Thursday, May 21, 2009

CS3 HDR vs Photomatix HDR

Or is it a case of HDR vs Tone Mapping?

So I finally got around to processing some images in Photomatix that I had already used photoshop for. So basically a HDR that I had done in CS3 - I've also now done in Photomatix. So here's image 1:

I liked this when I first did it - it was one of my favourite images from the motorshow that wasn't of the M1 Homage.

So last night I did the photomatix magic on the same 3 photos (all were bracketed -2, 0, +2)

I like the photomatix version over the photoshop version. I wasn't expecting to as I've struggled a bit with photomatix and tone mapping. I won't call it HDR as the HDR image in Photomatix would be pretty much the same as the HDR image in photoshop.

So my conclusions on all this:
Generally not a fan of tone-mapping you can use it to create interesting looking images but photomatix is too fiddly to get something that looks "realistic". The eye-bleeding tone-mapping is easy enough (but why would you want to?). I'm not going to get into a discussion of the nature of tone-mapped HDRs - I understand what art is about and I firmly believe each to their own.

CS3 when creating HDRs is very resource heavy & slow, photomatix is much faster. I will probably use photomatix over CS3 to be honest - namely for the speed. I will just have to continue struggling with trying to create realistic looking HDR images. Or I could just stop playing with HDR.