You can make photos sing and expand the dynamic range that the human eye detects in real life. HDR or High Dynamic Range is a blending of exposures that opens up the darkest and lightest visual elements. Now I can bring out a version that’s closer to what I’d seen with my eyes. The cool thing I’m going to let you in on, is creating multiple exposures from just one JPG. Not even a RAW format…and it works. Check out the before and after (Click on the “after” image to enlarge).
I’m a professional and I promised not to fall into the pit of over-processing with HDR. But I did. Who could resist that surreal pop of 3D-ishness. After several hundreds of HDR renderings with Photomatix Pro, I have toned it down. You only need to recheck the original to see how much detail pops with only moderately strong Tone Mapping settings. There are a few other types of HDR functions with Photomatix Pro, but Tone Mapping (Details Enhancer) is the star feature.
How to create multiple exposures from one JPEG
This first point is a must – launch PhotoShop and go to File > Open. You must open the JPEG file from the application.
Follow these steps:
- Launch PhotoShop
- File > Open
- Note the Format or File Type at the bottom of the Open dialog box.
- Change the Format or File Type to Camera Raw and open.
- This launches the digital photo in the PhotoShop Raw Editor.
- Now create your three exposures the same as you would using one Raw format image.
Now you’re using a single shot JPEG to create multiple exposure magic!
Once you’ve processed your images in Photomatix Pro and saved your final blended image I tend to use the Smart Sharpen tool on the Lightness layer in Lab Color Channel.
- With your photo opened, go to Image > Mode > Lab Color
- In the Layers Panel, click on the Channels tab and click on the Lightness layer.
- Your image turns to black and white.
- From the file menu, select Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen.
- Set Amount to about 200% or more .
- Set the Radius to about 2 of 3 pixels.
- Set Remove to Lens Blur. Click OK.
- Back to the Layers panel, click on the Lab channel now to activate all layers and make it color again.
Note: To save as a JPEG, you must revert back to RGB. Select Image > Mode > RGB (or whatever your native mode).
It will likely look over sharpened on screen, even badly so. But your display isn’t capable of showing the fine transitions of print output. You’ll find the print output smooths this out remarkably on most any desktop printer. Using an Epson R2400 for 13X19 inch prints, I usually push the Amount close to 400%. Looks terrible on screen, but great on paper.
The PhotoShop Lab Sharpening Technique for Web Ready Photos
Complete all the same steps as above, but change steps 5 and 6 and follows:
- Set Amount to about 35%
- Set Radius to .5 pixel (1/2 a pixel)
These are guidelines with which you’ll experiment and fine tune to what works best for you. Every photo is unique.
MAMA supports the creative minds of the planet earth. If you come across something interesting and out of the ordinary, or just something that makes you smile, we’d like to know about it.
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