If you have ever photographed a high contrast scene, you know that even the best exposure will typically have blown out highlights and flat shadows. Photomatix offers two ways to solve this problem:
Exposure Blending: Merge differently exposed photographs into one image with increased dynamic range.
Tone Mapping: Reveal highlight and shadow details in an HDR image created from multiple exposures. The tone mapped image is ready for printing while showing the complete dynamic range captured.
Photomatix Pro is a stand-alone program that runs on Mac OS X and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista. The Tone Mapping tool is also available separately as a plugin compatible with Photoshop CS2.
The benefits of using Photomatix Pro include:
Saving on lighting equipment:
Given that most digital cameras can auto-bracket at different exposures, you do not need to acquire expensive lighting equipment -and carry it- when shooting high contrast scenes. Just enable Auto Exposure Bracketing, and let Photomatix merge your photos into an image with extended dynamic range.
Saving time in post-processing:
Photomatix Pro is designed for productivity -- automatic blending, unlimited stacking, easy comparison of results and batch processing save hours of masking and layers work in image editing programs.
Taking advantage of your 32-bit images:
Have you created a 32-bit HDR image in Photoshop CS2 and could not get a good HDR conversion? The Photomatix Tone Mapping tool may help. See how it compares to Photoshop CS2 HDR conversion.
Great pictures on cloudy days:
Shadowless hazy sunlight or an overcast sky usually results in dull-looking photographs. The tone mapping tool of Photomatix Pro can turn them into great-looking images. Check this image as example.
The Exposure Blending functions of Photomatix Pro merge any number of bracketed photos -- this process is equivalent to image stacking, which tends to reduce noise in the resulting image.
Well exposed panoramas:
A panoramic scene is almost always a high contrast scene -- you can't limit your view to areas with the same brightness when shooting a 360° panorama. By taking views under several exposures and processing them in Photomatix Pro, you can create a panorama that will show details in both the dark and bright areas of the scene.
Updated in v3.1
Summary of main updates
* New settings for blending method 'H&S - Adjust'
* Option for automatic reduction of chromatic aberrations in HDR images
* Option for reducing noise in HDR images
* Settings of Details Enhancer dialog grouped in expandable views
* Alignment method "By matching features" made more robust
* Lightroom Export Plug-In
Detailed list of updates
- New settings added to Exposure Blending method "H&S - Adjust": Shadows, White Clip, Black Clip, Midtones and 360° image. Note that the Strength setting has been renamed into Accentuation.
- Added histogram window to Exposure Blending dialog. Position of histogram is sticky. When histogram is closed, can be reactivated via menu "View->8-bit Histogram".
- Ability to obtain an image in 16 bits/channel mode when blending images in 8 bits/channel mode.
- Option to reduce chromatic aberrations / color fringing added to "Generate HDR options" dialog. The chromatic aberrations reduction can also be directly applied to an image via the Utilities menu.
- Updated algorithm of alignment method "By matching features" to make it more robust.
- Improved "Highlights Smoothing" setting of Details Enhancer tone mapping method
- Ability to use Single File Conversion to tone map single RAW files in one run directly after having created the pseudo-HDR image.
- Added option for reducing noise in 32-bit HDR image.
- Improved layout of Tone Mapping settings dialog for Details Enhancer by grouping settings in expandable views instead of placing them in a tab control.
- Added support for reading 32-bit HDR images in PSD format.
- Made path of resulting image of batch show as clickable hyperlink.
- Added a "refresh on demand" button to tone mapping dialog when size of preview is set to either large or fit.
- When saving a tone mapped image, added an option to save the settings in an XMP file along with the image.
- When batch processing subfolders, made it possible to have the results saved under each one of the subfolders instead of the main parent folder.
- Added a naming option on Batch Processing to have the name of the resulting files start with the name of the processed subfolder.
- Added better support for reading of compressed TIFF files.
- Ability to edit text boxes showing value of sliders on Tone Mapping and Exposure Blending dialogs.
- In Batch Processing, added naming option for having the created file name end with sequence number.
- Updated raw conversion to support recent camera models such as the Canon 50D, Nikon D700 and Nikon D90.
- Availability of Lightroom Export Plug-In to Photomatix Pro.
- Added option to Save Panel for opening saved image in another application. Option is available for 8 and 16-bit images. By default, popup menu lists imaging applications installed on computer, such as Aperture, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Choice is made sticky.
- Added check for updates.
- On dialog popping up when multiple image files are dragged to Photomatix, added option to skip dialogs for source image selection and Generate HDR options.
- Improved support for "large font" mode.
- Settings of Exposure Blending window are now sticky
- JPEG quality of Batch Processing can now be set in increments of 1.
- Ability to select up to 12 images at a time for Batch Processing.
- Reduced RAM requirements by 3 when tone mapping with Details Enhancer a large HDR image file opened in preview mode. Tone mapping a 20,000 x 5,000 panorama requires now around 600 MB of RAM instead of almost 2 GB previously. (Note: the reduction in RAM consumption is achieved via writing to and reading from temporary files on disk which slows down the processing of large HDR image files opened in preview mode).
- Bug fixed: Option "360° image" for Details Enhancer did not always work correctly.
- Bug fixed: When Strength setting of Details Enhancer tone mapping method was set to a low value, setting the color saturation to zero produced an almost white image.
- Bug fixed: Batch Processing did not return the error message associated with some error codes.
- Bug fixed: Opening a Radiance HDR image file in preview mode sometimes crashed.
- Bug fixed: Hourglass was not showing when tone mapping preview is refreshing
- Bug fixed: On the HDR settings dialog invoked from Batch Processing, the "Show preview" button for White Balance did not work.
- Bug fixed: Saving Tone Mapping settings from Tone Mapping Settings dialog did not work correctly when it was done prior to any settings change on the dialog.
- Bug fixed: Option "Force EV values" in HDR generation settings of Batch Processing was not taken into account.
- Bug fixed: Histogram of Tone Mapping Settings dialog did not fill the height of the histogram's box.
- Bug fixed: On 64-bit systems, automatic search for imaging application to be listed in the combo box of the Save Panel did not look into the correct directory.
- Bug fixed: Drag-and-drop of files with non supported extensions was possible.
- Bug fixed: Tone Compressor was not working when applied to a 16-bit image.
- Bug fixed: slow execution of White Balance preview from Generate HDR options dialog.
- Bug fixed: histogram did not display correct.
- Bug fixed: "Save aligned output" option of Batch Processing was sometimes greyed-out when it should not
- Bug fixed: Single File Conversion did not retrieve metadata information available in HDR image files in Radiance format.
- Bug fixed: HDR images in Radiance format created with Batch Processing or Single File Conversion did not save the name of the color profile.
- Bug fixed: tab order of "Light Smoothing" radio buttons were not correct.
- Bug fixed: Reading of HDR image files in Floating Point Format did not work.
Updated in v3.0.3
- Bug fixed: changing Exposure Blending sliders intermittently returned exception error message on PCs with multi processors.
- Bug fixed: Opening uncompressed Radiance .hdr files in preview mode crashed the application
- Bug fixed: RAWs from the Sony A-200 were not correctly converted.
Updated in v3.0.2
- Added support for RAW files from Canon 450D and Nikon D60.
Updated in v3.0.1
- Bug fixed: 16-bit output for saving tone mapped image when HDR image file has been opened in preview mode should now be correctly taken into account.
- Bug fixed: Detection type for ghosting reduction option should now be correctly taken into account (in v3.0, value "Normal" and "High" were mixed up).
- Bug fixed: Default file format to save blended images when the source images are in 8 bits/channel mode should now be correctly remembered between sessions.
- Bug fixed: Error message after changing several times the settings of the Exposure Blending dialog should not happen anymore.
- Bug fixed: Exposure Blending with source images in the BMP format should not invert colors anymore.
- Bug fixed: incorrect date in metadata of saved images on the 30th and 31st of the month when source images are RAW files should not happen anymore.
- Bug fixed: "About Photomatix Pro" item on Help menu is now available.