HDRtist Free Software for Mac

Posted October 1st, 2009 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink
Old car in Gettysburg, PA. Image was run through HDRtist then brought into Capture NX 2 with the Nik Color Efx Pro "stylizer" plugin.

Old car in Gettysburg, PA. Image was run through HDRtist then brought into Capture NX 2 with the Nik Color Efx Pro "stylizer" plugin.

I just downloaded a free copy of HDRtist from http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/ and have been having a great time playing with this new HDR program. Right now, HDRtist is only available for the Mac platform (sorry PC folks).

The program is extremely easy to use and only requires you to tell it which photographs to use for creating the HDR image. Then, you move the Strength slider until you like the final effect. Once you are happy with the result, HDRtist will save the image as a JPG so you can continue working on it in your favorite image editing program (i.e. Nikon Capture NX 2, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.)

Here are a couple examples of HDRtist in action.

This is the HDRtist software interface. Very simple.

This is the HDRtist software interface. Very simple with the Strength slider in the lower left.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image processed with HDRtist software.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Image processed with HDRtist software.

You can also use the program with a single image for a “fake” HDR photo as shown below. In other words, take a single image into HDRtist and let the program automatically work with it to create a new tone map.

Here's an HDR processed from a single image in HDRtist. Denali NP, Alaska.

Here's an HDR processed from a single image in HDRtist. The original image is shown below. Denali NP, Alaska.

Here's the original of the above image.

Here's the original of the above image.

There are a few downsides to this software. First, you don’t get much control over the final image. Basically, you are stuck with the single Strength slider adjustment. Second, the software seems to only work reliably with JPG images. A few times I was able to get it to work with a single RAW file, but whenever I tried three or more RAW images, the program immediately crashed. Third, the software doesn’t automatically compensate for camera movement like Photomatix Pro does. So, if you are trying to create HDR images without a tripod, HDRtist isn’t going to be the right program for you.

However, considering the fact that the software is free, I’m relatively impressed with the results.



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