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Aurora HDR 2019 has a significant update: It’s got artificial intelligence. Using the new Quantum HDR engine, it actually analyzes your photo to see what kind of picture it is and what sorts of adjustments it will need. It’s amazing.

Normally, we think of using HDR software on a bracket of images all made at different exposures. But Aurora HDR 2019 is able to make even your single photo look terrific. It even understands what kind of picture you made and offers suggestions for various looks (Skylum-speak for “presets”) that might help you realize your vision faster. When you open a landscape photo, for instance, the set of landscape looks is automatically opened in the Looks Panel at the bottom of the screen. Let me show you some examples.

No adjustments necessary

Each of these pictures was launched from Lightroom directly to Aurora HDR 2019 and then saved without making any adjustments. These are just as they were with the intelligent automatic adjustments made by Aurora’s new Quantum HDR engine.

Aurora looks at the picture, sees what sort of subject it is, then makes contrast, brightness, color and noise adjustments to help it look great. And it does a good job of it. Look at how the colors pop but remain natural-looking. I also appreciate that it brightens the photo in only the areas that need it and it does it without letting the dark areas become noisy. Here are some more photos that I opened in Aurora and then saved without making further adjustments.

Utilize layers with a single image

Not only does Aurora’s AI make your picture look great immediately, but you can also use its powerful layers feature to adjust different parts of the image selectively. In this picture, the illuminated sculpture of the face was too blue and the sky was too noisy. I made a new layer and turned the white balance warmer and then painted it only on the face, then did the same with the noise reduction on a second layer to make the sky less noisy. It’s so convenient to have powerful tools like this all in one place so I don’t have to go to another application to do something. Aurora has all my finishing tools in one place.

Artificial intelligence + your vision = perfection

Aurora’s AI is a great start, but it doesn’t need to replace your own creativity and vision. You can use Aurora’s filters to sculpt your single photo into exactly the kind of photo you had in mind. It’s marvelous that you can catch the moment you were after and the then let Aurora make sure the exposure and colors look perfect later. I made this candid photo in the low light of dawn the other day. I loved the subtle light, but I’m glad that Aurora could help me bring a little more detail into the dark areas. I’ll probably finish this as a black and white photo, but Aurora has given me the perfect place to begin with excellent color and tone.

And there’s so much more you can do with a single picture. The Vignette filter is the best in any app, for instance. Here are some more examples.

Final thoughts

Aurora HDR 2019’s new Quantum HDR engine is extraordinarily good at recognizing the subjects in your scene and customizing the colors and tones to best enhance your photo. It does it without making lots of noise in the picture, and it does without looking like a play-school HDR with crazy skies and weird tones. Give Aurora a try with your single image and you’ll be amazed at how powerfully it can help you finish your pictures.