HDR projectsHDR projects 5 pro

Grain:The developers have made possible with HDR projects 5 that which has remained previously unknown to most HDR programs.
It is now possible to adjust grain settings and thus rid your highly dynamic photographs of their potentially coarse and rather unnatural look. As is expected, this can be done with but one click.

 HDR projects 5 proThe Grain editor provides various icons offering different grain shapes as well as light and shadow adjustment capabilities. The die symbol in the upper right-hand corner will arbitrarily distribute grain through the image. ISO values and size can also be adjusted in this menu. Results are realistic like never before.

It is often hard to identify minor differences in grain, so we’ve applied an exaggerated ISO value at 500 to the image below to assist in the comparison.

The applied grain settings leave a very natural appearance and would have contributed substantially when applied to smooth color sequences. Also available is the Fractal Grain option containing pre-adjustments to ISO and Quality, which, depending on subject in the photograph, could also prove quite useful.

All elements in the photograph are clearly and precisely defined. Our images are of rather rough examples and are merely intended for online viewing purposes. Different granulation levels can also be combined with one another. The granulation effects were removed from the images for the following software tests.

Selective Painting
 HDR projects 5 proUndoubtedly another reason for the success of the Projects-series is Selective Painting.
Present in previous versions, this tool builds the basis for the assertion that a great number of common Retouching projects could be done with HDR projects alone. Neither could more highly developed programs take its place for editing more complex image montages. There’s simply never been software like it before. But improvements are always welcomed and Franzis has given Selective Painting just that.

As in previous versions, one click opens a new window. But this time a couple new tools can be seen. The upper tool-bar proudly exhibits the new Mask Recognition Tool which can be activated using colors or brightness levels.

The example above shows the Mask Detection Tool being applied using brightness levels throughout the image. How sensitive the tool reacts can be controlled by the Sensitivity slide-control. Applying this tool to our example image above won’t do too much good, however for the selection of photographic elements such as a sky or other consistently lit objects, this could save a great deal of time. When using Color Detection, clicking colors within the image will designate these as a reference. Therefore, additional color ranges can be consecutively added to the mask.

 HDR projects 5 proThe mask color can be designated in the column on the right and the masking region activated for adding Effects and Compositions.

Up to four different masks can be applied at once. Photo-Editors looking for increased control when designating masks can use the Brush-tool. When combined with the Composing-Mask, the intelligent Edge Detection function can really demonstrate it ability.

In this example, the program is unable to recognize all edges automatically. This would have also not been possible for Photoshop and Co. Therefore, masking this basket of apples is just going to take a bit more time and effort.

In this example a Composing-mask is being used and the outer region removed with the Contour value at 0.

The outer edges therefore gradually approach the actual edges of the object itself. Contour values are also being frequently adjusted in accordance with the brush size. Setting the brush to Strahlenfüllmodus allows for even more precise detailed masking.

Following selection, the circle symbol representing the global Softening Effect will soften the entire mask. This can also be applied more precisely to delicate sections of the mask by using the Softening Brush located in the Tools tab near the top of the screen. The previously selected mask can always be saved to the clipboard and restored at any point in time.

The rather vague outlines can also be enlarged by using the appropriate tool. If enough time is spent, you can achieve an even better outcome than ours!

Now it’s time to upload a new background image for our masked object. This can be done with one click to the chessboard pattern located in the column to the right.

Your operating system’s file manager will open from which the new image can be selected. After a short loading period, your new image will appear behind the object where it can be further adjusted.

 HDR projects 5 proFor an honest assessment we recommend completely hiding the mask with the slide control at the top. Only then does a further adjustment of exposure levels make sense.

Up to three additional Composing-masks can be added as well as any amount of extra effects, accessed by the FX-button. The effect Darken would a proper fit for adding some more shadows to our example. At this stage, there is still a lot more you can do. The result however does not look at all that realistic because the size ratio is completely off. This can be changed using the zoom slide control. Making such a change would require the background resolution to be high so as to accommodate for the overall change in resolution. Alternatively, we could have simply uploaded the object image in less than its highest resolution.

The buttons situated above the slide control allow for multiple use of the background image and control the dimensions of the image.

Much simple would be simply substituting skies.

Creating a mask using color tones immediately results in the following: Only a couple clouds are left in the sky and can quickly and easily removed.

With more time and effort, it would have been completely possible to achieve an even better result than our example with the basket of apples. Still worth mentioning are the effects Contrast Increase and Reduction, as well as the ability to display the original image when masking. The latter option was used in this current example to more precisely define the object edges while using the Brush-tool.


This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang, www.ahadesign.eu