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04-06-2020, 08:37 PM   #1
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Bracketing, HDR, and Auto-Blend in Photoshop

I do a lot of bracketing, usually 3 shots, at -1/0/+1 sometimes using a wider range up to +/- 2. Usually I'll process as HDR in Lightroom or HDR Pro in Photoshop. Love the 32 bit images but the files are huge and the editing is limited. 99% of the time the 16 bit images are fine.

For focus stacking I use PS Auto-Align and Auto-Blend and those look fine as well. The one question I have is if the Auto-Blend mode is supposed to be only for focus stacking. I can't seem to find an answer for that anywhere. A few weeks ago I did a photoshoot with my car club and the HDR brackets were not coming out well. For the heck of it I opened them as layers in PS and used the auto-align and auto-blend and they looked a lot better for some reason. The little layer masks that PS creates during auto-blend showed which parts of the images the final result was using, and I've been curious about this ever since.

I suppose the answer might be that if it works, what's the difference, but I was wondering if anyone else has tried this before.

04-06-2020, 10:09 PM   #2
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I use auto blend a lot. Basically I manually combine shots (to make a wider image, or to fill in an area from another image--nothing to do with HDR). Auto-blend to get rid of the obvious line where they are joined. It does not always work if they are too different, and then again they can be almost identical and (rarely) auto-blend fails.
04-07-2020, 04:00 AM   #3

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It's hard to find image processing tools that are good at everything. Not sure how good is automatic image alignment with Photoshop.
04-07-2020, 06:17 AM   #4
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I use Photoshop Auto-Align and Auto-Blend quite a bit for focus-stacked macro shots and I would say it works very well 90+ percent of the time. However, once in a while it flubs it pretty badly. I have used it for stitching panoramas only a few times, but it worked fine each time for me.

04-07-2020, 06:40 AM   #5
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I use CS5 and do a lot of blending for foto-stacked macro as well as panoramic shots. And i guess for 99% it works as a charm. For panorama i always try to make some 30% or so overlap.
The most extreme i did was some 16 macro shots of a flower half of the size of the head of a match. I used a ballow and a macro rail and of course a tripod to make the shots. And CS5 handled it like a charm.

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