Create an HDR Photo

How to Create an HDR Photo from 1 JPEG

HDR is an amazing photography technique, and more people are becoming involved. While ‘true’ HDR’ requires three identical images taken at different exposures, one JPEG can be used to make an HDR image. This technique is bested used for any photos you have saved that you’d like to make HDR.

The first step is download an HDR program. Photomatix tends to be the most famous. There are other programs (including free ones) that will do the same thing. One such example is Picturenaut.

Once the program is downloaded, locate the picture you would like to edit. The picture should ideally be the best quality possible, but lower quality photos can be used.

Load the picture into Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, download GIMP. GIMP will have the same tools we are going to use, and it is free.

Once you have the picture loaded into Photoshop or GIMP, select the burn tool. Choose ‘Midtones’ as the burn option, and set the exposure at 45.

Begin painting over the photo with the burn tool. Do not release the left mouse button until you have run the burn tool over the entire picture. If you press the button multiple times, then the picture will have too many ‘over-burned’ sections.

Once you have burnt the entire picture, save it as a JPEG, highest quality.

Now, undo the burn tool for the picture

Follow the same process as you did with the burn tool. Once the picture is fully painted over, save the picture. You should now have 3 pictures – a light one, a normal one, and a dark one.

Close Photoshop or the GIMP and open Photomatix. Select File  gt; Open and load the three pictures you just created. Now, selected HDR  gt; Generate. It will ask you if you want it to generate from the three opened pictures. Select ‘Yes’. On the following wizard boxes, leave the default settings and select OK.

A new picture will be generated. It will likely look very ugly. This will be remedied. Select HDR  gt; Tone Mapping. A new box will appear. This box allows you to tone map the photo into a brilliantly colored photo.

There is no right or wrong settings for the Tone Mapping. It all depends on the photo. Slide each setting until the picture looks the way you like.

Once the picture is tone mapped to your liking, select the 16-bit color option and choose ‘Save’. The picture will take a few moments to Render. Once it is finished, choose File  gt; Save and save it as either a JPEG or a TIFF. TIFF has higher quality.

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