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Creating the Merged HDR Image

If you have a series of bracketed photos, you can choose to merge these together for a photo with significantly more dynamic range.  The open dialog allows you to open your own images (and also includes a set of sample photos).  You can also choose to open a folder of images for Batch Processing (more on this later).

  • 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 multiple files, select them, and open them.
    • Choose File > Open… to navigate to multiple files, select them, and open them.
    • You can also drag a series of photos directly onto the Aurora HDR 2018 application in the Mac OS Dock or Windows Taskbar.
  • Your photos opens into a new window where you’ll need to make a few selections.
  • Click the Settings icon (gear) to choose from three options that affect the opened file.



    • Ghost Reduction. Ghosting caused by subject movement (such as clouds blowing, trees swaying, or people moving). If there is a long time delay between your brackets, you may notice areas of high movement appear to have multiple copies of image details that overlap.  This option can remove these repeated details from your final photo.
    • 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).
  • Use the Alignment option if shooting handheld or if you think there might be slight camera movement between each shot.
  • When ready, click Create HDR to merge the brackets together.

Ghost Reduction

If there are moving objects in your HDR brackets — tree leaves, flags, people, etc. — it can look a bit unusual after the HDR merge process. The moving object may appear as a translucent “ghost.” This is simply because the image information is different on each different HDR bracket image (i.e., something has moved through the frame of the photo). 


The image on the left was merged without the Ghost Reduction option. In areas of high-movement (such as the nets blowing in the wind) parts of the photo look unusual. Ghosts Reduction will increase processing time, but should be considered for photos with lots of wind or long delays between brackets (such as low-light shooting).

To minimize this problem, click the Additional Settings button which will reveal a pop-over panel for enabling Ghosts Reduction. This feature will let you choose a reference image from the bracket. The software will then analyze each of the exposures and compare it to the reference image before merging them into a single HDR image. The result is that any object that changed positions between exposures will be replaced with a static object whose position is selected from one of the images of the bracket. 


Color Denoise

This feature reduces low-light noise found in color (or “chrominance”) pixels during the merging process for RAW files. Access this by clicking on the Additional Settings button which will reveal a pop-over panel for enabling Color Denoise.

Chromatic Aberration Removal

This feature analyzes the merged HDR image and minimizes any chromatic aberrations which have been detected. These are typically characterized by a slight red or purplish glow along the edges of stark contrasting areas in the image. These optical aberrations however slight, are always present on any photo and may reduce picture quality. If you think that your image may include red or purple glows, click the Additional Settings button which will reveal a pop-over panel for enabling Chromatic Aberrations Reduction.

Alignment

If the photos from HDR bracket were taken by hand (e.g., without a tripod), they may differ slightly in alignment. If the Alignment option is checked, the application automatically aligns all the images before merging them into a single HDR image. Therefore, Aurora HDR 2018 makes it easy to use images from an HDR bracket series, even those shot without a tripod. 
If you open an image from an HDR bracket without Alignment, and it is slightly blurred, simply open it again with the Alignment option enabled.


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ATTENTION!

Each of these options considerably slows down the creation of your HDR image because they requires significant computing resources to analyze the images. In the case of Ghosts Reduction, it is also worth noting that this feature may not always work properly because of a lack of information to obtain a single static image from a series of moving images. Keep this option off and turn it on only when you need to fix apparent problems with ghosting.

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