Understanding Tone Mapping
Tone mapping is a technique used by video professionals and video aficionados to map one color set to another, in order to enhance the colors and appearance of dynamic images into mediums with a rather limited dynamic range. Using tone mapping, you can create more visible details, otherwise not seen when using a lower range. LCD and CRT monitors, print outs, projectors and other media might have a rather limited or lower dynamic range, which is not capable or reproducing the intensity of light and image properly. Tone mapping is able to address this problem, preserving and enhancing the details of the image (allowing the viewer to appreciate the content of the scenes).
Use of Tone Mapping
Understanding how tone mapping works is not difficult; you need to merge multiple exposures in to creating one new image. Each exposure shot consists of several details which are usually not visible in another. If you want to capture the different images and exposures, you need to use the Automatic Exposure Bracket system of the camera, preventing its movement while shooting.
Photoshop or PhotoMatrix?
If you want to apply tone mapping, you can use programs like Photoshop to merge your images into one image and then convert it into an 8-bit file. You can also use Photomatrix, which also gives you additional production abilities; the difference between Photomatrix and Photoshop is that Photoshop can produce layered files.
There are two main categories of tone mapping: global and local. Global mapping is associated with the editing and managing of the entire picture, while the local mapping allows you to manipulate individual pixels and give the image the effect you want.