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Akvis HDRFactory 1.0 for Mac – Review

If you’ve yet to jump on the HDR bandwagon, then now’s the time and this could be the very app you need to get started

HDRFactory in action on an iMac

Information Panel for Akvis HDRFactory
HDRFactory is sold as a one-stop- shop to produce instant and professional HDR effects.
Upon opening the software, users are confronted with a host of options, some rather self- explanatory. This genericism filters down to the interface theme, which is unassuming. However, in its simplicity the software finds its charm, as new users will instantly be able to understand its functionality.
The HDRI tab is the only one that may need explanation and can only be accessed if you create an HDR image from the series of upload shots. Here users can firstly align all images on screen in the interface. This drop-menu bar includes Fast alignment, Normal alignment and High-quality alignment. The better the alignment quality, the longer the software will take to process. In most cases Normal will suffice to get you started.

HDRFactory in action on an iMac
Some of the effects that you can create with this application are truly impressive

From here, users can set about establishing what is known as Tone Mapping – an image processing technique used to map one set of colours to another in order to approximate the appearance of HDR. Activate the Standard Tone Curve checkbox for an instant preset application. We recommend this as a starting point otherwise unpredictable results may occur.
Each parameter can then be individually tweaked to affect specific image values – so experimentation is key, and in most cases you’ll stay within either end of the HDR spectrum for soft or strong effects. The Saturation parameter, for example, is used to change the intensity of the image colours; Lowlights i contrast control, the Highlights parameter does the opposite. Level of Detail defines the details detected – as the value is increased, the colour transition becomes sharper, just beware noise artefacts. The remaining Lightness, Dark detail and Light Detail parameters deal with designated luminosity to image details and as a whole.
Adjustment options are there for applying HDR effects to a single image, catering for digital artists rather than professional photographers. Photoshop and Lightroom users will be familiar with examples such as Levels (applied to channels and as a whole), Gradient Contrasts affecting contrast in gradient areas, Smoothing that reduces noise , and more intuitive examples such as Local Contrast. Tone Correction, Depth and Color Intensity are standard.
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Furthermore, Post Process commands offer instant last-minute tweaks to tonal and light values, and everything can be saved as a Preset to be applied instantly to batched imagery later. Whether standalone or plug-in, this Akvis software is an additional tool to your workflow, not an all -inclusive suite; treat it as such and it will enhance your production.