Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)

Started Nov 9, 2010 | Discussions
Joe0Bloggs
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Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
Nov 9, 2010

I updated the HDR toning program discussed here
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1006&message=36849105

Download link:
http://www.mediafire.com/?bnz24mbbldk7d (same as before)

For those who tried the first version, the main change is that I gave the program a GUI for setting processing settings, so you no longer have to modify the source code in ExtendScript to change settings. The process for installing and running the program has therefore been simplified:

Installing:

1. Download the UserSteps.atn action file and the HDR Sharpening (GUI).jsx script file

2. Install the action file by double-clicking UserSteps.atn (if Photoshop is not set to open .atn files by default, right click the file, select Open With...-> Photoshop. If you check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file", all future actions you download in the future can be installed simply by double-clicking)

Running:

1. The program runs on the top layer of the open image document in Photoshop. Make sure the top layer is selected, visible and has no transparencies. The document should be in RGB mode, 8 or 16 bit (preferably 16 bit). For best results, zoom out so that you can see the whole image before starting the program.

2. Right click the HDR Sharpening (GUI).jsx script file, select Open With...-> Photoshop. If you check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file", next time you can run the HDR script simply by double-clicking it.

3. Adjust the settings in the new GUI dialog box and follow the instructions given for the two Levels dialogs.

The "effect amount" should probably be set higher (up to 150) for input images with low contrast (eg multiple exposures merged and not yet tonemapped, images developed from RAW with low contrast settings to preserve DR) and lower otherwise (eg. single jpeg image)
+++

So far 58 people have downloaded the script (first version), but only 5 people have wrote back to comment on it I'd love to hear back from you if you like this new version or otherwise have any issue with it.

ShadowLight
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 9, 2010

I'm one of those who downloaded it because it looks interesting, but to be honest didn't have the time to try it.

When it comes to interface and interactivity probably I can help there, but I didn't mentioned it before as I won't have any time next few months to do it... but there is something that is quite automated and maybe you can try it yourself:

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/configurator/

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Jazon
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 9, 2010

Thanks for making a GUI update!

I just tried it but I can't figure out if it's done anything, I'm using a Mac, will it generate an error or something if it doesn't use/see the 'UserSteps.atn' file? I mean it's done something it did it's thing and made layers and prompted me to move sliders and all that, but the image looks the same maybe it didn't use the UserSteps.atn file?

I'll play more and post back my results though.

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Jazon
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Screen-grab video of it...
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 9, 2010

Ok, is it working, am I doing it right? Is it seeing the UserSteps.atn file when I run the HDR Sharpening (GUI).jsx file via Photoshop? If yes, then see vid to see how it looks/works. So is the idea I need to use one photo or, I can use bracketed photos to make a 'proper' HDR with it?

http://www.vimeo.com/16653469

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Joe0Bloggs
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Creating HDR from multiple files using PS and the script
In reply to Jazon, Nov 9, 2010

Jazon wrote:

Ok, is it working, am I doing it right? Is it seeing the UserSteps.atn file when I run the HDR Sharpening (GUI).jsx file via Photoshop? If yes, then see vid to see how it looks/works. So is the idea I need to use one photo or, I can use bracketed photos to make a 'proper' HDR with it?

http://www.vimeo.com/16653469

Sorry, I'm having trouble with Flash at the moment and can't see your video. If you see two Levels dialogs automatically popping up it's connecting to the UserSteps.atn file all right.

Use Photoshop's Merge to HDR function to create a HDR file from a bracket set, then convert the file down to 16-bits and then run my program.

When converting to 16 bits, use the Local Adaptation method and just pull the Strength slider down all the way to the left, and adjust the black and white points on the Toning Curve Histogram so that the output image has a full range from black to white but does not clip. (for contrasty images, you may actually have to pull the white point past the right corner and down the right side of the histogram to prevent clipping. Ditto for black point: past the left stop and up the left side.)

This basically downsamples the 32 bit image down to 16 bits without any tone mapping on Photoshop's part, so my script can do its work.

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Jazon
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Re: Creating HDR from multiple files using PS and the script
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 9, 2010

ok thanks for tips

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saml45
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Re: Creating HDR from multiple files using PS and the script
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 9, 2010

Is it possible to use this with Photoshop 7?
I have tried with no luck.

Sam

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Happy Daze
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 11, 2010

Hi

Tried the first incarnation without GUI and the results are very nice. I do not liken it to HDR but as a contrast enhancement tool it is very good and it does not introduce much noise as most contrast enhancement tools tend to do. Very complex process which takes a fair bit of processing but the results are worth the wait.

In some scenes of contrast (tree against cloudy sky) the halos are an issue even using levels, but halos are hardly noticeable in most scenes.

Tried the GUI version and unfortunately although it appears to go through the process the effect does not work. I did notice that there were no black and white "Ghosty" (masks?) scenes during the processing using the GUI version and it looks like the process at some stage is applying itself to blank frames.

Hope that helps and I would say that it is most definitely worth continuing with this project and developing the GUI version.

Thanks for sharing your efforts, it is much appreciated.

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Pictus
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010

Very good! Thanks!
Now I can rum from the File> Scripts with custom settings
Man, you got a clever mind!!

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Joe0Bloggs
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Happy Daze, Nov 12, 2010

Happy Daze wrote:

Hi

Tried the first incarnation without GUI and the results are very nice. I do not liken it to HDR but as a contrast enhancement tool it is very good and it does not introduce much noise as most contrast enhancement tools tend to do. Very complex process which takes a fair bit of processing but the results are worth the wait.

Thanks As I mentioned above, you can use Photoshop's Merge to HDR feature to import multiple images and make real HDRs. After converting to 16 bits it's often helpful to tweak Levels and Curves to get the lightness and histogram into a more desirable state before running my program. When done well it beats using Photoshop's built in tone mapping for realistic looking HDRs (I think).

e.g. I did this by merging the 3 exposures the OP posted
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1006&message=36849399

But I agree that contrast enhancing single images is the most straightforward application. Actually I use this most often to increase the DR of single images, by exporting from camera RAW with low contrast and running my program to increase contrast while preserving the high DR.

In some scenes of contrast (tree against cloudy sky) the halos are an issue even using levels, but halos are hardly noticeable in most scenes.

In this case you can make a copy of the top layer produced by the program, then make a rough selection of the sky in the layer mask. (the sky will be highlighted, with (hopefully) a thick black trace corresponding to the tree edges. Just roughly trace the black trace) Feather the selection, invert it and delete (with black background colour) to leave a mask of just the sky. Now switch to the image layer and do levels, pulling in the white point should brighten just the sky to blend in with the halos around the trees.

Not a perfect solution, I admit But the best I can come up with using this program so far.

Can you post some of these problematic images (the originals, not the processed)?

Unfortunately I think that to fully eliminate these halos I would have to move beyond Photoshop scripts into full blown programmed image processing, not something I'd do now that I have a day job

Tried the GUI version and unfortunately although it appears to go through the process the effect does not work. I did notice that there were no black and white "Ghosty" (masks?) scenes during the processing using the GUI version and it looks like the process at some stage is applying itself to blank frames.

Sounds like there was a problem with the copying and pasting steps. What OS and PS version are you using? Does the non-GUI version still work after a run with the GUI version fails?

Hope that helps and I would say that it is most definitely worth continuing with this project and developing the GUI version.

Thanks for sharing your efforts, it is much appreciated.

Thanks again

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Joe0Bloggs
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Pictus, Nov 12, 2010

Pictus wrote:

Very good! Thanks!
Now I can rum from the File> Scripts with custom settings
Man, you got a clever mind!!

Thanks--so this version works for you, right? Wonder what makes it not work on HappyDaze's computer...

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Pictus
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010

I forgot to say that here it works from menu File> Scripts but directly from the desktop or another place it does not.

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Joe0Bloggs
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Bugfixed version (thanks to Jazon!)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010

I finally managed to open Jazon's vimeo video of my script in action, and I saw the problem. In rewriting the program with GUI I introduced a bug where the program would take the picture's dimensional measurements from Photoshop and assume they are in pixels. So if your Photoshop default measurment unit is inches or cm instead of pixels it would assume the image diagonal is like 20 pixels and calculate a very small radius for the shapening.

Anyway, I've fixed it now, anyone reading this, please download the v1.1 version to replace the first GUI version.

http://www.mediafire.com/?bnz24mbbldk7d

(same download link as in the OP, if the name of the file you downloaded has "v1.1" in it, you're up to date.)

Also, er, if you ever terminated the v1 script by closing the first dialog box instead of clicking OK, your default ruler measurement may have been changed to pixels. Sorry about that, you can change it back at Edit-> Preferences-> Units & Rulers. This bug has also been fixed in v1.1, and no other bugs like this will happen because my script does not read or change any other Photoshop defaults.

Thanks again to people who are trying this program! And special thanks to Jazon for posting the video!

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Jazon
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Re: Bugfixed version (thanks to Jazon!)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010


Cool, I shall re-download, thanks for all your hard work on this dude!

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Joe0Bloggs
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Pictus, Nov 12, 2010

Pictus wrote:

I forgot to say that here it works from menu File> Scripts but directly from the desktop or another place it does not.

Erm ok, does it not work because it opens in ExtendScript editor instead or...? Does it work if you specify to open the script using Photoshop? If not, what happens?

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buggz
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Re: Bugfixed version (thanks to Jazon!)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010

I just tried v1.1

I put it in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Presets\Scripts\ and ran it on a .tif
It seems to be continuously looping?
Does it ever stop running?
I manually stopped after ~ 4 minutes.

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Joe0Bloggs
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Re: Bugfixed version (thanks to Jazon!)
In reply to buggz, Nov 12, 2010

buggz wrote:

I just tried v1.1

I put it in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Presets\Scripts\ and ran it on a .tif
It seems to be continuously looping?
Does it ever stop running?

Erm, yes. It's probably just too slow on your computer or the file you fed it. Try resizing the image to web size and run again to see if it's working. It'll still loop for a minute or two because the run time doesn't scale linearly with file size.

I manually stopped after ~ 4 minutes.

Sorry about that.

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Pictus
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Re: Free HDR toning program updated and simplified (now with GUI)
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 12, 2010

Joe0Bloggs wrote:

Erm ok, does it not work because it opens in ExtendScript editor instead or...? Does it work if you specify to open the script using Photoshop? If not, what happens?

It is ok if open with PS or by file> scrips, but by the ExtendScript editor it does not.

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scshooter
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Re: Thank You JoeOBloggs
In reply to Joe0Bloggs, Nov 13, 2010

I have downloaded your script and action, and I am very pleased with them. Thank you very much. They run quite quickly on my i7-960 system with 8 gigs of RAM. And I like the results.

Only question is that when the script finishes there are marching ants around the pic. No problem removing them, but I just wanted to be sure that the script was finished. It appears to be.

Again thanks very much. Your hard work is appreciated.

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Dick

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Joe0Bloggs
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Re: Thank You JoeOBloggs
In reply to scshooter, Nov 13, 2010

scshooter wrote:

I have downloaded your script and action, and I am very pleased with them. Thank you very much. They run quite quickly on my i7-960 system with 8 gigs of RAM. And I like the results. -snip- Again thanks very much. Your hard work is appreciated.

Thanks

Only question is that when the script finishes there are marching ants around the pic. No problem removing them, but I just wanted to be sure that the script was finished. It appears to be.

If you mean marching ants around the border, indicating that the whole image is selected, that's normal.

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