Send us your poor, your tired, your haloed images…

…yearning to blend free. We’d like to ask your help in improving HDR (high dynamic range) imaging in Photoshop. The halos produced by many current HDR conversion techniques (see the Flickr HDR pool for some examples) are kind of cool and wonky, but to make HDR more than a fad, we need to produce more reasonable results. With this in mind we’d like to get sample images–particularly ones with which you’ve gotten better results converting 32->16/8 bits using another package than you have using Photoshop. Photoshop engineer John Peterson writes,

I’m looking for cases where the “other leading brand” is doing a better job than Photoshop. I’d like to get three or four really good cases of this from customers that are (potential) heavy users of Merge to HDR. I’d be interested in JPEG or raw source files, plus the HDR result file from the other application. JPEGs should be generated by the camera, not via Camera Raw. f-stop should be held constant, exposure should differ by two stops or so, and resolutions in the 2-6 MP range would be sufficient.

If you’d like to work with us on this, please shoot me a mail & I’ll get you in touch with the right folks on our end. Thanks!

0 thoughts on “Send us your poor, your tired, your haloed images…

  1. John, the reason LDR tone maps from HDR images look bad is that it’s a bad idea. Photography that artfully manages to contain a scene’s dynamic range in a print looks beautiful becuase it captures something unusual and hyper-real — but that nevertheless actually occurred. Tone-mapped images always look like an engineer’s experiment, and answer to left brain desires “I know the sky is blue, so it should always be blue in photos” rather then right brain “Holy shit, the sky is pink!”

  2. Hey John Peterson! It’s been a while. Certainly, I’ll try and send some images your way either directly or through John Nack, but they’ll be in the 8MP range if that’s OK.

  3. I would disagree with Stu’s comment above; any tool that helps to unchain the unlimited imagination is a great asset for artists, and I’ve seen HDR images that look fantastic.
    I’ve downloaded alternative tone-mapping plug-ins, but I would really like to learn the tool in Photoshop itself to its maximum first. Is there more “inside” information available somewhere on how to use the Photoshop tool?
    I like seeing John Peterson’s name in the developers list of Photoshop since my Dad’s name happens to be John Peterson (not the same person, though).

  4. Stu – if it’s a bad idea, why has photographic film and paper been doing just that for the past hundred years?
    Tone mapped images shouldn’t have to look bad – but many of the examples out there (Flickr) do look bad because the tools are insufficient, or the users don’t know how to use the tools. What John’s asking for is example images that show problems with Adobe’s tools, from users who should know how to use those tools and others — so Adobe can improve their tools.

  5. LLoyd – there are halos in those images, but they are larger than in most other toning algorithms, so they look more like a glow and make the images look a bit washed out. When you apply the gradient domain toning to other images, you will see the halos more easily (but not quickly – because the gradient domain optimization step is really slow).
    There is a nice paper from CIC12 that compares the results of the various algorithms (

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