Photomatix 4.2 update

The new Photomatix update has been out for a while, so it's about time to drop a few lines about the new features.

Most obvious is the revised Presets panel, which now has subcategories and more/better standard presets. Then there's a brand-new Finishing Touch panel. It opens right after tonemapping and offers the typical basic mix of contrast, color, and sharpness adjustment.

Well, it all works as expected and this certainly catches up with all the other tonemapping tools. However, I will still post-process all my images in Photoshop, just because that's more intuitive and gives me the flexibility to fix things up with layers and content-aware sorcery. Sometimes, when layers are not needed, I use Lightroom for post-processing. I'm sort of set in my ways there, so the new Finishing Touches may be fine in general but are not for me.

The new feature I find most important is actually hidden in the Preferences.

Previously, the Mac version of Photomatix relied on OSX's built-in OpenEXR support. And that was always buggy. See, OSX tends to clip all the highlights beyond the 1.0 value, and to prevent this Photomatix was aligning the base exposure of every EXR file to the brightest highlight (a method called Normalizing). While that may be fine for normal images (except that they may look unexpectedly dark in Photoshop), it throws a monkey wrench into a panorama stitching workflow. Each panorama sector had different exposure.

Now in Photomatix 4.2 you can simply uncheck the Save EXR files with Mac OS X API option and all EXR files will have consistent exposure. So now they stitch perfectly in PTGui.

Good stuff. Highly recommended update! Grab Photomatix 4.2 here.
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