Macphun Announces Aurora HDR 2018 for Pre-Order Right Now for Release September 28, on Mac and Windows

Macphun has announced it is now accepting pre-orders for the latest version of its high dynamic range image editing software Aurora HDR. Aurora HDR 2018 is scheduled for release on September 28 and will be launched with a big, impressive set of new features, improved current features, new and improved tools and filters, and a more sophisticated user interface as well as a 200% speed boost. 

Aurora HDR 2017 will be available for Mac and Windows, and both versions can be pre-ordered right now at a 60% discount along with bonuses.

As with Macphun’s other products, Aurora HDR 2018 can be used in its standalone version or as a plug-in or external editor for a range of popular image editing applications, supports raw files as well other common file formats and exports to PSD (Mac-only), TIFF, PNG, GIF, JPEG and JPEG 2000 as well as to other Macphun products.

Aurora HDR 2018 User Interface, Tools and Features

Macphun’s Aurora HDR 2018 high dynamic range image processing software is the most sophisticated and feature-rich of its kind, and has persuaded me to create a growing proportion of my stills photography work in HDR. Each version of Aurora keeps getting better.
The HDR brackets import dialog offers Ghost Reduction and Chromatic Aberration removal options, both of which I choose especially when shooting HDR brackets handheld or of scenes containing moving objects. Aurora HDR does a great job of ghosts removal, giving me the confidence to shoot almost anything anywhere as HDR even when I am not carrying a tripod.
I first started seriously looking into HDR imaging when working on a short video project involving applying the Ken Burns effect on a long series of stills images shot in hard sunlight in the tropics. I was disappointed by the inability of non-HDR photographs to retain a long dynamic range, leading to near-black shadows without enough detail to justify a camera move into those areas. The HDR software of the time was not sophisticated enough for what I visualized. Then, Macphun released the first version of Aurora HDR.
Aurora HDR 2018 comes with plenty of realistic and beyond realistic presets, and a straight, unedited HDR multi-bracket merge might be exactly what you want without any further image editing. The choice is yours.
One of the most exciting new features in Aurora HDR 2018 is its manual Lens Correction tool. When using previous versions of Aurora, I would export TIFF files to DxO ViewPoint 3 to apply automatic profile-based lens corrections. Having Lens Correction in the new version means avoiding that extra, external step to keep your files fully editable within Aurora HDR 2018 alone. I am hoping that lens-based corrections will find their way into future versions of Aurora and Luminar.
Aurora HDR 2018’s new Transform Tool allows corrections to perspective and other attributes in a way that needed to be done by exporting TIFF files to external editors like DxO ViewPoint 3. Now we can keep it all within Aurora and eliminate those extra steps.
Aurora HDR 2018’s History panel is another very welcome new feature in this version, allowing you to backtrack and refine your edits in the same way as History panels in other image editing software like Photoshop.

Before and After, Naturalistic and Enhanced

With Aurora HDR 2018’s new capacity to create an acceptably naturalistic HDR merge before you apply presets or controls, you cam choose a wide range of looks for each image from mildly realist through to wildly surrealistic, as illustrated by the following images from Macphun’s Aurora HDR 2018 press pack.

If Aurora HDR 2018’s over one hundred tools and editing features are not enough, you can export your images directly into Luminar as a plug-in for even more editing tools, presets and more extreme looks again.

Lone Yucca, White Sands, by Alik Griffin

Moraine Lake, by Jim Nix

Dubai, by Dima Sytnik

Using Aurora HDR

Based on the lovely landscape and travel photographs most software developers use to promote the products’ capabilities, I am not their typical user.

My photography practice centres on documentary genres in monochrome and naturalistic colour, on portraiture, on scene-setting cityscapes and street photography to keep my visual reflexes in order in between documentary projects.

I have yet to produce a sunrise or sunset landscape like the many fine examples Macphun uses to show off its excellent Aurora HDR and Luminar raw processing and image editing software.

But I do use both Macphun products for all the genres and subjects un which I work, as well as the company’s Creative Kit, and I am increasingly shooting portraits and product shots as multiple bracket HDR images.

Although I have some excellent LED lights for stills and video in the form of a Rotolight Neo 3 Light Kit, I often need to quickly grab fast but good quality portraits or product shots with camera and lens only, handheld.

Since its inception Aurora has been adept at handling handheld HDR brackets, automatically erasing the effect of movement between frames aka “ghosting”.

Each successive revision of Aurora has made it easier to avoid HDR’s more blatantly surreal effects, adding controls and presets permitting more subtlety, increased realism.

Aurora HDR 2017 was key in that regard, persuading me to shoot almost all my product shots as HDR images, all the better to deep dive into the textures, materials and construction of the objects depicted.

Early forays into handheld HDR portraiture bore encouraging fruit and the arrival of Aurora HDR 2018 with even more improvements in more real than real image processing now have me planning an environmental and head-and-shoulders portrait project.

The photographs in this project will initially be handheld and consist of three to five brackets, but I am itching to try seven and even nine brackets under challenging lighting conditions to learn whether that will reveal even more information and a visual richness not achievable by any other means.

Having tried out 3 Legged Thing’s Equinox Leo micro-traveller tripod some time ago, the same company’s taller Albert travel tripod is looking appealing so that I can stand face-to-face with my subjects or a little higher art lower as demanded by an environmental portraiture approach.

I will be working on new HDR photographs in several of my favourite genres – portraiture, still life, urban documentary – over the coming weeks and look forward to sharing the results in other articles on Aurora HDR 2018 as well as using them to illustrate articles on production hardware.

First images processed in Aurora HDR 2018

These first stumbling steps into Aurora HDR 2018 reveal new possibilities and some major improvements over its predecessors that I will continue to explore over the coming weeks and months.

I have been wanting to explore new directions in photography for some time, other ways of making images more related to what I experienced of painting and the other fine arts way back in art school compared to the film-simulations-influenced way I usually default to when processing digital photographs.

One thing I am really happy about is how Aurora HDR 2018 is not subject to halos in the skies like previous versions. In the photograph of the garage, Aurora HDR 2017 would always render distinct halos around the power lines and now there are no halos at all!

Another thing I really like about Aurora HDR 2018 is how good the initial tone mapping looks, how naturalistic it is. It is a great starting point from which to explore realism or surrealism with further manipulations within Aurora based on what works best to support the ideas and emotions I want to express.

Links

Advertisements