art, Computer, photography, postprocessing, software, technic

A new kid in the block: Aurora HDR

20150729_204950-610_1948_hdr_wIn my previous post on HDR images I already mentioned this new software by MacPhun: Aurora HDR.

I got the opportunity to test it. As I mentioned in that post, I use HDR sometimes to enhance some of my images. Until now, I worked with Photomatix HDR, Luminance HDR, HDR Efex, Oloneo PhotoEngine and the build-in HDR function of Photoshop. All of these are great. So, why another software?

First of all, Aurora HDR can open RAW files. The other tools only work with TIF or JPG files (never try HDR with a bundle of JPG files!!). Next, it will align your images if necessary and remove ghost artifacts as well as chromatic aberrations. It also works great with a single image, although this is not the common situation when it comes to HDR 🙂

The image alignment and ghost artifacts removal functions work really great. The above image consists of 3 single images +/- 1EV and were all shot hand-held, because it was an unplanned shot. Thus, I didn’t have had a tripod with me. While the alignment function shifts the images in layers in a manner, so that all lines are in the exact same positions, the ghost artifact removal function tries the same with moving elements. You know, taking a few images in a row, moving elements (i.e. the people in the above image) are moving further and the software hast to estimate, which parts to keep for the final image and which parts to skip.

The GUI is very similar to the other MacPhun tools, like Tonality, Intensify and so on. In the lower right corner you get a collection of presets grouped in categories as a starting point. At to bottom of your screen, you can see a small preview of a the pre-sets applied to you current image. You can suppress this area, once you have chosen a preset. Now, you work with the sliders on the right of your screen to adjust the settings inherited from the chosen preset. Each change is displayed at once. So, you can see, what you get when changing a setting. An other similarity to the other MacPhun products is, you can work with layers. This is, you can paint an enhancement in parts of the image, while having a different setting for other parts of your image. So, you can work in layers without Photoshop. On the other hand, Aurora HDR will also work as a plugin for Photoshop (just like the other MacPhun products, too)

Although it comes with many presets, I miss some of the typical HDR presets available in the other tools. Those, with the over the top colorful output. OK, I won’t ever use them, but I guess, some guys out there will complain about it. In my opinion, there are enough presets. Finally, you will end up using only a few of them on a regular basis, those fitting most to your personal style. And, you have the option to save your own presets and eventually exchange them with your friends.

Jump over to MacPhun and get your trial. You can also apply for a free seat and attend a webinar to see this software in action. Currently there’s a Black Friday Promo running ’till December 1st.







10 thoughts on “A new kid in the block: Aurora HDR”

  1. Beautiful image! I have a lot of topaz and saw this release and wondered how it faired. Currently I have Photomatix and Nik HDR and like those a lot. Not sure I need yet another one but it’s nice to know its there. Thank you for the review!

    1. you’re welcome, Laura.
      As I said, I also have a few tools for HDR. I now test Aurora HDR with a few other images and compare the results. I’m not very satified with the results of Photomatix. The alignment does not work very well in my opinion. HDR Efex has some other problems and the build-in function of Photoshop is the worst of all. The best tool until now was, in my opinion, Oloneo Photoengine. But, until now they don’t deliever the Mac version, they proposed during the beta times, when I unfortunately bought my copy trusting their promises. 😦

      1. Sorry to hear about the non-Mac version. I also have a Mac. I like Photomatix for some things and Nik HDR for others. I usually run Nik HDR from LR and create a tiff then I open it in Photoshop. Thanks for sharing all your info! I love talking about this kind of thing. 🙂

        1. you’re welcome, Laura.
          In also try different tools when it comes to HDR and also always via TIFF. Every too has its own strengths and weaks. And, you have to find out, how to choose the right tool for a certain job.

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