Opening DNG from HDRMerge

I wanted to play around with the HDR Merge software, so took a bracketed shot of a sunset. I did the merge, but when I open the file in RT it looks kind of bad. Is there some other setting I should be using to do this in RT? I know this is not HDR Merge support - but when I “paint” my image before merging, I can see the “paint marks” in purple in RT, unless I’m being shown some kind of layer mask that I can possibly turn off.

Did you do some tone mapping on the image?

I just opened it in RT, and it looked wrong before I touched it.

It’s an HDR image, you need tone mapping to make it into an LDR image suitable for display.

Yes, the file browser does have a HDR next to the thumbnail. When you said it needs tone mapping, you mean the Tone Map tool in RT in the Exposure pane or is that somewhere else? The one seems to do nothing. Here are the files if that I’m using.

Maybe a screenshot showing what you mean as ‘bad’ will help. I had some issues with the FUJI RAF files at some point because HDRMerge was not treating them nice in the beginning. You might experience something similar…

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You should set the profile to “Neutral” to begin with. Then there are several tools: curves, tonemapping, dynamic range compression. First you can play with the exposure compensation to see how much detail you have in the highlights and shadows (basically your DR). If I do that with your image, I can’t see much gain from the merge: there isn’t much DR.

Image 1 is the brightest, so when you paint on it (= pixels from this image count in that place although they are overexposed), you’ll clip the result. Rule of thumbs: Erase only.


that means you’ve merged clipped (overexposed) image data into the hdr file. use some other exposure layer in hdr merge and the purple painting marks should go away.

Yup. “wrong” isn’t a useful description of your results. It provides no information as to the exact nature of the issue. To be useful, a lot more detail than “wrong” is needed.

If it looks severely underexposed - this is not wrong. As mentioned, with an HDRMerge result, you almost always need to then take the file and reduce its dynamic range for display. RT’s tonemapping and dynamic range compression tools are two possible approaches to this. PhotoFlow also has quite a few tonemapping operators available.