Simply HDR is Simple and Fun

Simply HDR for the iPhone has been available for one year and has been getting good reviews on iTunes. I didn’t really notice this one until a month ago and thought I would give it a spin. The app is from JixiPix, and they are starting to have a LOT of really good apps for processing photos!

High dynamic range (HDR) is one of those things that some love and some hate, but it is around now and won’t be going anywhere. There are a number of apps for iOS that let you create HDR images by taking multiple exposures and merging them together (Pro HDR is one example), and others that take a single image and adjust portions of it to achieve the HDR-look. Simply HDR is the latter.

Below is example showing a variety of styles in Simply HDR. The original photo is the one in the top left corner. Click on any to see a larger version on Flickr.

Apple (orig) Apple 1
Apple 2 Apple 3

When the app first opens it has a default setting for your photo. If you then want to further adjust the image there are a number of presets and you can also create presets. Once you have a look you like you can then do a bit of further adjusting of things like the strength of the effect, vignette, grain, filter, and tint (these vary based on the style you have selected). Just for fun, there is the randomization button that will surprise you.

There is a nice “show original” button that really helps you get a feeling for how drastically the image may have changed. I did a walkthough using the app for a few minutes to show many of the features.

There are a few things I’d like to see in a future version. The thumbnails for each preset are just a stock image and it would be really nice if those were updated to reflect your current image. Being able to control overall brightness and contrast would also be nice. Also, as you are working you can see the main image change, but the final output looks noticeably different than what you see in the app. Things are much “rougher” in the app.

Here are two images that show the difference between the image when editing in the app and the final output. It is easiest to see the difference when looking at the telephone wires
Belmont In App
Belmont After App

Overall the app is nice for getting the HDR look. If you like it, I think it’s worth it. I put a number of other images (including the car shots from the video walkthough) up on Flickr in this set. You can even see how scary you can make your own face. Really scary!

Simply HDR on iTunes (currently $0.99) [download]
There is also a version called Simply HDR-HD for the iPad, and Simply HDR for the Mac.

Description from iTunes

Simply HDR is an incredibly powerful tool that will instantly create stunning imagery from otherwise bland subjects and compositions.

Early on photographers were challenged to capture beautiful scenery, seen with their eyes onto film. Now, with Simply HDR photographers and hobbyists can automatically convert their images into ones with unparalleled ranges of light and detail. Gone are the days of multiple images; with Simply HDR one picture is all that is required to add dramatic luminescence to the brightest and darkest areas of any scene.

Simply HDR will produce an outstanding picture with a maximized range of dynamic light, but for times when your subjects are people or pets, we’ve provided a smoothing slider to gently smooth areas with too much detail or use it to correct a halo where the sky meets the trees.

High Dynamic Range is captivating and mesmerizing, revealing and detailed, utterly awesome and rich with beauty. It’s also user-friendly for both professional and amateur photographers.

Features include five HDR styles…
High Dynamic Range, Black and White HDR, Contrasted HDR, Shadows and Lights, and Contrasted Light.

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