April 18, 2013 4 Comments
The tool has individual sliders for controlling recovery of highlights and of shadow details.
If values over 70-80 are needed in one of the sliders, it can be a very good idea to use the Exposure Tool to bring in the exposure as a first step. As a second step, use the HDR Tool to extract the desired details and colors in both highlights and shadows – now with lower slider values. When lower and more similar values of the shadow and highlight slider are used, you will typically achieve a more realistic and pleasing image.
The image to the left is directly out of the camera. The high dynamic range of the scene makes it difficult to see details and color in the shadows, but also the sky has lost some color. The image to the right has been optimized in Capture One 7, primarily with a combination of the Exposure Tool and the High Dynamic Range Tool. Finally the Keystone Tool has been used to correct the perspective.
To illustrate the effect of using the slider in the Exposure Tool followed by the High Dynamic Range Tool, I have shot a series of test images with different exposures.
The first image is exposed with clipping of only the extreme highlights. This exposure gives a perfect definition in the bright elements in the scene, but all the shadow details are barely visible. For the last exposure, we have a reasonable amount of details in the shadows, but the highlights are overexposed and you can hardly see the large red poster on the building in the background.
Let’s start with the first image, which is exposed with good highlight details, but with very dark shadows. To bring back the shadow details, I could use the shadow slider in the High Dynamic Range Tool.
To achieve a more natural looking result, I will use the exposure slider to open up the shadows first. This will lead to overexposure in the highlights, but this can easily be fixed with the highlight slider in the High Dynamic Range Tool.
This is the same image as before, but now I am using the Exposure Tool to generally open up the image and the High Dynamic Range Tool to bring in the highlights and the shadow details. Note that I have the same value for both the highlight and the shadow slider. The image now looks much more natural.
Having this idea in mind, I will correct the last of the 4 images, which was the one exposed with EV +2.
Instead of only using the highlight slider in the High Dynamic Range Tool, I start out by using some negative exposure compensation in the Exposure Tool and then use the High Dynamic Range Tool. Once again I use similar values for the shadow and the highlight slider, and I achieve a natural looking image with a good balance of shadow and highlight details.
All the best,