Easter Egg #1: Unlock all file formats in HDR Express

HDR Express is a refreshingly simple tonemapper, powered by the same high-quality engine like its big brothers HDR Expose and 32Float.

But it also shares their lame HDR merger, inferior to Photoshop CS5, Photomatix, and a dozen other alternatives out there. If you want better alignment, clean ghost reduction, or batch processing you're better off baking EXR files elsewhere. But wait - you can't load these EXR files in HDR Express, or can you?

Yes, you can! It's all in there: OpenEXR, Radiance HDR, 32-bit TIFF. You just have to unlock it.

The super-secret unlock code goes like this:

  • Start HDR Express while holding the Command key (CTRL on Windows).
  • Keep it held until the start screen comes up, then press the F key in addition.
  • HDR Express will now kindly offer to enable extended file formats, hit OK and voila!

From now on HDR Express will load and save all common HDR file formats. Nifty trick, eh? You'll only have to do it once, and it also works with the the 30-day demo.

Highslide JS

By the way, this will also enable saving in standard HDR formats. Which is the reason why it's locked away in the first place: it may confuse HDR beginners (the main target audience of this program). However, if you know what you're doing, this is a great way to boost details in an HDR image, change white balance or saturation - without actually converting it down to 16 bits. For using it in this manner, I do recommend starting out with all settings on zero, though. Here's a handy preset for that.

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