Photoshop Plug-In Converts 8-Bit Images to 32-Bit HDRi

It seems that everyone is on the HDR panoramic bandwagon these days, and they're all looking for quicker and easier ways to accomplish the effect without having to carry around a ton of gear or go through painstaking steps to get the desired results. That's where programs like Hydra HDRi Pro come into play.

This great little Photoshop plug-in allows you to take panoramic photos from your smartphone (iPhone or Android) and convert the 8-bit image into a 32-bit HDRi. With a few shots, I was able to create a 360° panorama with my Android phone, bring it into Photoshop, and do all of my edits to clean up the image (since it's 8 bit, I have the full range of tools). From there, save the image, choose File>Scripts>Hydra HDRi Pro, then simply click the Convert button on the HDRi Pro dialog to convert it to a full 32-bit image.

It used to take a lot of time and effort to get these renderings for backgrounds in my 3D and composition work, but not anymore. This was a huge benefit for my 3D work in Maya and Max, as well as compositing in Photoshop. The ability to create backgrounds for conceptual art went from spending a few hours on the background to a few minutes with the Hydra HDRi Pro plug-in. Now I can create the background, bring in my 3D object or elements from other photos (people, cars, etc.), and easily composite them into my scenes.

As a 3D artist and conceptual designer, Hydra HDRi Pro allows me to get killer backgrounds in a fraction of the time that it used to take. For the price, this is a great tool that will save you time and money.

Company: Hydra Design Labs
Price: $149.95
Rating: 5
Hot: Ease of use; high-quality results; tutorials; price