Monday, March 01, 2010

Picturenaut 3.0 to the Rescue

I was taking photos of some of my artwork, bas-relief style sculptures, for the upcoming Venus Artists Contemporary Showcase. I have found it is quiet a challenge to get the colours “accurate” and at the same time getting the whole surface in focus & distortion free (maybe more on that later). The “best” exposures are all too often “flat”, albeit with slightly bleached colours but nicely exposure to that average 50% grey tone. So I got the thinking maybe HDRi could do it better. I liked what it achieved, do you?
Original Photo, as exposed HDRi using Picturenaut & Exposure Tone Mapping I had recently updated Picturenaut, now in version 3.0. It is nice piece of software for doing HDRI fairly automatically (not lots of fiddling with sliders and adjustments). Best it works perfectly as a Portable App off a USB key, so I have it in my camera bag at all times.
picturenaut 1 The new version does a better job at guessing the EV setting than previous versions and now behaves when I used 5 photos in my bracketed set. It now has a neat feature ghost removal (some things inevitably move and a distracting ghost outline can be left is parts of the image). The  automatic image alignment (which does a good job realigning and adjusting handheld photos) is improved. Both these take time but free you from a lot of unnecessary fiddling. The real time save is in the tone mapping, which may fewer options and controls than other systems, but the four methods provided should cover most needs. You will be able to avoid those lurid colours and unnatural if some what surreal lighting that many other HDRi packages conjure up for unsuspecting new users.
Bilateral Tone Mapping Exposure Tone Mapping, with automatic contrast Adaptive Logarithmic Tone Mapping Photoreceptor Tone Mappping
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