Starting with Aurora HDR 2018

Aurora HDR 2018 offers many easy-to use as well as powerful controls to adjust and improve your image.  The first step of course is opening a picture within the application. 

How to Open a Single Photo

Aurora HDR 2018 can open a series of the same images shot with different exposures. A series of images with different exposures are commonly known as HDR brackets. Aurora HDR 2018 supports any practical number of images in a bracket. In addition, all versions can open just a single image which is great for “re-imagining” your back catalog of photos.

How to Open a Single Photo
There are several ways to open images based on your personal preference.  Each of these four methods generates the same outcome, so choose the one that works best for you.

  • First, launch Aurora HDR 2018.
  • You can now open a supported file format using any of these methods.
    • At the startup screen, click the Open Image button to navigate to and open a file.
    • Choose File > Open… to navigate to and open a file.
    • To open an image you recently edited, choose File > Open Recent.
    • You can also drag a photo directly onto the Aurora HDR 2018 application in the Mac OS Dock or Windows Taskbar.
  • Your photo opens a new window where you’ll need to make a few selections.
  • Click the Settings icon (gear) to choose from two options that affect the opened file.
  • Color Denoise. Turn this option On to remove lowlight color noise when merging brackets.  This option is only visible if opening a raw file.  It will also increase the processing time for the image due to the noise removal process
  • Chromatic Aberration Removal. Use this option to remove purple or green fringe that can appear along the edges of an image (especially in areas of high contrast or backlight).
  • Check the box for Tone Mapping if you’d like to Aurora HDR 2018 to automatically reduce noise, and produce a more realistic and natural initial image. This option is usually best left on.
  • Click Create HDR to open the file and begin editing.

The Purpose of Bracketed Photos

In order to capture all the details in a scene, many photographers turn to bracketing.  By using the bracketing option on a camera (or manually adjusting exposure), the photographer will capture two or more shots. 

The image below was captured two stops over-exposed (EV +2.0)  to preserve details in the darker areas of the image.  The middle photo is the base exposure as calculated by the camera.  The image on the right was captured two stops under-exposed (EV -2.0)  to preserve details in the brighter areas of the image.

The most common number of exposures taken is three, in which a base exposure is used and then an under- and overexposed image are acquired to preserve the highlights and shadows. However, any combination of exposures to properly show the scene. The wider the dynamic range of the scene, the higher the number of exposures needed. If the light source is directly in the frame, you may need as many as seven exposures.

Typically these multiple exposures are taken from a tripod to ensure that there is no movement between each exposure.  However some users do shoot handheld and rely upon the Alignment option in Aurora HDR 2018 to help them align the images. When you select multiple images in a bracketed set, you will see a preview window with the images you plan to process as well as additional details about those images.

Supported File Types

Aurora HDR 2018 is designed to open a wide range of file formats.  This ensures compatibility with most cameras as well as common graphic formats.  Supported file types include:

Graphic Formats

  • PNG
  • JPG
  • TFF (8-bit and 16-bit)
  • PSD

Popular RAW formats

  • .CR2
  • .NEF
  • .ORF
  • .RAF
  • .ERF
  • .ARW
  • .RW2
  • .DNG
  • .PEF
  • and more.

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