the three (R,G,B) images relative to each other, which can cause softening due to misalignment as well if the CA correction isn’t optimized properly. Also, for optimal quality, you may need to use another RAW converter (NX2 or ACR) and then run the converted images through photomatix; this generates a lot more work though.

  8. How do you make hdr images?
    ok so i have my underexposed, my regular exposed and my overexposed images…..i have photomatix pro trial version and when i hit generate it just ends up looking terrible and like the contrast was put way to high on it….what am i doing wrong? am i making the under and over exposed images too dark and to bright?

    1. It is hard to say.

      There are two schools of thought on HDR.

      One is as a tool to provide good detail in both the highlights and the shadow areas of an image, but with NO obvious HDR “look”. Architectural photographers use HDR this way and usually just use two exposures, one for the highlights and one for the shadows.

      The other is what artists shoot and the results just scream, HDR because of the intensity of the effect.

      Some artists use up to nine different exposures, sometimes only a third stop difference between exposures.

      In both cases, most use Photoshop CS5 to merge those files

      From the photomatrix webste

      “We have outlined the most common technique in the following steps:
      Take three raw shots with your D-SLR camera in high, medium and low contrast
      Drag and drop these three images into your Photomatix window
      Click ‘generate HDR image’
      Select ‘Tone-mapping’ and alter sliders until you have reached your desired effect”

  9. Which lenses should I upgrade to?
    I recently bought a Canon Rebel 1100D or Rebel T3 with the stock 18-55mm Kit Lens. I’ve started to grow out of this lens and i’m considering a change in equipment.
    I am not a professional photographer, I just enjoy taking pictures.
    I mostly photograph family, landscapes, and sometimes birds from far away and sports. I also do a lot of street and night photography.
    I dont really like post processing for sharpness and stuff like that. However here are the software i use for postprocessing:
    – Photomatix Pro 4.0.2- for HDR images
    – PhotoScape- for general editing
    – Hugin- for panorama stiching
    I am on a budget of $1000CAN because I live in Canada. I am against getting lenses from the internet. I would rather pay more and assure the quality. I go to Futureshop to get most of my gear.
    Here are the lenses I have been eyeing and tell me which one is a good combo. Or maybe even recommend me a new combo! THANKS

    COMBO 1
    15-85mm Canon f3.5-5.6 USM IS : $999

    COMBO 2
    28mm Canon f1.8 USM : $400
    50mm Sigma f1.4 USM : $450

    COMBO 3
    28-135mm Canon f3.5-5.6 USM IS : $550
    50mm Canon f1.8 (nifty fifty) : $120
    28mm Canon f1.8 USM : $400

    Leave you opinion below. If you recommend other lenses, put that down below too!
    and thanks for spending you time answering this question. Have a nice day!

    1. none of the lenses you mentioned will help you that much with what you want to shoot, except the 50mm f/1.8 for family

      you will need at least 200mm for a remote chance of getting a good picture of a bird from far away
      for landscapes, you want to have something that is less than your kit lens
      for portraits, the 50mm is good

      so here’s what I think you should do

      Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 – for landscapes
      Canon 50mm f/1.8
      Canon 55-250

  10. Is there any way to remove the “photomatix” words from my image that i created in the software?
    i created an HDR in the trial version of Photomatix HDR software, but the image has photomatix written all over it. the only reason i bothered using their software is that photoshop doesn’t have tone mapping (which is a bit lame for such an expensive software) does anyone know how to remove the words from the pictures?

    1. As with ANY program. File > Save As… and pick your file type and give it a name

      If your original file is 16 bit, you will need to change it to 8 bit in order to save it as a JPEG

      1. I had the same questions but all you have to do save the image from photomatix to your desktop as a tiff. or whatever it normally saves as then take it into photoshop. Then you go to image up top and and I beleive its image size but Im not 100% sure then but theres an option you just change the image to jpeg then save as a jpeg when you close out.

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