Free Trial or Purchase of Photomatix
If you end up purchasing, use the code, TREYRATCLIFF, at checkout for 15% off. You can also get a free trial to play around with, but I think you’ll decide quickly that it’s a must have. There are a few options at the website; personally, I use Photomatix Pro.
Once you get into Photomatix, you may enjoy using my presets! They are not-so-cleverly-named Trey’s Photomatix Presets. I use these every time to give me a lookbook of many different variations on a photo. If you want to see some of my work that uses these techniques with Photomatix and whatnot, pop over to this portfolio.
Photomatix Pro 5 Review
I started using Photomatix many years ago, and it’s a big part of the free HDR Tutorial here on the site. HDR is an acronym for High Dynamic Range, and it basically lets you see all the range of color and light in the final photo that the human retina can see on the scene. Naturally, Photomatix allows you to create a “subtle” or “extreme” photo using these techniques, and that’s the fun part about it. You can use Photomatix to make your photos look totally unique!
Photomatix Pro 5 – Is it worth the upgrade and what’s new?
Yes, I think i is certainly worth the upgrade. Having the latest tools that are reasonably priced has always been important to me. There’s nothing wrong with the older versions, of course, but generally this kind of software in general tends to get better with time. There are hundreds of minor little changes that you will notice, but here are some of the bigger ones (at least, to me).
First, the new Tone Mapping method called Contrast Optimizer is really good at balancing realism and keeping that cool “HDR Look”. Everyone has their own balance, and this new way is much better at helping you find your own line of comfort.
Second, the Automatic deghosting is much better. I had hit-and-miss success before with de-ghosting, and now am consistently getting better results. It’s not always perfect of course if you have a massive amount of chaos, but it’s pretty dang good.
Third, the Real-Time slider Rocks!! If your computer is fast enough, be sure to pop into preferences to turn this on! In the “olden” days, you’d have to click and wait. Seeing what the slider actually does while you slide it is bizarrely satisfying!
Fourth, the auto-aligning is even better!
Fifth, there are a bunch of other little things that I have not had the occasion to use yet, but I am glad they are there. Things like the batching of photos and more options for creating a tonemapped image from a single RAW.
This is an aesthetic thing, but I much prefer the new “Unified Workspace” option on the Mac rather than having little windows floating all over the place. That always bothered me and made things feel clutter-y !
Photomatix 5 in action
Here is a sample below of what the new interface looks like after I combined the these three images.
Merging to HDR
Before you begin using all the fancy sliders and fun stuff above, the first step is making a few decisions. You can see the updated “Options” box below along with my most commonly checked items.
If there is movement between the frames, then this is called ghosting. Photomatix has gotten much better in cleaning this up! If you did select the “Show options to remove ghosts,” then you are presented with another dialog. I often choose the “Automatic” one as you can see, but you can also manually draw a shape around the area that is ghosted.
Here’s one of the latest Exposure Fusion options — Fusion/Real-Estate. I noticed it actually only works in that exact situation! A lot of people take photos of indoor situations with a very bright outside through a door or window. This is a pretty cool new feature for those sorts of shots.
You can see a bunch of the default presets that come with Photomatix below.
This is my new favorite dialog ! After you are done processing the photo, you can do a few final things to it. In this example, I’ve zoomed in pretty far to add some serious sharpening to this crazy mountain. Normally I don’t do it this much, but I was just showing how this feature works!
I’m loving the new Photomatix 5. I remember trying to process this photo below with other versions of Photomatix, and I just could not get something like I wanted. Now it just seems like a much more smooth experience for getting the results I wanted. First, I’ll put up the original photos then one of the many versions that Photomatix can produce below.
Video of Photomatix in action
Below is a video of an older version of Photomatix. Much of the functionality is still the same, so the new versions won’t act much different.
Sample Photomatix Photos
Below, I have put a few samples of my final photos where Photomatix was used!