[PlayHalfBaked] Unclipped sunset panorama

Hello there,

This is my first contribution to PlayRaw, so please bear with me.

I’m currently playing with RT’s “Unclipped” profile as an update to my previous 16b HDR workflow.

Here are the new steps so far:

  1. Merge the bracketed shots with HDRMerge.
  2. In RT apply “Neutral” and “Unclipped”.
  3. In RT enable lens correction and capture sharpening (new feature by @heckflosse bound for 5.8).
  4. Adjust exposure to help stitching.
  5. Export to 32b float TIFFs.
  6. Stitch in Hugin 2019.0.0+ (important, since earlier versions will clip the result).
  7. Export to LDR TIFF. Although it says “LDR”, this will preserve the float and unclipped nature.
  8. For this very sample I chose to apply “Unclipped” again on the resulting TIFF in RT and exported it at 50% resolution to a compressed 16b float TIFF. This reduced the file size from 520MB to 30MB.

Of course there are stitching artifacts in the waves on the water. Those can be repaired later in GIMP.

If you lower the exposure by around 1.5EV the structure in the red clouds reappears:

Now, here’s the challenge: Lighten up the image so that the forground is visible without destroying the mood and without clipping the red in the clouds. RT solutions are preferred. :wink:

sunset_hdr_pano.tif (28.6 MB)
License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



Is this OK?
sunset_hdr_pano.jpg.out.pp3 (12.4 KB)

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Definitely! :heart:

Edit: I like the idea of the negative vignette, didn’t think about it. But upon comparing it to the plain -1.5 version, the red in the clouds clipped and lost detail, I’m afraid.


sunset_hdr_pano-2.jpg.out.pp3 (12.5 KB)


That’s what I would do. darktable 2.7, sorry.

sunset_hdr_pano.tif.xmp (4.6 KB)


Is this close to what you were lookin for?

sunset_hdr_pano.png.out.pp3 (11.2 KB)

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sunset_hdr_pano.tif.pp3 (12.6 KB)

sunset_hdr_pano.tif_b.pp3 (12.8 KB)

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RT 5.6

sunset_hdr_panoRT.1.jpg.out.pp3 (12.2 KB)




@gaaned92 I like the overall look, but dislike the red blotches in the sky.

@Thomas_Do Fine colors. A bit too dark for my taste and the reds in the clouds are clipped.

@XavAL Nicely balanced. Also, too dark. I remember, I didn’t need my torch light when walking back from that place.

@age I like the first one very much, though the foreground is more realistic in the second one.

@DxO-user The Aurora rendition looks the best to me, but it’s too bright and greenish in the foreground and the reds in the clouds are clipped.

I admit this isn’t easy, but with all of your input I get an idea about what works best. Thanks for all the lovely developments so far! :+1:


Here a version without clipping. I think the mood might be destroyed when the foreground gets to bright. In my version there is definetely enough light to walk home without a torch light :wink: .
Thank you for the beautiful image.

sunset_hdr_pano.tif.xmp (5.1 KB)


sunset_hdr_pano.xmp (5.6 KB)

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Sorry, no RawTherapee here, but after all, it is “Play” Raw.

sunset_hdr_pano.tif.xmp (4.8 KB) sunset_hdr_pano_01.tif.xmp (6.2 KB)

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Ok. :slight_smile:

Let there be light!

sunset_hdr_pano-lighter.png.out.pp3 (11.5 KB)
(more light and it wouldn’t seem a sunset :laughing:)

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@floessie Thanks for sharing. The ripples don’t match to the right of the island (among other much lesser artifacts) but overall a beautiful scene I wish I got to experience.

Went wide. PS Could have removed the hanging branch but wanted to retain some height. Could have healed the sky. (Oh well… Who am I? God?) Zoom and enjoy!

gmic filter pixels, reverse softlight, brightness-contrast, local contrast, brightness-contrast, softlight, increase chroma, focus crop, sharpen-resize

Later in the evening, I return to the scene to give it another go. It is darker now. Zoom and enjoy!

gmic filter pixels, reverse softlight, brightness-contrast, local contrast, brightness-contrast, softlight, multiply, decrease chroma, crop more, sharpen-resize

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Oh wow! Thanks for all the contributions. :+1:

@Thomas_Do @XavAL Your updates are excellent. While Xavier’s is more realistic I like the bluer clouds in Thomas’ take very much.

@sls141 Perfect crop! Well, the B&W is interesting but not what I was after. :wink: The color version with the strongly desaturated shadows could well be hanging in an art gallery.

@afre Your workflow doubles mine. :wink: The second sky is much more contrasting and more like I perceived it. Where exactly would you heal the sky? Are there stitching artifacts I’m missing?

Oh yes. And as icing on the cake I was sitting on a bench with my tripod in front (convenient) and my familiy to the left and right, all overwhelmed by the sight. A rare moment…

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As you can see from my second entry, an aggressive crop from the top ruins the composition, as I predicted in my first post. If I were to roll up my sleeves, I would remove the hanging branch and inpaint or heal in the sky, and after that see if I should crop the top a bit more. Other places that I would heal (but won’t because of the lack of manual (i.e., hand) dexterity and physical pain) would be

1 the areas where the sky touches the trees: horrid haloing and pixelation; and
2 the unmatched vertical seams on the lake near the island, which are the most distracting parts of the pano. Understandable because the ripples and waves change a lot and are hard to blend.

My Play Raw approach is generally minimalist and computational rather than relying on hand drawn masks, corrections and hand tweaked GUI modules. It is more like live coding performance art. :man_artist::nerd_face::man_scientist: (Except that my computer and scripts are super duper slow.) That is why it doesn’t always have the veneer and likes as other entries do. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, I guess, if I were to make manual touches, I would take the sky of the second and combine it with the foreground of the first; and remove the overhanging branch and lower the crop a tad.

One last thing that is particularly troublesome is, as you noted, the red parts of the sky. Some Play Rawers ended up clipping them. I found it equally hard to saturate or increase the chroma of the sky, or adding drama, without getting the appearance of clipping, or at least posterization. It is a delicate balance. In this case, I would do some of the powerful masking or selective manual corrections that RT or dt can do to rein in those areas.

Now, before anyone rolls up her/his sleeves to mend stitching artifacts etc.: Please don’t waste your time. I’m well aware of those and would also prefer a different crop. And this is just a scaled down version.


I think @XavAL’s approach with tonemapping and wavelets tackles this very well. And @gaaned92’s use of dynamic range compression (aka Fattal) is also convincing.

My minimalism doesn’t allow tone mapping or DR compression. :stuck_out_tongue:

It was fun: will revisit.

@afre: How about that? Minimalistic use of basic filters. Just graduated density, exposure und a little bit of color contrast.

sunset_hdr_pano.tif.xmp (2.8 KB)