updated 11:15 pm EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Includes 'de-ghosting' tool, RAW support, more
The human eye can perceive about 100 million colors and shades, but even the finest cameras can only capture about one-sixth of that gamut. To help bridge this gap, plug-in maker Akvis has released the debut edition of HDRFactory, its studio for creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from either multiple exposures or a pseudo-HDR image from a single image.
Users can manipulate the various settings of the program to go for the most realistic look, restoring washed-out skies or bringing out details in dark or light spots, or they can opt to go "beyond reality" and create stylized images with exaggerated colors and sharpness. The software also includes a "de-ghosting" tool for reducing the changes between exposures when an object is moving, which sometimes results in unwanted "ghosting" when exposures are combined.
The program can work with both JPEG and RAW format files, and features a number of presets for quick color correction. All presets can be further manipulated, or users can adjust settings entirely by hand as they desire. Users can also save their own favorite settings as a preset to apply to other pictures.
HDRFactory is available as a standalone program or as a plug-in to photo programs like Photoshop. The software requires running Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and although it can run on a G4, the company recommends at least a G5 or Intel for best performance. A 10-day free trial is available, and a Home User license sells for $69 -- though the "de-ghosting" and post-processing features are only available under the "Home Deluxe" license that costs $99). A Windows version is available as well (screenshots below are from the Windows version).