One of the things that’s always intrigued me about HDR photography is the effects you’re able to generate outside of your typical HDR imagery.

In checking out the new Aurora HDR 2018, I discovered a new technique in order to showcase city life in a creative way, giving my image a stop-motion feel.

The technique is super simple and quick, and it gives you something that most people will have to take a second glance at.

Creating a Stop-Motion Look with Aurora HDR 2018

When you initially launch Aurora HDR 2018, you’re presented with two options — “Open” or “Batch Processing.” For this, click “Open” and then select all the images you want to combine.

If it’s easier, you can bring images in from Lightroom, too, by using the “Open In” command.

You’ll then be presented with a screen that shows thumbnails of all your photos. Be sure that “Alignment” is checked, and that “Ghost Reduction” is not checked. Then click “Create HDR”; this will process the images into one file in Aurora HDR 2018.

Tweaking and Adding Creative Effects

You’ll see that, in this example, the man is walking and there are people behind the glass also walking. The man is most obvious at his ending position, which was the last file I included in the batch.

While the people in the frame show motion, everything else in the photograph is static and sharp.

Ultimately, I wanted a grungy, city-like feel to the photograph. I decided to play around with some of Aurora’s built-in presets. The awesome thing about these presets is you can change the opacity of them, and also overlay presets on top of each other — something you can’t do with other software I’ve tried.

In my photograph, I started out with the “Cool Day” preset, which added some blue and teal tones to my image. I really liked the coloring after this, as it helped to brighten and better saturate the image. But while I was pleased with the color, I wanted to add some depth and hard edges to the photo, specifically to help bring out the man a little more.

I decided to add the “Creative Drama” preset, which added a lot of contrast to the image, as well as brightened up the colors more. Then I took it a third step and went with the “Small Details” preset. This helped to sharpen a lot of the finer details in the image.

Finally, I boosted my exposure slightly, to 0.5.

The End Result

The final image is a drastic change from what I started with. The colors pop and there’s a sharp, grunge look that captures city life. Now all that’s missing is the graffiti.

Whether you’re looking for traditional HDR results or a bit beyond the norm, Aurora HDR 2018 is a great solution. It’s available for pre-order today for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Note: Aurora 2018 for Windows and Mac is available for pre-order and will ship on September 28, 2017.  Learn more here.