Jun 02, 2008
Recently I decided to force myself to make a personal blog and website to share with others my passion for graphic design. In no way am I amazing when it comes to photography but I have stumbled upon HDR, which has captivated me. Like Fabio, I too have somewhat of an obsession for HDR. The only significant difference you will find in this tutorial, among others, is the use of only having one image. The professional way of doing this would be to have a top of the line SLR with tripod and take continuous shots on different exposure levels.
For those of you that do not have the equipment to produce something like that, there is still hope! Requirements for tutorial: Photoshop and Photomatix are the only two programs that you will need. To be more specific I am using Photoshop CS3 and Photomatix Pro v.2.5. Also one RAW image that you would like to see converted. (RAW format is not required but definitely recommended.)
Open the raw image up in Photoshop. Without making any changes save the file as a .jpg in a folder. Click File > Save As > "0.jpg" Make sure save the image name as"0.jpg". This will make the process easier, as we continue to save multiple images.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure and bring the Exposure level up to "1". In this case the slider would be dragged to the right until the number "1" appears or manually type "1", in the box.
Click File > Save As > "1.jpg". Make sure to save the file name as "1.jpg" and place it in the same folder where you put the "0.jpg" file.
Follow the step above to continue saving the files in the appropriate format. Each time the image has been saved undo the changes made to the image and continue going back into Image > Adjustments > Exposure. In this case you want to have 5 files in total, all saved with different exposure levels. Exposure Levels: -2, -1, 0, 1, 2 Make sure to save all of these according to the level. ie. -2.jpg, -1.jpg, 0.jpg, 1.jpg, 2.jpg
Open up Photomatix and click HDR > Generate > Browse. Highlight and select all five of your images. Then click ok.
Sometimes Exposure Values will come come in differently then what was previously set through Photoshop. If that is the case match the number up with the name of the jpg. In this case I had an exposure value on the right hand side set to 3, which I changed back to 2. So as long as both the left and right side have the same numbers you should be good to go ahead and click "OK".
Usually the preassigned setting configure fine for the image we are working with. Keep the "align source images" checked along with the "take tone curve of color profile". Then click "OK".
Allow this to generate for a minute until your hdr image has been compiled together. Once it click HDR > Tone Mapping.
This will bring up the actual manual editing stage. First click the 1024 view at the bottom. Once the image is increased continue editing the settings on the left. Play with them until you get exactly what your looking for. Every image is different and will require unique settings. Once you are happy with the finished product click "Apply".
Click File > Save As. A few options are given for the file format but in this case just save as a .jpg.
So hopefully this tutorial has been of help to you. As HDR is becoming more and more forward in the design world I encourage all of you to get involved in it. If you have any questions, comments or personal work, I would love to see and hear from you. Feel free to check out my blog and don't forget to feed me as I am trying to grow this thing. Also check out a few other recent works I have done.
About the Author
Hello my name is Jonathan Connolly. I am the Creative Director for Theory Communication and Design. We are a Marketing and PR company reaching the automotive, youth and lifestyle market. If I am not creating something for work, I am designing something for myself and others.