Nik Software recently released HDR Efex Pro 2, an upgrade to their highly successful HDR Efex Pro.
I finally got around to installing my copy last night an quickly processed an image of the Chrysler Building that I took on a recent visit to New York.
While I’ve often used the previous HDR Efex Pro, my more normal workflow used Photomatix Pro 4.0. So, rather than learn a new workflow, I adapted my Photomatix workflow. I usually output maximum resolution jpegs from my RAWs using Lightroom 4.1 and then combine those jpegs. This makes the workflow faster.
Since Photomatix works as a standalone and HDR Efex Pro 2 is a Lightroom and/or Photoshop plugin, I had to make another adjustment and save the merged TIFF as an 8-bit jpeg to recombine all four images in Photoshop for the final image.
The original shots were all handheld from the street but HDR Efex Pro 2 did a great job aligning the images. I found the user interface intuitive and quickly jumped through a number of the presets to find one I liked then refined the options from there.
The whole process took less than 15 minutes to go from the three original raw files to the HDR below:
Just for grins, I then ran the result through Silver Efex Pro 2 to get the black & white version, below:
I’ll be writing more on my experiences with HDR Efex Pro 2 in future posts but for now, I’m impressed with the intuitive interface and the results. You can find out more by clicking on the ad below.