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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

HDR & 32-Bit

The concept of High Dynamic Range images was introduced in Photoshop CS2 (combine multiple exposures into a single file that contains a wider dynamic range than any of the individual shots used to create it). For this version of Photoshop most of the changes are geared toward folks who use this feature for video and 3D. This book’s primary audience is made up of graphic designers and photographers, so I’ll share the one thing I think would be of use to that group and then give a brief overview of the other changes that have been made.

Merge to HDR

The changes Adobe made to the Merge to HDR dialog box (accessed via the Tools>Photoshop menu in Bridge, or the File>Automate menu in Photoshop) appear to be minor at first glance, but they can have a significant impact on the quality of your images.

Improved Auto-Alignment: Photoshop CS2 offered a feature designed to compensate for misregistration between images. The problem was that it was only available in Photoshop—most people preferred to merge their images using Bridge—and it did a really lousy job of aligning the images. In Photoshop CS3, Adobe has come up with a completely new way to align images and the results are simply amazing. I’d almost go as far as saying that you’d have a chance at creating an acceptable HDR image shooting handheld! There isn’t anything extra you have to do to use this new technology. Simply turn on the Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images checkbox if merging your images from Photoshop (it’s done automatically in Bridge).

Advanced Features

All the other changes they’ve made to the HDR and 32-bit features are ones that I don’t think too many photographers or graphic designers will use so for you deep-tech folks, I will just summarize them here.

Color Picker: The color picker used with 32-bit images now displays the current color with seven different intensity levels and can display the color relative to the active document’s exposure setting.

New 32-bit Documents: You can now create 32-bit documents from scratch by setting the Bit Depth pop-up menu (which is the unlabeled pop-up menu found to the right of the Color Mode pop-up menu) to 32 bit in the File>New dialog box.

Stored Response Curve: Merge to HDR now stores a response curve in Photoshop’s preferences for each camera it encounters. It updates this information to improve accuracy each time you merge images shot on the same camera. If you need to retain the same results for future use (instead of using a response curve that might have been updated since the last time you merged a particular set of images into an HDR image), click the Save Response Curve button in the Merge to HDR dialog box. That will save the response curve that was created from the current set of photos you are merging. Then you can load that curve at a later date if you want to have Photoshop ignore the one that is saved in your preferences.

Image Menu Commands: More commands are available in the Image menu including Duplicate, Image Size, Canvas Size, Pixel Aspect Ratio, Rotate Canvas, Crop, and Trim. You can also now apply the Calculations and Apply Image commands. The following adjustments have also been enabled for 32-bit images: Hue/Saturation, Desaturate, Levels, Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, Auto Color, Photo Filter.

Filters Menu Commands: A whole bunch of filters have become available in 32-bit mode including Average, Box Blur, Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Surface Blur, Add Noise, Lens Flare, Difference Clouds, Smart Sharpen, Unsharp Mask, Emboss, De-Interlace, NTSC Colors, High Pass, Maximum, Minimum, and Offset.

The Render > Clouds filter is now available, but it does not allow you to specify which colors will be used to create the clouds (the version available in 8 and 16-bit images uses foreground/background colors to determine the cloud and background colors.

Edit Menu Commands: The Fill, Stroke, Free Transform, and Transform commands now work with 32-bit images.

File Format Support: You can save 32-bit images into the following file formats: Photoshop, Large Document Format, Radiance, Portable Bit Map, OpenEXR, and TIFF.

Color Modes: You can now convert a 32-bit color image into a 32-bit grayscale image by choosing Image>Mode>Grayscale.

Selection Menu Commands: Selections are now better supported with the addition of the following Select menu commands: Inverse, Modify Border, Transform Selection, Save Selection and Load Selection.

Many other changes have been made in the new Extended version of Photoshop. Those include 32-bit layers support, more tool support and more. The features available in the extended version of CS3 are beyond the scope of this book.
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