HDR Image Editor

Hydra Pro 3 from Creaceed SPRL allows you to create high-dynamic-range (HDR) images. You can import up to seven regular photos to this image editor and it will create a stunning final image, called an HDR image. I found it to be one heck of a simple program, while still providing ample creative control.

This seven-image limit is enough for most common situations, such as a brightly lit room with an even more brightly lit window. Of the five scenes I used for testing Hydra Pro 3, two certainly covered the 16 or 24 f-stops the human eye can see. Those required more images (12 and 16, respectively) to avoid banding and noise.

Hydra Pro 3 has excellent automatic alignment and ghost-removal features, but even better, you can manually adjust these with intuitive tools, such as the X-ray feature, to align images. The ghost-removal feature is just as intuitive and more powerful than any competitors' products.

The program has presets, as well as global and local adjustments. The local adjustments are grouped together in a drop-down menu that, at first sight, looks overly simple: Details, Contrast, Saturation, Hue, and Brightness. You can, however, adjust all areas (light and dark), and red, green, or blue channels individually, as well. And you can add up to three probes—adjustments localized using an easy-to-set, but accurate mask. In between your edits, you can save snapshots to switch between variants.

Hydra Pro 3 exports to TIFF, JPEG, 32-bit OpenEXR, and Radiance. It also supports batch processing and comes with plug-ins for Aperture and Lightroom.

Company: Creaceed SPRL
Price: $99.99
Web: www.creaceed.com
Rating: 4.5
Hot:  Easy to use; alignment and ghost removal; creative features
Not:  Only seven images supported