PhotMatix: Creating HDR Images

PhotoMatrix can be used to create some impressive photographs. One of the most useful features is using it to create HDR images. HDR actually stands for "High Dynamic Range." This can be created in several photo editing packages, although PhotoMatrix is one of the easiest to use.

A HDR image will contain much more detail in the shadows and highlights than a regular digital photo. This is similar to exposure blending, which was possible with 35mm cameras. This makes it possible to create some truly unique photos that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. It can be used to create natural photos, or it can also create some interesting effects which make the photo more emotive or atmospheric.

Step 1: Creating the Source Images

There are a couple of different ways of getting the source images. You need three separate images with different exposure settings. The easiest way to do this is to use AEB, which is Auto Exposure Bracketing. This makes it possible for your camera to take three photos with the correct settings.

AEB will provide you with much better results because you have more detail in your source file. Another option is to use the RAW photos. If your camera outputs in a RAW format, then you can create the three source photos from this one file. The advantage of this is that it can be used on anything even if the subjects are moving. The latest versions of PhotoMatrix allow you to import the RAW file directly into the app without needing to use a third party application.

Step 2: Importing into PhotoMatrix

When you have captured your three photos, you should then load them into PhotoMatrix. Select the Generate HDR option from the HDRI menu. This will give you the option of using the three images you have loaded or choosing different ones to load. PhotoMatrix will then analyze the photos and set the exposures of each photo. It will then ask you to confirm and make any changes if required. Click on the OK button and wait a few minutes for your image to be created. After some time, the new image will be displayed on the screen.

Step 3: Performing Touch Ups

The image might look a little strange in places at this point. This is because the image might be under or over-exposed in certain areas. The tone mapping feature can be used to correct this.

Click on the HDRI menu and then click on Tone Mapping. This will instantly make your image look much better and give your photo a good overall exposure. Play around with the various settings to get the best result.

Step 4: Saving

When you are happy with your HDR image, it can then be saved as an image file and exported as normal. The image can be used on a web site or printed off.

HDR images are great fun and can create some interesting effects. Experiment with the different settings so that you can make the most out of your photography.