Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow
As you probably know I love Photomatix Pro and recently I also felt in love with Phase One Capture One. Before moving to Capture One I used Lightroom and my HDR workflow was simple: select the bracketed images in Lightroom, export them to Photomatix using a plugin, make adjustments in Photomatix, save the image and it would automatically show in Lightroom allowing me to make final adjustments there or send the image to Photoshop for instance.
As much as I like Capture One, it made my HDR workflow a bit more complicated because it doesn’t support plugins (unfortunately just released version 9, hasn’t changed anything in this regard) so it’s not possible to open bracketed images directly in Photomatix from Capture One level. It means different approach is needed and I would like to share my current HDR workflow with you.
Here are main steps:
- First I do basic adjustments like lens correction, removing chromatic aberration, white balance or noise reduction in Capture One
- I export the images as 16-bit TIFF files to a folder where my source images are stored (of course recipe is needed for that).
- I load exported TIFF images to Photomatix and merge them to HDR where I post-process them as I would normally do.
- After doing the adjustments in Photomatix I save the image as 16-bit TIFF in the directory where source images are located
- I switch back to Capture One. As I saved HDR image in the same directory as source images, it appears there automatically.
Note: make sure to disable following option in Capture One: main menu View -> Global Filters -> Always Hide Processed TIFF . In my case it was checked by default and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my tone-mapped images didn’t show in Capture One.
- I do fine tuning in Capture One. This includes working on colors and contrast, removing dust spots, local adjustments etc.
- If I need more control I export the image from Capture One to Photoshop.
It seems to be quite complicated but apart from steps 2 and 3 it doesn’t differ much from my previous Lightroom workflow. In case of Lightroom these 2 steps were one – export the images from Lightroom to Photomatix and it happened almost automatically, a bit more work is needed here.
Sunset in Mexico
Today I’d like to share long-exposure HDR taken in Mexico in 2014, post-processed in Capture One and Photomatix (yes, above workflow applies here). I really like this silky smooth water. It looks sort of dreamy or painterly.
Camera: Sony NEX-6 (read my review)
Lens: Sony 10-18 f/4
Focal length: 12 mm
Exposure time: 25 s (“middle” exposure)
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.0 EV
Flash used: no
Filters: Cokin NDX variable density neutral filter
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5.1 (Contrast Optimizer), Capture One 8