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The HDR creation process involves merging a stack of images. An
object changing position in the image set creates a strange effect in
which the object is partially visible (like a ghost) in the final HDR
image. This problem can be corrected by automatic or manual
Creating HDR images interactively
You can access the wizard that will guide you through the process of
creating a new HDR image via the File > New HDR image... menu item.
On the first page the wizard will ask you to select the set of images (of the
same scene, but taken at different exposures) that are going to contribute
to the final hdr (supported input: jpeg, raw and tiff -8 and 16 bit-).
Even if Luminance HDR doesn't find the required Exif data (Shutter Speed
& Aperture) in your image set you can still proceed creating an HDR. To
do so you have to insert manually the EV (exposure values) or stop
difference values for the images in your the set.
The first page of the wizard enables the user to apply an automatic
alignment step to the images in the set. It is possible to use one of two
alignment options (or "engines"): align_image_stack and MTB.
The first option is usually a good choice (MTB works only on LDR images
and has a simpler model that does not take into account rotation).
If your image set consists of LDR images (JPEG, 8 bit TIFF, or RAW files
converted to tiff without the -4 switch) the second step of the wizard will
show you a window that can be used to perform some "pre merging"
The first feature will enable the user to add to each image in the set
additional horizontal/vertical offsets.
The user is able to shift each image in set by one pixel by first selecting
an image in the left (editable) list and then clicking one of the arrow
buttons in the bottom-left panel. The same effect can also be obtained by
using one of the WSAD or IKJL key combinations. Pressing Shift will shift
by ten pixels, pressing control will shift by 50 pixels and pressing both
Shift and Control will shift by 100 pixels.
By dragging a rectangle with the mouse, the user can also select a crop
area for all the images in the set. Clicking the "Crop All Images" button
will effectively crop the images in the set.
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This window contains also the interactive anti-ghosting feature.
The user switches to anti-ghosting mode by pressing the "Anti Ghosting"
button. It is then possible to draw a mask over the regions of the images
that contain moving objects.
The user can select the size of the brush, its strength and whether the
brush is adding or removing the mask.
The same window contains a button that enables the user to save the set
of images after all the cropping has taken place and with all the anti-
ghosting masks and shifts applied. The images will be saved in TIFF
format, and the mask is saved as a 0-valued alpha channel in the image
The following page of the wizard will also ask you which kind of
configuration you want to use to create the hdr from the source images:
usually the first choice leads to good results, so feel free to accept the
default "Config 1" option by pressing next.
If you think that the results can be improved you can try one of the other
If you want to fiddle with settings you can check the "custom" option and
another page of the wizard will show up with a complete set of
configurations. It is worth mentioning that you should use the custom
option as a last resort because the predefined configurations (which are a
sub-set of the all possible configurations you can have in the custom
configuration panel) are known to yield good results.
Editing HDR images
After creating an new HDR file or opening an existing one you can do
several things to them except tonemapping.
You can access this feature via the Image > Resize the Hdr... menu item.
Luminance HDR can resize an HDR image to a given pixel size of
percentage value counting from the original. If you use percentage, thi
final size in pixels will be calculated and displayed to the right
from Height entry field.
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Clicking Scale button will resize the HDR image.
To crop an HDR file to some area first you need to select this are. Click
somewhere on an image, drag the mouse pointer to a side and release it.
You will see something like this:
You can further edit the frame you created by dragging its edges or
corners. You can also move the frame around by clicking inside it and
dragging mouse pointer (that will change from an arrow to a hand icon).
When the frame is placed correctly, choose Image > Crop to selection in
menu or use the relevant button in the toolbar. Luminance HDR will create
a new unsaved HDR image that contains cropped version of the original
To get rid of the selection frame simply single-click anywhere outside the
frame or use the Image > Remove Selection menu item.
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You can rotate an HDR image to 90 degrees a step, using Image > Rotate
Counter-Clockwise and Image > Rotate Clockwise commands
or < and > shortcuts respectively. Unlike setting an Exif orientation tag
this will physically modify the HDR image.
Interactive Tone Mapping
To start tonemapping an HDR file click the "Tonemap" button in the
tonemappimg panel or use Ctrl+T shortcut.
The tone mapping step first applies to the HDR the gamma value specified
by the pregamma value, then the tone mapping operator is applied.
Adjusting pregamma is an optional step, so you can safely start with
picking an operator. The available operators are listed in a combobox on
top of Tone Mapping Panel. Most useful operators are listed first. The last
two operators, Ashikhmin and Pattanaik, have less practical use for
photography, but can be of interest for robotic vision specialists.
Having chosen the operator, tweak its settings, choose resulting size and
click Tonemap button in the bottom to tonemap an HDR image to an LDR
image. Please see the "Tonemapping operators reference" chapter for
details on using a particular operator.
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To tonemap only a part of the HDR for a quick preview you can select a
rectangle of the image using the mouse and click the Tonemap button.
Alternatively you can click on the small preview images on the right panel.
Because three of nine available operators (both Mantiuks and Fattal) are
gradient domain operators that cannot provide consistent results on all
result sizes by design, the preview function is not very accurtate for those
operators, so the selection method is preferred.
If you wish to compare several results with different settings, click
the Lock Images button in the toolbar and use navigation widget in the
lower right corner of an image to pan around. Select another image with
thePrevious and Next buttons and note that contents of every image
window will be synced.
Sometimes the tonemapped LDR image is either too bright or too dark.
You can adjust brightness using Levels dialog (Adjust Levels button in
the toolbar) that works just like in GIMP, Krita, Photoshop or any similar
raster graphics editor with the only exception that it works on luminance
If you have a lot of pictures shot in same lighting conditions or just wish
to save current tonemapping settings for future use, you can save them to
a text file or in a centralized database. Use "Save..." button in the Tone
Mapping Panel under Tonemapping Settings for save to a file or the small
"save" button above to save in the database. You then can add a
comment that describe your settings. Use the "Load" buttons to reload the
previously saved settings.
The text file contains:
the currently selected tone mapping operator and its related
the values of the pregamma settings.
Please note that since version 1.8.4 the application (at the time named
Qtpfsgui) uses a new file format which doesn't contain the postgamma
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You can configure behaviour of Luminance HDR using Preferences dialog
available via Tools > Preferences...menu item.
Here you can choose language for the user interface and help system. If
no help system for your native language is available, English version will
You can also set if you want to always show the preview panel in the main
window and hide the first page of the HDR Creation Wizard
HDR TIFF File format
Here you can choose which TIFF-HDR format Luminance HDR will use to
save an HDR image.
LogLuv TIFF is the appropriate format for most cases because it stores the
hdr data in a reasonable amount of space (i.e. file size). Even if it is a 16
bit format, it can store floating point data.
The Float TIFF format has to be used only if you want to load your tiff in
another application that cannot open the LogLuv format.
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Click on the buttons to pop-up a window that lets you choose which color
to use for the nan/inf and for the negative values.
Cache. Luminance HDR needs a directory to save temporary files to. By
default home directory is used, but you can specify some other directory.
You can also specify two options for Batch Tone Mapping feature:
File format for LDR images. This is the file format to which tonemapped
LDR images will be saved to. JPEG, PNG, PPM, PBM and BMP are your
Number of threads. How many threads you want to use. Each thread
gets allocated to a different CPU or a core of a multicore CPU.
Tonemapping operators reference
Luminance HDR is based on pfstmo backend that implements algorithms
from published scientific papers on HDR imaging. Most HDR tools are
based on these papers, but Luminance is kind of different in a way that it
actually uses terminology from the papers. Which means that if you are
not a PhD in color science, you need a good explanation, otherwise you
This section helps understanding underlying algorithms and explains how
to better use a particular tonemapping operator.
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ashikhmin02 eq2 local=0.646465
When to use this algorithm
Pictures can be very high in contrast and very colourful (if all sliders
are moved quite far to the left side) or very washed out. The washed
out reminds on a mix of water colours and charcoal drawing.
Parameters in detail
Simple (Default not set)
It looks like that using the simple button makes it easier to achieve
more realistic pictures. It seems as well that "simple" mode is quite
close to "Equation 4" mode if not the simple button is set.
The Drago tone mapping operator is implementation of the "Adaptive
Logarithmic Mapping For Displaying High Contrast Scenes" scientific paper
written by F. Drago, K. Myszkowski, T. Annen and N. Chiba. The original
purpose of the algorithm is to provide a high quality tone mapping
technique to display high contrast images on devices with limited dynamic
range of luminance values.
To achieve this goal the operator calculates luminance of every pixel and
maximum luminance of the whole image, then divides them by average
luminance and finally multiplies the result by user defined exposure factor
that is called bias. The bias power function is perfomed to the whole
image splitted to a set of 3×3px tiles (for efficiency sake).
The only user defined option is bias. Smaller bias values produce
significantly brighter pictures. Values between 0.7 and 0.9 seem to be
most useful, but 0.85 is reported to be optimal according to a small
survey held by developers of the algorithm. Thus 0.85 is used by default.
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When to use this algorithm
This algorithm is intended to imitate the human eye's response, and is
useful when a true tone result is desired. It is a global spatially
uniform operator: at the beginning, it calculates the average
luminance of the image and, using this value and the external
parameter "bias", it creates a non-linear logarithmic function that is
applied to each pixel separately, without considering the neighbouring
pixels. This way the algorithm is fast and it will not change the overall
look of the image, but it is less adaptive and the details will be less
visible compared to other algorithms. It can be used on noisy images
without any particular problem because details are not amplified more
than other parts of the image.
Parameters in detail
See the web page at http://www.mpi-inf.mpg.de/resources/tmo/logmap/
Bias (default 0.85) +++
The Bias expands or contracts the dynamic range of the tone mapped
image. It changes the base of the logarithm that is used in the tone-
mapping process. If it is smaller, the dynamic range will be
compressed more and the overall look of the LDR image will be
brighter. After several attempts, the authors have found 0.85 to be
the best value to achieve realistic and clear results.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested