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Picturenaut vs Photomatix (Read 27578 times)
BazzaBoy
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Picturenaut vs Photomatix
11/28/07 at 21:52:51
 
I have spent a lot of time with Picturenaut after downloading it. The results produced by Picturenaut are nowhere near those of Photomatix. Picturenaut results simply don't look like HDRIs.

Maybe I am doing something wrong.

Is there an on-line tutorial that I can see?
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Blochi
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #1 - 11/28/07 at 22:00:33
 
Well, that is kind of the point of Tonemapping. Afterwards you don't have an HDRI anymore, it has been compressed into an LDRI (Low-Dynamic-Range Image).

Maybe you're referring to the fact that Picturenaut doesn't enhance/exaggerate details. That is true, it is the nature of Global TMO's as compared to Local TMO's like Photomatix.

Blochi
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BazzaBoy
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #2 - 11/29/07 at 04:20:00
 
After a lot of manipulation, the best I can make the graphic look is like the middle original photo (0EV). HDRI process is all about combining the photographs and making the result look more appealing than any of the original pictures. Unfortunately Picturenaut does not do that.

I am sorry about this negative feedback. While I appreciate that Picturenaut is freeware, I'd like to think that this negativity will contribute towards improvement and further development of the software.
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Marc
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #3 - 11/29/07 at 09:29:20
 
Hello BazzaBoy,

thank you for your feedback.

The main goal of tone-mapping is to produce a LDRI from a HDRI.  After tone-mapping, the LDRI should contain more details then an image from a single shot . More details mean, that the LDRI have well exposured light and shadow details. But this requires a exposure bracketing that catches all informations in a scene with a big tonal range.

In generally tone-mapping should not produce artifakts like halos. Halo artifacts occurs in some local tone-mappers. But from an artistic point of view they are ok. Unfortunately some people think this artifacts are HDRI and tone-mapping itself.

As Blochi statet, Picturenaut uses global tone-mappers. They are fast and produces no artifakts. But they also have some disadvantages. They are not so rich in contrast for example.

> After a lot of manipulation, the best I can make the graphic look is
> like the middle original photo (0EV).

As I statet above, this behavior is scene dependent. If you have never an improvement, you should check your bracketing distance. Take a night shot for example with lights and shadows in the scene and shot 5 or 8 images with an exposure distance of 2EV.

Watch at this example:

... ...
30 sec. and 15 sec.

......
8 sec. and 3.2 sec.

......
0.8 and 0.3 sec.

...
result

Sorry for the small images. As you can see the lamp on the building has the same detail level as the 0.8 and 3.2 sec. images. But the the shadows are much lighter.

Marc
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BazzaBoy
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #4 - 11/30/07 at 21:32:21
 
Thanks Marc,

I'll increase the exposure interval and see what the results look like.
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mfigrs
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #5 - 12/05/07 at 16:34:13
 
Marc,

Looking closely at your example, the HDRI looks to me very similar to the 8 sec image. Maybe a little bit brighter, so let's say, like image wit 10 sec exposure.

I also experimented with picturenaut a lot. I took a few shots separated by 2EV and tried to combine them. I can see that the produced image is an HDR, because when I slide the exposure slider, I can see the details from both the under- and over-exposed images, but not at the same time. It is as if I adjusted exposure in my camera.

I was thinking that the purpose of tone mapping is to put all the details from all shots into a single image, but somehow it doesn't happen. I played with the sliders for hours, but I can't get the outcome, where all the details are clearly visible. I was wondering, how did Picturenaut produce such images like "Queen Mary" in the gallery - I just can't make it happen!

I can only produce results that at best look like my middle 0EV image, I can also produce anything in between under- and over-exposed shots. I even tried playing with the numbers in the Make HDR dialog box, but not too much improvement.

Here, a feature would be useful: if the "Make HDR" dialog remembered the last selection, it would be much easier to play with it, tweak the settings, instead of manually adding the same images on and on just to try different settings.

So, in the end, my question is: what settings to use to make LDR showing all the details from all exposures, like these in the Picturenaut Gallery.
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Marc
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #6 - 12/06/07 at 06:57:31
 
Hello mfigers,

I know what you mean.

The images are to small. What you can't see is the noise. The resulting image has nearly no noise, but the single images has much noise. The 15 seconds exposured image has not the brightness in the shadows as the resulting image (remember: the resulting image is no HDRI, it is a LDRI).

But the reason why the Picturenaut result is not compareable with a Photomatix result is that Picturenaut uses global tone-mappers. Photomatix uses local tone-mappers.

In the near future Picturenaut also has local tone-mappers.

Regards
Marc
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BazzaBoy
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #7 - 12/06/07 at 09:05:18
 
Good. I'll look forward to downloading that version. HDRI and LDRI are just technical terms. I want the result to look nice (like that of Photomatix).

I hope you announce it, at least to the members of this forum.
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mfigrs
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #8 - 12/06/07 at 14:10:44
 
Quote:
But the reason why the Picturenaut result is not compareable with a Photomatix result is that Picturenaut uses global tone-mappers. Photomatix uses local tone-mappers.


Marc,

I still do not understand something. The pictures in the Picturenaut Gallery, such as the Hamburg port, etc, they look great! Just as I would like my shots to look like. I assume that these tone-mapped HDRs were created with Picturenaut, using the available (global) tone-mappers.
Could you give us a hint, what are the settings in "Create HDR..." dialog box, and what are the settings in the tone-mapper, to achieve this?  Did you use some HDRShop filters to tone-map them? Do we have to use more than 3 bracketed shots, or is 3 shots enough?
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Robert Harshman
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #9 - 12/06/07 at 22:28:20
 
mfigrs,

One of the images you referring to I think is also included in the book. But even if not, I will venture a pretty good guess that tone mapping is only the second part of producing any of the images you see in the gallery.

I've been following HDRI and using it from time to time since about 2000 and while it's come a very long way and the number of tone mappers and their quality has increased greatly I know of none that can produce final work unless you like the extreme tone mapped feel. Personally I don't really care for it, but then that's just my view and it's art, so let it be art. And even most people I know that produce work like that still finish their images in PS.

The key to using tone mapping in my view is as a interim step. The final polish gets put in in PhotoShop or your favorite image editor. Any tone mapper can only take you so far. Detail enhancers tend to block up the shadows if you want extreme detail in the highlights and global operators tend to produce an extremely flat image with detail everywhere.

Using a combination of TM outputs and even heaven forbid a LDR image as part of the final image is how the work your looking at was done - at least I would bet it was. Using a slight S cure in PS works wonders on  lifting the fog of a global TM and using a local TM as a layer overlay  - choose your blending and opacity to fit, can add a final kick on local contrast. Also using selective layer masks or merging different areas also can work wonders.

IF you've not read the section in the book by the photographers, it's well worth while and can go a long way in helping you understand how the final image was produced.

Best Regards,

Robert

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Marc
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #10 - 12/10/07 at 12:14:18
 
@Robert Harshman,

thank you for your really true words.


@mfigrs,

producing an HDRI an tone-mapping it, is not the end of the workflow. My goal is it to produce
well exposured images, wich I can't take with a single shot in high contrast scenes. A tone-mapper is not a wizard. Of course, you can continue to edit your pictures in contrast, color or whatever you want.

And don't forget the most important thing. You shot the photo not the camera Wink

Regards
Marc

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informix
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #11 - 07/09/08 at 11:25:28
 
Hi,
I also tried Picturenaut for a shot time and was disapointed not to get the same results like Photomatix. Where do we find the best introduction in Picturenaut? What about a Wiki or someting else like an online manual?

Another thing missing in Picturenaut is the possibility to reduce ghost images. Is this feature planed in future editions?

But I am still sure that Picturenaut comes with nearly the same ability as Photomatix does... Wink

Greetings to all involved in the development of Picturenaut!

informix

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Ewanneil
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #12 - 03/24/09 at 16:50:15
 
I appreciate that it is now some time since this topic was originally posted but, for what it's worth here is my tuppence worth.

I am new to HDR and before commiting myself to one product I wanted to try a few out.  I have now used Photomatix,  FDRTools Basic, PSP X2 and Picturenaut.  In order to make direct comparisons I processed the same image in both jpg and RAW formats with each of the above and then asked as many people as possible to give me their views on the final results.

Now, as I understand HDR, it is a method of overcoming some of the shortcomings of modern photography equipment which is unable to replicate an image in anything like the way our human eye perceives a scene - the contrast ratio of our eyes being vastly superior to that of any camera processor.  In other words, in difficult lighting conditions our eye can see detail in the bright and dark areas of a scene but even the most expensive camera is unable to produce detail across that same dynamic range. As a result many photographs can contain areas of over and/or under exposure which spoil the final result.

So, if it is our aim to achieve a final image which faithfully represents what we can see when we look at a scene then in my experience there is only one winner from the 4 products I have tested - Picturenaut.  

Sure, Photomatix offers a greater array of controls and produces some wonderful results but all too often the final result has a video game type appearance, particularly when you use the details enhancer.  This may be what you are looking for, in which case go with Photomatix but for me Picturenaut produces the more realistic final results.  PSP X2 is fine but is very limited in the amount of control you have. FDRTools Basic also produces good results but from a personal point of view I found the software to be a bit clunky and overly complex.  I got fed up with it quite quickly.

In conclusion, Picturenaut is, I feel, a great product.  It produces superb end results which faithfully represent the dynamic range of the original scene.  The new Beta version is bug free, so far as I can see and is a significant improvement on the earlier version.  Thanks to all involved in the development of Picturenaut - well done.

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jujubee
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #13 - 09/03/09 at 03:16:00
 
That's pretty much it. There's the whole debate whether or not a HDR image should look "radioactive" or faithfully represent reality.

Most of the people on this forum are 3d people - and most of our goals are to accurately approach realism. So, the natural conclusion would be to try to reproduce what the human eye can see.

However, non-3d photographers have "borrowed" HDR from the 3d community and modified it to suit their purposes. Their images often have that "oversaturated" and "surreal" type of look and feel.

At the end of the day (and this is my own personal opinion) - results are results - if you look the way that it looks and it works for you, then that is all that really matters.
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spittle
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Re: Picturenaut vs Photomatix
Reply #14 - 09/15/10 at 13:32:00
 
Thought I'd bump this back up. I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions with the latest version of Picturenaught with the available plugins.

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