HDR imaging has emerged as a serious tool for photographers, and this new application from Nik is one of the most robust solutions we’ve used. Setting it apart are multiple tone-mapping algorithms, from photo-realistic to otherworldly, giving you broad creative latitude in an easy-to-use tool.
If you’ve used Nik software before, the interface will be immediately familiar, complete with Nik’s Control Points with U Point technology for localized adjustments. You can use HDR Efex Pro to enhance the apparent dynamic range of a single image, or use it with multiple images at varied exposure values for true dynamic range expansion.
Nik HDR Efex Pro is compatible with Adobe Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. List Price: $159.
Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com.
To merge multiple exposures into a single HDR image with Photoshop as your host application (the exact steps vary depending on your host software), go to File > Automate > HDR Efex Pro, and select the files. A composite image will automatically launch in the HDR Efex Pro interface.
To apply HDR effects to a single image, you’ll first need to convert it to 32-bit color (the HDR Efex Pro option under “Filters” will be grayed out until you do this). Go to Image > Mode > 32 Bits/Channel. Then go to Filter > Nik Software > HDR Efex Pro.
These controls allow you to turn a preview of the effects on and off, and select from one-up, split viewer (shown here) or side-by-side before and after.