“It’s HDR finally done right,” says Dima Sytnik, CTO and co-founder of Skylum. Aurora HDR 2019 is the fourth major version of Skylum Software’s Aurora HDR and is designed for beginners, enthusiasts and professionals.
The big story is Aurora HDR 2019’s new and ‘revolutionary’ Quantum HDR Engine. Skylum says it’s the result of three years’ work in its own AI lab testing thousands of bracketed HDR exposures via a neural network.
It can create HDR (high dynamic range) images from single exposures but offers greatest potential when merging a series of shots of the same scene at different exposure levels to capture the widest possible range of tones, from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights.
Skylum says the new Quantum HDR Engine generates ‘stunning’ results which are both dynamic and yet natural-looking, and that it minimises major issues seen in other HDR software such as burned-out colours, loss off contrast, image noise and halos.
Aurora HDR 2019 also has a new Smart Structure technology for enhancing details, structure and sharpness in an image without the excessive image artefacts that often appear as a result.
There’s a new LUT mapping feature which uses industry-standard LUTs (look up tables) commonly used in professional cinematography to create colour toning effects, black and white conversions and ‘digital film looks’.
The previous version’s preset effects have been replaced by HDR Looks, which aim to offer a better selection of aesthetically pleasing effects which can now include textures and masks to greatly extend the range and style of looks that are possible. These HDR Looks include some real estate styles from Randy Van Duinen (Skylum sees professional real estate photography as a big market), HDR Looks from Trey Ratcliff, who co-developed Aurora HDR, and photographer Serge Ramelli.
These HDR Looks make it pretty easy for a beginner to create HDR images straight away because the merging process is straightforward and you can select a Look with a single mouseclick.
But Aurora HDR 2019 also has a full set of manual adjustment tools to allow enthusiasts to tune the existing Looks to their liking or create their own, image by image.
Availability: Pre-order from September 12th, on sale October 4th
Price: Pre-order $89 for new users, $49 for upgraders, full price $99 for new users, $59 for upgraders
More information: skylum.com/aurorahdr