Photomatix

  • Strength – keep this at 100% because I can always dial it back a bit later in Photoshop.
  • Color Saturation – This changes a lot for every photo. This was a low-color environment, so I brought it up pretty high. But, in other photos, I may not go above 50%.
  • Luminosity – This gives you the “painterly” effect. You may notice that some HDR photos look like paintings. The more you go to the right, the stronger this effect.
  • Detail Contrast – This gives you more intense blacks and more texture.
  • Lighting Adjustments – Let’s just call this the “druggie slider” — the more to the left, the more “on-drugs” it is!
  • White Point & Black Point – These are very important! Adjust that white point so nothing is blown out. Adjust the black point so you have some inky dark spots. I think a good HDR photo always has some nice dark bits in it.
  • Smooth Highlights – This will fix those daytime areas. Remember that you want everything above the horizon to be a little lighter than what is below the horizon. Well, except in this example where there is a reflection.
  • Micro-smoothing – This is also a great slider for adding micro-texture.

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