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Unified Color launches HDR Expose 2 and 32Float v2

By dpreview staff on Dec 13, 2011 at 17:00 GMT

Unified Color has announced second-generation versions of its HDR Expose software and its 32Float HDR plugin for Photoshop. The latest versions add color dodge and burn tools, and tone curve adjustment, all the while using the company's 32-bit colorspace that separates color and luminance information to avoid color shifts when changing brightness. The latest version also includes presets, which can be created and modified, to speed up the blending process. Version 2 also gains the ability to batch merge images, using one of these presets. A free 30 day trial of both the 32 Float v2 plugin and standalone HDR Expose 2 software is available from Unified Color's website.

Press Release

UNIFIED COLOR ANNOUNCES HDR EXPOSE™ 2 AND 32 FLOAT® V2

Major upgrades to both products include more than 26 new and improved features, faster processing speed and streamlined user interface

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 13, 2011 Unified Color Technologies, the high dynamic range imaging experts, today announced the latest upgrade to its popular HDR image editing software offerings, HDR Expose 2, the standalone HDR software that empowers photographers to create the most true-to-life HDR images possible, and 32 Float v2 an 32-bit HDR image editing plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop®..

Built upon Unified Color’s Beyond RGBTM color technology platform, both HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 separate an image’s color component from its luminosity component, enabling photographers to adjust each independently; thereby preventing the tell-tale color shifts often associated with HDR photography and producing much more natural-looking tone mapped results. HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 are also true 32-bit color editing tools that take full advantage of all the available shades of color and tone in a 32-bit HDR image for the smoothest, halo-free results.

With these upgrades, Unified Color has reengineered its base architecture to significantly improve performance and expand the programs’ tool sets to offer additional fine control over global and local tonal adjustments. This new architecture powers a real-time processing engine that enables image adjustments to be visualized immediately while applied to the full image, not just a proxy or scaled down preview version. Additionally, new color-safe Dodge & Burn Brush and Tone Curve tools supply unprecedented 32-bit local control, enabling photographers to selectively lighten or darken specific areas without inducing color shifts, gradients or posterization.

“With HDR Expose 2, our new flagship application, the 32 Float v2 Photoshop plug-in and our entry-level HDR ExpressTMproduct, Unified Color is  providing a complete range of fully optimized HDR solutions for professionals and photo enthusiasts looking to create true-to-life HDR images,” said Alfred Zee, CEO of Unified Color Technologies. “We’re proud to offer these powerful tools that demystify the HDR process and make it accessible to the widest possible audience.”

HDR Expose 2's Batch Merge and Processing controls

Additional new features include:

  • Batch Merge and Batch Processing tools: Commercial and high volume photographers will save valuable time with the new automatic batch merging process which automatically groups and previews images from exposure brackets of any size and then merges them to 32-bit HDR files. After the merge, 32-bit images can be batch processed for final TIFF or JPEG output by applying user presets. Users can even choose to process the same image up to 5 different ways by selecting multiple presets. All batch merge and processing can be applied as a background task to further enhance workflow efficiencies.
  • User-Definable Global Presets: Providing a one-click starting point, the presets can be completely customized to personal preferences.
  • Restructured User Interface: Users are seamlessly guided through the ideal order of operations that ensures each available adjustment is applied at the recommended step in a methodical workflow.

About HDR Expose 2

HDR Expose 2 is a powerful stand-alone application. The entirely new tone mapping and halo elimination algorithms in HDR Expose 2 handle the most complicated HDR Images. HDR Expose also includes export plug-ins providing photographers full access to these powerful HDR tools from an existing Lightroom® or Aperture® workflow.

About 32 Float v2

For photographers who prefer to maintain a Photoshop-centric workflow, Unified Color’s new 32 Float v2 provides all the same image adjustment tools of its stand-alone brother, but as a Photoshop filter plug-in. Ideal for users that prefer to work on layered images, where Photoshop only allows limited adjustment tools when working on 32-bit images, 32-Float unlocks the true potential for 32-bit true color HDR editing functionality in Photoshop CS3 Extended, CS4 Extended and CS5.

HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 are available for direct purchase through the company website at: http://www.unifiedcolor.com/products, and a 30-day free trial is available for each. Several pricing options are available:

HDR Expose 2

–      $149 regular price

–      $129 special introductory price through December 31, 2011

32 Float v2

–      $99 regular price

–      $89 special introductory price through December 31, 2011

HDR Expose 2/ 32 Float v2 Combo Pack

–      $199 regular price

–      $169 special introductory price through December 31, 2011

Additional discounts for customers upgrading from a previous version or other Unified Color products are also available please see http://www.unifiedcolor.com/products for more details.

System Requirements

PC: Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista (for 20 MP image or larger, 64-bit Windows version is recommended.) 2.0GHz dual core minimum, 2GB RAM (recommend 4GB), 128MB video card memory.

Apple: Intel Macintosh 2.0 GHz dual core CPU with 2GB minimum RAM (4GB is recommended) running Mac OS 10.5.8 (Leopard), Mac OS 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard) or later or Mac OS 10.7.2 (Lion) or later.

Comments

Total comments: 14
spassig
By spassig (Feb 17, 2012)

Hello

I test the trial yesterday as plugin for Aperture 3.2.2 and Mac OS X 10.6.8.
I collect some RAW without editing.
Previev is OK for testing.
I will save it.
No folder to store is available, OK I think it will save in AP.
After that I see no HDR in Aperture, only the TIFF's.

What ist it ?
Bug ?

Jochen

0 upvotes
fotophool
By fotophool (Dec 19, 2011)

Looks like $79 to upgrade from where I sit.

0 upvotes
OBI656
By OBI656 (Dec 15, 2011)

Notoriously overpriced upgrade ... $99.00 doll ? ... Give me a break !!! ... It comes to price range like Photoshop LOL !!!

0 upvotes
digital-freak
By digital-freak (Dec 13, 2011)

Tried the trial, not impressed in the least! Staying with Photomatix.

1 upvote
jjensson
By jjensson (Dec 13, 2011)

I waited for over a year to see some improvements so i can finally buy it. At the moment i'm testing the new version. My first impressions are not good. The problems (in order of significance):

1) There seems to be no radius setting anymore, it's automatic. With the trial of v1 i used a max radius almost always, for a very natural look. Now, in comparison, the pictures look very flat. If you think you can use the brush for this - no, brush is too small.

2) The brush has no undo. I have not found a way to go a step back, besides exiting the program and starting everything from scratch. Are you kidding me? Do i need to make a preset for "nothing"?

3) The program installed in german and i have not found a way yet to switch it back to english. I searched in the registry, in the install folder, in %appdata%, no avail.

I have written to the support, let's see what happens. Had very high hopes for this software, but ATM i'm very disappointed.

0 upvotes
jjensson
By jjensson (Dec 13, 2011)

EDIT:
2) I meant to say "Do i need to make a preset for "No Brush used yet"?
3) Program installed *automatically* in german, without asking.

0 upvotes
jjensson
By jjensson (Dec 14, 2011)

OK, support seems to exist, but i didn't like their answers. The language can't be changed except in the windows control panel, and then it's system global - this is not what i call user friendly. Brush can be undone with CTRL+Z, but since that was my first intuitive reaction and it did nothing, it seems to be (at least partially) broken.

The big shock is this: there is indeed no radius setting. If you have a non-standard image, there is no way to achieve similar results like in v1. And yes, i tried all night and even again now. This is a fail IMHO.

A pity.

0 upvotes
Mutovkin
By Mutovkin (Dec 13, 2011)

Bought HDR Expose last summer because liked natural looking pictures and application was Mac compatible. However soon realized that quite a few of my images have slight misalignment and others have some objects slightly moved from one frame to the other. In each case HDR Expose failed to provide any satisfactory results by black-masking moved object and creating ugly-looking artifacts. I guess I will wait for HDR Expose 3 (or later) to introduce nice image warping to properly align images prior to HDR merge or come-up with better alignment algorithms. I assume none were improved since they are not mentioned in the press release at all.

0 upvotes
Jimbo420
By Jimbo420 (Dec 13, 2011)

I think separate handling of luma and chroma is the de-facto standard in HDR processing, there is nothing new here or unique. Certainly working with floating points for intermediate calculations is obvious and well practiced...

0 upvotes
bunyarra
By bunyarra (Dec 13, 2011)

Sadly, no real updates to V1 in 18 months and now v2 - s/w slow and gives worse results than Oloneo, SNS or even Photomatix. Support request went unanswered for 12 months. Shame.

3 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Dec 13, 2011)

Nice, that image looks quite natural.

0 upvotes
LiSkynden
By LiSkynden (Dec 13, 2011)

I tested it with JPG files and wonder why they come up looking like bad GIF images??? Weird.

1 upvote
Marcos Molina
By Marcos Molina (Dec 13, 2011)

This version 2 is the same crap as previous version. Awful automatic alignment, no manual alignment option in case of failure. "Restructured User Interface": I see no changes, so clumsy as ever. Unbeliveable amounts of noise are added in the images, as before. It gets hung at once after a couple of adjustments. A pity.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
f_stops
By f_stops (Dec 13, 2011)

"avoid color shifts when changing brightness"
Lightroom could learn something here. 30-day trial coming my way.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 14