Oct 2, 2010

32 Float - Realistic HDR Plug-in for CS5

Maiden voyages in new software usually create challenges!

32 Float, Unified Color, 32 bit HDR, Photoshop CS5

I downloaded a trial version of 32 Float ( from Unified Color. 32 Float installs as a 32 bit HDR plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS5 (also CS3 and CS4). Sandy Corless recently talked about its strength and ease of use for realistic HDR images. I also installed an NVIDIA GeForce 210 1 GB video card. Dual CPU Windows XP, NVIDIA card, and a Wacom Graphire 4 tablet are my normal HDR workflow environment.

When Installed, 32 Float Didn't Work.
Okay, where was the bug?
I did a detailed bug report, sent it to John Omvik, Unified Color, late Friday afternoon. To my amazement - I got an e-mail within 90 minutes telling me ~ disable Wacom and try it.

32 Float Works!
John's done a good video explaining 32 Float. Combined with a clear user's manual, most operations are easy to understand and perform.
So I began the first trial run of 32 Float - without the Wacom. In a prior step, I had compiled and saved a 32 bit HDR2 file at default values using CS5’s HDR Pro. It became my de facto input for 32 Float...

So, this morning, I sent John on another note indicating we had gained significant traction on my initial bug report.
Unfortunately, I've been using the Wacom since 2007 … it's very deeply embedded in my workflow!

Huzzah, John! Your initial quick bug report response is highly encouraging.
I also began to get the distinct feeling ~ 32 Float is going to become a significant part of my HDR future!

32 Float Flexibility
Because 32 Float allows you to save individual tone mapping steps as separate layers in CS5, you can now adjust highlights, mid tones, shadows, white balance, color tuning, and saturation independently of one another as separate layers.
Talk about real HDR Power...!

32 Float Image Enhancement
For comparison, the top image is a 16 bit HDR file from 32 float with all actions mentioned above under flexibility. No final finishing touches have presently eliminated highlights etc - which might be questioned by some. The bottom is the 16 bit HDR Pro image supplied to 32 Float.
Combinatorial intricacies for tone mapping provided by 32 Float clearly step well past Local Adaptation of a 32 bit file in Photoshop CS5.
And I've just barely begun use of this fascinating tool... it’s like seeing just the very tip of an enormously exciting ‘Artic’ iceberg!

There will be more about 32 Float in blogs to come...!

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