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In June 2016 I purchased a copy of HDR Projects 4 “Pro in the hope of better deghosting of my HDR images. That hope seems to have been fulfilled, but at what cost?

TL;DR

In summary, my experience has been:

User interface

HDR Projects 4 is a Microsoft space program, of course, so it requires excessive manual operations. Every weekend I take 5 360° panoramas of my garden with a fisheye lens, requiring 4 views for the complete circle. Each view is an HDR image made from 3 component images. In addition there are 2 180° panoramas, for a total of 24 images—if I don't need extras for things like the sun. My previous system used a series of scripts that invoked Hugin components enfuse and align_image_stack, which doesn't do deghosting.

With the cheaper versions of HDR Projects, you need to convert every single image manually. Not worth the trouble. But HDR Projects Pro has a batch mode, and that's what I'm looking at here. More details here.

The batch processing module is very strange. It offers:

Automatic allocation: Loads all of the images and based on the images' content, locates those that belong to an exposure bracketing series. The brightness as well as the coverage are compared, which results in very good automatic recognition.

Based on my experience, this is just plain wrong. I have never found any collection of images that it can handle correctly. It seems quite happy to merge completely unrelated images, such as these four:


This should be house-from-n-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from n 4          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2736 kB
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Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
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All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 June 2016 Complete exposure details

 
This should be garden-nw-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden nw 4          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2432 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 June 2016 Complete exposure details

 
This should be house-from-sw-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from sw 1          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2544 kB
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Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 June 2016 Complete exposure details

 
This should be house-from-ssw-0.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from ssw 0          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2496 kB
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Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 June 2016 Complete exposure details

 

The result, of course, is complete nonsense:


This should be Multiview.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Multiview          Dimensions:          4282 x 3405, 2128 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 June 2016, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 June 2016 Complete exposure details

 

 

No support

I tried to contact their support department, but if they have one, they have hidden it well. I sent email to the contact address and received no reply.

My workaround

With a lot of experimentation, I have found a way to use this software anyway:

The results are still too gaudy. This is the best I can manage, including preprocessing the images to be less saturated. Run the cursor over either image to compare with the partner, and click to see a larger version:


This should be house-from-n-0-HDR5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from n 0 HDR5          Dimensions:          4599 x 3447, 2341 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 4 February 2017, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 February 2017, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 February 2017 Complete exposure details

 
This should be house-from-n-0.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from n 0          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2017 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 4 February 2017, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 4 February 2017, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 4 February 2017 Complete exposure details

 

The comparison image was made using my normal method from the same images.


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