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HDR, Panoramas and Tone Mapping Merging several different exposures into a single image

Grainy HDR's

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  #1  
Old 06-26-2011, 10:12 PM
Sealand Sealand is offline
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Grainy HDR's

Hey everyone,

I'm new to the forum and this is my first post so I'm sorry if I'm doing this wrong. I'm relatively new to both photography and HDR, but I've been trying to dive into both. I took a bunch of pictures today and ran everything through PhotoMatrix 4.0.2, and ended up with some grainy looking picture. I understand that noise is a big issue with HDR photography and that's what I'm attributing it too (though I could very well be very wrong). Here is my image courtesy of TinyPics. I'm a poor post-grad without hundreds of dollars to spend on noise-reduction software. Can anyone recommend anything that might make this photo look a bit sharper? I'd really appreciate any help.

http://i55.tinypic.com/5vyumx.jpg
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:26 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

Did you shoot JPG or raw? I don't see grain as much as JPG artifacts.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:37 PM
Sealand Sealand is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

I shot with JPEG using a Nikon D5000 if that helps at all.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:09 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

Sealand, welcome to RetouchPro. When you crank up the Strength slider your cause tone inversion and when you set the Microcontrast high you significantly amplify the noise especially in the highlight areas, such as the skies. I assume you have those set reasonably high. What I would recommend you do after you have set those two sliders is:
1. Increase the Micro Smoothing slider. This counteracts the Microcontrast as smooth out the grittyness. Increase it enough until you have a good compromise. Alternately you can layer a gritty version and a smooth version in photoshop and selective blend the two with a layer mask.
2. When you increase the strength to the point where you cause significant tone inversion, you bring out the details in the midtone and shadows (underexposed areas) but you also make the highlights darker than those areas thereby giving the scene a somewhat unnatural look. So my 2nd suggestion is to increase the Smooth Highlights Slider (in version 4.1Beta) or if you are still using 4.02 it is called Highlights Smoothing. This control will usually restore some brightness and smoothness to the highlights without affecting midtones and shadows. Just be careful because if you overdo it, you will end up posterizing the highlights which will look pretty strange.
Regards, Murray
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:38 PM
Sealand Sealand is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

Hi mistermonday,

Thanks a lot for your help. I played around with the settings as you recommended, and I think I managed to make the picture look a bit better.

http://i56.tinypic.com/x3fy9c.jpg

It doesn't look all that different and it still looks a but blurry. Is this a byproduct of the processing?

Please let me know if you have any additional advice/suggestions!
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:13 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sealand View Post
Hi mistermonday,

Thanks a lot for your help. I played around with the settings as you recommended, and I think I managed to make the picture look a bit better.

http://i56.tinypic.com/x3fy9c.jpg

It doesn't look all that different and it still looks a but blurry. Is this a byproduct of the processing?

Please let me know if you have any additional advice/suggestions!
Sealand, most of the time this effect is generated by Photomatix. There are certain images whose composition cause Photomatix to create this fuzziness. For those images there is really nothing you can do with the settings in the Details Enhancer to eliminate it. For these images I would recommend you try Oloneo's Photoengine which has a different set of processing algorithms and will produces much sharper results for this kind of image. There's a free trial at Oloneo.com
Regards, Murray
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:08 AM
Tareq Tareq is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

I don't know why many people going with HDR when they are just started Photography? and many are saying that HDR is not good to use to improve photography or they don't like it, so what will HDR add to your photography? I do a lot of HDR but people told me to ignore it as much as i can.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:37 AM
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Re: Grainy HDR's

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Originally Posted by Tareq View Post
I don't know why many people going with HDR when they are just started Photography? and many are saying that HDR is not good to use to improve photography or they don't like it, so what will HDR add to your photography? I do a lot of HDR but people told me to ignore it as much as i can.
Thise who tell you to ignore HDR do not understand its primary application. Since the beginning of photography, film and now moreso digital camera sensors are not able to capture the entire range of a very high contrast scene. HDR s/w can now allow you to merge bracketed images into a spectrum that exceeds what any device can display, and then tonemap that image into the visible / printable range preserving details in both shadow and highlight. While you can do this in PS by stacking and masking parts of each bracketed exposure, it is much more time and labour.
HDR tools are powerful and the process of tone mapping can be overdone to the point where results are over saturated, tonally inverted, have strong halos, etc. Many have come to know these artistic interpretaions as HDR but they are only "over cooked" by products of the HDR process. Perhaps that is what they are telling you to ignore.
The concept of dynamic range is pretty fundamental to photography so there's nothing wrong with learning about it right up front.
Regards, Murray
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:57 PM
Babble Babble is offline
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Re: Grainy HDR's

As a long time photographer I think any beginner should learn photography and especially composition and leave HDR for later. You need to learn the basice to produce a good picture first and you can't be a "Pro" in the first month.

Sealand did not say if he used a tripod for his pictures and hand held exposures will be fuzzy if used for HDR in most cases. In fact he didn't even say the exposures were bracketed. See comment above.
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