HDR Efex Pro – Tutorial

STOP – This tutorial is for the original.

The tutorial for HDR Efex Pro 2 can be found here.
As of 12/15/10 –
HDR Efex Pro is the new kid on the block, released in October 2010. What does it have that my current HDR favorites, Photomatix and HDR Darkroom Pro beta, don’t?

  • New tone mapping algorithms (although not necessarily better at this moment)
  • Ease of use and flexibility especially as compared to Photomatix
  • Selective adjustment

It is the last item that sets HEP apart from the competition. It’s based the same UPoint technology used across the entire Nik product line (which I discussed in Image Masking, 1).

(Update 12/27 : HDR Darkroom Pro beta is now out of beta as a new product called HDR Photo Pro. The Darkroom version still exists. Read here for a comparison of results among HDR Efex Pro, Photomatix, Darkroom and Photo Pro.)


Table of Contents for a HDR Efex Pro (HEP) Tutorial.

HEP Stand Alone Mode
HEP Workflow
The following sections are listed in the order the HEP workflow typically should follow –

HEP Presets

HEP Global Adjustments – Tone Compression

HEP Finishing Global Adjustments – Curves

HEP Global Adjustments – HDR Methods

HEP Global Adjustments – General

HEP Selective Adjustments

HEP Suggestions and Shortcuts (coming soon)

(Expect updates over the next few months as the program is improved.)

Here are two of my previous general HDR reference material posts

1 A general HDR tutorial with references & examples

2 Update of #1 comparing my HDR software favorites

As I write this in December 2010 there are many things that I like about HEP. However, IMO there is a fundamental flaw in the initial release – it does a poor job of handling highlights when there is an extreme tonal range in the bracketed images (and since dealing properly with both ends of an HDR image’s tonal range is job #1 of an HDR program, this isn’t acceptable). I have a test image with a range of about 13 stops where HEP is last in a four horse race. While I am absolutely certain this will improve with time, that’s the situation with the HEP initial release. Here is my review comparing HEP and three other top HDR programs as of 12/10.
(NOTE – If you have questions or problems, pass them on via the Reply area below. If I can’t answer them, I’m a Beta tester and will pass them on to Nik.)

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