Dark HDR Image in Photoshop

Have you ever come across this problem:

“When I open my HDR Image in Photoshop, it is very dark. What’s the best way to fix this?”

This is a very interesting question. If the HDR image you open in Photoshop is very dark it is because the dynamic range of the HDR image exceeds the display capabilities of a computer screen. The image may also look washed out for the same reason.

However, Photoshop allows us to adjust the preview so that the computer screen may display the image correctly. The preview settings are stored in HDR image file and they are applied any time the image is opened in Photoshop. They do not affect the file itself.

To adjust the image, you can use 32-Bit Preview Options that can be found under View -> 32-Bit Preview Options. It contains two methods:

  1. Exposure and Gamma method – you can manually adjust the Exposure and Gamma, the Exposure being the equivalent of Brightness adjustment, and Gamma being Contrast adjustment.
  2. Highlight Compression – it compresses the Highlight values in the HDR image to get it withing luminance values range of the 8-Bit and 16-Bit images.

And that’s how it’s done! 🙂

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