Skip to main content

HDR Pro Part 1

Lesson 10 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

HDR Pro Part 1

Lesson 10 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

10. HDR Pro Part 1

Next Lesson: HDR Pro Part 2


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

HDR Pro Part 1

Let's, get away from camera for a short time. Although this still involves cameron and I want to talk about extreme cases when working out a single image just might not be enough here I'm in a church in iceland. There a lot of their churches out in the middle of countryside are tiny. I mean, look at the number of people you think you'll be seated in here. Behind me is a door, and in this case, I wanted to show what I could see when I was standing there, and when I was standing there, I could look right out the window that was there and see what's there, but in this particular case, in order to get the interior to be bright, what was out the window is way too bright. And even if I bring down the highlights slider in the white slider and all that, I'm not going to get that information there's only so much that's in there. So what I did here is I did what's known as bracketing my shots, all that means is varying the exposure, and I captured this image with this image it's dark enough that...

I can see out the windows now I'm on a tripod so that I know if I take more than one picture, they can line up. This isn't as useful handheld although it can be done not so much in this kind of instance where you're inside of a building but when you're just outside shooting and it's just bright in general you can still do hdr handheld but if you're inside where there's not a tremendous amount of light you will need a tripod so in this case I'd captured this shot and in my camera if I had a history graham I would be making sure that there's not a spike on the right side remember the right side is where white is and if there's a spike it means white takes up a lot of space and that would mean in the bright part of my picture there's no detail I went until either there was no spike there's a slight gap there meaning that's not white on the brightest part of the picture in order to get that the rest of the history ram was jammed way over towards the left where black iss because look at the rest of this room it's almost all black so I got that shot where I got my highlight detail then I took one more shot got this one but I know it happens if I try to brighten up in overly dark thing if I try to brighten up a really dark thing I get a lot of noise and they're showing up right so instead of stopping there I took another shot and even that one had areas like over here where this thing is a, uh, organ or piano over here is so dark that if I'm right now but it's going to be really noisy, so I took another shot in the piano thing is still dark, so I took another one and I kissed kept doing that until whatever was important in the dark part of the picture. It was easy to see the detail in it wasn't so dark that I was going to have to brighten it dramatically where you see all the noise. So even here there it's not necessarily so bright you can easily see the detail, but that's where I stopped so I could have continued and taking one more because what a pictures cost me stays digital cameras cost your time, you know, so now I want to merge those images together into one. Now when you take these shots, you can set up your camera on something called auto bracketing and each camera's different as far as how it's set up, but if you set it to auto bracket, you can tell it to take three shots. If you press and hold the shutter and they vary in brightness and in some cameras you can take it, tell it to take five or seven, that kind of thing and upset me and so that's usually how I set it up so it could do the bracketing for me so I don't have to manually change the settings but if you happen to have a camera that can't manually change the settings, then ah, you'll have to manually change the settings and you want to on ly change his shutter speed so just make the shutter you know the exposure longer and longer and longer so gets brighter and brighter and brighter free shot you don't want to be changing the aperture setting otherwise the depth of field how much stuff is crispin the photo would change between shots and it wouldn't look right when you put them together so I'm just going to show you how to merge these together so it's a single picture in adjusted then afterwards will come back and I'll show you how you could have done a better job because if I show you the parts that have to do a better job of it first there's just too much information you just want to get the essence down first so what I want to do is select all these images so here I am in bridge I got the first images selected ah hold shift and I'll get the last one so it gets everything in between then here in bridge going to go to the tools menu and under the tools menu's a choice called photo shop that's little side menu and there's a choice called merge to hdr pro. Now, if you happen to use light room, there is a menu called the photo menu, I believe, and there'll be a sub menu called edit in that's, where I'll find the same choice. So you got a photo menu? Choose edit in, and you'll find a choice of merging to hdr so it's slightly different location, but same functionality. So that's tools photoshopped merge to hdr pro it's hdr pro because the old version couldn't produce professional results, so they just called it merced hdr. So, anyway, I'll choose that now it's going to take those five images that I have and it's going to merge them together. Now, for this, I'm always amused by on occasion, it'll tell me photo shop is busy doing something else in what I like to cue this, you get it in line so it will do this thing next, and I'll say yes, every time I click this, it does it instantly. So whatever photo shop is busy with its like, I caught it by surprise and set down whatever it was doing, and I got to my task, so now it is combined those images into one photoshopped file, and if you happen to know about layers, you might see the layers palate update where you see multiple layers in there but when it's done emerges those layers into one is just like a process going on behind the scenes so this is what comes up and there are two ways to process this picture once it's done merging them together the first is to use the sliders that you see here these air the old sliders see what I would call the non pro version if you want an amateur looking at result do it here but if you want a professional looking at result meaning one that looks really good uh ignore these sliders and I'll show you alternative method sometimes when a dobie comes out with new features they don't put them into the program in an elegant way they just kind of graft them onto the program in however they can think of and then we have to figure out what the heck did they do to get to this particular feature and we just have to deal with it and then usually years later they make it much more elegant and this is one of those areas where they grafted on new functionality in a non elegant way and I hope to heck they change it so that it makes it much more elegant later so here's what we need to do to get good looking and results on the upper right there's a pop up menu called mode in your choices our thirty to sixteen or eight bits? No for anybody that's, not a technical person that sounds like something you don't want to mess with, you know you're like, but that's exactly what we need to change we needed change this to thirty to bid with thirty two bit means in this case is merge these pictures together, but don't process him don't optimize the picture just do the merging and don't offer me sliders to fix the picture with so when I choose thirty two bit the sliders on the right go away in the picture looks bad because it hasn't been processed yet. We're asked when you choose one of the other two settings you're saying let's process the image right here in it offers you the sliders that you could use to optimize the picture, but these sliders don't give you good lookin results, so you want to set it up here to thirty two bit, which simply means don't process it here we're going to use something else, then there's a check box we need to make sure is on, it says complete toning in adobe camera wrong complete tony and adobe camera what that means is we're going to be able to optimize this image literally using camera raw, which means all those sliders were used to using the exposure shadows highlights clarity also that's what we're going to use and that's great because where things were used to and they're things that produce great results but we need that check box on and then there's a button in the lower right just a tone in a cr just so you know a c r stands for adobe camera raw it's hard to see kes it's partially cut off on my screen but it's a button of lower rights called tone and a cr so what did I do? Well, I selected these images and bridge remember I went to the menu and bridge and somewhere in that menu was a choice called merge to hdr pro that's what brought this up in here? I changed this menu to thirty two bid to say don't process it here and I turned out a little check box that said we're going to process it using camera and then at the bottom there's a button it's blue says tony in a cr click it and now it's finishing the creation of a little file and it's sending that file over to camera in a moment we'll get camera and we'll be able to process it it still won't look good because the camera sliders will be all zeroed out, but now we have the potential of moving and unlike with a normal image where you know how when I move the highlight sliders only so far I could move it there's a pretty definite limit here, there's still a limit, but it's dramatically higher than usual because we combined what was it? Five or six picture? Five pictures together, the brightness range of all of those image is is contained in this file in so when we move it, we could get a lot more out of it. So what I usually do just to start with because it usually starts looking terrible is as a default I take my highlights and bring him all the way down that means take all the bright stuff and darken it up. And if you look here at what's bright, you see it's way too bright, isn't it? And then I take the shadows and bring it all the way up that's just a starting point so that it doesn't look like you got a lot of blown out white and clogged up black that's how I start, then all adjust exposure. Now, I got my overall brightness here, so I'm trying to get the majority of the image to look good, don't careful little part doesn't look right it's the majority somewhere in there, the majority of the image, uh, then I process it like a normal picture, meaning any and slider you'd usually think about on a normal picture, I'll try to think about it here, and so I can come in here and let's say, clarity, make it pop a little bit more, bringing that up, see what happens if I make it more colorful of vibrance, and I could just my white balance just moving around, see what I like. I like a little bit warm in there. We do have. If these walls were white, we could use the white balance eyedropper remember that thing up there as long as you have something that shouldn't have any color in it? S o I could could come up here and try to click with that to see if it helps. I usually try clicking on a few different areas, though, because the color various in your image and what I've done, I can hit the ok button, and then it applies it for me. But if you take this image and compare it, remember what you can see out those windows and if you look here at the, um it's either an organ or ah piano, you can see it all right amount of detail let's. Compare that to any of the originals that's probably one of the better ones for the inside, but look at the piano looking out the windows just doesn't have it like this and what's nice is by going through this process is long as the brightest shot if you look at what's in the brightest shot the on ly areas where we can possibly get noise is where this shot is still too dark that's the only part where we never captured something where we pulled it far enough out of the dark range to get it out of the noisy range had I taken one more shot for two more shots where this look nicely bright where you can easily see the wood grain and everything in it then we have no noise whatsoever in the image I should say whatsoever your camera has noise everywhere but it's the dark parts where it has the most but we could have completely noise free in those areas practically no speed I should say if we had even gone brighter so let's then look at that process again just do another picture and we might add a few things to it but here is a sequence of images uh actually to start with the bright one so here we got a bright one and in order to get what is down inside this kind of canyon area because this is usually in the shade where the water is running this is how bright I had to get the image to be so I can easily see what's in here sky has blown out for the most part not much any detail there so I got that shot but I also took a darker one but the sky still looks like we're not enough detail so I took a darker one about there this guy was looking okay I might have nailed go even darker if I wanted to get even maurin there but the camera was shooting at the time when I turn on auto bracketing it always takes three shots later cameras when they came out years after this one it could take five shots or seven shots but if you're shooting hand held or seeing something else you could only take three and so you get the best three you could s o one to three shots let's combine them together so we'll look at improving our results in two stages first will be in the merging process and the second will be pre merging you mean before we even think about combining together so here are going to select these images and here's how we merge them tools photo shop merge to hdr pro that's what it's doing its work of combining together and that's where we're going to finally be presented with that big dialogue box now here's the problem you remember what between those three shots that the shots are not identical when it comes to content because the water's moving the water doesn't look the same any shot when you change your shutter speed with water longer exposures make water look silky because it gets that motion blur look short exposures make that freeze the water and make it look sharp and the water's just in different positions in those three shots. So if it just tries to merge them without doing extra work it's not gonna look good because it's gonna have what you might call ghosting, which is where you can see the content of the let's. See, there was like a person walking through the scene and in the first shot there on the left side of the frame, second shot there in the middle of the frame and under the last shot there on the right of the frame. Well, if you merge those three together without trying to compensate for it, you're going to see three versions of the person in none of those three versions are going to be fully there because it's going to be a blend of three images. And so you could say the person looks like a ghost. They're partially showing up. So there's a check box up here called removed ghosts. Yeah, and if I turned that on, what it's going to do is it's going to think of one of our images is being the master image where whatever the position of everything that's in the frame is in that shot is where it's going to try to maintain? And that is going to compare that master shot to the other ones and it says, well, if anything is in a different position in that other shot I'm going to try to suppress it somehow I'm going to try to retouch it out where just doesn't show up. So if there's a person like I said in those three shots in a different position in each one whichever one I choose is the master shot that's the position of the person I get in there and the way you figure it out is once you've turned on the remove ghost check box, then if you look in the lower left this is always a list of the exposure's you're merging so before when we had five exposures merged, there was five of them in this list you might not have noticed it, but it was down there the check boxes down there tell it, are you going to use this exposure or not? If you turn it off and ignore one or two or all of them and then the green box you see a green box around one of him that determines which one is the master the one is comparing all the others too, so what I'm going to do is just click on the other thumbnails that air down there the other miniature versions of the picture and I'll look at the image I know it's dark looking here but I can still somewhat tell what the results will look like so right now it's on the image on the right I'll click on the middle one can you see the waterfall? Change it on let's click back okay and I'll click on one of the left all right so I can tell it which one to consider to be the master now if it's too hard to see it was just too dark and everything which you could do is temporarily change the setting on the right side near that pop up menu to say act as if I'm going to process the image here even though it's going to look chitti but it's better than not having any processing it all as faras the look goes and you could find tune these settings and say I mean I'll brighten it up a little so I can see more of what's in there and then it's click between these and say which one makes the area where the motion wass look its best it's a personal choice there's no right answer it's whichever one you like best let's say it's that one once you've determined that then I change this back because this kind of processing really does not look good and so we only wanted it to get a better preview here now we're going to change it back to thirty two bit changing it back did not turn off the removed ghost check box it did not change which one of those images was highlighted in green meaning which one's master it just made it so we don't have a good preview way haven't unprocessed picture so now click on tone and a cr so before I do that what are we doing here? Well, we thought was there any motion in this image motion is a windy scene where there's trees are a flagpole with flag flapping or people walking through that kind of stuff removed ghosts is what you need and then you click through the images in the lower left and just see which image makes it look the best some of them make it looked terrible on some images and then you'll hit the one you like oh yeah that one looks clean so now click the tone and a cr button in the lower right and that'll just take a minute and it will send me over to camera and as usual I will start off by taking the shadows in the highlight sliders and moving them to another extremes and then the next thing I do after that is a just exposure it doesn't mean I leave the shadows in the highlights sliders at their extremes I just start there I wish it was the default for hd ours and then you might move them in if it's too much but otherwise this is what you start with which doesn't look very good but when I bring highlights all the way up, I'm sorry shadows all the way up high lights all the way down, then it becomes easier to adjust my brightness with exposure and if the highlights air too much, I can always bring them back doesn't mean I end where I started, it just means I need some sort of starting point to the picture doesn't look there, then I could just adjust the rest of the sliders like you would in any other picture meaning if there's anything you don't like about the image think is there a slider that would target it? In this case, I might want to mention to pop a little bit more and that's usually what clarity uh does for me I might make the image a little bit more colorful and I might ignoring the waterfall at the moment uh c from warm it up it's hard to tell, just try it ifyou're not sure move the slider see if it helps and then I don't like the waterfall to blue and it's not bright enough and that's when if I don't know of a slider to use in here because in this case, bringing up the highlights would brighten it, but the sky get too bright because they're both highlights that's when you grab the adjustment brush with that brush up there, we dial in what we want so just make sure everything else is zeroed out and I'm going to say, brightened my highlights and I'm going to say, shift this away from blue and I'm gonna paint it in usually be more careful. Good, zoom up, spend time, you know, getting it make sure didn't get too much over spray that kind of stuff. But now I confined to knit to say what color I want my waterfall. How bright should the highlights b maybe it want teo, bring up some clarity in the waterfall too. Did you get the idea? So once you've gotten just the overall brightness, right, treated like any other picture, then in your mind set when it comes to approaching the sliders. Ben that's, that's actually great, because deena ray and one of the people had asked with the camera lens adjustments be done before or after the merging. Yeah, and that's the remember what I said. We're looking at how to improve this that's going to show you in two stages. One is showing you in the merging process, which is when we get rid of ghosting. But then there are other things that we want to compensate for before we merge so let's, look at that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Course Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.

Dawn Butler

Ben, A note of thanks for a fabulous 3 day tutorial on Photoshop. I am new to CreativeLive site and just happen to stumble across your Photoshop 101 class online, wow I'm I glad I did. I've wanted to learn to navigate Photoshop for sometime but found myself becoming more and more confused and frustrated watching video instruction and reading various articles online. You have simplified the learning process by making the class material clear and concise; after 3 days I came away with a great foundation to build on in the future. Thank you!

Student Work