HDR in Photoshop CC doesn't look anything like preview

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  • Updated 4 months ago
I am making an HDR in Photoshop (choose 5 images in Lightroom, and Choose Photo > Edit In > Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop...), and it looks terrible! The colors are all wrong and it is very flat. What is strange is that the preview doesn't look that bad.

Here is the correctly exposed image:

Here is the preview in the Photoshop HDR dialog (I have chosen a default HDR blend setting to show the problem, but in reality I would use custom settings):

And here is what the image looks like after the HDR blend:

As can be seen, the colors have shifted terribly.

I have never had this problem before. Perhaps something changed in the last version of Photoshop??

Photoshop CC 19.1.5 for Macintosh

Thanks for any thoughts or suggested solutions

A
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Alan Harper

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Posted 4 months ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I'm not sure I understand the problem. The image in the preview looks the same as the resulting image. The only 'problem' is that for this HDR you cannot use the 'photorealistic' preset, but that is nothing special. If every image was perfect with the default presets, then the dialog would not need to have any sliders to make changes...
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Alan Harper

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Obviously, you don't see what I see (and it's not even Christmas!)

In the preview, the sky is much bluer, the grass much browner, the wall of the building has color, and the orange fencing is orange. I posted this using a standard preset so that I wouldn't have to explain to people why I chose a different preset, but when I use values more appropriate for this image, the preview is even less similar to the final image. (And it isn't a simple change like Saturation/Vibrance -- the hues are completely changed in a way that I can't easily fix with a layer in Photoshop).

FWIW, Merge to HDR in Lightroom is working great for this set of images, so I am just using that, and I can tweak the result to make it better. But in the past, HDR merge in Lightroom has not worked for me, so I would still like to figure out what the problem might be.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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It's difficult to see in the screenshots, because they are so dark. It would have made more sense to show the final image in the HDR dialog, and the final result in Photoshop, especially if the differences are even greater then. As you work with raw files, I wonder if the new profiles could have anything to do with it. Do you use custom camera profiles?
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Alan Harper

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This is my "WTF" moment. I did about 5 or 6 HDR composites this morning, and the final result looked nothing like the preview for any of them. I just tried again, to answer your questions, and now the preview does match the final result. I have no idea what changed—I didn't even restart my computer. Thanks for trying to help me.