“Outbackphoto”:http://www.outbackphoto.com/CONTENT_2007_01/section_workflow_basics/20071213_ToopTools_2007/ has a good review of phototools on top of the standard Photoshop. I just tried “Photomatix”:http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_a106/essay.html and have to say it is easy and amazing. Just get a tripod, take five bracket exposure, then you generate an HDR and map it. Comes out easily. What does it do? Well, it makes really amazing color photos. Right now JPEGs are typically 8-bit images (that’s a little misnomer, actually, that means each of the red, green and blue colors are 8 bit, so 24 bits in all). If you are a pro then you know a camera can normally take about 12-bits worth of brightness levels, so if you take a bunch of different exposures, you can get really amazing images. You want them to be pretty different, say -2, 0 and then +2EV to get the whole range, Photomatix then combines them into a 32-bit image (really 32-bit x 3 colors) and then you have to compress that down since no monitor, printer or set of eyes (on a human at least) can see so many colors.
The results are just awesome. Taking a lancscape, you go from seeing a bright sun, to seeing the sun and then amazing detail in the photos, instead of just washed out black. BTW, if you like it you can get 15% off by referring to Digital Outback Photo and entering DOPphotomatix when you “order”:http://www.hdrsoft.com/order/tmpi_discount.php
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