Lightroom: Support Open EXR file format

  • 10
  • Idea
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • (Edited)
Lightroom 4.1 and Tiff for HDRI, seriously?

Open EXR is the format anyone serious with HDRI uses.

Especially in VFX studios and by other professional users.

What makes me wonder is that the logical step for Adobe would be a DNG -- as a 32bit/c float version to keep all (multiple) meta data intact.

With RED Scarlet or Epic, HDR-X is available for still images, and if used as still camera, Lightroom will not offer a direct solution.

The future will provide more and more HDR able camera-chips. Lr4.1. as well Adobe seems to ignore all of that.

So please Adobe, as we wait nearly 10 years to have a full 32bit/c pipeline with your products, please integrate at least OpenEXR into your Lr application.
Photo of Jet-Film


  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 7 years ago

  • 10
Photo of Eric Chan

Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

  • 631 Posts
  • 133 Reply Likes
Correct, Lightroom reads HDR images in TIFF and DNG formats, with 16, 24, or 32 bits per channel. For now, you can convert OpenEXR, Radiance, and other HDR formats to TIFF using Photoshop or other tools.
Photo of Jeffrey Tranberry

Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

  • 15633 Posts
  • 2369 Reply Likes
Made this a request for Open EXR file format support.
Photo of Jet-Film


  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hey Jeffrey,
Thanks for the reply!
I though I did with it here. Adobe is so great with its Speedgrade, and not so great with Lr4, why is that huge gap there, are photographers are not worth to get the best quality? I think they deserve the best as well. :o)
What we need is an option to get the Linear Light information save to Open EXR, with no tricks of pulling channel based highlights and jeopardize the highlight colors. (Highlights are not really white, but that is not understood mostly)
This distorts the HDR workflow heavily. Adobe needs to recognize that there are two main workflows in HDRI land, the ones who's target is tone mapping and the ones who try to get a clean HDRI representation of the world for VFX and 3D work. The clean part is not understood from ADOBE, we have to fight against all the tricks to make it happen after all.

Hey Eric,
thanks for the reply, to the formats:
Radiance/HDR is 4*8bit/c (RGBE) and not a 32bit/c format, it's color fidelity is the worst thinkable for any work that needs full float. It can't be converted really, as it is kind of truncated already. It uses the exponent for RGB at ones, not channel based.
I can't find any white-papers that supports the information that DNG is at all 32bit/c
Tiff in 16 bit/c is not float and with its gamma based file not even close an candidate for this. Adobe uses 15bit/c right? To use this for any Linear light workflow seems just weird.
Photoshop, well I'm pretty uncertain about that as well, type in the color chooser 20.0 paint and measure... It's quite a different value isn't it.

Even 16bit/c Open EXR half float has only 18.5 save stops over 50% gray (0.18) after that it becomes weak. (Yes, 30 stops save at all and 10 extra uncertain stops, I know...but read the papers from ILM, it's clearly stated there)

There is certainly a need to have full Open EXR support, if one is serious with his/her quality.

What I try to find is a way to get the RED HDR-X information save into the Adobe world, but it really isn't that simple.

There is quite some work to do.

All the best.
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 845 Reply Likes
The TIFF format supports 16, 24, and 32, and 64 bit floating point formats.
But I don't think Lightroom supports all those options yet.

As for Photoshop's color picker in 32 bit: yes, you're hitting limits of floating point precision when trying to map between HDR and LDR+Intensity representations (which only exists in the color picker UI).
Photo of Eric Chan

Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

  • 631 Posts
  • 133 Reply Likes
Correct, currently ACR/LR supports the TIFF floating point formats that Ps can save (i.e., 16, 24, and 32 bits per channel, various compression options, etc.).
Photo of Chris Packrat

Chris Packrat

  • 30 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
Various HDR- and Panorama-stitching software also offer OpenEXR as output format. A sensible choice in comparison to Tiff, be it only for the variety of compression schemes available.
Photo of Eric Chan

Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

  • 631 Posts
  • 133 Reply Likes
Currently ACR and LR are intended to produce tone-mapped output only (i.e., output-referred for display or print). Linear light scene-referred output is not a goal at present.
Photo of heb


  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Great that 32bit-HDR-Files are supported. It would be even better if not only TIFF but exr would be supported, as the files are remarkably smaller.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom 4: HDR-Support for exr-Files.
Photo of Tom Sproule

Tom Sproule

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes

I find that I do need to edit .exr files in lightroom.

Here is my workaround after spending over 12 hours looking and tearing my hair out on how to do so.

The problem for me was I edited a 4k TIFF in lightroom and needed to copy the settings to a 7k EXR file.

First I had to convert to TIFF in photoshop, but when imported to lightroom all the colours were different. This was because photoshop was automatically assigning a colour profile.

I had to convert from 32 bit to 16 bit. I did this by creating a new document of the same size in photoshop, then copying the image across 'Ctrl A, Ctrl C' and then 'Ctrl V' in the new document. For some reason by clicking on mode and changing to 16 bit didn't work, this was my work around.

Then I tried removing the colour profile by saving out by unchecking the check box on the colour profile. However the colours were still weird when imported to lightroom.

I did eventually find a simple solution which works for me. This was to go to 'Edit', 'Assign Profile', 'Don't Color Manage This Document', and then saving out. Then when I then import to lightroom it looks exactly the same as on my screen in photo viewer.

I know it works for me, I do not know if this method of removing the colour profile and importing will work for others, but I think it might.

Just putting this out there as a solution which might help others.

Best, Tom