Welcome yon HDR peeps!
I bring glad tidings of a new Photoshop® plug-in from Unified Color, the same folks who make HDR Expose. I don’t have any screen shots, yet, but having seen a demo of the new product last night, I can say that the interface looks very much like HDR Expose working within Photoshop, so I’d expect the learning curve to be quite minimal.
Up until now, editing images in 32-bit mode in Adobe® Photoshop® was extremely limited. Most of the adjustment features were grayed out and unavailable in 32-bit mode. There were a couple of gamma adjustments and filters available, but nothing terribly useful. For those of us who feel a need to retain all of the information in an HDR image for as long as possible, this was a problem. Or, just ‘life as-it-is” when working with Photoshop.
32 Float™ is the first fully featured 32-bit color editing plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® based on Unified Color’s patented Beyond RGB™ color space. Now, you can have full control over color adjustments, brightness, contrast, veiling glare and other functions while editing in full 32-bit mode, without having to sample your images down to 8- or 16-bits in order to work with filters and other functions. You can also work with 8- or 16-bit images as well with 32 Float™, so the functionality of the new product extends over a wide range.
You could, of course, use HDR Expose to accomplish these adjustments on a standalone basis, but having those capabilities integrated with Photoshop helps to streamline your HDR workflow.
32 Float will accept a variety of input file types, including but not limited to OpenEXR, Radiance, and BEF 32-bit HDR files. Alternatively, you can use Photoshop’s Merge to HDR function to create your 32-bit HDR file. From within Photoshop, you can pull down the filter menu to access 32 Float, where you’re brought into an interface that looks surprisingly similar to HDR Expose, with only a few minor variations. (The buttons have been regrouped, and a few others have been removed for the plug-in, as they weren’t necessary in this workflow.)
After making your adjustments in 32 Float, you apply the changes and those changes are saved as a new layer in Photoshop! (You can apply them to the base layer, but I wouldn’t recommend that.) From there, you are free to do any masking or other adjustments on that new layer.
But here’s the kicker: Suppose you have a scene with a really wide dynamic range, and you’d like to process segments of the image in different ways. After saving your first adjustments in a new Photoshop layer, you can go back to the Background (original) layer and invoke 32 Float again, making a different set of adjustments. Saving those adjustments as a new layer allows you to mask in or mask out sections of the image to draw out ALL of the information in the scene.
I think the possibilities are great for creative use of this plug-in. We certainly could have done the same thing with multiple BEF files from HDR Expose, but this new workflow makes it so much easier to work with layers in Photoshop.
When I get my hands on a copy of 32 Float, I’ll surely continue on with my notes.
32 Float is scheduled to be released this week, probably on August 26th or 27th. There will be limited-time introductory pricing on 32 Float, as well as bundle pricing if you’d like to get 32 Float along with HDR Expose.
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