Today we've got an awesome article about HDR and its applications. Andrea Pelizzardi, an italian designer, sent us an absolutily awesome tutorial on how to do 2 HDR effects... After checking this out, don't forget to visit his site! Cheers! ;)

When someone says to you: "HDR", what do you think about? A big, weird, impossible picure you can't believe... no? Well, a lot of people think that HDR was created to have a weird effect like the posters of Harry Potter, but this is NOT the purpose of it.

The High Dynamic Range is a technique that merges 3 photos (usually, but you can merge 20 photos also) and have the possibility to get every detail and every right lights from 'em, without having parts overexposed or underexposed. In fact, a HDR is just like a RAW file. You have a 32bit image, so you can work with higher ranges, expose the photo again, work on it without destroying any details, etc.

Surfing on Flickr or checking several photos, you can find these two kinds of HDR. The greatest part of 'em is formed by the usual "Harry Potter" HDR, like these:

Yeah, they're are very cool, wonderful and spectacular, but why did the photographer use the technique this way? To impress people? Because he loves it? It's a hard question... But I say that HDR was not created to do this, for another kind of work, like these:

I know that do the actual HDR technique is harder than get the "Harry Potter" one. Now, I want to try these two methods using the same 3 photos.

STEP 1 - (for both the methods)

Open the 3 photos in Photoshop CS3 (best software to do this work). Go to File -> Automate -> Merge To HDR.

Now click in "Add Open Files" and select "Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images" ONLY IF if you took the photos without a tripod or something to stable it. Then click OK.

Wait a few seconds, then click Ok again. Now you have a 32bit HDR file. Go to Image -> Mode -> 16bit.

Now you have the settings window for the 32 to 16 HDR conversion. Select "Local Adaptation" from the pop-up menu, then click "Toning curve and histogram".

STEP 2.A - 'Harry Potter' Effect

Now go to -> Image -> Adjustament -> Shadows/Highlights.

Set these values.

Now go to -> Image -> Adjustament -> Bightness/contrast and set these values.

Go again to Image -> Mode -> 8 bit (if you want to export a JPEG file).

Save and export.

STEP 2.B - 'HDR was born to do this' Effect

Set these values.

Now go to -> Image -> Adjustment -> Shadows/Highlights.

Set these values.

Go again to Image -> Mode -> 8bit (if you want to export a JPEG File).

Save and export.

Download the sample picture

Click here to download the sample picture

About the author of this post

I'm Paulo Gabriel, a Publicist by degree and Designer by passion with a taste for the meaningful and emotional. I work at Printi as a Designer and Front-End Developer. Here at Abduzeedo, I always try to bring you only amazing content, things that mean something for me and for those around me.