Screencast: Natural clouds in your HDR images


Natural Clouds in your HDR Landscapes from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

(Before you start watching the screencast here, you may just want to watch it over on Vimeo because the quality of the embedded version appears to be a lot lower than what you get to see on their website. So I’d suggest going there, choosing Full Screen and then turn Scaling off to get the best experience.)

For awhile now I’ve been wanting to put together a screencast of my processing methods when it comes to HDR. The way I use Photomatix, Photoshop and the Perfect Photo Suite in conjunction with each other, plus how I use them all to get natural results in my landscape and storm imagery.

It’s not like I’m pelted with questions on a daily basis, but when I do get them, many of them are on the topic of how I get natural looking clouds despite using HDR. Late last year I slowly started changing the way I processed clouds and my HDR images as a whole. I owe a lot of that to onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite and their webinars that dove into how to use it properly. And then I was inspired by a few photographers that are really brilliant when it comes to storms and weather images, and it caused me to evolve my style even more.

And I’m always changing, doing things differently, learning something new…just going with the flow. That’s what I love about photography…nothing ever stays the same. I can be in a certain mood for a few weeks where I just want to process in B&W and then I go back to color. You just never know how you are going to be influenced or inspired to do something new.

I hope the screencast is worth your time and perhaps helps people looking to do their HDRs a bit more naturally. If you are intrigued by Phototools and the onOne PerfectPhotoSuite, there is a huge sale running RIGHT now for $150 off the entire thing…just click here to check it out.

By the way…you guys never really see me pimp anything else on this site. That’s how good this software package is to me. It can do soooo much…and it’s such an important part of my workflow. I don’t pimp this stuff just because I’m an affiliate…I wanted to be an affiliate because I love it so much. Hopefully that makes sense.

If you have any questions about the screencast, or ideas for other ones you’d like to see me do…just let me know in the comments below.

Finally, here is the before and after of the image used in the screencast. Thank you for watching!

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Mike, awesome job! It is nice to see and hear other photog’s perspectives when it comes to processing! I will definitely be re-thinking some of my processing techniques when it comes to my clouds! I always have glanced over the basic brushes and went right to “Stylized effects’ but will look into those too! Congrats on getting this done!

  • Chris Nitz

    Awesome job on the screencast! Thank you for sharing your perspectives on images and processing. Some great tips for anyone!!

  • Scott Ackerman

    Sweet. Look forward to watching this later today.

  • Justin

    Can’t wait to check it out Mike. I will spread the word.

  • Kristi Hines

    Ugh, I’m either going to have to get Photoshop for myself or fight for my rights on Jason’s computer for it. 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial – the next time I’m working on clouds, I’m going to watch this and follow along.

  • Jason Hines

    I’m super excited to watch this Mike, but I’ll have to file it in my “read after work” folder. Thanks for doing this man.

  • Tobias George

    Thanks for sharing this. Some great advice in here! Liked seeing how you used Phototools.

  • Steve Beal

    About halfway through, had to pause for work stuff but psyched to buckle back in during lunch. Great info, it’s just great seeing what other photogs are doing – you end up picking up a lot of great tips/knowledge. Thanks man!

  • Jim Denham

    Great screencast Mike! Definitely some good tips on handling sky HDR images!

  • Dave

    Great screencast, lots of great advice for everyone, both experienced and novice. Especially like your solution to noise issues.

  • Mark Garbowski

    very nice job. I learned a few things.

  • Didier Kaade

    Very cool…. I finally can see how someone is using photomatix, instead of me just guessing some settings! 🙂 Great job my friend! 😀

  • Ryan Sexton

    Nice one Mike, not bad for your first tutorial. I even learned a few things, Thanks for sharing.

  • Sus

    Wow, look at that! I’m sharing this with my partner so he could learn a thing or two. 🙂

  • Mike

    Just wanted to drop a line and thank everyone for checking this out and for the awesome feedback. I really hope it helps and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • David LaSpina

    Great screencast, Mike. I’ve been meaning to do my own about HDR for… a year or two. haha. Anyways, wonderful job. Looking forward to more 🙂

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  • Scott

    Finally had a chance to watch the view. nice job dude

  • Jan Winther

    Its been a busy week, and finally had time to catch up a bit on the blogs.
    I have messed around with Photomatix a bit in the past, but I have never been really comfortable with it. However, Im encouraged to keep trying after watching your screencast (hopefully one of many to come). Mike, it was awesome.
    One major thing I took away from your tut, was the noise issue in PM, and how to get around it. That was a great help.