Friday, 2 July 2010

Creating a Macro HDR Image in Adobe Lightroom from a Single Image

I`m no expert at post processing, and I limit my post processing to contast and brightness changes, but I like to play around with my images and try my hand at new stuff. HDR or High Dynamic Range images have always caught my fancy. Usually one has to shoot 3 exposures of atleast +/-1.0EV to create a HDR image, but my camera has only +/-0.7 EV exposure bracketing, so I`ve had to look for alternative means. This is how I created the following HDR macro image from a single image in Lightroom.

DSC01357HDR

 

Requirements.

  1. A macro image shot in RAW format

DSC01357

I shot the dragonfly in aperture priority mode at f11 and 1/125th of a second shutter speed (ISO 400)

2.Adobe Lightroom.

3.Enfuse/Enblend and the Lightroom plugin – details for downloading and installation can be    found  here.

Procedure:

Once you have everything installed and ready, open up the RAW mage in the “develop” module in Lightroom. Right click the image and create a virtual copy.

image

Then using the “Exposure slider” create an underexposed image (using the virtual copy). You can also increase the “Blacks” slider to fill in the lighter area (eg: see mine below).

DSC01357-3

Similarly, go back to the original image and create another virtual copy. This time use the “Exposure” and the “Fill Light” sliders to create an overexposed image (eg: see mine below).

DSC01357-2

Now select the original, underexposed and overexposed copies (press Ctrl while clicking). Then go to File-> Plug-in Extras –> Blend exposures using LR/Enfuse

image

A dialogue will popup, in which you can set your destination folder. Other options include re-importing the finished image into Lightroom . I tick this as I like to do post processing on the generated image. You can also ask it to open the blended file in explorer or any other program. I also tick the boxes to copy all meta data.

image image

All other settings, I leave on default. Just make sure that on the “Configuration” tab, the path points to C:\Program Files \Enblend-Enfuse\bin or wherever you have installed the Enfuse application.

image image

Now Lightroom will go into processing mode and first align the images, before blending them to

image image

create a single HDR image using all three of the above images. This may take a little while, but the resulting image should be perfectly exposed as shown below.

DSC01357HDR

Some people may choose to leave it like that, but I like my HDR images a little more vibrant, so I  made the following changes in Lightroom.

image

I also cleaned up the sensor dust on the image…and that is how the final image was generated. Shown below are the before and after photos:

 
 
 
 
Before
DSC01357
 
 
 
 
After
DSC01357HDR

Now, try one for yourself!