updated 10:10 pm EDT, Mon May 12, 2008
Hydra 1.5 creates HDR
Creaceed on Monday delivered version 1.5 of Hydra as well as a beta Aperture plugin for easy HDR image creation on Mac OS X Leopard. Hydra 1.5, which features an updated imaging pipeline and Aperture integration, gives human eye perception to photographs by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of regular photographs, either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The created image compensates for the limited dynamic range of cameras, the company claims. "In addition, it more closely resembles what is actually seen. Unlike most HDR softwares, Hydra does not require images taken with a tripod." Hydra supports photo resolutions above 20 megapixels and adds support for new RAW and DNG file formats as well as provides OpenEXR export format to further edit the image in other applications.
Hydra's advanced image processing pipeline first aligns the images with a non-linear warping algorithm and then merges them in a "smart way to preserve the interesting inputs of each image," Creaceed said. The method has been entirely implemented on the GPU to provide interactive previewing and enable accurate tuning of all parameters (alignment, merging) in real-time while observing the changing result before rendering the full resolution image.
Version 1.5 of the software adds import and export to Aperture as well as direct process within Aperture via the new beta plugin; it also offers true HDR merging (in addition to the original image blending). Hydra also offers tone mapping with Highlight Compression and Local Adaptation, a better fullscreen mode, and improved processing speed and accuracy, the company claims ("less than 20 seconds rendering time for a 20-Megapixel image").
Hydra 1.5 is immediately available from Creaceed's website for $60 and requires Mac OS X Leopard and with at least 64MB of video memory. Version 1.5 is free for existing Hydra 1.0 owners.