Skylum, formerly know as MacPhun, will be releasing a new version of Aurora HDR 2019 on October 4th but you can pre-order the software today and get some special bonuses. I’ll put the pre-order link and details below. MacPhun used to make great image editing software for the Mac, but they have re-invented themselves as Skylum and now offer their software for both Mac and PCs.
Why do you need an HDR program or plugin? Well it all comes down to dynamic range. When you look at something with your eyes you can see about 20 stops of light which means you can see details in the shadows and in the highlights of a scene. The problem is your camera isn’t as good as your eyes and most cameras can only capture about 10-12 stops of dynamic range. This means that you will end up with some images that have over exposed highlights or underexposed shadows.
The solution to this problem is to take a series of bracketed exposures ( like -2 ev, 0, and +2 ev) and combine them with an HDR program like Aurora HDR 2019. It helps to take these images with a tripod so you get exactly the same shot every time. This will allow you to use all of the best parts of the exposures and to combine them into one image that has the correct exposure throughout the entire image. Did you forget to take a bracketed series of images? No problem, Aurora HDR can extract the most information possible out of a single image and the final result will have more detail throughout your exposure.
I have used Nik HDR Effects and Lightrooms HDR processing and I have to say that I think Aurora HDR 2019 is the best in class and definitely the most up to date and modern software for creating HDR images. First of all Aurora HDR is fairly simple to use, but most importantly I think it gives you the most creative options for processing your image. There are plenty of Looks, LUTs, and adjustment tools that you can use to customize your image more than any other plugin I’ve seen.
I highly recommend Aurora HDR 2019 because it can really help take your images to the next level. It offers totally none destructive editing with a new and improved History panel which will allow you to revert back to any point in your editing workflow. Here are a few more details about the new version.
Skylum’s Quantum HDR Engine harnesses the power of AI for a more streamlined editing experience than ever before. It reduces burned-out colors, loss of contrast, noise and unnatural lighting caused by halos and unstable deghosting.
The Quantum HDR Engine has taken three years to create within Skylum’s AI lab, and contains the vast knowledge of the development team paired with artificial intelligence to bring you seamless HDR editing, be it with a single image or multiple bracketed shots.
Skylum’s developers tested thousands of bracketed shots through a neural network, and used the results to develop the technology needed for creating incredible HDR photographs - whether it’s real estate, landscape, cityscape or any other type of HDR photography.
Here are the most essential changes:
New Quantum HDR Engine
LUTs support with 11 New Integrated LUTs
Photoshop plugins support
New HDR Smart Structure filter for realistic and artefact-free structure (can be found in the new HDR Enhance filter)
Presets are now called ‘Looks’
Improved Adjustable Gradient filter with new sliders for Shadows and Highlights added
Improved HDR Details Boost Effect (the photo is shown in high-resolution while fine-tuning the filter)
Aurora HDR 2019 will be available for pre-order on September, 12, and released on October, 4.
Current users may upgrade at a price of $49 USD ($59 USD MSRP)
New users can purchase Aurora HDR 2019 at a price of $89 USD ($99 USD MRSP)
Video Tutorial: Getting the Most from Aurora HDR 2019 by Trey Ratcliff
Landscape Photography Handbook by David Johnston
Burning Moods Looks by Richard Harrington