HDR 32 bit

Tags : 

What is HDR 32 bit? It’s a different method of processing and merge the brackets exposures. You know that you can reach a good results with Photomatix that use the tonemap method. Tonemapping usually use 16 bit mode, this really boils down to is the volume of information that is stored within a file. Tonemapping can create a cool HDR effect but when using this method you have to know about the limitation of its algorithms. The HDR 32 bit method is an alternative way to preserve all the informations contained and work the merging result without loosing any information in the images. This happen cause the worked images have more informations compared to a 16 bit image and the editing will be more detailed using the image like a RAW file totally bypassing the tone mapping method. Let’s start to see how to do it:


Open the bracketed images in Photoshop and select File>Automate>Merge to HDR Pro and import your exposures.

Schermata 2015-01-20 alle 21.54.18

Once Photoshop processed the images a second screen like the one below will appear. Select “Mode 32 Bit” and “Complete toning in Adobe Camera Raw” and click Tone in ACR


Schermata 2


The image will be open in Camera Raw, and you can use its full potential to work in 32-bit HDR. Edit the image as you prefer according to your taste, always keeping in mind that the presets for this kind of thing does not exist but thay change from image to image, but you can create a nice effect through:

  • Increasing the brightness of the shadows
  • Lowering of the highlights
  • Increase Clarity
  • Increase details


Schermata 3

Schermata 4

When you are satisfied of the result, click OK and the image will be displayed in Photoshop. Now it will be possible to switch the image in 8-16 bit going in the menu on top selecting: Image>Mode 8 or 16 bit. This will open a window for the HDR toning. Select Exposures and Gamma in the method menu like the image below:


Schermata 5

At this point you can edit the HDR as you would for any other images through the selective use of layer masks. Keep in mind that using Photoshop CC you will be able to open Camera Raw as a Filter.

An easy way to do this is:

1) Duplicate layer;

2) Open filters menu and select “Camera Raw Filter”;

3) Make the changes you want to affect the image and click OK;

4) Now your are back in Photoshop, select layer mask… a white square will appear near your filter

5) Now the level should be like the image below, with a white square at the side. The White colour reveals the contents of the mask, black hides it. (to go black just click CTRL+I or CMD+I)

Schermata 6


6) Clicking on the mask now paint the image with the brush tool with black (or white) colour.

7) You can repeat this operation all the times you want to make various changes in different part of the picture. Using the layers masks you can apply the Camera Raw changes only in the part of picture you want.

Here is the final image with HDR 32-bit process

Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

Newsletter Signup