HDR – Tone Mapping vs. Details Enhancer

Above, I have the five images I’m going to put into Photomatix.

Here are the images blended together in Photomatix before processing. First I’ll click on Tone Mapping which will open up the processing box. Here you can choose between the tone compressor and the details enhancer:

Here I picked the Details Enhancer for my first example. I worked the sliders to my liking. Every image is different so you’ll have to adjust your images to your tastes.

The detail enhancer opens up the shadow areas, and can give the image a surreal look. Depending on how you maneuver the sliders you can also get a painterly or realistic and natural effect. It’s all a matter of taste.

For more details on the sliders you can go to the Photomatix website:

Here I took the same image and put it into the Tone Compressor. The tone compressor gives the image a more traditional and realistic look. It preserves the shadows with good control of tonal range. Sometimes shadows play an important role in creating a mood. This is a very good reason to use the tone compressor over the details enhancement:

Here I have the two images side by side. You can see the difference between them. In both images the end result depends on what you want to achieve. Do you want a surreal look or a realistic look or perhaps something in-between? I prefer the in-between look for some of my images and other images I find that getting crazy is a lot of fun. As long as you’re happy with the results then life is good:


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