AfterShot Pro HDR is a method used to convert images that may not have a full dynamic range to an image with full dynamic range. The setup can be one RAW image or three images taken with different exposure values at one time.
What this procedure will do is produce a final image that will far surpass the original single RAW image or any of the original sequential images.
The high dynamic range conversion in AfterShot Pro HDR produces images that conform quite closely to the original scene rather than being limited by the ability of your camera to faithfully capture the full range of information.
The end result can be either natural or very creative - the end look is up to you.
Using a Single Raw File
A single raw file contains an enormous amount of information and because of this it can be split with AfterShot Pro HDR to act like three different exposures in the exact same way you would get with three sequential images, that is ...
If you've only got one RAW image of a particular scene and the image isn't quite up to your standards then creating and HDR from that one single RAW file may save the image.
Using Sequential Images
This is done by taking at least three images at one time with the camera set to APERTURE Priority, the exposure set to Bracketing and the camera set on a tripod. The exposure brackets are generally set to plus or minus one exposure value.
Single Raw File
In the Standard View or Thumbnail View right click on a RAW file and then Edit with AfterShot Pro HDR > Single Raw Photo ...
This is the resulting screen ...
This dialogue tells you exactly how to get started using one RAW file with AfterShot Pro HDR. When you click Close the following screen appears ...
The three image split with no adjustment to the center exposure.
The three image split with the center image increased by two stops.
When you're happy with the three image split click the Process button at the bottom of the page.
AfterShot Pro HDR Step 2
AfterShot Pro HDR
Three Sequential Images
And that's only the set-up before the AfterShot Pro HDR process!
Those five points lead to one conclusion and that is - converting to HDR requires some planning.
To process your three awesome shots Ctrl-click each image and the right click, selecting Edit with AfterShot PRO HDR > Exposure Merge ...
This screen will launch.
This dialogue tells you exactly how to get started using sequential images. When you click Close the following screen appears ...
This dialogue requires a bit more work than a single RAW file.
Chose the camera response curve.
Do an Alignment - the choices are either Feature-based or Edge-based and then click the Align button. For my sample images I selected Feature Based.
If the alignment produces some funny results with odd ghosts then it may be necessary to either Brush In or Brush Out some features that may have moved during the image capture.
After the Alignment finishes, put a check in the Preview Alignment box. This will show any ghosts.
In my sample images one of them had a flag blowing in the wind, one had a droopy flag and one had a partially blowing flag. If they were processed that way then there would be some ghosting.
In addition, the searchlight is visible in one image and not in the other two images.
Put a check in the Show Brushstrokes box.
To deal with the flags I selected the Brush In brush and painted Green over the flag I wanted to keep on one of the images. Doing this automatically painted Brush Out Red on the other two images.
With the search light I opened the image with the light visible and used the Brush In brush to paint over the part I wanted to keep. This caused the Red Brush Out to show up in the same place on the other two images.
This is how the three images look after Brushing ...
AfterShot Pro HDR - Brushing
Minus one stop with Flag painted Green. On the other two version in the three shots Red was automatically added.
The Red in the Lighthouse appeared when it was painted on another version of the plus one version of the three shots.
The middle, or correct exposure has no green and two Red Areas.
To keep the light in the lighthouse visible it was painted Green (green) which will keep it visible in the final Processed version.
The Red in the Plus One (overexposed version) appeared when Green was painted on the Minus One (underexposed version).
If all this is making your head spin the get three shots and paint Green on one of them Check the other two versions and the same spot will be red and you'll have no ghosting
From this point forward the procedure for either a Single RAW file or sequential images with AfterShot Pro HDR is exactly the same.
The combined image can be adjusted as it is presented or one of the 12 Presets can be chosen. Clicking on each Preset will apply that adjustment to the image in the center window.
Below the Presets are two buttons - Color and B&W. Be sure to check the B&W setting for each Preset because you may find an awesome black and white under the color image.
There are six built in Presets and they range from natural to very creative. This is a good starting point for the rest of the adjustments in this panel.
On the top right are two icons - one to Save your very own, and probably awesome, preset and another for Preset Options. Any Presets that are saved will be at the bottom of the built-in Present list.
Below the Preset thumbnails you can choose to either work with Color or Black and White.
AfterShot Pro HDR Adjustments
There are a lot of adjustments on ths panel. From top to bottom ...
There really are no guidelines at this point because all of the adjustments are to your taste.
The first three are White Balance, Temperature and Tint.
Contrast - move the slider to the right to increase the contrast and to the left to decrease the contrast.
Highlights, Midtones and Shadows - adjusting each one of them will make an overall adjustment to the specific portion of the Curves dialogue. Highlights will raise or lower the top part of the Curve, Midtones will modify the middle part of the Curve and Shadows affect the lower part of the Curve.
Vibrancy - move to the left to remove the affect of color and to the right to make the colors more intense.
Detail (Natural or Creative) - each one provides a unique appearance. If you select normal you can adjust the highlights, midtones and shadows. If you select Creative then the next adjustments are Strength and Block size.
Reset - zeros out all of the adjustments.
Back - takes you back one screen.
Create HDR File - saves the image as it is at this point.
Process - loads the Fine Tuning page.
AfterShot Pro HDR Fine Tune
The Fine Tune panel lets you do just that - apply some fine tuning adjustments to your image.
Histogram - is modified as the rest of the adjustments are changed. Shows red, green and blue component and greyscale.
Basic Tools - Crop, Straighten, Red Eye, Makeover and Clone.
Smart Photo Fix - modify the sliders are choos Select Settings.
White Balance - adjust the temperature and the tint in the photograph.
Brightness/Contrast - as described and not often used.
Fill LIght/Clarity - fill light (like a fill flash) and Clarity. the level of datail in an image.
Vibrancy - boosts the color of the least saturated color in an image.
Local Tone Mapping - enhances details in an image.
High Pass Sharpen - adjust the radius (the specific distance within which dissimilar pixels are selected) and the strength of the adjustment.
Digital Noise Removal - remove small specs that interfere with image clarity.
At the bottom of the screen are three buttons - Back, Edit and Save and Close
Back - takes you back to the previous screen if you're not satisfied with what you see.
Edit - takes you into the Paint Shop Pro Editor allowing for additiona adjustments.
Save and Close - saves the image as a jpeg (or any format you wish) wherever you want and closed the program.
The |AfterShot Pro HDR conversion is comprehensive and excellent. The procedure is exactly the same with both Paint Shop and AfterShot Pro 3.
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