I’m super excited that a new version of Photomatix Pro is now shipping. The application is a welcome update that adds a bunch of useful features that make it easier to start and finish your HDR photos. My favorite aspect is that the application truly focusses on natural looking HDR.
What is Photomatix Pro?
In case you haven’t tried it, Photomatix Pro is software that helps you maximize the dynamic range of a scene. That means you can see the most information for a shot including bright highlights and rich shadows. Sometimes this means using multiple shots to accomplish this. Photomatix Pro can create true HDR images from several photos with varying exposures that are merged together for more detail and tone information than conventional photography. But it’s also possible to use a single raw file to bring out even more depth and detail than traditional photo editing applications.
HDRsoft released the first version of Photomatix Pro back ion 2003. Each release has come with huge technical jumps in quality and features. What I like is that the company releases software when it’s ready, not as a regular time release designed to keep revenue flowing. The company’s founder pioneered HDR photography software with the introduction of Photomatix.
Who Needs It?
Through the years HDR has gotten a bad rap from a lot of folks. Often because it was done badly or over the top. We have a whole learning center here on the site to give you ideas. I think HDR, especially the natural styles that Photomatix offers, is perfect for these types of photography.
- Landscape photography
- Architectural photography
- Product photography
- Black & White photography
- Urban exploration photography
- Fine art photography
But many creative folks have used it in many ways.
What’s it Do?
Photomatix Pro offers nine different rendering methods to create HDR methods. Photographers of all styles will find methods that support styles from real estate and architecture to landscapes and street photography and even portrait. These range from stylized versions to very subtle options. Photomatix is loved by real estate photographers for its ability to show the details on interiors and exteriors simultaneously. I personally use it on my landscape photos ALL the time.
A welcome addition to the new release is a new HDR method called Tone Balancer. It’s optimized to show depth and natural details. I really like its ability to look natural while going well beyond what the camera can capture. Remember, most Raw files stop at 10 or 12-bits of color depth. an HDR file can go to 32-bits though merging which goes beyond what even most human eyes can see. You don’t have to use all that information, but think of it as the worlds best Shadow/Highlights and Clarity sliders that you’ll ever find.
“What’s unique about Photomatix Pro is the wide range of styles it offers to render HDR photos, and version 6 makes this even better,” said Joffre. “Unlike other apps which rely on one method, we have several different HDR methods. Each algorithm can give a completely different look at enhancing tones and details or fusing multiple exposures together. Photographer will find it useful to have several alternatives for processing HDR photos as things change with different subjects or lighting conditions.”
What Else is New?
Photography enthusiasts and pros alike will find useful improvements in Photomatix Pro 6. The new release focusses on getting great results in less time with less effort. Key benefits include:
- Create natural looking images with increased dynamic range. With the new Tone Balancer method, HDR images show depth and natural details. This realistic method is well suited for real estate and natural style landscapes.
- Avoid overdoing it. If you’re looking for a more realistic look, the original photo can be blended with the processed image. You can globally blend or use a brush to add back in specific areas.
- Remove distortion from your photos. Quickly correct for a tripod that’s not level or a handheld camera by straightening the horizon. If your image has perspective issues, you can tilt the photo in 3D-space to correct it quickly. Architectural and landscape photographers will love these powerful corrections.
- Work even faster. Loading images is even faster with a streamlined workflow. Get your images open in fewer clicks with the intuitive workflow so you can start editing sooner.
- Discover a new look. Useful presets make it easy to browse the many creative and technical options in Photomatix Pro. The extensive collection of presets is expanded with more options that are easy to browse.
- Refine with total control. You can easily fine-tune the saturation, hue, and brightness of individual colors in an image. Quickly remove color casts, enhance the sky, or bring out the details in the landscape without ever leaving Photomatix Pro. Quick selection controls can affect specific color ranges, or you can affect just parts of the image with precise brush strokes. Images can also be cropped to easily remove distractions or improve the composition..
Photomatix Pro 6 is available now for $99 USD for a single-user license. This can be used by one photographer and as many computers as they need. Customers who recently bought Photomatix 5 as a new purchase will receive a free upgrade. All other owners of earlier versions of Photomatix Pro can upgrade for $29 USD. Photomatix Pro works as both a standalone application and includes a plugin for Adobe Lightroom.
For more information and to download a free trial version, please visit www.hdrsoft.com.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Whether you shoot bracketed photos or even just single raw images, this software does amazing things at a very reasonable price. Try the free demo today.
Rich has published over 100 courses on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.
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