How good is Nik HDR Efex?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by zettapixel, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Anybody tried it?
    Nik is running a summer sale on it, I'm trying to understand whether it's worth it...
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I'm also pretty keen on HDR lately and would love some opinions from people......especially if you can compare it to other software on the market. I've watched a couple videos on their website and it looks pretty sweet. Let's see some of your shots!
     
  3. NIK HDR image

    In the last month I've upgraded the hardware, started using Aperture 3 and NIK software. So basically I'm still in learning mode. The HDR processed image was from 3 images taken -1,-.33, +.33 ev. Wish I would have taken a second identical image set. A 5 image set at .3 or 3 image set at 1ev stops to compare the final product. Next time.
     

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  4. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I Really enjoy it Zettapixel. It's very easy to use and integrates well with my Aperture. There a many presets to choose from and then you have the sliders for fine tuning.

    Here's one I did not long ago with the app.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/5751992295/" title="Bleak overcast day, perfect for HDR by iconindustries, on Flickr">"1024" height="583" alt="Bleak overcast day, perfect for HDR"></a>
     
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  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Thank you, it looks clean. I think I'll get a free trial.
     
  6. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Try it, you'll like it!

    I use both HDR Efex and Photomatix.

    1. The interface on HDR Efex is more user friendly, and the preconfigured "looks" far surpass PM.

    2. Each program definitely has it's own "look". For example, PM tends to give a bluish cast very easily.

    3. In my opinion PM produces a sharper finished product "if" you are looking to create more natural looking HDR.

    4. HDR Efex seems to favor the slightly exaggerated look, though that is not a bad thing.

    In the end, if I had to give up one, I'd buy both! I think one compliments the other. Definitely worth trying and Nik's support is very good!

    Here's one done with HDR Efex
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasabi_bob/5156190615/" title="SOHO - Spring St._02 by Wasabi Bob, on Flickr"> 5156190615_4eb15bcf8b_z. "640" height="484" alt="SOHO - Spring St._02"></a>

    Here's one done with Photomatix
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasabi_bob/4988623936/" title="Tribute in Light 2010 - NYC by Wasabi Bob, on Flickr"> 4988623936_185cd4f2b3_z. "640" height="480" alt="Tribute in Light 2010 - NYC"></a>

    Check out my Flickr page below and you can judge for yourself.
     
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  7. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Thank you Wasabi Bob, beautiful shots. Was the first one (with HDR Efex) created out of one exposure or were there several?
     
  8. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Multiple photos

    True HDR is created out of multiple bracketed exposures, where each contains detail the others don't. HDR's from a single photo is, at best, a faux HDR.

    Each of these was created from 5 RAW photos.
     
  9. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Thank you. I do realize real hdr are made from several exposures but, since i almost never have a tripod with me the faux hdr may actually be a higher priority for me.
     
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  10. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    This image here I've made from just one exposure. I tried to portray a 'derelict' feel which I did through HRD Efex Pro. Amazing what you can do to an image.

    Before (original image)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/5918422758/" title="P1100684 - Version 5 by iconindustries, on Flickr">"1024" height="575" alt="P1100684 - Version 5"></a>

    After

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/5895128019/" title="Derelict Truck by iconindustries, on Flickr">"1024" height="575" alt="Derelict Truck"></a>
     
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  11. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    You can make pretty good HDR out of one RAW file. Here's one of mine:
    <param name="movie" value="http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf" /><param name="flashvars" value="id=181295621&width=1337" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed src="http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450" flashvars="id=181295621&width=1337" height="516" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/181295621/">Follow that</a> by ~<a class="u" href="http://f1l1p.deviantart.com/">F1L1P</a> on <a href="http://www.deviantart.com">deviant</a><a href="http://www.deviantart.com">ART</a>
    Made with photomatix.
     
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  12. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Hi, a tripod is not really mandatory ! All modern HDR software (and NIK HDR Efex is amongst them) have auto-align functionality.
    As long as you stand more or less still, the software will align the images and even take care of 'ghosts' !

    I wanted to share tonight some 5 shot HDR pics I shot manually in a cathedral today, processed with NIK, but I ran (unexpectedly) into a "trial expired" error that I need to sort out with the NIK people. So, you just have to wait, as I have to wait :biggrin::biggrin:

    C U,
    Rafael
     
  13. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sounds like you need a serial number Raf:)
     
  14. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    That's pretty cool :thumbup:
     
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  15. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Agreed..

    I think the issue is that there are two types of HDR - those that look over cooked and those that use multiple exposures to truly expand the dynamic range.

    Neither is wrong, it just depends on what your personal preference and goals are. Church interiors are a great example where one shot cannot capture all the details and still produce a somewhat natural looking image. If one shot is your style, than it's best to use one RAW shot. You'll have more adjustment range from RAW than from JPG.
     
  16. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I agree somewhat. I have found that single JPEGs often times (for me) give better results than single RAW files (don't ask me why......I know it's counter-intuitive).

    I've also done some single JPEG tone-mapping that was perfectly natural. The ability to stay either natural or go over-the -top is not tied to the number of exposures. But, having said that, it is EASIER to get smoother , more natural finished ones with more exposures. I generally use 7 JPEGS and process in the full range from natural to grunge and many stops in between.

    Currently my taste tends toward the mid-point.....obviously HDR, but not total clown vomit.

    I'll have to download the trial.
     
  17. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    So, with the kind and fast assistance of Nik Europe, I got the HDR Efex demo working.
    As I said, I had three 5-shot (5x 2/3 EV) to process, and these are the results.
    So far, I only used the presets, and played a little with the sliders.

    I did not use the selective adjustments yet.

    Here's the results :

    sized_hdr01-1.

    sized_hdr02.

    sized_hdr03.

    My first impressions are that :

    - the presets (arranged in intuitive categories like "architecture", "landscape", "realistic" or "artistic") are an enormous help for selecting a starting point
    - the sliders are user friendly and intuitive, what you read is what you adjust
    - "vignette" is provided in the finishing adjustments, but I'm missing the lovely "border" utility from Silver Efex

    Definitely a great tool, much easier to manipulate the eg. Photomatix !

    C U,
    Rafael​
     
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  18. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    On the topic of single-shot HDR, I agree with Wasabi Bob, in that the best HDRs are from bracketed shots. However, there are lots of times where an HDR from a single RAW is just plain more interesting that the stock shot.

    Tonemapping can bring out colors and details that are subdued in standard processing, without going to extreme lengths in masking, saturation, etc.

    Here's a single-frame HDR:

    5525499257_7915bdf7cd_b.
    Venice Shop 1 by Blueshound250, on Flickr
     
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  19. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    This shot is processed from a single picture !

    sized_hdr01001.

    C U,
    Rafael​
     
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  20. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    Very nice, Rafael.

    Brian
     
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