Looking for the best free HDR software so that you can breathe life into your precious pictures? Well, fret not as we’ve roped in the options that will have you creating wonderful masterpieces in no time. Snapping a fantastic photo of a particular scenery, complete with all its contrasts intact, can indeed be a daunting task. Most often you’re left with dark shadows, a low contrast, dull imagery and white highlights, all thanks to your digital camera’s exposure level and contrast range limitations.
Now in order to get an outcome that resembles your real-life scene to the tee, you’ll have to resort to high-dynamic-range imaging. This process can be carried out by taking 3 or more pictures of the same scenery with different exposures. They all can then be merged together using specific programs. Well, here we have the acme lot of those solutions.
1 – Fusion:
Let your pictures shine with an enhanced local contrast appearance and in-depth details. With the help of Fusion, you can process single snaps that are drenched in different formats like TIFF, RAW and JPEG. Some of its key features include summation operator, tone mapping operator, automatic alignment of photos and batch processing. Now although this one strides onto the forefront minus a price tag, there’s also a paid version available that will cost you $25.
2 – FDRTools Basic:
The stand-alone program forays onto the scene complete with a whole bag of goodies such as a tool for global white balance correction as well as batch processing, color management as per ICC standards, lossless rotation and reflection, drag and drop, transfer of metadata and GUI themes/skins. It further supports tone mapping as well as various image import and export formats like JPEG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, RGBE and PPM. However, only a 32-bit version of this sort is up for grabs which means the processable image size will be limited. Another downside is that the resulting pictures would all have a watermark. Now if you want something more from this entrant in our roster, you can avail of the Advanced version which is noted to be a shareware, and FDRCompressor plug-in, each priced at €39. The program is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X systems.
3 – Picturenaut 3:
Infused with a refined interface, drag and drop workflow capabilities and automatic installer, this feature-packed gem seems like just the program you’ve been waiting for. It’s infused with multi-threaded architecture so you can expect to see a fast tone mapper laid at your fingertips. A few of its other handy attributes include the latest RAW formats, alpha channel display, rotate with AutoCrop and PNG file support.
Besides providing low-level control, you can also avail of features like image alignment, exposure correction, automatic image alignment, noise level compensation, EXIF data and ghost removal. The 64-bit version further allows saves for JPEG and ECR formats and is compatible with Windows.
4 – Luminance:
This interesting open-source solution in our free HDR software array helps you acquire a surreal image by merging a compilation of pictures taken of the same scenery. The result can then be resized, rotated, cropped and even given the Tonemap treatment.
With its version, Luminance gets a slew of new features such as a color management system and an image alignment tool for RAW files. It further proffers better TIFF, JPG and PNG writers and readers. The program can be enjoyed via Windows, Mac OS X and Linux system PCs.
5 – Fhotoroom:
This user-friendly inclusion is a helpful digital image editor that aids you in fixing distortion, color and exposure in your photos. It even features some new stunning filters like vintage magazine vogue look, tilts and shift miniatures and vignette. And although it supports 8-, 16- and 32-bit image editing, the latter duo comes with watermarks. Some of the file formats it supports read as ATX, DIB, EMF, ICB, JPG, JPE, PBM, PCX, PGM, PPM, PSP, SGI, TIF, VDA, WBMP, ARTI, BMP, OpenEXR, GIF, ICO, JFIF, JPEG and PCD. This one is perfectly compatible with Windows 7 and 8. But if you’re looking to acquire more attributes, you can always upgrade to the professional version by spending just under $50.
6 – Easy Basic:
This contender in our free HDR software roundup lets you merge together different photos of the same object so that you can lay your hands on one brilliant shot of your desired memory. It further supports the processing of single photos, post-processing, tone mapping, noise filtering, presets and multi-core processing. Easy Basic even supports JPEG and RAW image formats. You can add a touch of brilliance to your photographs by availing of this option through your Windows Vista, XP, 7 and 8 PC. And if you want more out of this particular delight and are willing to loosen those purse strings, you can purchase the Pro 2 Home and Commercial packs that are tagged at $39 and $55, respectively.
Are your photos exact replicas of how you actually perceive a certain landscape? Well, if nay is your answer then its time you dabble in some high-dynamic-range imaging to beef up your snaps. Although it may sound quite complicated, with a little practice you’ll be able to create your own works of art within no time. What’s more, all the solutions strewn across here can be procured without even shelling out a single penny. Scan through our list and pick out your best free HDR software delight. And when you find your winner, don’t forget to leave your mention in the box below.