Easy HDR Effect technique


posted on 18th of february, 2010

I'm sure you know about HDR. Just in a case, you can find information on Wikipedia.

Here I'd like to share an easy HDR Effect technique that helps to improve your existing photos just with some clicks in the Photoshop. It is not my invention, I found the instruction on Flickr in KolNedra's set. But I've used it and I'm pleased with the result:

1. Open your photos in the Photoshop.
2. For better understanding of the process, let's name the original Layer (probably it's called Background at the moment) as Layer 1.
3. Duplicate Layer 1 and name a new level as Level 2. Level 2 should be above Level 1.
4. Change the Blending option of Layer 2 to "Overlay". Stay on it.
5. Go to: Image > Adjustements > Desaturate.
6. Then: Image > Adjustements > Invert.
7. Go to: Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur (around 40 pixels).
8. Now duplicate Layer 1 again, name a new layer as Layer 3 and place it above Layer 2.
9. Change the Blending option of Layer 3 to "Linear Light".
10. Give Layer 3 an opacity around 60%. And you're done!

For better results, tweak the percentage and play with Blending option of Layer 3 - see results with Vivid Light, Hard Light, Soft Light etc., and choose what you like.

I've got some photos, processed with this technique here in DT, as well as if you'd like to see more, you can have a look on photos in my personal blog post. Hope it will be helpful!


Comments (24)

Posted by Tanyae on July 19, 2012
Thank you all! I'm glad to hear that it is useful for you!
Posted by Anindyo on July 17, 2012
Thank you for this great share
for me, this way is more efficient than HDR to deal with shadow/highlight
highpass filter may also be added to sharpen the image
Posted by Maxkateusa on March 12, 2010
Thank you very much - for interesting information! I will be tray too.
Posted by Karenkh on March 10, 2010
great tip, thanks!!
Posted by Xiaofeng123 on March 10, 2010
good! I hava done.
Posted by Rzs on March 08, 2010
This is such a great tip, easy and powerful. It is not important that it is not your invention. People do not visit every single website about photography, so it is very handy to see such useful tips in different places. Thanks!
Posted by Maigi on March 04, 2010
Wow, great technique! Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Elimitchell on February 22, 2010
Here are some before/after examples of what this technique can do. I'll be disabling the old files soon, so take a look now! Although it may just look like subtle saturation, the effect really shows in the full size files.

Before:
   Image not available or id is incorrect.   
After:
   Sunrise Glow in Alaskan Winter Forest and blue sky   

#2 before:
   Image not available or id is incorrect.   
#2 after:
   Sun in Frosty trees- Vertical Panorama   
Posted by Cmarshall717 on February 19, 2010
Ah-ha! I hadn't thought about merging it down. I'll have to try that. Good idea!
Posted by Elimitchell on February 19, 2010
I started with a one layer photo. You may have to flatten the image before you start, if you are initially working with a multi-layered Photoshop doc. Don't apply the steps in the tutorial as adjsutment layers. Apply them directly to the layer. I'm not sure if PSE-5 does this, but in CS4, you can make adjustment layers apply ONLY to one layer. If it keeps applying the adjustment as a separate adjustment layer, then you can just merge that layer down to Layer 2 (Ctrl+E or Layer> Merge Down).

BTW, you can do a print-screen by holding down the Shift+Printscreen keys (Printscreen is two keys above the Delete key, on my keyboard), then pasting (or Ctrl+V) it into a blank Photoshop canvas. You can then crop it to the proper size if it has a border, and save it as a JPG photo. Then you can upload it to an image hosting site (Flickr, Imgur, Imageshack, Pbase, etc.) as DT probably won't accept a printscreen. When the photo is uploaded,...(More)
Posted by Cmarshall717 on February 19, 2010
@Elimitchell - I was able to get through the steps. However, the problem is that when you make the adjustments, it puts up an adjustment layer above the one you are working on in the layers palette. So, the adjustments apply to everything below them. Now, when you duplicate the original background layer the final time you have to either put it between the first copy of the background and its adjustment layers OR above all the layers (which basically is above layer 2). The problem is that the adjustment layers apply to everything under it and messes it up. I tried to do the adjustments by clicking on the layer I wanted to adjust and going up to the top of the screen: layers/adjustment, but there is no way to do the overlay or other layer modes from there. When you do it from the layers palette, as I said before, it applies to everything underneath it, not just the one layer. BTW ... I use PSE5. Hope all this makes sense. I'd put in screen shots if I could figure out how to...(More)
Posted by Tanyae on February 19, 2010
Thank all of you for the responses! Elimitchell, you're right - the percentage of opacity depends on characteristics of a particular photo, it is true also for Blending options - sometimes the result is better with Linear Light, sometimes - with Vivid, Hard or Soft. It is a matter of a personal preferences as well, as I think.
Posted by Frantab01 on February 19, 2010
thanks for sharing - will def try it out :)
Posted by Elimitchell on February 19, 2010
Well, I guess this doesn't work for Photoshop Elements. Does anyone know of a similar process or workaround for Elements users?

I just tried it in Photoshop Elements 3 (I have both Elements 3 and CS4), and the entire thing worked just fine except for the Linear Light blend mode, which wasn't a big issue (and the newer version of Elements you are using may have it).

I think the trouble you are having is that the menus aren't the same. Try this (I'm leaving out the last 3 steps which I didn't find very necessary anyway):

1. Open your photos in the Photoshop (Elements).
2. For better understanding of the process, let's name the original Layer (probably it's called Background at the moment) as Layer 1 (edit: double click on the layer to do this).
3. Duplicate Layer 1 and name a new level as Level 2. Level 2 should be above Level 1.
4. Change...(More)
Posted by Cmarshall717 on February 19, 2010
Well, I guess this doesn't work for Photoshop Elements. Does anyone know of a similar process or workaround for Elements users?
Posted by Elimitchell on February 18, 2010
That is very cool! I tried it, and it has a very interesting effect. I found, however, that I had to modify the last three steps of this tutorial. An opacity of 60% was just too extreme. 18% did it for me.

Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Wildmac on February 18, 2010
Great info thank you for sharing it :)
Posted by Gina rothfels on February 18, 2010
I've been considering investing in HDR software for some time, but always found the trial programs produced so much noise I could never bring myself to spend the money. This looks like a better solution. I will certainly play around with it some more before I spend any money. Thanks.
Posted by Cmarshall717 on February 18, 2010
Great! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to have to try that, too. Don't have any of the HDR software yet.
Posted by Joe1971 on February 18, 2010
Very useful!
Posted by Justmeyo on February 18, 2010
Thanks for information!Very nice photos!
Posted by smartview27 on February 18, 2010
thanks for your informations
Posted by Mani33 on February 18, 2010
Great tips! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Littledesire on February 18, 2010
Very useful blog! I use a program for HDRs but I'll definitely try this also!



Comments (24)

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Photo credits: Tanyae.

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