Example picture by Ron Pepper

UK software company HDRsoft has released version 6 of its Photomatix Pro imaging application with the promise of more realistic HDR images and better control of picture characteristics. A key new feature allows users to blend an unedited version of a picture with its HDR counterpart so that the overall effect of the process can be moderated if needed.

The software now includes a tool called Tone Balancer that offers a wider range of choices in the render that assist in making HDR images that look less manipulated than usual, while a new brush tool provided the means to select and adjust color values in local areas. Lens and perspective corrections can also be made in this version with new facilities to deal with distortion, and HDRsoft says it has made the workflow easier to manage and follow.

Photomatix Pro can be used to blend multiple images to create HDR images, and it offers controls for removing ghosted moving objects and to correct small movements in the camera between exposures. It can also be used to optimise the dynamic range of single image files. The package can be used as a standalone application or as a plug-in for Adobe’s Lightroom and costs $99 for new users. Owners of Photomatix 5 can upgrade for free, while those using earlier versions can get version 6 for $29. A free trial is available. For more information see the HDRsoft website.

Press release

HDRsoft announces the release of Photomatix Pro version 6

The latest version of their software application that helps photography pros and enthusiasts create HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos in a large range of styles, from realistic to artistic.

Key benefits in the new release include:

  • More style choice for realistic results. A new HDR rendering method called Tone Balancer adds more options and presets for realistic looking results. It is well-suited to real estate and natural style landscapes.
  • Refining with more control over color. With the new interactive brush tool, users can make color changes to just parts of the image, by painting over those areas. They can also fine-tune the saturation, hue, and brightness of individual colors in a photo. This control is especially useful for removing color casts and enhancing skies and other image features. Images can also be cropped to easily remove distractions or to improve their composition.
  • Avoiding overdoing it. For a more realistic look, users can blend an original photo with the rendered image, either globally or by using a brush to select specific areas.
  • Removing distortion from your photos. A new distortion correction tool makes it easy to straighten photos that aren't level and fix perspective issues where lines don't look parallel when they should. These are particularly helpful features for architectural and landscape photographers.

A more intuitive workflow. Both new and experienced users will find it easier to load their images and develop them in Photomatix Pro with a guided workflow. A user can quickly open their images and move through the development process to achieve their results.

Photomatix Pro merges photographs taken at different exposure levels into a single HDR image with options for automatically aligning hand-held photos and for removing ghosts or visual artifacts when moving objects are present in the scene. Merged images can then be adjusted with a range of precise controls and settings or with one-click presets.

Photographers can quickly get the look they desire from natural-looking results to painterly images, from surreal and dreamy photos to ultra-realistic images with increased details.

Photomatix Pro can also be used to enhance a single photo to boost its shadows and enhance its highlights. The program includes a plugin for Adobe Lightroom for users who want to integrate Photomatix Pro into their Lightroom workflow.

"What's unique about Photomatix Pro is the full range of styles it offers to render HDR photos, and version 6 makes this even better,” said Geraldine Joffre, HDRsoft Managing Director. "Unlike other apps which rely on one HDR rendering algorithm, Photomatix comes with several. Each algorithm can give an entirely different look with enhancing tones and details or fusing multiple exposures together. Photographers will find it useful to have several alternatives for processing HDR photos as things change with different subjects or lighting conditions."

Photomatix Pro 6 is available now for $99 USD for a single-user license. Customers who purchased Photomatix Pro 5 will receive a free upgrade. Earlier versions of Photomatix Pro can be upgraded for $29 USD.