Perfect Combination

Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Camera Raw offer two powerful tools—HDR and Photomerge—for combining images into a sum greater than their parts

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Adobe Photoshop CS3 offers many new features, including those found in the new Adobe Camera Raw, that help us enhance and save (to a point) our exposures. From an exposure standpoint, two of the most amazing features in the latest version of Photoshop are High Dynamic Range and Photomerge, both greatly improved from previous versions—so much so that I want to share with you some of their capabilities.

Let’s take a quick look. I say “quick” because it would take most of the pages of this magazine to describe all the cool features and benefits of HDR and Photomerge.

High Dynamic Range
High Dynamic Range (HDR) automatically combines several exposures of the same scene, at different exposure settings, into a single good exposure. The result is that the image looks like the scene when viewed with our eyes (recording the 11-stop dynamic range that we can see at one time). All the shadow details are revealed and all the highlights are maintained. In fact, an HDR image can look better than the actual scene, due to all the different levels of brightness that are recorded and combined accurately.

For this high-range resolution image of my kitchen and backyard, Photoshop combined seven exposures. After your images are combined, you can tweak them while in HDR and then again in Photoshop, using traditional enhancements like Levels, Curves and so on.

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