Proper HDR workflow  

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Proper HDR workflow

by LBernos » Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:31 am

Hello!

I just want to know what is the proper or best way to work on panoramas with 3 different exposures and how to blend them correctly?

Here is what I do and if you may, please tell me if what I am doing is wrong:

1. Shoot panorama with 3 exposures
2. Import photos to lightroom
3. Edit photos (a little)
4. Export as High res jpegs
5. Import as stacks in APG
6. Detect
7. Edit in APG
8. Click HDR in APG color modes
9. Render

one of my problems is I don't know how to edit on specific areas only like make the ceiling brighter or make the dark areas pop out..

Is there a better way to make an HDR pano?

Thanks!

LINO

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by Destiny » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:11 am

Hi..
Well personnel I would do this..

Shoot exposures, ev 2+/-

Use Phothmatix to fuse stacks

Add to APG, detect and stitch..

Add the pano to LR if needed... BUT be careful not to edit ends...

..or Add fused stakes to LR... then edit before stitching which should eliminate the resk of tbe ends of the panno being effected by editing.

Destiny

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by LBernos » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:36 am

Destiny wrote:Hi..
Well personnel I would do this..

Shoot exposures, ev 2+/-

Use Phothmatix to fuse stacks

Add to APG, detect and stitch..

Add the pano to LR if needed... BUT be careful not to edit ends...

..or Add fused stakes to LR... then edit before stitching which should eliminate the resk of tbe ends of the panno being effected by editing.

Destiny


Hello Destiny..

When you use photomatix to fuse stacks, do you fuse raw photos or jpegs?

because my problem now is I have to correct the white balance of the photos first...

Lino

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:25 am

LBernos wrote:Hello!

I just want to know what is the proper or best way to work on panoramas with 3 different exposures and how to blend them correctly?

Here is what I do and if you may, please tell me if what I am doing is wrong:

1. Shoot panorama with 3 exposures
2. Import photos to lightroom
3. Edit photos (a little)
4. Export as High res jpegs
5. Import as stacks in APG
6. Detect
7. Edit in APG
8. Click HDR in APG color modes
9. Render

one of my problems is I don't know how to edit on specific areas only like make the ceiling brighter or make the dark areas pop out..

Is there a better way to make an HDR pano?

Thanks!

LINO


I use exactly the same method as you for 1-4 then exactly the same as Destiny for the remainder. APG stack processing is meant to work OK but is nowhere near as good as Photomatix with respect to anti-ghosting and image alignment inside stacks if you have movement in the images or photograph hand-held (both of which apply to me !)

Because you are bracketing (you don't say how much but the normal is -2 0 +2 EV) the you should not really need to enhance the dark areas manually as this is what the fusing is meant to achieve. Try increasing the number of brackets to say 5 or increasing the step width in the EV increments. Manually altering the shadow or contrast in parts of images often leads to disappointing results in my experience

The conventional wisdom is to use tif not jpg images from the raw images but I have not found it makes a noticeable difference to the final result but uses much more storage space and is a slower process (so I am still unconvinced on this)

You can alter the white balance in the Lightroom step before fusing but can't you adjust it on the camera settings before shooting ?

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by Destiny » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:34 am

Hi... No, I edit my settinys in RAW, removing chromatic aberration and setting colour space to RGBs, correct WB etc... Export as TIF, then I add those images into Photmatix.. Export/Save as TIF.. Add those images into APG..
I should point out I have never had the need to use LR...

Destiny..

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by LBernos » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:37 am

Destiny wrote:.Hi... No, I edit my settinys in RAW, removing chromatic aberration and setting colour space to RGBs, correct WB etc... Export as TIF, then I add those images into Photmatix.. Export/Save as TIF.. Add those images into APG..I should point out I have never had the need to use LR...Destiny..


Hi,

I did the same destiny.. exported to TIFF from lightroom then import to photomatix, then I exported in photomatix as BALANCED preset..

now my problem is I have so many black spots on the ceiling of my pano... what preset do you recommend for processing in photomatix?


Thanks!


Lino

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:13 pm

I use "Natural" by default but some of the other exotic ones can be fun for special effects

Martin

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by Destiny » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:02 pm

Are the black spots from your lens/camera....

Destiny...

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by henkw » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:00 pm

My experience is that I need different workflows for different panos depending on (1) how well APG handles the set of images, (2) how big the resulting pano is and (3) the effect I want to achieve.

This is quite a useful guide: http://www.kolor.com/wiki-en/action/vie ... w_it_works although it seems to me that the documentation of HDR in general could be improved. For example, the sticky at the top of this forum was locked 4 years ago. Perhaps the information therein could be added to the Wiki and the sticky replaced with a link to it?

FWIW mostly I shoot three brackets (-2,0,+2) and want to make full spherical panos that are around 30000 x 15000 pixels. Coincidentally this is almost exactly the largest image Photomatix (highly recommended) can handle on my machine with 16GB memory.

I would say there is only one correct way of processing the images if you want a consistent use of colour and dynamic range. This is to make an HDR pano and then render it using Photomatix. There are two ways to achieve this: see workflows E and F in the Wiki - I call these "merge to HDR and then stitch" and "stitch then merge to HDR" respectively. In both cases you make an .hdr pano that you render in Photomatix.

I will grumpily accept that workflow B is acceptable if only for the fact it is the only option available when your computer doesn't have enough RAM for Photomatix. I don't consider it "correct" because fusion is only one of a number of different ways of rendering a .hdr using 8-bit colour.

I don't consider workflows A and D to be "HDR" at all because you are not working with bracketed images. Perhaps I am missing something?

Note that fusing (or tone-mapping) stacks before stitching is not mentioned in any workflow. This is because it is incorrect unless you want a crazy patchwork image (in general).

However, I find APG's implementation of working with stacks to be buggy and I often end up trying E, F and B and then choosing the least worst - but then I did choose to be a high-resolution HDR panographer :-)

It would be wonderful if APG included tone-mapping but I guess the money is in video for the time being.

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:32 am

I wanted to see if I too can improve my workflow and found this thread.

I see most of you use photomatix. I've tried to use both photomatix and easyhdr to fuse the stacks on multiple occasions but I've never seen any major improvement over fusing the images directly in APG.

Most of my experience with these programs have been negative with weird colors and lots of noise. I'm probably doing something wrong but I don't know what. Everything just works and looks so easy in the photomatix tutorials. All my exposures look good and I use ISO 100 so there shouldn't be that much noise. When only processing the same exposures though APG, everything looks great.

Even when I have succeeded with producing something though photomatix, there isn't a big enough of a difference to justify the extra work.

So my current workflow looks like this

1. I shoot the panorama with 3 exposures
2. Import as stacks in APG
3. Edit control points in APG
4. Export as 8-bit tiff with exposure fusion (Workflow case B). I've never experienced any major improvement with 16-bit tiff that justifies the double size. Maybe if I ever were to take pictures during night time but for 95% of the time I use 8-bit.
5. Render
6. Import to DXO Photolab
7. Apply some of my own presets and fine tune. DXO offers awesome sharpening, HDR effect and local adjustments of windows with a simple "control point" adjustment that doesn't require any brush strokes.
8. Export to lightroom
9. Fix chromatic aberration and make a final white balance, which LR does much better than DXO since DXO white balance settings are limited with TIFF-files.
10. Export to JPG

My results with this workflow is just as good as most tours that I've seen. Only photographers like http://www.thierryrussodelattre.com/ makes my work look mediocre.

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:35 am

Btw, what would you say about a competition? I post 12 raw files (3 exposures in 4 directions) of a panorama and we see who can achieve the best result? The winners get to explain their workflow in more detail so others can learn and the prize if fame and glory.

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:01 pm

ungeherr wrote:I wanted to see if I too can improve my workflow and found this thread.

I see most of you use photomatix. I've tried to use both photomatix and easyhdr to fuse the stacks on multiple occasions but I've never seen any major improvement over fusing the images directly in APG.

Most of my experience with these programs have been negative with weird colors and lots of noise. I'm probably doing something wrong but I don't know what. Everything just works and looks so easy in the photomatix tutorials. All my exposures look good and I use ISO 100 so there shouldn't be that much noise. When only processing the same exposures though APG, everything looks great.

Even when I have succeeded with producing something though photomatix, there isn't a big enough of a difference to justify the extra work.

So my current workflow looks like this

1. I shoot the panorama with 3 exposures
2. Import as stacks in APG
3. Edit control points in APG
4. Export as 8-bit tiff with exposure fusion (Workflow case B). I've never experienced any major improvement with 16-bit tiff that justifies the double size. Maybe if I ever were to take pictures during night time but for 95% of the time I use 8-bit.
5. Render
6. Import to DXO Photolab
7. Apply some of my own presets and fine tune. DXO offers awesome sharpening, HDR effect and local adjustments of windows with a simple "control point" adjustment that doesn't require any brush strokes.
8. Export to lightroom
9. Fix chromatic aberration and make a final white balance, which LR does much better than DXO since DXO white balance settings are limited with TIFF-files.
10. Export to JPG

My results with this workflow is just as good as most tours that I've seen. Only photographers like http://www.thierryrussodelattre.com/ makes my work look mediocre.


For a completely static panorama taken using a tripod I agree APG Fusion gives good results - although you need quite a bit of raw computer power in terms of CPU and RAM for big panos

The main problem is (and even Kolor admit this) that neither anti-ghosting or image alignment is handled well (or at all in some cases). So if you have a bracketed set with any movement contained in the sets, you will get issues arising. This can include clouds, waves, leaves on trees in motion or just general traffic/people. Also, I do quite a bit of panoramic photography hand-held and in these cases the members of the bracketed sets may be framed slightly differently to one another. APG does not handle this either

This is the reason I tend to use Photomatix rather than APG but I do agree with what you said about artifacts appearing. This is particularly true if using the stronger anti-ghosting settings and also if a +EV member is used a the base image

Martin

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:58 pm

Ok, so the benefit is mainly alignment and ghosting. I thought photomatix would give better and more stunning colors or something. I have a monster computer so performance isn't much of an issue. I captured this place https://tour.swedvr.se/tolv/tolv.html with high ISO and I just tested running some RAWs through Photomatix, but it didn't get any sharper than using only APG.
I discovered the benefits with DXO PhotoLab after I made this tour so I believe I could have made it look even better today

This pano uses my new workflow https://tour.swedvr.se/tolv/tolv.html?s=pano12569 but it isn't really comparable to the other panos since it was captured with ISO 250 and most of the tour was captured with ISO 3200-6400.

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:49 pm

I've now spent a whole working day playing with photomatix and I must admit that it does make a difference.
It's as you say a lot faster to work in APG if I let Photomatix do the heavy lifting. Checking control points goes way faster and it feels like the default stitching is better too. Maybe just my imagination.

However, I find it interesting that you recommend the "Natural" preset. The result is very close to what I achieve with the HDR fusion in APG and both of them have one BIG flaw. They both add virtual achromatic aberration. Sometimes so severe that you need really aggressive setting to remove it and even then, you're not guaranteed to get rid of all of it. Aggressive defringe settings will affect other areas of the image as well so I would actually recommend to not use "Natural" when doing batch processing.

The only safe HDR settings are either based on "Details Enhancer" or the "Contrast Optimizer".

I've attached 6 images based on the HDR fusion in APG with the file name "APG"
Test 1.5 is based on "Details Enhancer" and Test 2 is based on the "Contrast Optimizer"
Balanced uses the default settings (based on "Contrast Optimizer")
Soft 3 also uses the default settings (based on "Details Enhancer")
Attachments
test2.JPG
test1.5.JPG
soft3.JPG
natural.JPG
balanced.JPG
APG.JPG

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:38 pm

ungeherr wrote:However, I find it interesting that you recommend the "Natural" preset. The result is very close to what I achieve with the HDR fusion in APG and both of them have one BIG flaw. They both add virtual achromatic aberration. Sometimes so severe that you need really aggressive setting to remove it and even then, you're not guaranteed to get rid of all of it. Aggressive defringe settings will affect other areas of the image as well so I would actually recommend to not use "Natural" when doing batch processing.


Would it be possible to put in some close-ups of the area where you found problems with the use of the "Natural" preset

I'm not really sure from your write-up exactly what this would look like and at the magnification you had for your screenshots I could not see any differences between the samples in that respect (perhaps I need my eyes tested !)

I have run a test using Photomatix "Natural", "Detailed" and "Balanced" presets and could not find any significant differences with regard to aberrations.

I was using Photomatix 6.0.3 Beta
Brackets -2EV 0EV +2EV
Sony ARW images straight from the camera
Noise reduction=ON (for the -2EV image)
Chromatic aberration reduction=ON
Anti Ghost = 74%
Base image = -2EV

Martin

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:03 pm

The reason why you have a hard time seeing the difference is because I've done my best to remove the chromatic aberration in the affected imagers (without using the brush tool). Which is pretty stupid if I want to prove a point :)

But you know what, I just made another discovery.
I was about to show you that there's no chromatic aberration in my RAW files by cropping each RAW image in Photoshop. That's when I discovered that they all have it. How could I not have seen this? Well, that's the discovery.
The Microsoft Photos app which is my standard viewer, is REALLY good at removing all chromatic aberration. So I was under the impression that my RAW files didn't need any removal.
For some reason "Balanced" & "Soft" suppress the chromatic aberration.
Which software do you do you use to batch remove the chromatic aberration in your images? Light room?

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:21 pm

Microsoft Photos is sharpening the image too

Another annoying thing that I've noticed is that it uses my monitors "Photo Pro" color space and not sRGB which makes all the colors more vivid than what they're supposed to look like even if I view an image with sRGB color space.
I tried finding a better viewer that can open all formats but didn't find one.

Have a look at the attached image and you will clearly see the sharpened image with no chromatic aberration even though it's an untouched RAW file
Attachments
MicrosoftPhotosVSPhotoshop-.jpg

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:22 pm

ungeherr wrote:The reason why you have a hard time seeing the difference is because I've done my best to remove the chromatic aberration in the affected imagers (without using the brush tool). Which is pretty stupid if I want to prove a point :)

But you know what, I just made another discovery.
I was about to show you that there's no chromatic aberration in my RAW files by cropping each RAW image in Photoshop. That's when I discovered that they all have it. How could I not have seen this? Well, that's the discovery.
The Microsoft Photos app which is my standard viewer, is REALLY good at removing all chromatic aberration. So I was under the impression that my RAW files didn't need any removal.
For some reason "Balanced" & "Soft" suppress the chromatic aberration.
Which software do you do you use to batch remove the chromatic aberration in your images? Light room?


Yes Lightroom
But for this test I used RAW straight from the camera so I could isolate any problems with Photomatix

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:24 pm

Maybe your RAW images didn't have any chromatic aberration?

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:40 pm

Here's a comparison using another image (I deleted the first one) where you can see the difference between "Natural" and a preset using "Contrast Optimizer"

This time, I didn't apply any chromatic aberration removal in Lightroom. Only slight removal in DXO which doesn't make any major difference.
Attachments
naturalVScontrastoptimizer.jpg

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:01 pm

ungeherr wrote:Here's a comparison using another image (I deleted the first one) where you can see the difference between "Natural" and a preset using "Contrast Optimizer"

This time, I didn't apply any chromatic aberration removal in Lightroom. Only slight removal in DXO which doesn't make any major difference.


I just dug up a bracketed set of old cr2 (canon) raw files which had much more chromatic aberration than my arw files which are negligible

On the CR2 files I got the same result as you with the Natural being worse than the Detailed after Photomatix. However, when the "remove aberration" switch was set on in Photomatix both were much better (and better than your sample above) but the Natural was just a little worse than Detailed but they were close

The Natural after switching on the "remove aberration" switch was much better than the detailed without the "remove aberration" switch as well

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:25 pm

Strange. The Photomatix remove aberration doesn't seem to make any major difference on my images :(

Ok, final question. Which of the attached images do you like more?

The one using "Contrast Optimizer" or the one using Fusion/Natural?

I personally prefer "Contrast Optimizer" because the ceiling is unnaturally bright with "Natural" in my opinion.
With that said, when looking at the RAW files, the ceiling is pretty bright, so it isn't really wrong.

In this case "Contrast Optimizer" works better but in another, "Natural might be the best choice.

Details enhancer doesn't seam to remove the aberration completely but "Contrast Optimizer" does

"Natural" produce sharper images. Even slightly sharper than "Details Enhancer" but all three settings are sharp. I find the lighting more interesting.

If I find that "Contrast Optimizer" works for most of my images, then I can skip one step (batch removing chromatic aberration) which is really nice.
Attachments
natural.JPG
contrastopimizer.JPG

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:48 pm

Here's the difference with different styles/presets where "aberration removal" is activated.

You can see that "Natural" removes more pink in the "K" than the others, without succeeding in removing the chromatic aberration.

My Test 1.5 preset is based on the "Detailed" style and the Test 2 preset is based on the "Soft 3" style
Attachments
test2_Soft3.JPG
test1.5_Detailed.JPG
Soft3.JPG
Natural.JPG
Detailed.JPG

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by marzipano » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:58 pm

I went through all the presets some time ago and also tried some of my own concoctions.

I was trying to keep away from the exaggerated effects that you can get with some of these options that make them look a bit "cartoonish"

I may revisit though as I haven't done this since v4 and they are now on V6 so it looks as though some new ones have been added and some may have improved too

These are my results as annotated using cr2 files straight out of the camera
Attachments
bal+nat.jpg
fullimage.jpg

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Re: Proper HDR workflow

by ungeherr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:11 pm

The Citi logo looks best with the "Balanced" style. Please try my attached presets and see what you think. Test 2 is my favorite. I've pulled down the saturation a little bit and the image can get pretty dark compared to other styles but you can recover all that without any extra noise in Lightroom.
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Presets.zip
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