If you've had any interest in HDR photography, you'll no doubt recognize the Photomatix name. As one of the premier applications in the field, Photomatix Pro has set standards for ease of use and outstanding results and it's the choice of many professionals for creating HDR images. In short, it allows photographers to create high dynamic range images from their photos, quickly and easily, with full control over the effects, from realistic to artistic.
HDRsoft brought us Photomatix Essentials as an alternative to the Pro version, offering a more simplified approach to HDR processing. It uses the same engines as the pro version, but with a much lower license fee. As of now, in addition to the standalone application, you can now opt to use it as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop Elements! You can use it to process images you've opened in Elements and it goes right back to Elements when you're done.
Don't be fooled by the lower price; this is a very powerful, versatile application that delivers amazing results and lets you customize them to suit your needs. It also integrates features like alignment technology that adjusts your bracketed images for camera movement and automatic removal of “ghosts” caused by moving objects. You can select from a great range of styles for the final image and “tweak” the results with presets or manual adjustments.
What's more, the usefulness of this application goes beyond working with bracketed images. You can use it to enhance the tonal range of single shots, too, so there's extra hope for those grab shots when you don't have time for bracketing or conditions don't allow it.
The software is available in versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows as well Mac platforms and the plugin that comes with the download is compatible with Photoshop Elements version 10 and higher. If that's not enough, there's a fully functional trial version that never expires, so you can take as long as you like to make up your mind about licensing.
Whether you're interested in diving into HDR imagery or just want to see what it's all about without the need to spend a lot of money, you're going to want to give this application a try. If you've never thought about creating HDR photos, now would be a good time to consider it!
You can see Photomatix Essentials in action in the video at the bottom of this page: http://www.hdrsoft.com/download/pme.html. When you're ready to try it out for yourself, download the version you need along with the new Photoshop Elements plugin at the top of the same page.