This blog is the second part of the previous blog on high dynamic range imagery.
Exposure Fusion was a paper by Mertens, Kautz, and Van Reeth in 2007, and you can learn more about the work here. This technique basically bypasses HDR creation all together to create a wonderfully fused image.
Let’s just briefly discuss some issues with HDR (I will discuss some benefits of HDR in the next blog). HDR “assembly” takes quite a bit of processing time and the file sizes bloat up big time — which also means longer time to load to any programs like Photoshop to do anything to it. From there, you typically end up tone mapping the image anyway. And don’t get some folks started on the pain-in-the-ass-ness of tone mapping. Yeah, it generally sucks when you end up doing a lot of them by hand.
Exposure Fusion basically says, “that’s bullsh!t!” There’s no need to convert a bunch of files to something you won’t use, then have to convert again, only to spend the next 2 hours tweaking some parameters you don’t understand, that was named by some ivory-tower researchers (sorry guys ). Exposure fusion just creates a wonderfully “fused” image from your multiple-exposure set, which is the part I really like.
So, gettin’ down to the brass tax, if you have a hard time going from HDR, then back to LDR using some tone mapping operator that doesn’t understand you, then use Enfuse. It’s one of the most consistent way to create an image from multiple exposures. And, it’ll save you time and lots of disk space.
One caveat is that Enfuse is a command line tool. If you don’t like that, you can find some GUI wrapper programs out there (e.g. Bracketeer).