Lightroom Classic CC 7.1: Problem with HDR panorama (not preserving highlights)

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Having issues with HDR panoramas in latest LR Classic CC 7.1.

I first merge bracketed shots to HDR, then merge those to panorama. The resulting panorama has less highlight detail available than individual HDR shots. I assumed it would be preserved into the panorama DNG - one of the otherwise excellent points in this workflow.

But notice the highlight details available in the attached screenshots. The individual one has way more than the panorama, with exposure dropped to comparable look at rest of tones (dropped heavily for illustration purpose). The panorama DNG seems to have some quite aggressive highlight clipping that gives very rough transitions - not at all similar to individual HDR file used for sticking panorama.

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Henrik Olsen

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Posted 2 years ago

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Zigi Putnins

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i don't do hdr panoramas, but i would think you pano each bracket then hdr the pano'd images.

Is there a preference one way or another?
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Try applying -100 Highlights and +100 Shadows to the HDR-Pano DNG file then adjust the other controls as necessary. How does that look?
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Rob Rippengale

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When making each individual HDR, the range of that scene is re-distributed across the full range in a unique way. That's OK for each HDR, and two scenes could look similar, but colors that were the same in some of the original images might end up quite different in the HDR images due to the different composition of each particular scene.

When you combine those different HDR images into a panorama, the areas that overlap probably do not match perfectly, so the colors have to be re-computed to blend together, and the whole image has to be kept within the natural range. The highlight squishing will be most noticeable.

Zigi's suggestion of making a pano with each bracket set and then HDR'ing from those panos is probably the easiest solution.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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It is always preferable to work at the highest possible bit depth when modifying the image data (i.e. stitching). When creating the individual bracket set panoramas the image files have16 bit/color image data. When creating the panorama with the bracket sets first Merged to HDR the DNG image files have 16 bit half-precision floating point values with significantly more dynamic range (see my reply below). This what the OP is already doing so something else is causing the issue.
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Have you tried using the radial filter around the affected area only and then moving the highlights slider all the way to the left?
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Take one of your merged HDR shots and send it to Photoshop as a Smart Object - Double click on the Smart Object in PS. Does Camera Raw report it as 16 Bit or 32 Bit?
Next, take your Pano merge of the HDR shots and send it to Photoshop as a Smart Object - Double click on the Smart Object in PS. Does Camera Raw report it as 16 or 32 bit. 

I am guessing you will see 32 bit on the first and 16 bit on the second which might account for the difference in dynamic range on the files.  I am guessing that would fall into the as-designed category.

If you are seeing the same bit depth on both, then I would say it is bug worthy with Adobe.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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LR/ACR Merge to HDR creates a DNG file with 16 bit half-precision floating point values.

This has much more dynamic range than a "standard definition" 16 bit/color image file. For all practical purposes it should work as well as a PS 32 bit HDR TIFF or PSD file. More here from Adobe Engineer Eric Chan:
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Would it be possible to share the dataset of HDR DNG you're merging into the panorama and the resulting panorama? That might help us troubleshoot