Quick Overview and Setup
Once inside HDR Efex Pro, the UI should look familiar if you have used other Nik products before, such as Color Efex Pro. Along the left side is a large collection of HDR presets; these are covered in the next section. At the top left are the view controls that let you hide or show the presets and tonal controls to get a larger image preview. You can also decide to show the whole image as a preview or a split preview, which is handy for before-and-after comparisons. The top center area provides access to important controls: Alignment and Ghost Reduction (see Figure 2). Click the button to reveal them.
Figure 2 The Alignment and Ghost Reduction settings can have a big impact on final HDR output quality.
By default, HDR Efex Pro decides how it wants to handle these settings the first time you use it, but you can open the dialog and choose different options. Once you do so and then click OK, the preview will be re-generated. Typically I turn the Alignment option on, and also turn Ghost Reduction Method to Adaptive. The reason is that Adaptive helps to remove ghosts from small objects or bits of texture that change position from one frame to the next, while Global looks for large objects (like people or cars) that are changing position. For Strength, I choose Normal in most situations.
Down the right side of the UI, all of the tone and color controls are available, including the well-known U-Point local adjustments option, which is found in several Nik products and is described on more detail on the Nik Software website.