Photomatix Essentials is an easy to use standalone program designed to create images with a high dynamic range (HDR). Over the last few years, HDR photography has become very popular because it reproduces a greater level of luminosity levels compared to standard photography. It is usually achieved by combining three different images shot at underexposed, balanced and overexposed levels.
In Photomatix, the process of creating an HDR image is divided into three simple steps. In the first step, the program will ask you to add your bracketed photos – here you add the three photos that are taken at different exposure levels. You can also add two photos or a single photo. You can drag and drop photos or add them using the browse button. In the next step, the three photos will be merged into HDR mode, and by default, the photos will be automatically aligned to remove any kind of distortion.
The large preview in the middle displays the preview of the final image. You can optimize the image manually or apply presets using the tools provided on the left side of the interface. Selecting a preset shows the effect of the preset on the preview image. Provided presets include balanced, photographic, natural, painterly, vibrant, surreal, and grunge. Once you are happy with the preview image, you can proceed to the next step.
This is the last step where your final processed image will be displayed. You can add sharpening and modify the contrast level using the tools on the left, and then you can save the image on your hard drive. The image can be saved in JPG and TIF format.
New in version 4:
- Tone Mapping method designed to give realistic looking results while preserving details in highlight and shadow.
- Finishing Touch step to add Contrast or Sharpening before saving.
- Back button to return to the Adjust & Preview step and apply other settings.
- Preview checkbox in the Adjust & Preview step to toggle between the original and the image with settings applied.
- Option in Preferences to refresh the Preview continuously as slider moves (not available in Win 32-bit version).
For a limited time, Digital Photography Magazine is giving away full version copies of Photomatix Essentials. Visit the offer page and enter the access code
PPHDR2015 to download your free copy.
Alternatively, you can download the full version installers using the following direct links.*
*No license or serial key required for activation.