Quick Tip: Cure the HDR Blinky-Blackies

Ever get an HDR with this? {click to enlarge}

  I call them the Blinky-Blackies, because they remind me of the blown highlight warning on my camera.

They are caused by the software getting confused. It usually occurs on areas of very bright light next to an area of shadow. This can be a very bright light on a car or plane or building, Or as in this case, Specular Highlights. Specular highlights are reflected light, You often see this on a body of water which is highly reflective and you are getting reflections of the sun itself that is MUCH brighter than the actual body of water. The software gets confused either because that bright light moves or flashes from one frame to the next or just the fact that the exposures vary so much from one to another on that bright highlight. The software says, should I be white or black here? Heck I don’t know, I’ll be both. And you get…the above..Yikes.

This specular highlight was cause by an oncoming train’s super bright headlight reflecting off the highly reflective surface of a galvinzed metal fence along the tracks and also on the tracks themselves, even parts of the building that were really lit up became affected. You won’t see Blinky-Blackies in any of your individual images, it something brought out in the merge and they are visible in the 32 bit merged file.

OK so now we have Blinky-Blackies. How do we fix them? Well, I used to clone them out, but well cloning is  a pain and well, it sucks. So why don’t we fix them before we even get to that point.

This is were we turn to what I think is one of the best features of good old Photomatix Pro 4.1  and some older versions (coupon code TheHDRImage)  The Selective Deghosting tool that I showed you how to use in this post

So the first thing we do in Photomatix Pro 4.1 is when this window pops up after selcting your images, Click the box Remove Ghost and check: Selective Deghosting

When the new window opens, we will select the affected areas and mark as selected

 Next we choose the exposure we want to use to de-ghost by right clicking on the selected areas. In this case I chose the 0 exposure for  the fence and the +2 exposure for the rails.

 Check the preview of the deghosting, if you are good, continue onto Tone mapping and you are done. No Cloning required





















 Hope that helps


HEY!  wait! don’t go! I’m already in the tone mapping and I don’t want to do the merge again. OK Lazy Butt. Luckily Photomatix Pro 4.1  in the latest version has a fix for you too. In the tone mapping screen, click the Selection button and select the areas that have Blinky-Blackies, right click them and select a single exposure for that area. I don’t think, for this, it works as well, but…then you’re the lazy one 😉 

  To download or purchase the amazing PHOTOMATIX  Pro 4.1 go to: HDR Soft Don’t forget to enter the coupon code:  TheHDRImage for 15% off your purchase