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How to get the most dynamic range from your RAW file.

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  • How to get the most dynamic range from your RAW file.

    HDR method using a single RAW file.

    Trying to explain this to anyone is a great lesson in futility. They say that a picture is worth 1000 words, and I believe it.

    Take a look at these images for detailed instructions on how to create and seamlessly blend multiple exposure zones from within a single RAW file using Photoshop and Adobe camera RAW.

    I just want to note here that I only use a highlight layer for this example. You could also use this method to bring detail into shadows. In an extreme case you would want to make a layer for shadows, mids and highlights. Also, RAW files are not infallible. If the highlights or shadows are too far gone, nothing but a second file/exposure is going to work.

    These images are read from left to right, top to bottom.

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  • #2
    Many of us use LR. To do this from there, simply make "virtual copies" edited the way you want for exposure and then send them to PS (CMD-E). You can send them all at once by selecting them all prior to the "edit" command. Once done any virtual copies can be deleted; but they don't really "exist," they are just different xmp sidecar "processing files."

    I didn't know about the "duplicate layer" option for copying in other images. I usually just select the image to copy (CMD-A), then copy(CMD-C) and paste it(CMD-V) into the other image as a new layer. I'll try this method next time and see how it works for me...
    Steve
    the Photographic Academy.com
    SharpShooter Industries
    My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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    • #3
      If you want to just stick in lightroom you can use the paintbrush tool to mask specific areas and then just make the adjustments you want in those areas.
      Nikon D800e, D300, D5000, NIKON GLASS 85mm F/1.8 D, 105mm f/2.8 Micro AF-S VR, 70-200 AF-S VR f/2.8, 28-300 AF-S VRII,10.5mm Fisheye, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, TC-20E III AF-S, Sigma 12-24 HSM, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM, Sigma 150-500 OS, 2 SB-600 Speedlights, SB-900 speedlight, 4 YN-622N transceivers, Manfrotto 190MF3 tripod & 322RC2 ball grip head. - NJ, USA
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      • #4
        Originally posted by sk66 View Post
        I didn't know about the "duplicate layer" option for copying in other images. I usually just select the image to copy (CMD-A), then copy(CMD-C) and paste it(CMD-V) into the other image as a new layer. I'll try this method next time and see how it works for me...
        Yeah same here, that's neat, good to know.
        My Website: Carissa Lyn
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        Nikon D5000 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | Tamron 70-200 2.8 | Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-S | Various speedlights & lighting equipment

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sk66 View Post
          Many of us use LR. To do this from there, simply make "virtual copies" edited the way you want for exposure and then send them to PS (CMD-E). You can send them all at once by selecting them all prior to the "edit" command. Once done any virtual copies can be deleted; but they don't really "exist," they are just different xmp sidecar "processing files."

          I didn't know about the "duplicate layer" option for copying in other images. I usually just select the image to copy (CMD-A), then copy(CMD-C) and paste it(CMD-V) into the other image as a new layer. I'll try this method next time and see how it works for me...
          Using LR I will make the "virtual copies" (usually two) and while in Library mode will adjust exposure on one image to bring out the shadows and the other image for the highlights and blend the three images using a plug in called Lightroom enfuse. LR/Enfuse - Blend Multiple Exposures Together in Adobe Lightroom (I have no connection with this organization except as a person who made a donation for the full version). One can get a reduced package of this plug in free or donate for a full version. Be cautious as the donation is in British pounds so use a currency calculator for your home monetary unit.

          Edit- If you donate for full version all future upgrades are free
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          • #6
            Originally posted by sk66 View Post
            I didn't know about the "duplicate layer" option for copying in other images.
            Yep... today is a good day! I learned something.

            Thanks
            Scott
            Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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            • #7
              Lightroom is just a fancy ACR anyway. Personally I would use lightroom instead of ACR, and then "open in" PS to do the layer work, but not everyone has both.

              I did this specific tutorial for someone, which is why it is a PS only tute. Lightroom is good for somethings too, its easier for one, but as powerful as lightroom is, I much prefer the control and work flow of Photoshop for this kind of work.

              Glad I was able to teach some of you old guys a little something something anyway lol even if its only something as simple as "dupe layer" lol. Everyone knows there are 10 different ways to do any one thing in PS though, whatever jets the job done right?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tzetsin View Post
                Lightroom is just a fancy ACR anyway. Personally I would use lightroom instead of ACR, and then "open in" PS to do the layer work, but not everyone has both.

                I did this specific tutorial for someone, which is why it is a PS only tute. Lightroom is good for somethings too, its easier for one, but as powerful as lightroom is, I much prefer the control and work flow of Photoshop for this kind of work.

                Glad I was able to teach some of you old guys a little something something anyway lol even if its only something as simple as "dupe layer" lol. Everyone knows there are 10 different ways to do any one thing in PS though, whatever jets the job done right?
                I don't know whether to feel special in a good way or special in the short bus way but thank you twice for posting
                Website : It's here
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                • #9
                  I dug this one out of the recycle bin to experiment on. I axed it for a few reason, but one of them was the sky. I did not think I would be able to pull any detail back in and did not try because I did not like the picture anyway. I tried your tut on this, and it brought back the sky pretty slick. Thanks again.
                  Scott
                  Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scootermcq View Post
                    I dug this one out of the recycle bin to experiment on. I axed it for a few reason, but one of them was the sky. I did not think I would be able to pull any detail back in and did not try because I did not like the picture anyway. I tried your tut on this, and it brought back the sky pretty slick. Thanks again.
                    You could probably also use this same technique to brush a little more detail into the dress without changing the exposure of the dress if you know what I mean. Those white dresses can be a real PITA.

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                    • #11
                      Just out of interest does this way produce better results than just using the levels tool and layer masks?

                      It's just I always use the Levels tool and then paint out or in the exposure changes and it works great, and was wondering if this is just another way to skin a cat, or whether there were specific gains from doing it this way?
                      Newcastle Photography
                      Newcastle Wedding Photography

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                      • #12
                        It works better if you make the exposure adjustments from the raw file. When you are using levels in PS you are actually working on only the portion of the raw data that was sent with the image.
                        Steve
                        the Photographic Academy.com
                        SharpShooter Industries
                        My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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                        • #13
                          You know, the one thing that has always confused me... if the data is there, why doesn't the software extract it (whether in camera or PC based) and show the clipped shadows or blown highlights that we can pull out of the RAW with tricks etc? I mean it's there, why do we not use the data we are capturing?
                          Scott
                          Nikon D700, D300, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 105mm f2.8, 28-75 f2.8, 35-70 f2.8, 80-200 f2.8

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by scootermcq View Post
                            You know, the one thing that has always confused me... if the data is there, why doesn't the software extract it (whether in camera or PC based) and show the clipped shadows or blown highlights that we can pull out of the RAW with tricks etc? I mean it's there, why do we not use the data we are capturing?
                            It's convoluted. First, many displays cannot display the same dynamic range that a camera can capture. Especially with the newer cameras. (All displays have a rated higher contrast ration/DR, but it's misleading. It's due gains in displaying blacks). Additionally, the logical end of photography is(was) print. And prints have much less DR.

                            When you "recover" from the raw data you are not really just "displaying what was there." You are compressing what was there (all of it) to fit into the displayable/printable range.

                            High dynamic range monitors do a better job at the white end and will require less "recovery." But they add additional issues in that even more of what can be captured/seen is not reproducible in print or on other's monitors.
                            Last edited by sk66; 12-17-2012, 05:34 PM.
                            Steve
                            the Photographic Academy.com
                            SharpShooter Industries
                            My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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                            • #15
                              nevcam

                              Hi,

                              Im new to RAW files and wonder if there is a course on RAW processing. I currently have SILKYPIX as it came with my Panasonic FZ 200 camera.

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