Luke Zeme Photography pc-banner-better-1024x198 FREE HDR Tutorial Windows

FREE HDR TUTORIAL (WINDOWS)

This a free written tutorial, so if you enjoy it then send your friends over to my site so they too can learn HDR. Would be a great way to say thank you.

This tutorial will work if you are using Windows or a MAC, but it’s aimed straight at you PC-Windows guys and gals 😉 You know, the friends of the richest man in the world Bill Gates!

If you are after an amazing MAC only HDR Tutorial please see here

Making HDR images is a skill like any other and you will learn to see the world in HDR and how to create stunning HDR photos to share with everyone.

STEP 1- GET THE TOOLS TO CREATE THE MAGIC!

HDR Software to Download 

Photomatix PRO is the #1 HDR Photo editing HDR software for Windows PC.  This is the software we will be using for the tutorial, but if you are unsure if you want to purchase the software yet you can get a FREE 30 day trial and follow along. I also supply full sized 36MP RAW photos for you to download and use in the HDR software. If you want like Photomatix PRO and want to purchase a copy HDRsoft have passed on a discount of 15% on all Photomatix software if you use the coupon code “LukeZemePhotography” during checkout

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HDRsoft, the creators of Photomatix, have been developing HDR software for many years now and their tools have been the benchmark for all their competitors. This tutorial will be using Photomatix, so I suggest you pick yourself up a copy to continue the magic of your own HDR Journey with me! Every photograph is different and there are many options that make Photomatix PRO such a personal experience.

Optional Software and Presets, Highly Recommended!

-Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom

These are important parts of the finishing touches and allow you to use tools to help finalize your magical HDR image. The best way to get these 2 programs is to subscribe to the Photography plan on Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The Photography plan only supplies you with the photography apps and leaves out the rest that we don’t need. They also throw in Adobe Lightroom Mobile which allows you to edit photos on your smartphones and tablets.

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Photomatix Presets-People enjoy using Trey Ratcliffs Photomatix Presets, as these will help give your photos a variety of cool looks at the click of the button. I suggest you get the SUPA BUNDLE because once you have one of the packs you will definitely want the other one, trust me. Trey has also passed on a discount to my followers of 10% off on all his products if you use the code “LukeZemePhotography”.

These are great if you are just getting into Photomatix as they provide “one click” presets to make your images look amazing. They will also help in your education and understanding of how the software works.

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Other Optional Software to Download- These are fun and put the icing on your magic cake!

Why do you need more software you ask?

Well the answer is that HDR software is considered the beginning of HDR post-processing and when you combine it with one of these Photo editors it will take your creation to the next level! I own all of these so you can ask me any questions. There isn’t one that is better than the other, they all have their strengths so it’s worth checking each of them out to decide which of them is right for you.

Both On1 Software and Topaz Software offer FREE Trials on all of their software!

 –On1 Photo RAW 

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The great thing about On1 Photo RAW is that when you take your Photomatix result into the On1 Photo Effects Module the layout is similar to Photomatix. This makes it easier to learn and use at the same time! Each group of presets has a lot of variety and you can layer and tweak till your hearts content! On1 is a personal fav of mine and I can highly recommend it to you all. I’ve been using it since the early versions of the package and still love it.

-Topaz Adjust 

Topaz Labs Adjust has some unique filter sets that go hand in hand with Photomatix images. Topaz Adjust is the specific filter program that you want from Topaz Labs, but if you’re a creative than you might want to get the complete collection like me! You can get a cool 15% off all Topaz Labs software with the Coupon code “LukeZemePhotography”.

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SOME PHOTOMATIX PRO HDR BEFORE AND AFTER EXAMPLES

Here are a just a few examples I’ve created with Photomatix combined with the On1 and Topaz software over the years. For lots more HDR you can see my Portfolio here where I share all my prints.

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STEP 2- PURCHASE YOURSELF A CAMERA!

So you may already own a camera and that’s great! Nearly all the cameras released today have the features needed to create amazing HDR images (see features needed list below). I’ve been creating HDR images for well over 6 years now and I have been using mirrorless cameras since the release of the Sony A7R back in December 2013.

See my camera recommendations at the link below. As you will see I am very much in to mirrorless cameras and I list them in order of price. So if you have a high budget go the number one camera, it’s the best on the market and offers incredible resolution! If you are on a budget, then I have some great recommendations for you too! I’ve made HDR images from all types of cameras and you can too.

The camera features that you’re looking for to create HDR images in order of best to good are:

  • Auto-bracketing” or “Exposure Bracketing” or “Auto-exposure Bracketing”. Auto-bracketing allows you to push your shutter button once and the camera will shoot a series (a bracket!) of images for you, it’s fantastic!
  • A camera that can change the shooting mode to Aperture Priority as well as adjust the Exposure Value (EV) for a shot. An EV range of +2 to -2 is ok. One of +3 to -3 is excellent and a camera with an EV range of -5 to +5EV is amazing!
  • The final camera feature that can be used to make an HDR image is a RAW photo. HDR software and cameras are so advanced these days that it is possible to pull out the data from a single RAW file for a HDR photo. But this is a last resort, it’s better to shoot a bracket of images using the above methods.  

So to sum this up! Try to find a camera that can shoot in aperture priority mode OR allows you to adjust the EV value manually. If it’s got the ability to shoot in “Auto-bracket” mode, then this is even better!

Check out the cameras I have suggested on my page as I show which ones are the best and why. A camera like the Sony a5100 is great because it’s so light and small and can fit in your handbag/pocket! Then your more pro options like the Sony A7rii are slightly larger and will probably need a dedicated camera bag, but will produce stunning image quality! Personally I have shot with Sony A7r, since its release date. I also use the Sony RX 100 mk 3, (sony RX 100 mk v available now) and Sony a5100. As you can see I love the Sony mirrorless cameras and the colour on the Fuji mirrorless camera is amazing (and no I am not sponsored by them haha).

TRIPODS

A tripod is a needed accessory when it comes to HDR Photography because when we shoot a bracket of images we need them to all be taken from the exact same position and vantage point.

STEP 3- LEARNING THE MAGIC!

I’ve been creating HDR images for about 6 years now and I know from experience that you too can pick up the techniques to create your own HDR images in no time!

As you create more and more HDR images in Photomatix you will begin to develop a 6th sense for what works and what doesn’t.

A camera is a machine, like a TV or a computer monitor, and you may have noticed they can never produce the same light quality in a single photo as what we see with our eyes. Take for example the times you’ve taken photographs only to be disappointed with how they turned out. The sky might have turned out completely white or the foreground was totally dark in shadow. Well, we can actually get around the limitations of cameras by combining a bracketed series of photos, that capture ALL of the available light, and putting it through a process called tonemapping in HDR software. It’s really cool!

As an art school student of days gone by I spent many hours in the photography labs, painting studios and art galleries. I think that’s why HDR images struck a chord with me so much. These HDR images were a mix between photography and paint for me and I enjoy making them in a digital way. Another thing I love about HDR images is that the feel like my memories of a place. Take the examples below, looking at them brings back so much from my time being in these spaces.

STEP 4- HOW TO SHOOT HDR IMAGES ON YOUR CAMERA

As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to use a tripod to do this!

Always start by checking your camera is in Aperture Priority mode. This is the mode we use for all HDR images. It will usually be a big A on the mode dial on top of your camera.

Some Cameras have a feature called Auto-bracketing, which can be used to shoot HDR brackets. Whilst other camera’s do not have this feature but it’s still ok to shoot HDR brackets and I have described how to do it in the sections below.

 

For those with Auto-bracketing:

You will want to turn Auto-bracketing on. This is done inside the settings and it differs for each camera. I have a tutorial here on how to setup Autobracketing for the Nikon D800. I suggest setting it to -3, -2,   -1, 0, +1, +2 and +3. With camera sensors becoming incredibly powerful you can get by in 90% of circumstances by shooting with -2, 0 and +2 EV.  But, if you want to cover all your bases shoot -3 to +3 as you can easily store the files on a hard drive. It’s better to have them in your Photo vault then to wish you had taken them, trust me! You will also need to put the camera in Aperture Priority (A) mode. Next, see section below What Aperture to choose?

 

What if you don’t have Auto-bracketing? 

If you don’t have Auto-bracketing but your camera allows you to change the EV value with a dial or in the Menu options, like the Sony A7R and a5100, then you can just shoot your bracket of images manually. This is pretty easy to do and the method I use on My Sony A7r.

Start by putting your camera in Aperture Priority ( A ) mode. Next it’s as simple as turning your EV dial setting to 0 and taking your first photo. You should be using a shutter release cable so that you aren’t getting any vibration in the image, but if you don’t have one then use a delayed shutter of 2sec or 10sec. After your first shot you then turn it to EV +1 and take another photo. Then just repeat this process for all the values of -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 and +3. Next, see section below What Aperture to choose?

 

Extra Shooting info-

HDR brackets are shot in Aperture Priority mode and in this mode your camera allows you to adjust your Aperture and ISO. So what ISO and Aperture should you select? Read on for more info…

 

What Aperture should you choose?

In Aperture priority mode, when you change the Aperture using the aperture dial the camera’s super smart insides will automatically adjust the shutter speed for you like magic! If you want a fast shutter speed you should adjust your aperture to the smallest numerical value e.g. f/2.8. But if you want a slow shutter speed, e.g. 30 seconds, then you should close up your aperture to its largest numerical value e.g. f/22. Slow shutter speeds are how photographers get all those milky ocean water shots and fast shutter speeds will allow you to freeze movement from say people walking on the street. The other thing to consider with Apertures is that a lens produces its sharpest images corner to corner in the middle of its aperture range, which is around f8 to f11, just something to remember.

 

What ISO to choose? 

In Aperture priority mode you also have the ability to change the ISO and this also can have a BIG impact on the type of image you create. As we have just learnt, if you select an aperture your camera will automatically apply a shutter speed for you. Equally so, if you change your ISO then the camera will adjust your Shutter Speed to compensate for an evenly exposed image! Cameras are amazing little devices.

 

You should always try to shoot as close to ISO 100 as possible, as a rule of thumb. But at night, a low light situation, we need to increase our ISO to allow the camera to see better in the dark. So you might increase your ISO up to 3200 or 5000 ISO. As you select different ISO’s watch the way it changes your Shutter speed and try to get it to fall within the type of image you want to achieve, e.g. slow or fast shutter speed. Follow these tips and you will be able to create amazing HDR’s

 

Extra Extra info to think about:

  • Always shoot in RAW. A RAW file offers so much more depth when you process the images in Photomatix, or any photography software in fact.

You can Tone Map JPEG’s in Photomatix but the results won’t be nearly as magical, just so you know. Shoot RAW RAW RAW!!!

  • Shooting after the rain in a city at night is one of the coolest times to shoot HDR images as light reflects off everything.
  • The ‘Magic hour’s’ zones are also amazing! Sunrise, sunset and the blue hours all produce the most stunning HDR images when it comes to times of the day.

Try to get yourself a tripod, handheld shots can be lined up in Photomatix but my rule of thumb is never shoot a handheld image slower than 1/60th of a second. So anything faster than this, e.g. 1/250th second, you can shoot handheld HDR brackets!

  • Always save your files to computer straight after a shoot as to not lose them. Make backups of your backups too! If you can, have a backup stored online. There are many cheap online storage options these days so shop around for prices. Personally I recommend Dropbox for online storage of photos. Check out Dropbox here!

 

Why use Photomatix when Lightroom offers HDR?

Answer: To get the look you want + Photomatix is amazing!

Lightroom’s HDR Merge is pretty basic and gives you just one style, somewhere in the middle between realistic and artistic. Photomatix offers you tonnes of sliders and features that let you get the exact result you desire. With Photomatix, you can opt for various styles and methods or just get instant results with one of the many presets. If you are new to Photomatix you should purchase the SUPA BUNDLE of Photomatix Presets from Trey. Use the codeLukeZemePhotographyfor a discount 😉

Download 2 sets of my RAW Photos to use in Photomatix FREE!

If you have purchased Photomatix and want to have fun along with me editing the photos from this tutorial, then you download my files here.

Sydeny Opera House Sunrise Bracket-

Link- Download My Sunrise Bracket here

My Sunrise photos of the Sydney Opera house are -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2EV and as you can see they capture all of the light of this amazing sunrise.

 

Tokyo Night Street Bracket-

Link- Download My Tokyo Bracket here

Tokyo is a lot of fun to shoot HDR brackets, especially at night! This bracket series is also -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2EV

 

***I am happy to share my own RAW Files with everyone to use, but I retain the copyright of them still. They’re for your own personal use to learn HDR at home and not for commercial use, thanks.

STEP 5- MERGE PHOTOS IN PHOTOMATIX PRO

Now you get to make a HDR photo, woohoo! Finally aye!

After you’ve downloaded my RAW files and installed Photomatix PRO you will need to load up a bracket of Photos. There are a few ways to open the files in Photomatix PRO. Personally I like to open the images from Adobe Lightroom as the final result gets imported back into Lightroom after you’ve finished and it’s a good way to keep track of my work.

You can also just open up the Photomatix program and then just select > File > Load Bracketed Photos and Navigate to the Bracket of photos you wish to merge and select all 5 of them at once.

In Lightroom, you just need to highlight the 5 images then right click > Export > Photomatix Pro. Here’s a graphic of that process.

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The Launch screen can be a bit intimidating at first, but it will all make sense after you’ve done it a few times. For this first time you can just copy my selections and click Export.

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DeGhosting

DeGhosting is a fantastic feature! Exclusive to Photomatix. When you have moving objects that go through your 5 or 7 photos, Ghost reduction is a feature that allows you to select one of the photos to use as a reference and then removes the other 4 moving objects. Or you can also use a combination of them with a set opacity using the slider. I have a tutorial on my website showing how to use the ghost reduction feature here if it’s not clear to anyone.

 

Link- Deghosting Video Tutorial Here

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Highlight the frame that you want to use as the base for ghost reduction and slide the Deghosting slider to your desired amount. I went for 100 as I wanted the water to just be from 1 photo. But you can see a live preview on your image of how the result will look. Have a play!

Once you’ve clicked Export you will now be in the Magical world of Photomatix PRO! Your User Interface will look like this:

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From here I like to go through my presets on the right as a kind of look book to see what kind of ideas I can get. Then I will delve deeper into my favourite using the sliders on the left that are all user friendly. Don’t worry you can’t break anything in here so play around and see what you can create!

I can get such dramatic results by using the presets and it shows just how amazing cameras are these days to allow for such a dynamic amount of light in the one merged photo.

If you downloaded Treys Photomatix Presets then you will have even more amazing options, I am using the packs in the example above!

At this point you may have found a preset you like, and you may just like to save the result! You could stop here, and that would be perfectly fine. You’d have an amazing HDR image to share with friends and family. Just hit the blue button on the left to save your result. If you want to know more about the advanced options read on…

More Advanced Options in Photomatix

You can actually begin with a clean slate on your image and create your own settings. This way you can tinker with each slider to get the look you want exactly!

The 2 main categories are Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion found in the top left drop down menu. After selecting a category, you then select a method. These are simply just different ways the software can combine the photos and it’s always changeable as you go! If you don’t like one method, just try another! There’s no dead ends.

The most popular Process for me is “Tone Mapping” with a method of “Details Enhancer” as this offers up the most realistic results. Using Exposure

Fusion can often yield more creative results, which can also be fun! The process I went with in today’s example was actually a Tone Mapping with a Tone Compressor method, so you never know! It all depends on the image.

Sliders in the Tone Mapping: Details Enhancer

From experience I have learnt that these are what the sliders do, and you can use this guide below. But, to be honest the best way to use Photomatix is to get in and start making fine adjustments to each slider starting at the top! And going down the list.

 

Strength- This is the overall strength of the HDR method and it’s probably the most important slider. Some images I might use 30% and others I might use 70%. It all depends on the style you want for that particular photo, so don’t be afraid to play with this as you develop your own style.

 

Color Saturation- This slider is the global saturation, so it will change the saturation in everything from the highlights to the shadows. If you love vibrant colours then slide it to the right, but if you want a desaturated look then slide it to the left.

 

Tone Compression- This slider brings up the values of the blacks in your images OR drops the values of your highlights in the opposite slider direction, so it will essentially bring more light in to your shadows or reduce the brightness of your highlights. A very powerful slider.

 

Detail Contrast- This one drops the shadows or brightens the highlights, and you can create very different feels to your image.

 

Lighting Adjustment- Moves light around the various luminance sections of your image and is probably one of the most fun and interesting sliders in Photomatix PRO.

 

Lighting Effects- Here you can recreate some surreal type moods in your photo a bit like a Monet or Van Gogh. This one can also be fun to use!

 

More options… 

 

Smooth Highlights- Pushes your highlights towards white and takes out the saturation of the colors. Use this sparingly is my advice.

 

White Point/Black Point- These adjust the levels in the white and black points. If you want a visual guide in this step you can open up the histogram as you adjust this and you can see how it affects the light in your image. To do this go to the view tab up the top and open the 8-bit histogram.

 

Gamma- Another slider to help you adjust your shadows till you get them just perfect! Remember too much of a good thing isn’t good any more. Go easy on the gamma slider.

 

Temperature- We can change the image to be cool or warm and this helps with telling the story of your image.

 

Advanced options… 

 

The advance sliders are about making those smaller adjustments to your image. You can fine tune your saturation and shadows! You should definitely have a go with them and see how they affect your image.

 

Micro smoothing- This will actually remove small artefacts from your image a little like the way a noise reduction tool works. So if you have a lot of noise in your image give this a try! It will help

So no more for the sliders! Well ones in Photomatix anyways 😉 Thank god I hear you say, haha. But seriously if you start out with the presets and then progress to learning the sliders it will make a lot more sense.

 

After you’re happy with your result just click the Save button and if you opened your image through Lightroom, like myself, a brand new file will be reimported back into Lightroom for you.

THAT’S IT FOR PHOTOMATIX! 

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIRST HDR TONEMAPPED IMAGE!!! 

STEP 6 - MAKING THE ICING ON THE MAGIC CAKE

To continue you will need a copy of Photoshop and any version of Photoshop will do from Elements to CC. I am on the Adobe Photography Plan which I can recommend to you guys. You get Photoshop and Lightroom and pay a monthly subscription of around $10/month rather than paying a full upfront license fee like it used to be with adobe products. They have a Free Trial! so you can go download it and install Photoshop if you want to follow along and decide later if you want to get a subscription 😉

 

Some people stop after their Photomatix result but there’s more magic you can add to your HDR image.

Personally I take my result a few steps further so I have a few more steps in my process and if you are willing to try you can read on and follow with me as I explain these steps.

There are limitless options, but as to not complicate the process I will show you one option I took with this image.

It’s a good idea to think of the Photomatix result as a piece of the puzzle and that you create the other pieces by using software to create the icing on your magic cake- These being

Take a good look at the image you created in Photomatix! If you are like me then there must be some parts of the image that you love and other parts not so much! It’s these parts that you don’t love so much that you want to address as well as improving the parts you like.

Using Lightroom to continue your HDR image

So in Lightroom you will now have your 5 original RAW images + 1 Photomatix merged image.

The next step for me involves editing 1 of the RAW files in a plugin software like On1 Effects, Topaz Adjust or using my Lightroom presets. Which RAW file you ask? Well the one that has nice even light in the area I want to make better in my Photomatix image. After I’ve created enough variations I then highlight them all in Lightroom and open them as layers in Photoshop and mask in the parts I want from each image. Masking is an easy process that I will show you how to do further down.

For now, set aside the Photomatix result, we want to play with one of the original RAW files.

With this image I am pretty happy with the sky, but I feel the orange water on the left is too orange and saturated… It didn’t feel like that whilst watching the sunrise so I want to create some options for that area of the ocean.

I use Lightroom a lot and over time I created a lot of my own Lightroom presets, including HDR presets. These HDR Lightroom presets are a part of my Premium Preset pack and I am offering a 20% discount with the code PRESETS20

Link – Luke Zeme’s Lightroom Preset Pack

 

So as you can see in my screen below, I have my HDR preset pack open on the left hand side and I am using the preset Complete HDR” on one of the original RAW files. After selecting a preset I then make small adjustments to the sliders on the right until the image looks just the way I want in that area I’m not happy with.

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The presets are a way to get ideas and you should go through them like flipping through a coffee table book until finding a page (preset), you like. You don’t have to even use one of my HDR presets, you could try one of the Landscapes or nostalgia ones. It’s all up to you and that’s the beauty of all this magic. It’s a personal experience that reflects you and who you are.

Remember a preset is only the beginning, for every image you need to fiddle with the sliders to get the desired look you want.

Photoshop is a necessity for photographers but it shouldn’t be something you are afraid of. I’m going to show you how easy it is to take one part of an image and combine it with another.

To save time I won’t go into the creation of all the other options I would make, but as I said I would take other RAW files into On1 and Topaz to create some sections to mask in. You can do this from either Lightroom or Photoshop and it’s up to you how you want to work. Photoshop can be the easiest way to use the plugins and obviously Lightroom for the presets.

Masking in Photoshop!

We want to take our Photomatix image and combine it with the Luke Zeme Lightroom Preset image I just created. To do this we can highlight them both in the Lightroom film strip and right click > Edit in > Open as Layers in Photoshop. Down the bottom right you will see 2 layers!

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The important section is down in the bottom right, the Layers Panel. As you can see there are 2 small thumbnails of the 2 photos we just layered in Photoshop! I renamed mine “Photomatix” and “Lukes LR Preset” to make it easier to remember which one is which. To rename your layers you just left click on the white text which is their labels and fill in any names you like.

First thing to do in Photoshop is to make sure your layers are aligned!!! To do this go up to the top and select > Edit > Auto align layers. At this stage the Auto option works best, especially if you are new to Photoshop. It will line up all the images down to the pixel!

 

Next step… 

 

Creating a mask on the top Layer:

  • Step 1- Left click on the Photomatix Layer to make sure it is highlighted.

 

  • Step 2 – Go down to the bottom of the layers panel and click on the add layer mask button (it has a circle in a rectangle).

 

  • Step 3 – Hit ( B ) to bring up the Photoshop Brush. Make sure the white layer mask is selected on the Photomatix Layer by clicking on it, and then change your opacity on the brush. You can set it something like 20%. This is at the top of the interface. Brush Opacity is found in the top border of the window.

 

  • Step 4 – You now can paint on to the large photo with your brush and this will slowly reveal the layer below. Cool right! You can build up brush strokes in the same area and the bottom layer will show through more and more. If you want to reveal the mask you hit this key ( \ ) and it will show your mask in red. Hit the ( \ ) key again it will hide the mask.

 

 

Merging Layers

When you are happy that you have combined enough of the 2 images you can simply merge the two of them together. Just go up to the top Menus and select > Layers > Merge Layers… and your 2 layers will become 1 like magic!

You can now save your result!

To do this go up to the top Menu again and select > File > Save

 

Pretty easy right!

You can see the result has a lot more definition around the pier on the left hand side and gives the image more interest with this. If you wanted you could have also masked in parts of the opera house, but I liked this silhouette against the sunrise! but it’s up to you!

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STEP 7- BONUS SUGGESTIONS - NOISE REMOVAL

Noise can often be an issue with HDR images, unfortunately it’s a common side effect. On Windows Topaz DeNoise is the most powerful noise removal tool for digital photographs. It’s got lots of easy to use presets and settings that remove all the noise in an image at the click of a button! I love and use DeNoise a lot.

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Topaz offered my subscribers a discount of 15% off DeNoise, if they use the code “lukeZemephotography”.

 

After you’ve installed DeNoise you launch it from Photoshop. The method for removing noise is done by masking as well because you only need to remove noise from parts of your image.

Method to Remove Noise:

  • Step 1 – Duplicate your layer in Photoshop by going down to the Layers Panel and making sure the layer you want to Duplicate is selected by left clicking it. I have a hotkey set up to duplicate layers because I do it so much and wanted to save time (CTRL + J), but you can also do it by going to the very top Menu items and select > File > Layers > Duplicate Layer.

 

  • Step 2 – I like to hide the top layer at this stage and apply noise removal on the bottom layer. This is done by clicking on the tiny eye icon next to the top Layer and the top layer is now invisible.

 

  • Step 3 – Next left click on the lower layer to highlight it. Open DeNoise with the lower layer selected. Go up to the Top File Menu and select > Filter > Topaz Labs > DeNoise

 

  • Step 4 – Inside the program you will find a lot of noise presets for different amounts of noise on the left. Click through each of them and see which one suits the amount you want to remove. You can move to different parts of the image by using the small preview window.

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After you are happy with the result in DeNoise, click OK to have the result taken back to Photoshop.

 

How to mask parts of the DeNoise result

In the layers panel again just click the eye icon on the top layer to make sure it is visible again. Select the top layer. Go down to the bottom icons of the layer panel and select the circle in a rectangle icon, add layer mask. This will add a white mask to the top layer and we just select our Brush ( B ) and we paint on to the main image with our brush. You just paint in areas where there is a lot of noise and just like Magic it will disappear! It’s a super powerful program and has amazing results.

 

Below I have shown the Layer mask to remove the noise by hitting ( \ ). I used a 100% Brush opacity to reveal the DeNoise layer 100% in the ocean. The nice smooth water is so much more pleasing!

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STEP 8- FURTHER STYLISATION OPTIONS

What I like to do is take my Photomatix PRO Result into a photo filter program like On1 Photo 10 or Topaz Adjust through the Layer Mask Method I have taught you just now with DeNoise.

 

Here’s an example of what I mean. I loaded the Photomatix result into

Photoshop then duplicated the Layer (Ctrl + J). I then Loaded it into On1 Photo Effects, by going to the top Menu and selecting > Filters > On1 > On1 Effects 

 

In On1 Photo 10 Effects you’ve got heaps of Filters to make your image look amazing! You can see in the image below, in the top left hand corner I have the Filters Panel highlighted in Blue and then below that in grey I am in the Tone Enhancer’s group. There are about 25 different Filter groups, some of them are Glow, Color Enhancer, Dynamic Contrast, Sunshine, Vignette, Blur, Sharpening Filters (just to name a few!). In here there are all the tools as well like masks and brushes. Not to mention Layers! So you can see on the right I have actually layered 3 Filters- a Glow, Vignette and Tone Enhancer. Each of them can be opened up and has a whole bunch of sliders and settings that are fully adjustable! I can highly highly recommend on1 Effects to go with Photomatix. They go hand in hand.

On1 Photo RAW Link

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On1 Effects User Interface, just a few of the many many filters on the left side 🙂

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STEP 9- SHARPENING & OTHER FILTER EFFECTS

Sharpening and using other filters on your HDR image can be fun. There are various ways to sharpen areas of your image, for example you might like to only sharpen the Opera House in this image. There are options to sharpen in Photoshop and Lightroom, but there are a lot of cool ways to Sharpen your images that also add drama to the image in these Plugins:

  • In On1 Effects there are a bunch of specified sharpening settings including different print papers, various screen settings and other sharpening in filters like Amazing Detail and High Pass. The Tone enhancer filters also look great and some contrast.

 

  • Topaz Adjust- Adjust offers you different options again to stylise your image in unique ways. I’ve found the filters Dynamic Pop and Pop Grunge look amazing when applied to a Photomatix image. If you mask in parts of these into your images they will just bounce of the screen or paper 😉 Remember to get 15% off any Topaz software with the coupon “LukeZemePhotography”.

STEP 10- CREATE SHARE REPEAT!

Now that you have all the tools to start making amazing HDR images create as many as you can as this is how you will improve. Then share them online with your friends and family.

 

If you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful, you can send your friends to my website to receive their free HDR tutorials and DSLR cheat sheet as well. That would be a great way of saying thank you 😉 I look forward to hearing from you guys and seeing your HDR images!

 

If you made it this far! Congratulations, everything that is earned through hard work is rewarding.

 

Thanks again,

 

Luke Zeme Photography.

 

Photo Portfolio: http://lukezeme.zenfolio.com/

Website- Lukezeme.com

 

 

Thanks guys, I hope you found this FREE HDR Tutorial valuable. Remember you can get a 15% discount on Photomatix PRO with the code“LukeZemePhotography

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks, Luke