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-   -   Tone Mapping (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16124)

Ween 02-03-2013 05:56 AM

Tone Mapping
2 Attachment(s)
So I was messing around last night looking up different techniques in Photoshop and came across tone mapping. I use Photoshop CS2 and was looking at these tutorials:

So naturally I had to try it out. Take a look at the attached images, the top one is done with my normal workflow and the bottom one is the one using the techniques in the tone mapping tutorials.

What do you think? Is the tone mapped one too Candyland'ish? Is it better than the non-tone mapped one? Anyone else use tone mapping as part of their normal workflow?

Attachment 7861

Attachment 7862

JimThias 02-03-2013 11:55 AM

I'd rather just hit it with a subtle use of the shadow/highlights tool and call it a day. Do whatever works the best for you, though. :)

JRMDC 02-03-2013 12:59 PM

You only made subtle changes. This has nothing to do with Hicksanity. :)

Mgoldman 02-03-2013 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 163702)
You only made subtle changes. This has nothing to do with Hicksanity. :)

I concur - however, I'll add - anytime one experiments with such a technique, a good cure is to create a separate layer (just copy the original over the new questionable technique and then blend them to a point which does not it justice. This works great in keeping HDR's from going overboard.

Tone mapping is great for bringing back details - especially in snow but it introduces quite a bit of noise very quickly.


JRMDC 02-03-2013 03:00 PM

I am in one of those moods where I think everyone is right ... :)

There is a big range between a bit of shadows adjustment and full-blown HDR to the max. I think in this case Chris hasn't gone very far beyond shadows adjustment, if he has gone at all beyond. I am a fan of using tone mapping judiciously, in that I don't care about the technique, I just like to see shots processed exactly to my personal tastes. Which is what everyone should do. Right? Right? :)

Layers are always good, I need to be less lazy and use them more often.

Mgoldman 02-03-2013 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 163704)
I am in one of those moods where I think everyone is right ... :) AND... I want to correct a horrible injustice and state as a matter of fact that I fully support and secretly have always supported the inclusion of Mitch's "Dog on a Train" photo. It is a true work of art.

(Opportunity knocks)

Thanks J!


bigbassloyd 02-03-2013 04:57 PM

I think I'm with Jim. Looks to be a bit more effort to basically end up with a s/h adjustment look.

Loyd L.

trainboysd40 02-03-2013 07:50 PM

I don't tone map. I did it once. Never again. I should be a separate option on the poll =(

Anyways, in my Hicksian manner, some things on your tone-mapped image that I try to avoid:
  • The mountain at left is unnaturally brightened compared with the rest of the scene
  • The highlights inside of the lightened shadows are too bright, try to bring up the shadows to give them some luminosity without making them look like they've got a second light source
  • The mountains across the inlet got too blue.

JRMDC 02-03-2013 09:12 PM


Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 163705)
(Opportunity knocks)

Thanks J!


Mitch, that is as fake as Hicks-style tone mapping!

Joe the Photog 02-04-2013 04:06 AM

Too bad tone mapping can't place the train in the frame better.


The differences are subtle, but I do prefer the top one. It looks less unreal (didn't want to say fake) but that could be because you said the bottom one was tonemapped. I did a bit of tonemapping a few years ago but it always seemed that everything I was doing could be better done in Elements with Shadows and Highlight.

trainboysd40 02-04-2013 04:14 AM

<img src="http://hostthenpost.com/uploads/fbc0c1826dd351bf50fa4df43b533754.jpg" width="1000" height="750" alt="You are all heartless bastards.">

JRMDC 02-04-2013 05:59 AM

Oops, my apologies to Mr. Hicks, he of the Hicksian post-processing technique. :) I somehow missed your post despite its presence right before mine.

But I have poked around some and, alas, confirmed that I was undereducated on HDR vs tone mapping. Although, in the end, I think it makes no difference.

So, loosely and curtly speaking, HDR is about capturing max tonal range and tone mapping is about squishing tonal range into the (narrower dynamic range) medium in which you want to display an image.

For our purposes, defined for now as putting an image onto RP, is there a difference? The jpg itself limits the DR, we capture as much dynamic range as possible through some technique (HDR, pseudo HDR), and we save it into a narrow range format (JPG). Seems to me like we are doing both at the same time. So what is tone mapping, and how it is different than HDR or shadows, please?

PS: this is an interesting discussion: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=851235
This is a key point for me, from the first post: "Every digital image - HDR or not - needs to be tone-mapped"

JimThias 02-04-2013 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by Ween (Post 163700)


Generally, tone mapping is used in conjunction with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) process. The HDR process normally requires multiple exposures of an image. However, this tutorial requires only one exposure of an image to emulate true tone mapping. In some circles, this process is also known as “16-32-16 Tone Mapping”.
I feel so left out not being in one of those circles. :(


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