Just when you thought you had narrowed down your program of choice for creating HDR images, my friends at Unified Color have gone and released a brand new plug-in and it looks pretty sweet. I have used their HDR Expose program for some time and it is one of my favorite solutions for creating beautiful images. But they weren’t satisfied with just one flavor so they have created HDR Express as a sort of simplified application that has all the creative possibilities but is easy enough to reduce the process down to 3 easy steps.
I will hopefully have a copy in hand soon so I can give it a once over and report back to you but I did watch the video overview yesterday and I was very impressed at the ease of use and the simplified controls. If you have been interested in getting into HDR imaging but were perhaps a bit intimidated by all the programs out there, you might want to check this one out as a fast and easy way to create great HDR images.
Here’s the press release for a little more info:
South San Francisco – December 6, 2010 – Unified Color Technologies, the experts in high dynamic range imaging (HDR), today announced the immediate availability of HDR Express which is specifically designed to meet the requirements of professional photographers and photo enthusiasts who are new to HDR software and looking to create stunning images quickly. With HDR Express, Unified Color has automated some of the most complex aspects of HDR photography and replaced the traditional HDR workflow with a lightning-fast alternative for creating the most realistic HDR renderings possible making this once-complicated process accessible to even the most novice user. The software is available for purchase through Unified Color’s website at www.unifiedcolor.com/hdr-express.
HDR Express automates key aspects of the HDR production process, such as tone mapping and halo elimination, offering a streamlined and very easy-to-follow workflow. After merging the multiple exposures required for the HDR process into a 32-bit image, the simplified user interface presents an animated exposure range preview of the HDR image along with five tone mapping preset options. For the fastest results, users can then choose from a series of color and style presets or create their own presets using the program’s adjustment sliders which manipulate brightness, highlight and shadow recovery, black point, contrast, saturation and white balance. In addition to workflow enhancements, the newly developed processing algorithms in HDR Express enable users to view edits in real-time.
“We have developed an entirely new workflow that makes HDR Express a real game changer” said Alfred Zee, CEO of Unified Color Technologies “With HDR Express we’ve dramatically reduced the steep learning curve for HDR photography software, while significantly improving performance and image quality. HDR Express makes true color HDR accessible to photographers at any skill level.”
Like all Unified Color products, HDR Express leverages the company’s patented 32-bit Beyond RGB™ color technology, resulting in the most true-to-life HDR images possible. Beyond RGB separates brightness from color information and performs all editing operations on the full 32-bit color data, thus eliminating the color shifts and halo artifacts often associated with the “HDR look.” As a result, HDR Express produces a more accurate representation of the colors and tonal range of the original scene that the photographer saw in the viewfinder.
Whether using HDR Express to apply HDR effects to a single image or merging multiple exposure brackets to maximize the dynamic range, the software accepts popular JPEG and TIFF files as well as many of the major manufacturers’ RAW formats. The included plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom TM and Apple’s® ApertureTM also allow users to seamlessly “round trip” images from their libraries. Once the work has been finalized, users can save the results as a JPEG, 8-bit or 16-bit TIFF, or preserve the full dynamic range of the HDR image by exporting in Unified Color’s native 32-bit BEF file.
HDR Express is available for $99 at www.unifiedcolor.com/hdr-express as an electronic download. Throughout December, Unified Color is also offering a special holiday promotion, during which the software is available for just $85. Current Unified Color customers looking to take advantage of HDR Express’ streamlined workflow can purchase the software for $50. A free, fully functional 30-day trial version is also available allowing anyone to take HDR Express for a risk-free test drive on their own computer with their own images.
PC: Windows XP, Windows Vista (for 20 MP image or larger, 64-bit Windows version is recommended.) 2.0GHz dual core minimum, 2GB RAM (recommend 4GB), 128MB video card memory.
Apple: Intel Macintosh 2.0 GHz dual core CPU with 2GB minimum RAM (4GB is recommended) running Mac OS 10.5.8 (Leopard) or Mac OS 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard).