Editing HDR in Nik Software
This time instead of doing our hdr in photo shop let's do it inside of nick software so same thing we need to files one that's over exposed one that's a little under exposed and we could add a third file if we want so I'm going to take are underexposed file and are overexposed file we're just going to go work with two of them and we're going to right click this and we're gonna edit in we're going to go to hdr um effects pro to my neck and it's asking us if we want to make a tiff yes, we want to make a tip it's going to send this tiff over to nick's software and it's going to use the same method that photo shop was using of putting them together? But nick software is going to also give you a little something extra and what it does is it analyzes the two and looks for what we call ghosting and it and it intelligently figures out which one we should use for any ghosting so that sees ghosting that sees a repetitive thing where they're not matching up. What it will do is it will take the on...
e and it will say ok what's our master file will take that master file and that's the one we're going to use and we'll forget about the other version of that file are of that information do you calculate the light when you're on location and you're shooting hdr as too how much of an exposure difference you're going to do like whether it's a stop I have to stop do you give up any standard you know standard equation that you use or is it just you get to feel when you're on location depending on the light if I'm going to do a lot of exposures then I'll do about a third of stop all the way and that gives me if I'm going to be like seven exposures then a third of stop gives me a lot of information and a lot of very information on def I'm going to do something that's maybe three then I'll do a stop of peace so that there's quite a wide distance between them so in the end I end up with about the same distance but I just get get them done quicker so I very rarely do you have to go over a stop though of of difference between each exposure so I would start with a stop and usually with especially if you're using a if you're using a mark three like a cannon five d mark three there those have such a wide latitude anyway that if you have one stop difference between three exposures very rarely do you even need two of them to get all the information so I mean it's it they got that gives you a wide latitude right so you know you're getting you're getting quite a file out of that so I always forget when I go teo hdr pro in nick you export it so you actually have to go to the export dialog box and you have to down here below when you plug in when you create or when you, uh, install your knicks software, you're going to get a nick collection option here and when you do that you're going to go to hdr fx pro as a tiff, so you're actually exporting your file as though it was going somewhere that's how you do and I always forget that I'm not supposed to go to the edit in menu and then that's what you get totally my fault okay, so not next vault it'll throw a quick question when it does that export what is it say exporting a tiff? Do you have a choice? What file format? Well, you have a choice, but it won't work if you will do anything you can choose to exported psd, but then it just won't work okay eso you export tiff great thinking, but once you export it it's what it's doing is it's making to tip files that air going into photo are going into nick software and then those are going to be merged into one tip file, so they're kind of not non existent tips at this point and then they will be returned as one great thank you but interestingly enough there only returned is a sixteen bit tiff not a thirty two bit because all the thirty two bit stuff's happening in here and then it's sending that you back the sixteen so if you want thirty two bit filed manipulation inside a light room, then you have to go through the photo shop route and when you come back you've got this amazing file toe work on in the controls you already know which that's what I love, but that means you kind of need to go with the instead of going with the multiple exposure route, you're going to go with multiple virtual copies and then change the exposure on those and send those to photo shop gotcha okay, so that the two different routes so we go into our hdr and you can choose one or the other as the ghosting option. So which one do you choose for ghosting I'm going to choose the one that's darker because then I know that that that edge there is right next to a nice copy of the sky instead of ah instead of an overblown copy of the sky and usually when you overblow the sky it wraps around the the tree itself and so you lose some of the tree so I want my ghosting to be taken from here from this darker image now just like in photo shop you can see what you have in the file by scooting this thing around but it makes no difference what you do with it this is just so you can see how much is in the file now you are going to want to zoom into this thing and look around here so I'm going to go up to that tree again so that I can see what that looks like I'm gonna zoom yes thank you so I'm zooming in to see what this chromatic aberration and ghosting looks like so the ghosting you can see that it's kind of it's kind of a little blurry here but there's some blur going on in the tree but that's much preferable to those weird blue lines that we're seeing from photo shop so nick is nick software is going to I prefer to blur the tree rather than show weird artifact ng from you know that blue gap that we're seeing from photo shop which is much preferable because trees can blur in an exposure that so that I'd prefer that and then also you can check the chromatic aberration by clicking on that and then he actually takes you and even further into the tree so that you can see is there any chromatic aberration happening around these areas and they're not so this looks really good so it's doing a great job at uh oh well then I go out there so I'm in turn off that zoom so it's doing a really good job at looking at that tree and making the right decision as to what to use then you and of course over here there's options and these are the only options that you need to worry about it all alignment you want to align those two so that they they're align perfectly so that's always going to be on and then of course ghost reduction is going to be on a cz well if you know that this is an absolute the stable shot and there's nothing moving in it then you don't necessarily need to do the ghost production but in our case we definitely need to and then it's a question of what kind of strength and if there's any traumatic aberration you can fix it down here to some degree but I didn't see any dramatic aberration that was happening so I don't think we need to fix anything there and then the question is what's the strength of this merge going to look like is it a twenty percent or one hundred percent and really when you zoom in and look at what happens between a if I can get zoomed in a little bit here and still okay, so look a look at the trees at twenty percent on and then the trees at one hundred percent to see how the highlights and the trees kind of go down at one hundred percent so what that means is that if you're if you're doing one hundred percent strength you're getting a farm or for far more latitude in the file amore flat file it's going to look worse right from the beginning if you got twenty percent that means that it's giving you a lot more of the contrast in the file it looked better right from the beginning but it's not as if it doesn't have as much latitude in the file so it looks better from the beginning but you can't manipulate it as much so there's kind of a happy medium in there somewhere and you're going to find that when you look at these clouds you're better off with a you know if you go to twenty percent watch the clouds you have less information in clouds on dh highlights and so you're really better off with ah higher numbers so that you get a little bit more detail in shadows on a little bit more detail on highlights but I don't necessarily like to go with a hundred anyway so sixty percent is a nice medium so you'd start there and then just play sometimes a file is doesn't need all that much extra latitude and sometimes it needs a lot and so that number conflict chew it quite a bit based on how much latitude you need so I'm going to create the hdr and that's going to take me into my editing panel the editing panel is where I'm going to do all of the all of the work on the file so that's where I'm going to make it look like either I can make it look like an hdr file so I can go and do the you know that crazy hdr like way you no way but it's it looks very good it's a good starting point but it's a little bit too in my face so go ahead oh, it looks like a real estate photo it does is absolutely I think these guys need to, you know, really back yeah, they need to really back but this that's actually what this is is a real estate photo so this is a photograph that I I had to do some shots of these really expensive cabins and so this is what this is for. So so yeah, exactly what that is that's exactly what that is, but I'm going to end up doing a much less you know, crazy version and saw you can look through these and find the one that kind of gives you your favorite version and you can go crazy like on this one or you can kind of kind of dial it back a little bit and get you know, kind of in the ballpark of where you want to be and so I kind of like that one that looks pretty realistic but still lots of information in it so I'll start there and then I'll come over and work on the controls here and the controls here going to give me a lot of ability to play with this file eso like for instance, tonal compression is where I'm going to decide how much that contrast plays in or how how non contrast to the file gets so the more I go this way so that the difference between that and that so I'm getting flatter on a little bit more contrast e and nice so just kind of find a happy medium in there the other one the methods strength is where it goes nuts so you know the method strength goes crazy so let's take them at that strength all the way up and it gets a little money you see how sharp it's getting in here one of right let me zoom in here all right? So I take the methods strength all the way down see, it looks pretty realistic and I take the method strength all the way up it goes okay so methods strength all the way up is where you go if you want to look crazy but for me I'm going to prefer somewhere in the middle even down a little bit so I don't I don't like a super you know crazy hdr and I think I mentioned that because people were submitting hdr stuff and I'm just not going to choose the ones that are crazy you know way too over the top I'm always going to choose the ones that I like the hd are the fact that we can see so much but it needs to be pulled back s o I'm pulling it back now the hdr method here the strength is here but the method is here you've got an option between strong or normal and I prefer normal and then realistic and then I prefer natural once you do that all of a sudden things start looking riel so normal realistic natural is this starting point for your hdr that's where you kind of want to begin and then of course your methods strength you can play with it but that's kind of where you are you want to start so let's zoom out and you can see that it's not it's not super super contrast e but I've got all the info imation in there now I can start playing with the exposure to decide what my exposure needs to look like I'm gonna brighten it up just a little bit and then here this is the these ones are critical I'm going to show you those because they're important I can't really show you the image and that at the same time very well the mummy zoom into it again okay, so well we'll do that and now let me zoom in here okay? So the shadows this is that this is where you start to create the actual realism inside of your photograph because what happens is hdr takes out the shadows takes out the highlights that's why it's hdr? Because it has no real highlights and no real shadows everything's in right and so like a great card is the ultimate hdr because it's everything's there, you know, and then there's no separation between those tones hardly eso itt's like you don't want it to be a great card and you don't want it to, you know, go nutso anyway, shadow is where you're going to get your life back into the photograph so you look, I'm looking over here in this shadow in the eaves and I kind of want some contrast in there, but I don't want no shadow in there, so I'm going to bring that shadow back until it looks quite nice right there that's where I want I want that shadow to become almost black enough that I can't see anything in it, but I wanted to have something and then I'm going to have to go find a highlight somewhere so let's zoom out and let's go find highlight so here's our highlight that was the highlight that was blowing out all the time so that's kind of what I want to watch for that little place right? There is my major highlight, so I'm going to move it closer to their let's zoom back in here and and play with the highlight and see, you know, where is that highlight going to go? That looks pretty good like if I go way up like that, then the clouds air I'm not getting as much drama out of the clouds, so maybe something like that without seeing the whole photo of the get back with you on that, but yeah, that looks pretty good and then I'm in a at that point now I can start playing with it like kind of a normal photograph and add a little contrast into it and then we go there nick software everywhere you go there's this knob called structure and that's structured up is awesome it just it's a really intelligent version of clarity and I just I love it so I'm going to go into structure now let's, zoom back into this photo and go to the important part, which is the building and let's just add a little bit of structure to this photo not too much because if you go crazy, then all of a sudden you're back into the hole hdr crazy, exciting too much information, so, you know, just just a little bit of structure helps to make those things nice and crisp and beautiful, okay? So then, once we've done all of that, then we can take, and sometimes the hdr will change the way the colors look there a little bit, too, you know, a little bit too garish, or they're a little bit too drab, depending on what kind of method strength you using. So at that point, that's when I'm going to go in and play with saturation and decide, is there too much saturation in the file? I think that this is pretty good. I'm not really sure what people are seeing out there on the internet. I think that looks pretty normal from my screen. I'm just not sure what you're you guys were saying, I can't judge from here because I think that's a little bit brighter than normal, so I don't know if people shout out from the internet what they're seeing, are they seeing a pretty normal filer? They say it should take him a minute, tio populate? I'd be interested to hear what they think about what they're seeing on their screen as to whether it looks normal or whether it looks a little bit right or whatever, that would be a good calibration for us to know. So anyway, I'm going to leave the saturation as it is because it looks pretty good on my screen but I can bring the temperature up just a little bit and that helps toe warm up the whole file now with as with everything inside of nick software, I've got my control points and these could be very, very useful when you're dealing with an hdr image because they just warmed up the photo and now I want the sky just to maintain its blue so I'm an ad a control point come over over into the blue and click on it once I clicked on the control point and I can kind of size it to the size of the blueness there and drop this down and I could take the exposure down the contrast saturation so I'm going to take the saturation up a little bit on the blue and I'm going to go to the white balance and I'm going to take the white balance down a little bit so I can liken can change all these air I'm sorry that's not that's the whites looking for my temperature that's what I want so temperature aiken go warmer on it or I can go cooler on it so I'm gonna go cooler on it so that we get a little bit more blue and those skies again and I'm going to take the exposure down just a little bit so it gets a little bit darker. Oh, gonna go listen there. So now remember, from yesterday we hit the option key grabbed that and we duplicate that control point. Then we go in and we command, click the two of them, go to the control point area and length. Um, so now anything that we do is going tio allow us to do it to both of them at the same time see that they're so now we've got a little bit bluer sky than we did before because I had warmed up the whole photograph so let's, just selective adjustments. I'm going to turn them on and off, see that? So we just kind of popped the sky a little bit, so that now we have this really beautiful, non hdrs looking photograph for a magazine in the chat rooms, air wanting to see a little more contrast and less saturation in the tree area. Oh, ok, perfect. So if I if if if I was looking at this and I thought, wait a second, it's a little too garish and it's a little too so then I would come into my entire staying here, and I would grab the saturation and pull it down some I'm a pole, and this is doing the entire image pulling the saturation down just a little bit so now we're in a fairly neutral, I think. And then if I need to take the greens down just a little bit a tw that point I can either go in and start to work on control points inside the green or I can come and just play with like so if I wanted tio let's, see what are the best way for us to do that probably would be in a control point so I can take another control point here and I imagine that the greens are taken care of and pulling down the saturation on the greens. Is that what they're saying? They want less green. Ah, a little less green. Yeah, less grand a little and a little more contrast because, you know, in the shadows, a little shadow, you know, just you know I can't help feeling like real life. Ok, so let's add some more contrast. That's the best place to add more contrast is in the shadows and the highlights not in the contrast contrast is like a poor man's contrast it just it it does too much so that probably the best thing for us to do then would be to take our shadows and bring them down a little bit more so that there's a little richard shadow, yeah that then if you get the shadow of the tree to darken up and the shadow of each pine needle, it becomes poppier andi I thinkit's us more subtle pop than it is if you just grab the contrast because what happens if I grab the contrast and move it up? Then all of sudden the clouds go nuts and I don't want to lose those clouds, right? So so I would imagine that's the best way to go if I wanted to then take the trees and get rid of the green, which I suspect taking the saturation down eleven percent probably did exactly what they wanted, but if I wanted to do more to those trees, I could just create another control point, put it on the green and then d saturate all green got it okay, all right, so once we're done with this, save it, go backto light room and then from light room remember, in our schematic are workflow for light room plug and work is that we go to our plug in, and then we return that image to light room and that's where we share from that's where we crop it and we might even add things to it we might turn it to black and white there we might do all sorts of things in light room to it after we've finished the final so so now let's go to our final image and if you look at this image that's been created in hdr look how amazing the tree looks there's no look at that there's absolutely no artifact ing in there so if I zoom in a lot, you'll see a little bit of readiness on the edge of the tree there whatever but I mean it's we're zoomed in really, really close to this tree and there's none of that little blocking this that was in it from our trip to photo shop so so for my money when I'm working on something that I need some hdr help on, I'm going to go to nic generally speaking, if I'm just needing to get a little bit more out of a file um I might end up going to photo shop and doing a thirty two bit file and bringing him back to light room, but if I do that I'm doing it toe one picture and then duplicating the picture and then running and then staying in light room for my final work so there's that there's two different work flows there's the light remark flow that requires the same photograph pretty much because it just doesn't do a good job with the ghosting thing but it requires a photograph and then that photograph has duplicated as virtual copy and then those two files are changed so that one is bright one is dark it's or three because you khun you know you khun stair step it if you want you could have three virtual copies and so you could have three different versions of the file a really light one a normal one in a really dark one take those merge them thirty two bit photo shop come backto light room with that file as long as it's a thirty two bit tip lightning could still work on it and so you get that real natural feel to it which is what I like. I like that it's a really natural looking hdr experience, but if you know how to use nick software, you can make a very natural looking hdr as well so that is in a nutshell the hdr experience and nick does a great job with the hdr the ghosting is amazing inside of naked just pretty much disappeared, so I have to say that I'm you know, I'm I'm not an expert hdr by any means and I don't use it every single day, but that's the workflow that I would use foreign hdr is generally I would go to nick if I'm doing three or like actual exposures what the camera but if I'm going to just do a virtual copy of the same file, then I can certainly go through photo shop and then do a thirty two pit inside of white room okay, so ok yeah there's a few query did yeah questions finds negative questions okay um would this be a good time to use smart layers you know, a smart filter maybe like david were thinking a smart filter and go in and out with this um well if you're going to go to hdr fx pro just go straight there which means there are no smart layers involved I wouldn't do any hdr in photo shop at all which means that there are no layers and there are no filters so all right, so next question wants to know it's sort of a two fold question and they'd like to know do you use your cameras auto bracketing and have you ever worked with the automatic hdr function in the cannon mark three yes, I have I've worked with the automatic hdr and what it does is it actually shoots three raw files and then combines them into a j peg to show you what it would look like but then it's a j peg right? And so in the end you're still going to use the raw files and run them through this process but it's it's if you if you use that process on the camera itself then you can show the client here's the general shot on they can be like yeah, that that works right? So it's it's good for that but it's not good for the final file so you need the raw files to to take back to the to the studio and work on so that's my answer on that when it comes to auto bracketing I hate the auto bracket thing I've tried it and I can't tell where I am like it shoots all these files and I don't know what what it shot so I prefer to actually do my own set up bracket because I choose how many stops difference it is and I you know, spin out how many you just kind of spin the wheel and in it and it opens up the brackets so it says ok, you're going to have three okay now going for five now you have seven and it just kind of keeps going out I prefer to know how many pictures it's going to take and I prefer to know how much distance there is between them because when it does auto I'm just like bubba and then I don't know what it is and I can't tell I don't see it in the same order and and and also I changed the order on mine so auto bracket it or when you do bracketing usually in default mode it goes standard minus plus our standard plus minus which is a weird way to look at things because then you've seen the normal one and then you see minus than you see a plus one I prefer to see minus standard plus so that it goes boom boom boom and then I get I can scale back through him and it gets darker darker darker right as I go back through so that's that's why I prefer to shoot your shadows first and then finish up with your highlight right so I choose whatever exposure it is and then it goes like that yeah so on we haven't talked about this yet but of course you're using a tripod maybe not in most cases okay if I'm not using tripod or usually if I'm not using a tripartite trying study myself against the pole or I try and steady like for instance this one hold on this shot that I showed right at the beginning this one right here this is no tripod but it I have like a balcony and so I'm on a so I've set the camera on a railing and I'm holding I'm pushing the camera against the railing and then I pushed the I turn on the timer you know and then I turn it on uh otto like speed you know shoot three so those I pushed the timer on that I hold it I'm holding it and pushing it against the on then I wait for ten seconds and then it goes did it did it nice right yeah so I'm not pushing the button when I'm doing that I'm just pushing the button and then securing it to whatever I can. If that's a post than a lot of the times the post itself can lodge itself against the the rubber on the on the lens and against the rubber on on your grip on dso that secures the camera pretty well against kind of doing this the only thing it can do now is this and so if you kind of push it at a diagonal right towards where the lenses and where the you know you're pushing it that way at an angle so you're pushing I'm not even holding it like this I look in get it all secure and then I push the button and I just pushed like this I'm just sitting like this I'm not even looking at that and it's I'm just holding it yeah and it goes did it into debt because that post is what's holding the and then I'm the extra part of the tripod right? So I'll never just go I mean I have done did it did it like that but I never really used them I'll do it and then I'll be ok and that's not all that great right never really used them but when I really thought something was awesome I've always found a way to secure myself against the a building or a post or a railing or or rock or something like that cool so so tripods air not absolutely necessary but something to act as a tripod probably is perfect so, but if you're not going to use a tripod, you'd better have your bracket, like eight thousandth of a second four thousandth of a second and one, you know, like, and in two thousand one set like that. Your bracket so that you so that it happens fast and it's, all quick and it's. Just that like that. Put it in high speed and just, yeah, and then be done.