Exposure blending is a good starting step to create realistic and also not so realistic HDR images. Getting an image that has an enhanced dynamic range has also given me better tone mapping results. Having spoken about using the Advanced Tone Mapping plugin for GIMP in another article, I figured that it is only logical to talk about exposure blending also. The GIMP is a Photoshop clone that works under both Windows and Linux. So you don’t have to worry if you are not using Linux. I carry out exposure blending with the Exposure Blend Plugin (convenient, isn’t it) for GIMP available in the GIMP plugin library. This plugin enables you to combine 3 images of varying levels of exposure and blend them to give you a resultant image that gives you greater visual range. The resultant image is not really any different as ony after you carry out a tone mapping procedure will anything be apparent. I found that using this blended image as an input for the tone mapping plugin in GIMP gave better results than using just any image. The process is illustrated below. Theres no process really, just one dialogue in which you need to specify your options. It would be best for the reader to visit the plugin page to get more detail about the various options. They are mostly self explanatory and using the default values works well enough. The basic step is to load three images of varying exposure into the dialogue and then you can play around with the options to see what gives you the best results. As mentioned before, just the step of exposure blending will not really make your images “pop” as this will have to be followed up with a tone mapping. My input and resultant images are below.
As a next step I am going to try and use this image in qtpfsgui and see if it works any better than using qtpfsgui’s own blender.