Last updated on July 19th, 2020

What is Photomatix?

Photomatix is a photography application used to merge bracketed images and create a high-dynamic-range photo. The process is completed by merging normally exposed, overexposed, and underexposed images through fusion exposure or tone mapping. The software is developed by HDRsoft.

This Photomatix review will cover pro version 6 which was released in 2017.

HDR photography is one of the main reasons I took interest in photography – especially travel and landscape photography. Furthermore, HDR images have an eye-attracting feel that makes people stare and wonder.

And that’s how I became involved with HDR software.

What is HDR Photography?

 

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Photomatix Review

The main purpose of using Photomatix is to brighten the shadows and darken the highlights in high-dynamic lighting conditions using bracketed photos through exposure fusion or tone mapping. In addition, many photographers use it to give images a visually creative pop, especially to landscapes and cityscapes in my case.

How it Works

Photomatix uses 1 of 2 methods for the HDR process:

Exposure Fusion blends the bracketed photos in such a way as to make the shadows and highlights viewable. This method involves taking the shadows from the overexposed source image and the highlights from the underexposed source image and fusing them into one LDR image.

Tone Mapping is a bit more complicated. First, it merges the photo into a 32 bits/channel unprocessed HDR image, which can’t be displayed on monitors or prints. Second, tone mapping transposes the HDR image into a LDR (low dynamic range) image in order to be displayed or printed.

Note: When we say an HDR image, it’s actually a LDR image that was fused with source images from a high-dynamic scene. But the process is called HDR photography, fusion, or tone mapping.

If you use other image-editing software, then learning how to use Photomatix will be easy as it has some similar adjustment settings like contrast, saturation, and temperature. It’s especially easier for Lightroom Classic CC users since Photomatix comes with a Lightroom plugin. The LR plugin allows you to export your photos from Lightroom to Photomatix and then import the HDR image from Photomatix to Lightroom without the need of a file folder.

As of 2020, there is also a Photomatix plugin for Capture One.

However, there are some adjustments that are advanced and even I can’t remember exactly what they do such as micro smoothing. Photomatix combats this problem by displaying an information box explaining the functionality of each adjustment.

New Features in Photomatix Pro 6

  • A new tone-mapping rendering method, tone balanced, was introduced to give images a more natural appeal using local mapping.
  • Control overall or individual colors with the new hue, saturation, and brightness (HSB) module. The temperature control is now moved to this color settings module.
  • Blend the original photo with the rendered HDR image to give a more natural look.
  • Brush away changes to color settings or blending with an adjustment brush that controls.
  • A new crop and perspective tool allows you to remove distortions.
  • The appearance and layout has changed a bit to give the interface a refresh and smoother workflow.
  • As of version 6.2, Photomatix now includes a Capture One plugin.

How to Use Photomatix

In order to fully utilize Photomatix, you should have at least 3 bracketed photos preferably in RAW format.

The 3 below images were photographed in Medellin, Colombia, with automatic exposure bracketing at f/16, ISO 100, and shutter speeds of 0.8, 2.5, and .25 seconds. The relative exposure values (EV) to the normal exposure (0.8 s) image are ±12/3.

3 bracketed photos

To create the HDR image, upload your bracketed images into Photomatix, make your adjustments, and save the final file as JPEG OR TIFF. The Lightroom plugin comes in very handy here since Photomatix will import the HDR image into the LR library.

1. Upload Bracketed Photos

upload photos Photomatix

 

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