Entirely New HDR Algorithm with Artificial Intelligence
How do you follow up from Mac’s App of the Year in 2018? That’s a tough one but we put our heads together with the team from Skylum and we’ve done it!
Aurora HDR 2019 uses Skylum’s new Quantum HDR Engine. It is a completely redesigned HDR algorithm, paired with artificial intelligence, which took 3 years of development by Skylum’s AI lab. My favorite thing about this new version is you no longer need to make corrections on the initial results because it virtually eliminates noise, halos, and other little issues you often needed to fix. This means you can focus on your creative side. Begin by trying out the new “looks” (formerly called presets, a few of mine are included for free). And try tweaking out the “HDR-ness” of your creation with the new and improved HDR Enhance and Smart Structure sliders.
Pre-Order prior to October 4th to save $$ and get tons of freebies!
A collection of bonuses are included with every purchase:
$300 USD OFF a multi-day Iceland Photo Tour
Landscape Photography Handbook by David Johnston
Exclusive interior Aurora Looks by Richard Harrington
Burning Mood Looks by Richard Harrington
3-month 500px Pro membership
Video Tutorial: Getting the Most from Aurora HDR 2019 by Trey Ratcliff
What else is new in Aurora HDR 2019?
I’m also impressed with the vastly improved results of interior architecture images. These are often problematic when it’s quite bright outside but dark inside. Previous versions of Aurora HDR would handle this in a bit of a sloppy manner. And competitors to Aurora HDR still struggle with interior shots.
Aurora HDR 2019 also includes Lookup Tables (LUTs) which allows you to give your finished image a “movie / film” appearance. They’re adjustable with sliders so you can get a little bit, or a whole lot of, that “Wes Anderson / Mad Max / Blade Runner” feel. Last but not least, there’s even more dynamic range if you choose to process a single RAW image, which I now do over 50% of the time.
And YES, the Windows version and the Mac version are now exactly the same. Huzzah! Go grab it pronto! If you’re not 100% satisfied you can, of course, have all your money back with no worries. It’s a perfect risk to reward ratio. In fact, mathematically, it’s a 1::infinity ratio, so you’re in a cozy mathematical nesting of absolute certainty.
How does Aurora HDR 2019 Compare?
Here’s a few images I created with Aurora HDR 2019!
While in China over the past year, I’ve done quite a few drone flights. I used the Mavic Pro almost exclusively, and it held up perfectly. I’m currently in the middle of a longer project where I’m putting together my favorite aerial footage into an all-China from the air video. I hope to have it ready within a week or so! I’m having my friend Stephan Bollinger put some finishing touches on the titling and credits area.
Daily Photo – Shanghai, The Bund, and Beyond
This might be one of my favorite new photos! I took this from the Sky Lounge around the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton on the Pudong side of Shanghai. These cool ships sail up and down the river and right in front of the warmly-lit Bund area. Those old colonial buildings have hardly changed in over 100 years while the rest of the city has built up behind it. Along the riverfront there, you can see a bunch of people walking around – that is the same place we had our awesome photo walk a few weeks ago. Thanks again everyone for coming out for the event!
This is a video that shows how I enhance reflections using Aurora HDR 2018. I took this photo at a cool outdoor shopping area in Singapore. Believe it or not, they air-condition the OUTSIDE, which seems like a ridiculous waste of money… but hey, Singapore is a pretty wealthy spot!
Daily Photo – Young Adventuress in Kuala Lumpur
It was fun to spend some time with Liz out of New Zealand! She joined me as part of the #80Stays tour in Kuala Lumpur. Boy, was it hot while we were there! It was probably over 90 degrees when we went into this mosque where we had to put on these heavy robes. Outside, there was a little bit of a breeze, at least. It had recently rained and left a thin layer of water on the marble… so it made for a nice reflection shot. Find out more about Liz's story from her visit on her blog.
If you are a Passport Member today we have a making-of video for today’s photo. I woke up on Saturday here at home in Queenstown, New Zealand to see some beautiful and moody clouds through the valley. So I got up the drone to take some photos. After I sat down, I decided to record the making-of video for you.
Here I show I took three photos, stitched them together, then ran them through Aurora HDR 2018.
I don't exactly understand the weather conditions that make this happen a few times a year, but I think it's pretty cool. This was taken on the last day of summer this year here in Queenstown (a few weeks ago), and as the seasons change, sometimes the weather gets a little funky like this!
Here’s another how-to video showing how to enhance details in your photos using Aurora HDR 2018. This particular tool, as you’ll see, can only be detected when you are zoomed into 100% or 200% on the image.
Daily Photo – Fort Lauderdale Beaches
Here's my friend Katie Ann out enjoying the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She came down with her boyfriend to meet me for the day and take some fun photos. I don't do a lot of this sort of thing, but I was getting a little bored of JUST taking photos of sand and water and clouds. Don't get me wrong, I love that sort of thing, but after several thousand, I wanted to mix it up a little. She's not a professional model or anything, just a cool gal with giant buns.
Many of you may have my Google Pixel 2 Review on the site, so you know I take a lot more mobile photos than usual. As great as the camera is, there is still some noise in sunset photos and night photos. This video below shows you how I get rid of the noise using Aurora HDR 2018.
Daily Photo – The Dart River Valley
I took this from a helicopter while my friend Choppy was flying me out on a work for a patron. I flew over this delta probably about 10 times, and it looks different every time. This is one of my favorite shots with the shadows of the mountains falling halfway across it.
There is a jet-boat adventure you can do through here. I still haven't tried it, but it's on my to-do list!
How to give your photos an artistic hand-drawn look using Aurora HDR 2018
If you don’t have it, you can grab Aurora HDR 2018 right here! In this video, I show how to take it to a bit more of an extreme to give a photo that almost crosses the line into an illustration.
Daily Photo – Monks on a cruise ship
Who knew Tibetan monks were into cruising? These two were all over the ship, monking it up. This was part of that Summit at Sea cruise I did. Think of it like a TED on the water. One thing that was pretty funny (well, to me) was what happened right when we launched the ship. I'm pretty apolitical, and I really don't get involved in either side, which is a nice benefit of living in New Zealand. But, as you can guess, these events draw a lot of extreme Left-leaning people. Well, the day we left the port in Miami was the same day Trump was elected. The next day there were all these announcements that some of the meeting rooms had been converted into “recuperation” rooms where people could go and weep and heal. You can't write this stuff. But, much like me, the monks didn't seem terribly bothered by any of this and just enjoyed looking at the ocean.
Here’s a video I made showing an edit of a drone photo from Waiheke. I edited it using Aurora HDR 2018 and you can see a few little tricks in the video below!
Daily Photo – Little Girl in Okinawa
We didn't get much beach time on Okinawa, even though the place is packed with beaches! Most of our time was spent in the inside parts of the island. Most Japanese think of the mountains and hills for vacation and not-so-much the beach. Anyway, as soon as we made it out here, I saw this cute little girl playing in the sand.
I thought I’d write a little analysis that has more questions than answers. So, I guess it’s not really an analysis; perhaps an analysis of good questions!
I’ve speculated (with all honesty and openness) about why the adoption rate has been slower with Windows users, especially when they were so vocally angry about it being a Mac-only product for years. It’s racked up over 3 million downloads, has been used to make over 150,000,000 images (data collected anonymously), and has been a huge success in our partnership with Skylum. It’s honestly the BEST photo processing software out there to create dynamic light images. Note, although you may know, I teamed up with them to make this product. Also, note they are no longer Macphun, but now Skylum, after changing their name to indicate they are not just a Mac company. I think it’s pronounced Skyloooom or something, but all that is beside the point.
A shot of Tokyo, enhanced with Aurora HDR 2018
Special Discount for Windows Photomatix Users
Of the various speculations below, maybe the best is #5 (in short, Windows peeps still use Photomatix because it is “good enough”) and they don’t want to spend the extra $99 on a new product. Well, let me tell you right away, that we are offering a 10% discount to existing Windows Photomatix users for Aurora HDR 2018 or my Bonus package that includes a full-length video tutorial and sample files. And, even better, if you don’t like it, you can have 100% of your money back. It’s literally a 0% downside / 100% upside deal. You don’t get those every day. So there, this is clearly logically unassailable, so go get it now!
A pretty little scene in Japan with Mount Fuji in the background.
Now, before we get to the sales, let’s look at some hard stats.
On the blog, nearly twice as many people visit on Windows vs. Mac OS. Worldwide for desktop/laptop users, Windows has an 83% market share compared to 17% for Mac (gs.statcounter.com)
In the Stranger Things upside-down-world, Aurora 2018 is almost exactly flipped with 75% of sales for Mac and 25% for PC. Hmmm.
So I began to noodle my noodle and wonder… And I always remember on photo walks, online, and other events, people were begging me to pressure Skylum to make a Windows version. I wanted a Windows version too, since I used both operating systems.
Anyway, this led to some honest speculation. Note these are just ideas, so don’t take any offence, unless you are just one of those internet people that is sitting around waiting to be upset. If you’re one of those people, oh well.
This one is a fairly “extreme” example of the kind of dynamic light work you can do with Aurora HDR 2018. This is the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Speculations (or perhaps a combination of these reasons)
Mac people spend more $$ [on average] than Windows people on apps/software/hardware/phones, so the $99 is not as significant to them. I know this is the case with the Apple App Store for iOS, where the apps sell a lot better than apps for Android, per capita. (If anyone has more data on that, it would be interesting to examine, if not for simply mathematical-mental-masturbation).
Some Windows peeps are quicker to pirate software. I know it’s doing well in the pirate scene on BitTorrent, etc. Note that I’m not one of these anti-piracy guys… I get it. I’m the least judgmental guy in the world, just noting a natural force that is out there. Of course, the developers and I would prefer people pay for something they enjoy, but that decision is left to the individual (in my book).
Windows people still don’t know it’s available for Windows! I ran into a few people in photo walks in Asia that did not know this.
At launch, it did not have as many features as the Mac version, but it’s well on the way to feature parity now.
Windows people are happy enough with Photomatix, even though yours truly can objectively say that Aurora HDR is waaaay better, like totally, dude or dudette. Perhaps a bit afraid to shell out another $99, they chose to stay with what they know. I guess there’s a bit of fear-of-change which everyone has with a great number of things in life. Anyway, to combat this, in case this is the correct speculation, we wanted to offer a sweet 10% Discount for existing Photomatix users on the stand-alone Aurora HDR or my Bonus package that includes my video tutorial. And yes, if you still don’t like it, you can have all your money back. Truly all upside for you, my fellow HDR enthusiast! Aurora has so many tools in it… you’ll just love it. Get your Aurora HDR discount code now
Click “PLAYLIST” in the upper left corner of the video to browse the entire playlist.
Anyway, maybe you fall outside of one of those speculations? I guess maybe you might just use Lightroom or something and consider that good enough. I agree Lightroom is good (I use it a lot), but I still use Aurora HDR to do about 10 things that LR can’t. Anyway, pour your heart out in the comments below and let us know! I’ll be sure to share with the development team at Skylum!
Some goodies coming up for our awesome Passport Members!
I’m back from Japan and ready to share a whale-load of videos, photos, and special behind-the-scenes stuff. If you are a Passport Member then you’ll get to see a whole new video here about my crazy workflow, juggling different photos, HDRing, Lightroom, and more. It is a bit of a frenzied process, as I am trying to crank out as many photos as possible in a compressed time. Anyway, that’s today’s Passport video below that will be automatically unlocked if you are a member!
Here’s a video of my somewhat crazy (but amazingly efficient) workflow now that I am back in the saddle of my studio. Apologies for the sound getting strange around the 10-minute mark! I think my mic is broken… or something. I just can’t figure it out. I’m using a pro Samson mic. Anyway, I’ll try to figure it out or get a new one!
As much as I don't think any creatures should be in captivity, this was still pretty awe-inspiring. On the northern tip of Okinawa is a popular aquarium. I was asked to go take photos there even though I didn't really want to. Sometimes in life, you gotta do stuff you don't wanna do, right? Well, anyway, I showed up and tried to get the best photo I could. I wasn't going to half-ass it just because I didn't want to be there. So I put Tane and Olya up there right in front of the tank as the mighty beast swam past.