Aurora HDR 2019 - much darker than 2018

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    The results from Aurora HDR 2019 will often appear differently than results from v2018 as the tone mapping engine in v2019 is brand new. Many of the filters have also been updated. As a result - the same settings may cause the result to differ between the two versions.

    With regard to the presets, there is no documentation I can refer you to, but because of the changes in the underlying technology, the built-in presets in Aurora HDR 2018 will look very different in v2019 and I suspect that is why many were renamed and/or not copied over to the new version.

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    Julian Fricker

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the response, I was expecting things to be different, hopefully in a positive way like the noise reduction. However the difference I'm seeing is not just a slight difference, having to add a full 1.0 extra exposure is a big difference.

    I've just tried another one and this has gone the other way, it has completely blown out the highlights in one part of the image.

    Here are the histograms, 2018 on top, 2019 below.

    I was hoping 2019 would look different or there wouldn't have been much point upgrading, but any HDR software needs to be combining bracketed shots to give as full a histogram as possible without losing information by blowing out the highlights. In these two examples 2018 seems to be doing a better job.

     

    Edit: sorry, I realise I'm coming across as very negative. I'd just like to give feedback which might help with improving the software.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    I can certainly appreciate your concern about this issue. Just to clarify - are you opening .mpaur2 files with Aurora HDR 2019 and getting the results above or is this the result of processing raw files from scratch?

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    Julian Fricker

    Both, on the first set of pictures I tried the .mpaur2 first and then started from scratch and opened the same set of 5 bracket images. The histograms at the top of the page are from when I used the original images, this shows it's not an issue with different presets.

    One other point, these were not using RAW files. I'd already used software to stitch my panorama together so the images I was using were 32 bit TIFF files.

    I'll try using the RAW files on a small section of the panorama without stitching to see if it makes any difference.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    Thanks for clarifying!

    Would you mind sending us your TIFF files so we can test it on our end? You can send them to support@skylum.com and reference this thread.

    If the files are too large to email you can use WeTransfer.com and then send us the shared link.

    1. Visit https://wetransfer.com/
    2. If it's your first time visiting this website, it might ask you to purchase a subscription. Simply select to proceed with the free version.
    3. Click Add your files.
    4. Select the file(s) on your computer.
    5. After you see all the files you need to send appear in the list, click the icon to the left of the Transfer button (the icon looks like a circle with three dots in it).
    6. In Send As select Link.
    7. Click Transfer.
    8. After the files have finished uploading, click Copy Link and paste it into your email to support@skylum.com.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Julian Fricker

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks, I've done that and also sent a link for my .mpaur2 file without the original resources in case that can help.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    Thanks! You're awesome! One of our techs will be in touch soon.

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    Richard Harrington

    A few comments

     

    I hope you can see they are completely different. In 2018 I only needed to adjust the exposure by 0.43 in 2019 I have to go to 1.43 to get the same light

    The tone mapping is completely different between the two versions.  Try using Smart Tone instead of Exposure to refine the balance you like as well.  It's a great option for mid-tones. 

    I'm also struggling with the presets, there seem to be fewer presets and all the names have changed. Is there any reference to explain the changes?

    There are fewer presets for many reasons.

    • Many of the previous presets were made obsolete by the new tone-mapping engine
    • There was a goal to make the new Aurora HDR Looks focussed more on creativity

    If there are presets you like in 2018 that are user installed or created, those can be easily moved (just reveal your presets folder under 2018).  Copy to a new location and then use File > Import option in 2019 to convert and update them.  Better yet, reinstall from the installer packs if you have them by using the File menu in 2019 (do not double-click the installer).

    If there are 2018 presets you like, you can save those as a User preset and then use the above method to copy them over.

    But 2019 presets were generally redeveloped from the ground up or at a minimum completely rebuilt using the new engine,

     

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    Julian Fricker

    When I upgraded I'd hoped to run my favourite HDR shots through 2019 and be able to improve on what I was able to get in 2018. The opposite is true, time after time I'm not able to get results which look as good as Aurora 2018.

    I'm trying to use the new presets but they almost always seem to give an obvious HDR effect with unnatural colours and on top of that manage to lose sharpness compared to 2018. I can give you a clear example, the new Vivid, it makes images look darker than the Natural preset, by its very definition vivid means more colourful. I decided to try the Realistic Vivid preset from 2018, applied it to an image, saved it as a filter preset and then imported it into 2019, the result looked much better than the Vivid preset of 2019.

    I've tried using the smart tone as suggested but it is not allowing me to create images as good as before, when you've lost a full stop of exposure any tool will struggle. I also tried to be helpful by sending you my images but the response I received from your support was the same as you told me in your first reply:

    Hi Julian,

    Thank you for sending us the files.
    Aurora HDR has a new tone-mapping technology for single and bracketed images with the Quantum HDR Engine and
    HDR Smart Structure for realistic and artifact-free depth and details.
    It differs from the previous version, that's why the processed images might look differently.

    Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

     

    I feel as if I wasted my time sending you the images as it doesn't look like anyone tried them to see the differences I'm bringing up.

     

     

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    I'm sorry that the response you've received via email wasn't adequate. I checked on your support ticket and was able to confirm that our tech department is investigating the issue. They will follow up with you via email if they have any other questions, but please know that we are working on it.

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    Julian Fricker

    That's great, thanks Angela.

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    Julian Fricker

    Hi Angela,

    I think I've discovered the problem. I just removed all the transparency from my source images and imported them into Aurora 2019 and I now have this histogram to start with:

     

    I've been trying lots of different things to fix my problem and noticed that my original histogram had a big white bar at the far right hand side:

    I can understand what's happening now, Aurora is replacing the transparent areas of my images with a solid white colour. Because there is this 100% white colour in the image Aurora is refusing to expand the dynamic range because it sees this solid white area as part of the image.

    The exact same thing was happening in Aurora 2018 but the old algorithm must have decided it was OK to lose some of the white areas and the 2019 version won't let that happen.

    So my next question is, can you change Aurora to keep transparent areas of an image and export them with their transparency when it has finished processing them?

    For anyone else reading this, the reason I have so much transparency in my image is because I'm using panoramas of images which have been stitched together which end up looking like this:

    The chequered area around this image is transparent, but Aurora is replacing it white white. Why would I want to keep the transparency? It gives me a chance to touch up the image later to make it taller by filling in some of those gaps. If I crop it first then I'm throwing away a lot fo the height:

    Angela, if you could please let whoever is looking at this know hopefully it will save them some time. Also please ask them to add transparency to the Aurora workflow ;-)

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Julian,

    Excellent catch! You are correct that Aurora does not support transparencies at this time. I'll add it to our feature request list and also let our techs know that you figured out the problem. Thanks for your help!!

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