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  • Nov 30 2016 at 4:55am
    Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 7

    Export to Photoshop and Post-Editing in HDR projects: It is of course also possible to create and edit a photo montage in any other program using the same images used to make up the HDR image in HDR projects 5. This involves deactivating the montage by clicking the icon on the right side of the Selective Painting button. HDR projects 5 proFollowing this, activate the preset “Naturally Fine Details”.

    If there is already an alternative Photo-Editing program defined in the settings within the Export submenu, exporting the image will be a piece of cake. To avoid quality reduction when exporting, use the TIFF 16-Bit format.
    Now the photo can be quickly brought over to Photoshop for further editing. When finished editing in Photoshop, the image can be once again uploaded into HDR projects 5 as an individual HDR image.

    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    Our image here has been cropped using Photoshop and uploaded again in TIFF-format, however an upload in PSD format would have also been possible. HDR projects 5 creates two synthetic variations and once again applies the most recently used Preset.

    HDR projects 5 proThe image duplicates, automatic Subject-Brilliance, the Optimization-Assistant and the Effects in Expert-Mode can now all be deactivated since there is already an HDR image available. It would be quite easy at this stage to apply a new mask using the Selective Painting tool and add a new background to the image.

    Now the masking tool using brightness can be applied with Sensitivity levels at 0% without a problem. Applying this mask doesn’t involve hand selecting any part of object at all. There appears however an outline around the object. This can be removed by expanding the masked area by 10 pixels using the tools in the column to the right. Now the new background can be uploading by clicking on the chessboard pattern.

    This time around we’ve chosen sky as our new background. Now this impressively composed image can continue to be edited in HDR projects 5. Meanwhile there exist an even better alternative.
    Photoshop Filter Plug-in
    All programs released in their fifth version provide access to a fully-fledged Photoshop Filter Plug-in. This allows for photo-editing on a whole other level. HDR images can be directly exported to Photoshop or simply saved beforehand and opened using the program.

    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    Beginning once again to edit our image using the various cropping methods, the image including the sky background can be accessed in Photoshop. For a more realistic touch, we could have used Photoshop to place clouds in front of the bottom edge of the basket. For an explanation of this feature, however, this is not completely necessary. The possibilities speak for themselves.

    HDR projects 5 proAt this stage we recommend making a Smart Object out of the individual layers. After accessing the filter an Information window will appear.

    HDR projects 5 professional must first be closed, but everything functions fine after restarting the program. This is caused by Adobe settings and is notoriously known to occur when accessing any external filter. After applying the preset Landscape Color and Details, our result looks like this:

    Or when applying the Smooth Shine Preset and a reduced tonal value in the Optimization Assistant:

    • Located above in the right column, a new button has been added to HDR projects 5 professional for exporting finalized images to Photoshop.
    • With one click on “Apply”, the finalized image is exported back and HDR projects 5 closes.
    • Thanks to Smart Objects, changes can continue to be made at any time. One click of the Smart Object will open HDR projects 5 once again.
    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    Presets can also be consecutively selected and thus combined, also visible in the layers palette underneath the Smart Filter.

    HDR projects 5 proIf an exposure bracket is loaded into Photoshop in the form of Layers, these cannot be transferred together to a single filter.

    It would be possible, however, to transform five images into a Smart Object.

    The filters would then function, but ultimately wouldn’t make much sense given only one real photo and two duplications are used.

    GPS Information
    HDR projects 5 proHDR projects 5 also possesses the ability to read GPS Data from image files, provided these are saved in the Exif-Data. This information is available in the Display Menu -> Exif Information Window.

    Clicking on the button at the bottom will open your web browser and direct you to where you can pinpoint the photograph location on a map.

    Image Cropping

    HDR projects 5 proAfter the final edits have been applied to the image, it can be further cropped either by using the symbol above in the tools tab or when saving. New features have also been added in this section, such as the long-awaited option for maintaining the original image dimensions.

    This version also includes a display of the central point of the image, resembled by a small dot in the middle of the screen. Otherwise, all the useful tools from previous versions are still available, such as the Golden Cut, Golden Spiral, etc. That does it for the new features, and there are indeed a great—as can be seen from the length of this review.

    HDR projects 5 proThe new HDR projects 5 delivers a wide range of new features and innovations of all kinds in many different editing fields. Existing algorithms, effects and preset underwent an extensive revision and many new ones were introduced. The photographic results appear natural looking and realistic while potential image interferences are kept to a minimum.

    Ghosting Correction and its automatic capabilities provide quality results in seconds even when working with rather difficult exposure brackets. Photoshop users are bound to rejoice over the new Filter Plug-in and even the RAW-Module was granted a bundle of new capabilities. Thanks to multicore support and the sharpened Preview Mode, HDR projects 5 now runs smoothly as ever while providing the highest quality display options.

    The developers were once again successful in providing a quick and time-saving program that delivers impressive results, and, at the same time, all sorts of tools for professional and newcomers levels alike. The new Composing editing possibilities have put the software well on its way to be able to do pretty much anything. With this latest software release, the developers have proven their worth of the title as the HDR-technology leaders to the fullest extent. HDR projects 5 professional is more than just HDR Software and will continue to amaze.

    This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang,

    Der Beitrag Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 7 erschien zuerst auf PROJECTS SOFTWARE.

  • Nov 27 2016 at 4:46am
    Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 6

    Grain:The developers have made possible with HDR projects 5 that which has remained previously unknown to most HDR programs.
    It is now possible to adjust grain settings and thus rid your highly dynamic photographs of their potentially coarse and rather unnatural look. As is expected, this can be done with but one click.

     HDR projects 5 proThe Grain editor provides various icons offering different grain shapes as well as light and shadow adjustment capabilities. The die symbol in the upper right-hand corner will arbitrarily distribute grain through the image. ISO values and size can also be adjusted in this menu. Results are realistic like never before.

    It is often hard to identify minor differences in grain, so we’ve applied an exaggerated ISO value at 500 to the image below to assist in the comparison.

    The applied grain settings leave a very natural appearance and would have contributed substantially when applied to smooth color sequences. Also available is the Fractal Grain option containing pre-adjustments to ISO and Quality, which, depending on subject in the photograph, could also prove quite useful.

    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    All elements in the photograph are clearly and precisely defined. Our images are of rather rough examples and are merely intended for online viewing purposes. Different granulation levels can also be combined with one another. The granulation effects were removed from the images for the following software tests.

    Selective Painting
     HDR projects 5 proUndoubtedly another reason for the success of the Projects-series is Selective Painting.
    Present in previous versions, this tool builds the basis for the assertion that a great number of common Retouching projects could be done with HDR projects alone. Neither could more highly developed programs take its place for editing more complex image montages. There’s simply never been software like it before. But improvements are always welcomed and Franzis has given Selective Painting just that.

    As in previous versions, one click opens a new window. But this time a couple new tools can be seen. The upper tool-bar proudly exhibits the new Mask Recognition Tool which can be activated using colors or brightness levels.

    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    The example above shows the Mask Detection Tool being applied using brightness levels throughout the image. How sensitive the tool reacts can be controlled by the Sensitivity slide-control. Applying this tool to our example image above won’t do too much good, however for the selection of photographic elements such as a sky or other consistently lit objects, this could save a great deal of time. When using Color Detection, clicking colors within the image will designate these as a reference. Therefore, additional color ranges can be consecutively added to the mask.

     HDR projects 5 proThe mask color can be designated in the column on the right and the masking region activated for adding Effects and Compositions.

    Up to four different masks can be applied at once. Photo-Editors looking for increased control when designating masks can use the Brush-tool. When combined with the Composing-Mask, the intelligent Edge Detection function can really demonstrate it ability.

    In this example, the program is unable to recognize all edges automatically. This would have also not been possible for Photoshop and Co. Therefore, masking this basket of apples is just going to take a bit more time and effort.

    In this example a Composing-mask is being used and the outer region removed with the Contour value at 0.

    The outer edges therefore gradually approach the actual edges of the object itself. Contour values are also being frequently adjusted in accordance with the brush size. Setting the brush to Strahlenfüllmodus allows for even more precise detailed masking.

    Following selection, the circle symbol representing the global Softening Effect will soften the entire mask. This can also be applied more precisely to delicate sections of the mask by using the Softening Brush located in the Tools tab near the top of the screen. The previously selected mask can always be saved to the clipboard and restored at any point in time.

    The rather vague outlines can also be enlarged by using the appropriate tool. If enough time is spent, you can achieve an even better outcome than ours!

    Now it’s time to upload a new background image for our masked object. This can be done with one click to the chessboard pattern located in the column to the right.

    Your operating system’s file manager will open from which the new image can be selected. After a short loading period, your new image will appear behind the object where it can be further adjusted.

     HDR projects 5 proFor an honest assessment we recommend completely hiding the mask with the slide control at the top. Only then does a further adjustment of exposure levels make sense.

    Up to three additional Composing-masks can be added as well as any amount of extra effects, accessed by the FX-button. The effect Darken would a proper fit for adding some more shadows to our example. At this stage, there is still a lot more you can do. The result however does not look at all that realistic because the size ratio is completely off. This can be changed using the zoom slide control. Making such a change would require the background resolution to be high so as to accommodate for the overall change in resolution. Alternatively, we could have simply uploaded the object image in less than its highest resolution.

    The buttons situated above the slide control allow for multiple use of the background image and control the dimensions of the image.

    Much simple would be simply substituting skies.

    HDR projects 5 pro

    Creating a mask using color tones immediately results in the following: Only a couple clouds are left in the sky and can quickly and easily removed.

    With more time and effort, it would have been completely possible to achieve an even better result than our example with the basket of apples. Still worth mentioning are the effects Contrast Increase and Reduction, as well as the ability to display the original image when masking. The latter option was used in this current example to more precisely define the object edges while using the Brush-tool.


    This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang,

    Der Beitrag Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 6 erschien zuerst auf PROJECTS SOFTWARE.

  • Nov 24 2016 at 7:24am
    Black&White projects 5 Photoshop Plugin

    Black&White projects 5 now has a proper Filer PlugIn for Photoshop. This short Tutorial shows you how to integrate the chromakey-Software into your existing workflow.
    HDR projects 5 now has a full-fledged plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.


    Der Beitrag Black&White projects 5 Photoshop Plugin erschien zuerst auf PROJECTS SOFTWARE.

  • Nov 20 2016 at 4:39am
    Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 5

    When it comes to the field of RAW Development, Franzis has delivered a batch of new features and thoroughly improved previously existing functions. Brand new is the FX editing field offering eight new effects including Sepia and Film Grain, as well as others designed for different editing purposes, such as Highlight Saver and Fog and Haze. HDR projects 5 proFurther additions can be found in the “Color” editing field, such as Light Diffraction Correction and Color Dynamics.

    Of course we aren’t done yet. The editing effect “Dynamic Brightness” has been newly added to the list of existing options under the Exposure editing tab.
    Another quite useful addition is that to the collection of Distortion effects allowing for precise control over the Trapezoidal Distortion.

    Previously situated below the histogram near the top of the screen, the Grid-Display button can now found next to the new distortion setting at the top of the effects column. So far we’ve witnessed a wide range of innovations throughout this program section—that is, with only one exception of the editing field Weight Adjustment exhibiting no major alterations. Now we will take a closer look at the Post-Processing Window.

    HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro HDR projects 5 pro

    Post-Processing Effects and the Tone Mapping procedure in Expert-Mode
    Expert Mode requires specific background knowledge of this program section before major progress can be made, otherwise it does rather little. Worth mentioning nonetheless are two brand new Tone Mapping procedures: One for image Brilliance and another labeled Contrast for deep shadows in landscape photography. This brings the total number of Tone Mapping procedures available in HDR projects 5 professional to an impressive 13.

     HDR projects 5 proAnother 97 Post-Processing Effects can be found underneath, now more neatly arranged and easily accessible. The four buttons situated above the active list sort the various effects according to fundamental characteristics and their intended use.

    The first icon at the left displays all effects, the same as in previous versions. The second shows only the most basic effects and the third those effects intended for implementation further along in the editing process. Lastly, the fourth icon all the way to right displays any additional and artistic effects. Activation of these icons also affects the contents able for display in the search results. For example, when the second icon is selected, this will prevent you from finding the Airbag-Distortion effect.

    The following 16 Post-Processing Effects have been added to the program’s already existing collection:

    • Dissolve
    • Haze and Fog Reduction
    • Noise Reduction Optimization
    • Color Dynamics
    • Film Grain – Analogue
    • Film Grain – Fractal
    • Logarithmic Gradation
    • Sharpness Optimization
    • Highlight Restoration
    • Structure Optimization
    • Logarithmic Color Channel Gradation
    • Color Tone Correction
    • Warp
    • Shine (Lichtschein)
    • Lens Reflection
    • Water Reflection

    Gradient Filers
     HDR projects 5 proA substantial advantage in all programs in the projects-series was the selective editing capability in Expert Mode. Selective editing has now been provided with one button for all 56 gradients which can be selected and applied as quickly as with only one click, therefore replacing any preselected masks.

    Previously designated masks are saved to the clipboard beforehand and can thus be added again by clicking the appropriate icon after applying the gradient.

    This way it is possible to customize effects by hand designing masks and altering them with a gradient. The combination can be just as effective the other way around; designate a gradient for a softer transition and then apply a hand-crafted mask overhead.

     HDR projects 5 proComparative Preview Function
    The new Comparative Preview function in the Variation Browser back in Finalization Mode now deserves a test of its own. This browser can be found at different locations throughout the program and is represented by the symbol containing nine small boxes and a magnifying glass. Clicking on the symbol will prompt the compilation of preview data, which has the potential to take a while. Nonetheless, this function can reduce the total amount of time spent on a project and is almost always worth a spin. Shown below are some examples of variations from the category “Surreal”:

    HDR projects 5 proA left-click of the mouse allows for the rearrangement of the variations and adjustments to zoom levels are made by rotating the mouse wheel in either direction. Selecting a variation for use is as easy as one double-click, just as in the previous versions. Interesting is also the program’s variation comparison capability.

    This also for a selected variation to be used as a reference for comparison with another. The reference selection is made with a left-click and the comparison with a right-click, whereby the second variation can first be zoomed in on before the selection is made.

    This is quite the innovative feature that is sure to meet the needs of many avid users. Great praise to the developers.

     HDR projects 5 proOptimization Assistant: Opacity
    Whilst meticulously combing through all the new features in this new Projects 5 Version, we notice time and time again rather minor additions that prove extremely useful.

    An example of this can be seen in the new Opacity slide control added to the Optimization-Assistant which allows for precise control over all other available options through regulation of their intensity.

    This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang,

    Der Beitrag Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 5 erschien zuerst auf PROJECTS SOFTWARE.

  • Nov 17 2016 at 4:33am
    Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 4

    Another addition worth mention is the automatic Ghosting Correction Optimization. After adjusting various Ghosting slide control settings in the last software version, constantly viewing the image outside of preview mode was quite often necessary for observing visible changes. Now this can be done in only one click.

    HDR projects 5 proThe automatic function operates according to the intensity and the subject-based method selected, such as Landscape or Architecture, which change depending on the designated sharpness levels.

    If the Automatic Optimization still doesn’t yield the best outcome, further adjustments can still be made just as before.

    In addition to the new Compression slide control, three new Preset control buttons have been added; High Contrast, Optimal and Compressed affect the contrast dynamics displayed in the curve window below.

    If none of these contrast specifications yield the desired result, the slide controls can be once again manually adjusted.

    Below is a test example showing the amazing new Ghosting Correction in action.

    Automatic Optimization has not been applied to the first image:

    This image section is at a zoom level of 100% and has not been altered except for with the applied Preset “Natural Brightness”.

    HDR projects 5 pro

    While these pictures were taken, the people and as well as the flag were all in motion. More work was required in HDR projects 4 for a satisfactory result to be reached. The same result can be achieved in this new version in a matter of seconds.

    HDR Fusions-Profile

    HDR projects 5 proFusions-Profiles can contribute greatly to a more efficient workflow by allowing the user to define custom presets for certain photographic situations or themes.

    This just requires taking time out beforehand for the fine adjustment of algorithms and their settings. These defined settings can then be saved and exported to any save file location of your choice.

    When uploading a similar exposure bracket to one previously edited, a suitable editing profile can be imported and the editing process completed without much work at all. Another useful option could be saving a profile containing basic settings to be used on every exposure bracket. These profiles can of course also be (re)named and deleted at will. Special characters should be avoided, however, as they will always result in an underscore—one aspect that could have been handled differently. Just as in the Algorithms-Browser, profiles can be evaluated and selected directly from Post-Processing.

    Whoever wants can adjust settings so that the Exposure Bracket Editing Window always appears first upon starting the program, a more logical approach standard in HDR projects 3. After the release of HDR projects 4, the Post-Processing Window with all previously selected algorithms and effects is the first to appear following the image upload, which also has its advantages. Designing your own workflow here simply depends on personal preference, as it should.

    This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang,

    Der Beitrag Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 4 erschien zuerst auf PROJECTS SOFTWARE.

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