Part One – Exposure Fusion
It has been about a month or so since I started experimenting with HDR and at first I just used a free application that was supplied by the developers of HDR Photo Camera in Ovi Store. As I started taking more HDR images I wanted to experiment further, so I decided to take the plunge and buy a HDR application. Thanks to @MichaelxHell for introducing me to Photomatix Pro.
I decided to do this post, which may turn into a series (depending on how this one goes) as so many people asked me what I use to do HDR images with the Nokia N8.
To create a HDR image you need to take 3 photos, or bracketed images. One overexposed, one normal and one underexposed. Now you can do this on the device without an application, but you will need a tripod to ensure the images are exactly the same. In case you are wondering, there is a tripod for the N8. The legs are a little small, but do not fear- it uses the same style of attachment that a standard tripod does for dedicated cameras. So you can unscrew the clamp and attach to a larger more stable tripod. I tend to use an application to take the bracketed images – it’s a lot quicker and if your hands are relatively stable you will not need a tripod.
Ok so let’s get started, here are the three bracketed images taken on the Nokia N8 using HDR Photo Camera
Now let us fuse the images together in a basic Exposure fusion without any edits
Obviously if you are perfectly happy with the unedited fusion then there is no need for any further action, but for the purposes of showing you some of the effects you can have on an image, I am going to assume we are not happy.
For Exposure Fusion you get a particular set of editing options, for Tonemapping you get a different set which we will deal with in part 2.
Accentuation: This adjusts the strength of local contrast enhancements
Blending Point: This adjusts the weighting given to the overexposed versus the underexposed images
Shadows: Controls the brightness of the shadows without affecting the highlights
Sharpness: Increases the sharpness and contrast of details in the image but this can increase noise and cause a halo to appear around objects with a high luminosity
Colour Saturation: Controls the saturation of the RGB colour channels
White Clip: Specifies how much highlights are clipped
Black Clip: Specifies how much shadows are clipped
Midtone: Brightens and darkens image: brightening reduces contrast and darkening increases contrast
Well, it’s all well and good saying what they do but let’s see it in action! For this purpose I shall go to extremes rather than trying to produce the best possible image, so that the effects of each edit are more noticeable.
Colour Saturation increased to maximum setting (10.0)
Now let’s reduce Midtone to minimum (-10.0)
Now let’s increase the Black Clip to maximum (10.0)
Now let’s reduce the White Clip to minimum (0.0)
Now we will increase the Sharpness to maximum (10.0)
Now let’s reduce Accentuation to minimum (-10.0)
Now increase Shadows brightness to maximum (10.0)
Now time for something a little extreme, let’s increase the Blending Point to maximum of 10.0. This puts the emphasis on the overexposed image.
Hopefully from using extreme edits you can see what can be done with a basic Exposure Fusion. It is all down to personal taste, some prefer a more natural look. Some prefer to unrealistic approach. That is the thing I like most about HDR photography, choice!!
Here is a final fusion I did with the following settings:
Accentuation -1.8, Blending Point 3.9, Shadows 2.0, Sharpness 5.0, Colour Saturation 10.0, White Clip 6.0, Black Clip 8.0, Midtone 0.9
That is it for Exposure Fusion, in part two we will take a look at the more surreal edits that can be done with Tonemapping.