Part II – Testing Luminance HDR 2.0.1 – Free HDR Imaging Software.

This one uses the Mantiuk Luminance Preset

Read Part I here:

Ok, after using Luminance for a week I find it to be a great HDR tool, with it’s current feature set and capabilities, I can honestly tell that it’s tone mapping capabilities is better than the tone mapping capabilities of Adobe Photoshop CS5, and other free hdr softwares like Picturenaut and Fusion. However, I also have to tell you that it still needs a lot of work. Every time I use it, it will crash several times while I’m in the middle of processing an image which can be very annoying.
Some of the problems I encountered:

  • Crashes when merging more than 3 images for hdr processing.
  • Crashes when using the Auto align feature
  • Crashes when Tone Mapping an image.

All of the photos in this post where produce solely using Luminance and was not enhance with any other software, I know, they’re pretty awesome considering it was produce using a free tool, I just hope they release a patch or something to address the issues.

Here’s a short step by step on how to use luminance.

  • Drag your images to Luminance, and choose New. If you don’t want to drag your photos over to Luminance, you use the New HDR Image option on the upper left.


  • Now Luminance will process your images for merging, you can see the progress in the status bar on the left beside the Load Images button as you can see in the photo below.


  • When merging is done, you can see a preview of the merge image ready for HDR Toning.  Click the Next button.


  • In these section you have the option to choose which profiles to use, the only profile that works for me is Profile 1, if I choose the others, Luminance crashes and I have to start all over again. I still haven’t figure out why it crashes. You can try to choose a profile, maybe it will work for your. After choosing the profile click Finish.


  • Next, as you can see in the photo below, is the merge HDR Photo ready for tone mapping. First click on Save HDR image so you have a copy to go back to in case you want to work on it later, now you are ready to Tone Map your hdr image, click on the Tonemap HDR Image.


  • Luminance doesn’t have a preview feature, you have to click on apply to see the result. You also have to specify how big you want the image, by selecting the size on the lower left corner, the default size is 256 x 170, this is too small for me, I always use the 735 size for easy viewing.  I only use two Tone Mapping Operator, the Mantiuk 06 which you can see below and the Fatal.


  • I find the Fatal and the Mantiuk 06 to produced really good result that I like, but that’s just me, please try all the Tone Mapping Options to find out which one suits your tastes. The first photo above was produced using the Mantiuk 06 default settings, and the last two sample photos below was produced using the Fatal option.


  • Lastly when you are done tone mapping you have to click the Save As or Save All buttons in the Toolbar section to save your tone mapped images.


These last two sample photos was produced using the Fatal Tone Mapping option.

Using the Fattal - Luminance Preset
This one also uses the Fattal Luminance Preset
I hope you find this post helpful. If you have any tips like this, or if you have any questions, or suggestions, please feel free to post a comment below.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

30 thoughts on “Part II – Testing Luminance HDR 2.0.1 – Free HDR Imaging Software.

  1. Flickr: Ash&Drew

    I like the effects, the branches look like when you stare at something for a while then shift your eyes a bit, then the clarity and colors through out the rest are incredible

  2. leoo

    Nice Tutorial.
    My question, how to tonemap one single pic for hdr with Luminance
    How to get details in the Highlight, in de shadows

    1. The Lone Urbanist

      Hi, thanks for your visit and comment. The steps on tone mapping a single photo, is the same when tone mapping multiple images., just load the image into luminance and choose one of it’s Tone Mapping Operator, and since luminance doesn’t have a preview feature, you have to click on apply every time you move the slider and change it’s values. I have only use two of the tone mapping operator, the Fatal and Mantiuk 06. You just have to play around with the sliders to bring out the details, both in the highlight and the shadows. I have also tried the other operators, but I find these two the best and requires little or no adjustments.

      Also, there are times that i use photoshop cs5 and topaz adjust to enhance the final hdr result.