Skylum AuroraHDR 2019 Review
September 20th, 2018
HDR (High Dynamic Range) typically refers to blending together multiple exposures to either recreate what the eye can see in a particular scene or to produce a more dramatic end result. There are both practical ways to use this technique along with artistic applications, though the latter can be somewhat polarizing. The most recent software to help you achieve your HDR vision is from Skylum (formely Macphun) with their AuroraHDR 2019. This robust software has a fairly easy learning curve (a lot can be done by just choosing from the many, many presets) but produces really stunning results. Here’s an image I produced in just a few minutes using their presets:
AuroraHDR can be used as both a standalone piece of software or as a plugin for Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop/Elements or Apple Aperture. You can also use it in conjunction with Luminar, Skylum’s own editing software. Watch this video if you would like to see me demonstrate how to use it both ways:
Those of you who don’t have expensive editing software might be particularly interested in AuroraHDR, as it actually has a lot of very robust editing tools that work with either bracketed images (different EV values) or even with a single image (for tonemapping). Here’s an example of single image that I tonemapped and edited in AuroraHDR (in just a couple of minutes). I’ll show you the original image first followed by the edited version:
I find HDR to be a necessary tool for some of my work for various companies when I want to highlight both what is in the room and what is outside. Typically there is way too much of a variance in exposure value between outside and inside, so HDR is necessary to make it work. I found that AuroraHDR produced nicely realistic results with a little richer color than alternate approaches with other software.
HDR also works well for city and architecture work, allowing you to both capture the building and a dramatic sky.
AuroraHDR delivers a nice blend of accessibility along with robust, Lightroom-style controls and sliders that will allow more advanced users to tweak to their heart’s content. Whether you want subtle or more blatant looks, I think you will be able to easily create them in AuroraHDR.
Right now you can preorder the new software at a discounted price, but if you are reading this mini-review at a later date you can use the code DUSTINHDR to get 10% off Skylum products. I think it is worth a look!
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