Karlskrona in Sweden processed using AuroraHDR.
A few weeks ago I posted my test drive of AuroraHDR. In the meantime, I have got my new MacBook Pro and have been using AuroraHDR a lot more.
One of the risks of taking a new tool into use is that you change your style because you adapt your style to that of the tool.
The photo above is an old one from Sweden and it has been one of my ‘test-cases’. I already had processed it using Photomatix and my standard processing flow. I had got a different, yet similar result. I did not try to get a 1:1 version.What I particularly like to have in this image, is a strong texture on the building and the reflection in the water, so this was what I chased in AuroraHDR.
What I particularly like to have in this image, is a strong texture on the building and the reflection in the water, so this was what I chased in AuroraHDR.
What I have done, is to research what is possible to get out of AuroraHDR, and when I have found something that I like, I have created a preset. I have been trying to create presets that support my style, rather than adapt AuroraHDR presets into my style. You might feel different about that, which is perfectly ok, I just like to be myself with my own style.
This has been a very interesting exploration, and I have found that it can be done; I can create my style in AuroraHDR. It is a matter, of finding the sliders that do what I like to do.
Some of the sliders are extremely potent and you have to be very careful with them.
AuroraHDR gets fast to work with
After processing maybe 10 photos and having created maybe six or seven presets, something happened and things began to speed up.
I find that I learn by just keep trying and using a tool – exploring. I use different images to see how the tool works in different scenarios. I move more or less all sliders, and slowly I begin to get an understanding of the tool.
I don’t analyze each slider in depth, but I register what happens when I move it around and get a feeling. The majority of the sliders in any tool can be divided into two buckets: The contrast bucket or the color bucket. Often they work in pairs. In the contrast
In the contrast bucket, we have Highlights/Shadows and White point/Black point and some are standalone sliders like clarity and contrast.
In the color bucket, we have Temparature/Tint, Saturation, Vibrance and Hue.
There are more in most tools, but you get the picture. It is a matter of getting a feeling of how you adjust contrast and colors to your liking.
My presets represents flavors of my style and what happened, was after having created six or seven presets, I quickly get on track by using one.
AuroraHDR let me add a few more layers to optimize local areas very easily. Finally I can add a layer having a vignette if needed.
In a few minutes, I have 90% of a great image, in my style. The last 10% I have to do in partly Lightroom and partly Photoshop. The last 10% include perspective corrections and spot and lampposts removal.
These are some examples of images I have created primarily in AuroraHDR. Primarily because I cleaned up and maybe did a thing or two more in Photoshop.
Amsterdam Maritime Historic Museum. Created using AuroraHDR and a few minor adjustments in Lightroom.
The Standard in Copenhangen. Created using AuroraHDR and only a few adjustmens afterwards in Lightroom and Photoshop to clean up and adsjut perspective.
AuroraHDR does make HDR processing a much very faster process, even if you are like me and want to finish up those last couple of bits.
Workarounds for slow DNG processing
In my last post, I rounded the fact that AuroraHDR doesn’t handle DNG files very well. Even on my MacBook Pro, this is still the case. But, I have found a workaround for that problem.
A part of my normal workflow is to export my photos to a folder from Lightroom. Instead of exporting DNG files I export tiff files.
The tiff files AuroraHDR handles very well and I can work fast on those.
A different approach would be to export directly from Lightroom to AuroraHDR, and for many of you guys, this might be the right way to work. There is a very nice integration into Lightroom, with a reimport back into Lightroom.
I just prefer not to have work-in-progress files in Lightroom, they clutter up, my Lightroom catalog.
So if you like to work without too much effort on each HDR photo, you will find AuroraHDR easy and fast to work with, just be careful. Like any other HDR tool, you can ruin your photo in potent sliders.
And, if you are like me, and want to put a little more effort into it, AuroraHDR doesn’t hinder you in doing just that.
The Weekend Post by Jacob Surland
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