Overexposed Windows

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richardhc
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Overexposed Windows

Post by richardhc » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:22 pm

The problem is how to get windows that are properly exposed when photographing inside a room using two images - one with the window view properly exposed for outdoors, the second image with the inside of the room properly exposed.

At present I stack the inside room image over the outside image, mask the over-exposed window and delete it. Result perfectly exposed inside and out.

For unobstructed windows this is quick and easy but if there are obstructions like flowers or furniture that have to be masked around it become more time consuming, even using channels and levels to make the mask and then clean up the image.

Tufuse, leaves the window still washed out under default settings. If I lower the sigma curve the whole image turns muddy because anything white in the room turns gray.

I guess masking and cutting out overexposed windows remains a painful "do by hand one by one" job. I believe there are some "droplets" for photoshop that can help speed this up but I can't find the URL.

It just seems to me that the overexposed windows all have the same characteristics - visible instantly to the eye - and that there must be some way to identify these areas. Especially when you have one image with just the correct outside exposure (really only the window is correct and the rest of the room - even the whites - is very shady and dark) and one inside exposure where the window is almost white.

If the program analyzes each photo surely there must be some way to identify the overexposed window in one (perhaps by analysis of contiguous pixels within a certain radius) and the totally underexposed room in the second and put the two together with the correctly exposed sections of both.

My wife (who does the masking and cutting out of the windows) says she can do it faster and better by hand on a per image basis than any of the other masking techniques - blending - alpha levels etc. (and she's right, so far. :oops: ).

If anyone knows of a way to solve the over exposed window problem faster than my wife can mask and delete in photoshop I would be very happy to hear about it.

maxlyons
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Re: Overexposed Windows

Post by maxlyons » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:31 pm

richardhc wrote:Tufuse, leaves the window still washed out under default settings. If I lower the sigma curve the whole image turns muddy because anything white in the room turns gray.
When you e-mailed me directly about this, I suggested three things, one of which was using fewer than the default number of levels.

How did that change your results?

Max

ranjan
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Post by ranjan » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:44 am

Tufuse, leaves the window still washed out under default settings. If I lower the sigma curve the whole image turns muddy because anything white in the room turns gray.
Both tufuse & enfuse have this problem but tufuse have few extra parameter which might help getting better results. They both work on averaging the best exposed pixels & it seems that the averaging method works better than HDR but its not the best method when we have a room shots with outside scene from the windows.

My guess is that we might need zone based matrix reading (camera metering is an example)of the pixels & then analyze it for best blending (Max may be already working on this)
If anyone knows of a way to solve the over exposed window problem faster than my wife can mask and delete in photoshop I would be very happy to hear about it.
We all wish we can prove her wrong but at present she is right what she says, but hey tufuse is a developing program & Max has a history of being quite enthusiastic about the challenges he faces with his programs & pushing the limits.
If the program analyzes each photo surely there must be some way to identify the overexposed window in one (perhaps by analysis of contiguous pixels within a certain radius) and the totally underexposed room in the second and put the two together with the correctly exposed sections of both.
Sounds easy but it requires lot of maths to calculate the pixels in numbers of images. I am sure we will have a far better working tufuse 4-6 months down the line.

Can you post your test images so we can test with some altered parameters & push the limits of tufuse to get best possible results?

nathanoj
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Post by nathanoj » Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:40 pm

I shoot real estate and feel that 'perfectly' exposed windows look fake and unnatural - like a framed painting on a wall. I prefer a little overexposure.

richardhc
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Post by richardhc » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:35 pm

I shoot real estate and feel that 'perfectly' exposed windows look fake and unnatural - like a framed painting on a wall.
They may look fake to a photographer used to seeing washed out windows but next time you are in a room with a big window overlooking a beautiful scene you'll notice that your eye (or your brain) easily makes the outdoor scene look very real and perfectly exposed.

From a photographic viewpoint, if the subject is a hotel room that charges a high price for a room with a spectacular view don't you think the hotel would prefer an image that shows that view as clearly and well exposed as possible? For the resorts and hotels I photograph the "view" is a critical part of the photo.

For example - how would this image of the Panorama suite at The Sebel Hotel in Port Vila look with the outside overexposed?

http://www.accommodation-photos-vanuatu ... cameo.html

I would think this would be important in real estate, too, where the client has property with a big picture window and a grand scene outside.[/img]

richardhc
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test images

Post by richardhc » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:49 pm

Can you post your test images so we can test with some altered parameters & push the limits of tufuse to get best possible results?
Here are two (light and dark) views from the 360 Restaurant in Noumea. These have been adjusted as well as possible from the raw images to optimize the inside and the outside and stitched using Autopano Pro.

Image
Image

The final result (done by cutting out the overexposed windows in Photoshop) is working here:

http://www.rocket-guide-newcaledonia.co ... rants.html

I have posted two raw files from this panorama if someone wants to download them and try with tufuse.

http://www.vanuatu-vacations.com/chesher_test1.CR2
http://www.vanuatu-vacations.com/chesher_test2.CR2[/url]

nathanoj
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Post by nathanoj » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:49 am

richardhc wrote:
I shoot real estate and feel that 'perfectly' exposed windows look fake and unnatural - like a framed painting on a wall.
They may look fake to a photographer used to seeing washed out windows........

I would think this would be important in real estate, too, where the client has property with a big picture window and a grand scene outside.[/img]
You're right in that I have seen a lot of bad RE shots with blown out windows, but I do lean toward capturing the scene somewhat closer to what our senses capture.
I did say "a little" overexposed - very subjective I know.
And I agree that if the view is an asset then it should be captured...but I don't mind a half stop over :-)

nathanoj
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Post by nathanoj » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:02 am

Here's what Tufuse did using defaults ....

Image

Subject to some interior brightening I'd be happy with that window exposure.

ranjan
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Post by ranjan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:07 am

This is double tufused, once with default settings 2 images then on the tufused image I used a luminosity mask & laid the dark image on top of it. MY purpose was to retain maximum highlights (right lower end)which tufused single pass does not retain well.
Image

mvejerslev
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Post by mvejerslev » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:49 am

For reference, here is the result of blending those images with default values with my Double Dynamics Photoshop action.

Image

It works by taking the luminosity mask of the lighter layer and using it as a mask on same layer.

Download the free action here if you like: http://www.96ppi.net/dd1.zip

- Gotta be faster than blending manually...

Mathias

bill t.
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Post by bill t. » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:57 am

mvejerslev wrote:...my Double Dynamics Photoshop action.
http://www.96ppi.net/dd1.zip
Very useful action, thanks for that. I had a less effective "window image on top" action but I prefer your approach which gives excellent results not just in window situations but in general.

ranjan
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Post by ranjan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:34 pm

mvejerslev wrote: Download the free action here if you like: http://www.96ppi.net/dd1.zip

- Gotta be faster than blending manually...

Mathias
Yes quite useful action.
What I did was exactly the same but did it manually in my version & changed the upper layer mode to screen hence it has better shadow details.

I tried your action on other test images & one thing it does is quite good blending but quite often looses highlight..................I will tweak it further.

mvejerslev
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Post by mvejerslev » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:00 pm

There are certain instances where my action does not do well with window shots, such as when blinds and glass tables are involved.

mvejerslev
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Post by mvejerslev » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:02 pm

Ranjan,

As you'll see from a histogram, only the tiniest fraction of pixels are clipped in the rendered version, so the highlight detail is fully recoverable by whatever means you choose.

richardhc
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Post by richardhc » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:06 pm

Thanks immensely for your help with this.

I'm really impressed with what tufuse has done to put the two images together. Could I ask you please to tell me what commandline settings (other than the one on default) you used on tufuse?

I have downloaded the Double Dynamics Photoshop action and will give it a try - it might also be very useful in helping to mask complex areas to be cut out (although with her tablet and pen my wife can mask out an ordinary window or door pretty quick).

I gave the presentations the acid test (showed them to Freddy, my wife) and we compared them to the cut and delete method. She was impressed, too, and said she would consider using it where there were plants, flowers of people in front of a window - especially when the outside view wasn't especially critical. But (and I think she's right again) the overall exposure, saturation and contrast of the outside world of the cut out version is still in the lead (I admit I overexposed the tablecloth in the foreground a little and that DOES look better in the blended version - but I wanted a brighter ceiling to lighten up the interior scene).

Image

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