Step by step

Six be­come one

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Merge a set of brack­eted images to cre­ate one HDR pic­ture…

01 Six of the best

Open the six start images (down­loaded from the disc or via the link be­low) in Cam­era RAW. Un­der the Sharp­en­ing tab, set the de­tail to 0 – this will keep the im­age un­touched, ready for edit­ing. It is also a good idea to avoid ad­just­ing the ex­po­sures as they will all be used for the HDR merge.

02 Get merg­ing

To merge your set of brack­eted images, open Pho­to­shop. Go to File>Au­to­mate>Merge to HDR Pro, and then browse to wher­ever you’ve saved your images. Make sure you have sRGB and 16 bit se­lected, and de­s­e­lect the Au­to­mat­i­cally align box, then click on OK.

03 Give it some grit

Now you can edit your HDR im­age. Start by in­creas­ing the Edge Glow Strength to 1, and drag the Ra­dius slider to some­where around the mid­dle. To get a gritty HDR, in­crease the De­tail too. Once you are happy, click OK and Pho­to­shop will ‘tone map’ this into a regular 16-bit im­age.

04 Boost the con­trast

Af­ter us­ing the HDR tool, many com­bined images will look quite bright and flat. Ad­just­ing the con­trast us­ing Lev­els, Curves or Bright­ness/ Con­trast will cor­rect this (use your pre­ferred tool; we used Lev­els). Tweak it as much you think nec­es­sary; there is no right or wrong amount.

05 Go with the grain

To en­hance the grain def­i­ni­tion, du­pli­cate the im­age layer. Set the new layer’s blend mode to Over­lay us­ing the drop­down menu. Go to Fil­ters> Other>High Pass and set the Ra­dius to around 10, lower the layer opac­ity slightly (roughly 75% will do), then flat­ten the lay­ers.

06 Dodge and burn

Sharp­en­ing will not be nec­es­sary as the im­age is al­ready highly sharp­ened. We tweaked the colour bal­ance, found in the ‘Im­age/Ad­just­ments’ tab, to re­duce the or­ange. We also bright­ened the stair­case with the dodge tool and dark­ened the walls with the burn tool. Crop and save.

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