Wikipedia tells us that “high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range of exposures (the range of values between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques.”
Chris ‘o’ pedia would read something more like “HDR images look really cool. You can make pictures that look kinda neon and freaky, a bit like giving your digital camera an acid tab. What’s more you can create them using Ubuntu Linux – for free!”
All you need other than a digital camera and a computer with Ubuntu installed is a piece of software for creating HDR images. As luck would have it, there’s one in the Ubuntu repository. It’s called Qtpfsgui. Go get it!
sudo apt-get install qtpfsgui
Whilst you’re installing software, you may as well have a method of lining up your photos ‘just in case’ they don’t come out quite as you wanted.
sudo apt-get install hugin hugin-tools
OK, first of all you’ll need some images.
Take your camera and shoot a series of images with a range of exposures. You can do this by decreasing/increasing the shutter speed, aperture or using the ‘bracketing’ mode on your camera. Check out Wikipedia’s article on Exposure Value for more info. The important thing is to get a good range of exposures which show the bright and dark features of the shot you’re taking.
Now you have a few images, simply open Qtpfsgui, create new HDR, load all of your images in (I used 12 for mine but you don’t need that many) follow the wizard then select Tonemap HDR.
Try the ‘fattal’ algorithm, it seems to create the most striking results.
If you want to look at some really great HDR images or find out more about Qtpfsgui then check out the Qtpfsgui group on Flickr. In fact, if you really want to get into creating HDR images you need to do some research and this Flickr group is a good staring point.
Finally, here’s my attempt at creating a HDR. The subject is a little boring but all I could conjure up this evening!
Have fun and post back here to show me your efforts!
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