HDR Photo Editing with New Features in Aurora 2019

Let’s have a look at some of the new features in the new Aurora HDR 2019.

The Quantum HDR Engine

The main upgrade is the all-new AI powered Quantum HDR Engine, which uses the power of artificial intelligence to produce tone-mapping technology that analyzes your images and merges them seamlessly. Quantum was three years in development, and Skylum tested it on thousands of images to ensure it learned how to create natural-looking HDR images.

I’m going to merge three bracketed images in Aurora HDR 2019:

quantum hdr engine aurora hdr

Whilst Quantum is analyzing the images, it lets you know what it’s doing by telling you that it’s busy detecting ‘scene objects’ and ‘scene types’, and even that it’s adding some ‘awesome finishing touches’!

The resulting merged image is below:

hdr quantum engine

Quantum has done a beautiful job of analyzing and merging, even the tricky parts like the bright sunlit rocks and clouds, as well as lifting the deepest shadows. The detail on the rocks and plants in the foreground is amazing, and the whole image looks natural and not overdone. The merging time can take ages in some software, but Aurora HDR 2019 did the whole thing in less than 10 seconds.

New Integrated LUTs

For those of you not familiar with LUTs, they are used in photography and video to give an image or film a certain ‘look’. I’m sure you’ve all seen images that have been given the ‘cinematic’ treatment over recent years, and that is either achieved with time-consuming manual adjustments or by adding a LUT in a few seconds instead.

There are 11 new integrated LUTs in Aurora HDR 2019, and there is support for adding your own LUTs, which you can find and download on the internet.

I added the ‘Inca’ LUT to our merged image, and this was the result:

integrated luts

I had the LUT at half-strength, and that is one of the good things about LUT’s – you can adjust how much or little of it you want on your image. Once you have applied the LUT, you can then go on to add other adjustments as you wish.

Plugin Support

Also new is the Photoshop plugins support, along with many other handy plugins such as Photolemur. You’ll find this along the top menu bar under ‘Plugins’, and you can always manually add other plugins, too:

plugin support

New HDR Smart Structure Filter

Skylum have added a new HDR Smart Structure Filter to the new HDR Enhance Filter set. This allows you to add realistic and artifact-free structure to your images. The filter can be found on the right-hand side of the screen, in Enhance Filter:

smart structure filter

Presets Are Now ‘Looks’

Aurora HDR 2019 has always had a wide range of presets to enhance your images, but they are called ‘Looks’ in the latest version. You can find the Looks by going up to the top menu bar and clicking on this icon:

preset icon

The Looks will appear in a filmstrip along the bottom of the screen. To find more categories, click the Categories button, and this menu will appear on screen:

looks filmstrip

There are categories for every conceivable type of Look you could possibly need, and a new signature collection from Randy Van Duinen, as well as collections from Trey Ratcliff and Serge Ramelli.

I’ve added the Golden Hour Look from Serge Ramelli’s collection, and you can see how easy it is to change the image in just one click:

golden hour look

Looks, just like the old Presets, are fully customizable.

Improved Adjustable Gradient Filter

Skylum has improved the Adjustable Gradient Filter, and added new sliders for Shadows and Highlights.

Here’s the original:

adjustable gradient filter

And here is the image with the gradients adjusted both top and bottom:

adjusted gradient

The Adjustable Gradients allow you such a fine level of control, and the menu gives you options for adjusting the blending, exposure, contrast, et cetera:

adjustable gradient menu

Improved HDR Details Boost Filter

If you want to give your details a boost, this is the filter to use. The improvement comes in the ability to display the photo in high resolution whilst fine-tuning the filter, so you can see exactly what effects your changes are having.

Aurora HDR 2019 is fast and easy to use, with a whole wealth of features that you can make effective use of whatever your style of HDR photography. There’s even a Looks collection specifically designed for use by real estate photographers. The Quantum engine is a stunning leap forward in AI and tone-mapping technology, and the new and enhanced tools make Aurora HDR 2019 very hard to beat.

Learn more: Aurora HDR 2019

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