“Learn how to use Aurora HDR 2018 to create stunning and powerful photos. Learn tips and tricks for better HDR photos, follow my editing workflow ideas, and master this powerful image editing tool.”
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
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.
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.
- Jim Nix – Aurora HDR 2018 is available for pre-order!
- Jim Nix – YouTube channel
- Macphun – Aurora HDR 2018. What’s new?
- Macphun – YouTube channel
- Matt Suess – Aurora HDR 2018 In-Depth Preview
- Matt Suess – YouTube channel
- nicolesy – Aurora HDR 2018 Preview [Video]
- Serge Ramelli – The best HDR software Aurora 2018 is here for Windows Users!
- Stuck in Customs – Pre-Order Aurora HDR 2018 For Mac… AND Windows!!! – HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff’s website that helped popularize HDR photography.
- Trey Ratcliff – YouTube channel
“The strikingly beautiful, amazingly powerful, and finally cross-platform HDR photo editor that helps you make HDR photos you’ll really love. Watch video…
Enjoy an amazing HDR experience, no matter what kind of computer you use….”
One really big thing I have been hoping that Fujifilm will fix in firmware for its Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2 APS-C cameras very soon is their automatic exposure bracketing functionality. Right now both cameras only allow 3 brackets to make landscape, cityscape or interiors High Dynamic Range (HDR) photographs at times when 5 or more brackets are more beneficial.
Since Macphun released Aurora HDR 2017, currently the most full-featured HDR image merging and editing software available, I have been looking for ever more opportunities to shoot HDR when it will bring something extra to the image that cannot be obtained in just one exposure.
I have been using 3 exposure brackets when handholding the camera to shoot portraits, 3 for landscape photographs handheld and 3 or 5 for close-up still life photographs on a tripod-mounted camera when I need a heightened sense of realism.
As neither the X-Pro2 or X-T2 currently permit 5 or more exposure brackets, I have been relying on my Panasonic GH4 and GX8 cameras for that. Both can make up to 7 exposure brackets. I want the very same ability on my Fujifilm cameras to bring them up to par for HDR.
Meanwhile photographer Ming Cai is sharing a 6-bracket HDR workaround for his Fujifilm X-T2 at his YouTube channel:
Riverside and portrait photographs made with Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens for the landscape and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens for the portrait which was lit with a Rotolight Neo LED light with barndoors and soft handle, and was held by the subject.