Paint Shop HDR

Paint Shop HDR is a method of converting three (or more) bracketed images taken one after the other into one image that combines the dynamic range of all of the images.

What this will do is produce an image that will far surpass any one of the original images.

The high dynamic range conversion in Paint Shop Pro 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.  

There are HDR program capable of creating some wild and crazy results where the converion in Paint Shop is much more realistic.

The set-up to create the images is detailed here and if you are not sure how to do it then check it out ...


A Paint Shop HDR is generally created from at least three bracketed images - here's an example.

These were taken with my Olympus E300 DSLR.  Unfortunately, my old Olympus will only bracket plus and minus one EV so there is not as big a difference between the three shots as I would like.  

Ah well - this is where we adapt, right ... and hope that Paint Shop HDR can come to the rescue!

paint shop hdr metered Plus one EV (Exposure Value)

One stop overexposed
paint shop hdr minus one Minus one EV (Exposure Value)

One stop underexposed
paint shop hdr plus one As metered in the camera

I messed with the settings unitl the HDR image looked acceptable on that tiny little preview and then clicked OK.  This is the conversion ...

paint shop hdr converted image

Not too shabby, eh?  The converted image is better than any of the three shots from which it was created.

Ah - but there's more - how about a little Post Processing to bump up the drama ...

paint shop hdr post processing

This post processing was a Levels Adjustment Layer to darken the image just a bit and then a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer to spice up the blues and reds in the sky.

Now for the procedure ...

Paint Shop HDR

It's assumed you have three bracketed images to work with, preferably RAW files.

Go to File > HDR Photo Merge.

This screen will load ....

paint shop hdr palette

This really is a simple little panel with not many adjustments available (unlike Photoshop CS5 and Photomatix that both have many different adjustments).

The Preview allows you to see the effect of the two adjustments available Brightness and Clarity.  It's possible to zoom in and pan around the preview panel.

To load the images simply click the Browse button and navigate to your bracketed Raw files, select the ones to be used and click OK.  After a short period of time the images selected will show up in the middle of the palette.

Each one has a checkmark below it and this allows one of the images to be eliminated from the conversion - just to see what effect it may have.

To the right of the Browse button is the Align Images button.  Click on it and Paint Shop Pro will align the images.

The actual adjustments are at the bottom of the panel.  You can mess with the two settings or just click Suggest Settings - which is probably a good starting point.

  • Brightness - controls the overall Brightness of the image.
  • Clarity - controls the clarity - if you go too high with this then unsightly artifacts will be introduced which will have to be dealt with later unless, of course, you want the artifacts for artistic purposes.

Click OK when you are happy with the settings.  Paint Shop Pro will merge the images and present you with a nice new image that is a combination of the original three.

Now for some post processing ...

Post Processing

A Paint Shop HDR image is not necessarily perfect and some addional adjustments may be necessary for you to be completely satisfied with your matsterpiece.

How about a few examples ...

Levels and Soft Light Layer (dodge and burn)

paint shop hdr levels softlight

Curves and Hue and Saturation (to spice up the individual colors)

paint shop hdr curves

Curves and Soft Light (more dodging and burning)

paint shop hdr curves soft light

Everything Else and Channel Mixer (to create a wonderful black and white image)

paint shop hdr black and white

That's not all of the post processing you can do by any stretch of the imagination - just do the conversion and then rummage through the Paint Shop Pro adjustments - give 'em a try to see what happens.

Page Links


Paint Shop HDR

Post Processing

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