Capturing a high contrast scene has always vexed photographers. We’ve all tried neutral density filters for landscapes and lighting equipment for interior shots in order to balance the wide range of light levels in our scenes. The results could be good but the work to get to the final image was intense. No longer!
Capturing high contrast scenes is now as simple as shooting three or more images of varying exposures and then merging those images into one high dynamic range file that reveals all your shadows and highlights. The magic is done with HDR software. But, not all HDR software is created equal.
Previously, HDR applications performed their contrast manipulation or "tone mapping" by creating an 8-bit or 16-bit image. Using an 8-bit or 16-bit file to create a large, high dynamic range file significantly reduces the file’s dynamic range, clips its color range and degrades the precision of image data.
That’s why we created our stand-alone HDR applications HDR Expose 3, HDR Express 3 and the Photoshop plug-in 32 Float v3. These are the only HDR applications that merge multiple exposures into a full 32-bit file using our patented Beyond RGB™ color model. And, most importantly, these are the only HDR photo editing applications where all tools and operations work in 32-bit, floating-point precision.
HDR Expose 3 and HDR Express 3 use powerful image alignment algorithms to create an HDR image from multiple exposures. The resulting 32-bit image is then ready to have its wide contrast range adjusted to fit into the contrast range of your output device. Unlike other HDR applications which "tone map" their 8-bit or 16-bit image into a useable range, our applications take all the valuable data in your HDR image and "dynamic range map" it into a file that retains naturally clear highlights, vibrant mid-tones and beautifully open shadows.
HDR Expose 3 and HDR Express 3 can do this for you with a single click using the Dynamic Range Mapping tool. And, with HDR Express you have additional one-step tone mapping and style preset buttons. You can also choose to have full control over the mapping process by individually adjusting the image’s dynamic range, brightness, highlights, shadows and saturation. With these powerful tools you can dial in a beautifully natural HDR image or a highly stylized image depending on your artistic vision.
In digital photography the colors and brightness of each pixel are recorded as binary numbers. Depending on the power of your image editing application the numbers used to describe those pixels are restricted to 8-bits (256) or 16-bits (65,535). Naturally, the more numbers you have available to you the more variation you can describe in each pixel. The more variation that you can describe, the richer and more detailed your digital image will be.
Because color information is restricted to at most 16 bits in the RGB space used in most image editing applications and output devices, RGB is inherently a restricted color model — it is a restricted color space that cannot describe all the colors that can be seen by the human eye.
Imagine the tonal variations available to you by working in 32-bit, floating point mode in the Beyond RGB color space, the basis of HDR Expose 3, HDR Express 3 and 32 Float v3. The Beyond RGB color space brings all the colors your eye can see to the task of creating your HDR photography image.
Because the 32-bit floating point Beyond RGB color model is not based on the RGB model, the brightness and contrast changes made to your image in HDR Expose 3, HDR Express 2 or 32 Float v3 will not alter your original colors as you would in an 8-bit or 16-bit program.
In fact, every tool and operation in HDR Expose 3, HDR Express 3 and 32 Float v3 always works in the high-precision 32-bit floating point mode. This is why many pro photographers are using HDR Expose 3, HDR Express 3 and 32 Float v3 to perform non-color-destructive brightness, contrast and color adjustments to their non-HDR images. These pros create their images from RAW camera files and save out their files in 32-bit format as a base reference file before moving on to Photoshop or other programs for further editing. Why lose data before you have to? Why lose data at all?
It’s time for you to try HDR imaging and discover the beauty in a high dynamic range image and then working with that image in full, non-destructive 32-bit floating point mode. Download a free, 30-day trial version of HDR Expose 3 or HDR Express 3 today and experience the beauty of true HDR photography.