Macphun makes its HDR app more dynamic

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Aurora HDR 2017 pulls a beautiful and natural image from the brink of dullness.
Aurora HDR 2017 pulls a beautiful and natural image from the brink of dullness.
Photo: Serge Ramelli/Macphun

The iris in the human eye sees more than what your camera records. Photo-imaging software company Macphun seemed to solve this problem last year with Aurora HDR, an easy-to-use tool that gives a final photograph the luminosity experienced by your eye.

On Wednesday, Macphun rolled out a new version of the software that can make a single natural-looking image from three exposures in as little as one click.

Yes, one click. The unifying thread in all of Macphun’s apps for Mac-based photographers is simplicity. Each program in the MacPhun toolkit, whether for reducing digital noise, improving focus, intensifying colors or creating striking black and white images, takes little study to begin improving a photograph.

Macphun
Tweak individual areas of a picture or pick from a variety of pre-set versions.
Photo: Macphun

The software tools offer a series of sliders and pre-sets that guide intuitive exploration and encourage play. Macphun compares its imaging software to creative cooking where a user seasons to taste.

Since beginning in the Ukraine in 2008, Macphun software has grown to more than 30 million users, from hobbyists dipping their toe into post-production imaging to professionals, many of whom say the Macphun kit reduces post time in front of the computer.

“We have a partnership because I chased these guys down. I found my workflow inefficient,” said photographer Trey Ratcliff, a co-developer of the Aurora HDR. “Now I work 10 times faster and that’s not an exaggeration.”

When using an HDR setting on your camera (an option also on the iPhone camera), the sensor records the same image at three different exposures. Imaging software, like Aurora HDR, allows a photographer to blend the qualities of the three exposures so that details in darker areas of the frame appear without compromising the exposure in the lighter areas of the frame.

Macphun
Shadows and highlights as you saw them can be restored with Aurora HDR 2017.
Photo: Macphun

This is especially useful in landscape photography, where sunrise and sunset brings extremes to highlights and shadows.

Aurora HDR 2017 has more presets, new luminosity mask controls, a polarizing filter that brings more depth to colors and removes haze and batch processing. There are panels featuring sliders for contrast, vibrancy and warmth and the new Aurora HDR features faster RAW processing.

Preorders for Aurora HDR from the Macphun website began Wednesday and the software will be out Sept. 29. New users can order it on the company website for $89. Currents Aurora HDR Pro users will pay $49. Owners of Aurora HDR, geared more towards first-time users, will pay $69.

Macphun also offers creative kits bundled with its apps, ranging from $99.99 to $159.99.