Mars in your backyard: Fun with TrueHDR

War of the Worlds by @keepsy

In this post, we’re going to walk through a process to give your everyday neighborhood shots a bit of an… otherwordly look.

To create this image, we’ll use: TrueHDR, Camera+, PicGrunger, and finally LensLight.

1) Using TrueHDR

When Apple announced HDR (High Dynamic Range) as part of the features for iPhone4, I was very excited to see how well it performed. (If you’re not familiar with HDR, check out Trey Ratcliff’s excellent blog ‘Stuck in Customs‘ for some impressive samples).

While Apple’s built-in HDR probably slightly better than the regular camera in tricky light situations, there are other apps that get much better results — my favorite is TrueHDR. Here’s a quick comparison of results:

Really not a fair contest. Moreover, you get some really nice editing features in True HDR:

In particular, we like being able to adjust the warmth and contrast, since these are elements that seem to get lost or mis-translated when shooting HDR. Probably the only drawback of TrueHDR is that you have to hold really still while the app takes its 3 photos to make the composite image. This can take a few seconds, so if you have any movement in the frame you can get some artifacts and strange blurs. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but that’s for another tutorial…

2) Shape up in Camera+

Our next step is to open the saved pic in Camera+ to crop and apply the “Redscale” effect.

3) PicGrunger brings the noise

The pic is starting to look a bit more Martian. Still feels a bit too much like home, so I’d like to add some noise to the image to shake things up a bit. My favorite app for adding a bit of age without going overboard on the grunge is PicGrunger. Here We’ve selected the “Aged” effect, and dialed-down the strength a bit.

4) LensLight for artificial lighting effects

Finally, to give the setting a more alien look, we want to play with the light source. How about adding some artificial lens flare,  a moon or even some lightning? LensLight is a great cheat application for playing with alternative light sources, and has some very fine tuned controls that allow you to tap and pinch your way into some great results. For our Martian landscape, we’ve simply added a morning sun, but combined with the HDR effect tricks the eye into believing there are two light sources (i.e. how could the foreground be lit, but the water tower in silhouette?)

And there you have it. Would H.G. Wells approve? I’m having too much fun to care!

War of the Worlds by @keepsy

One Comment on “Mars in your backyard: Fun with TrueHDR”

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