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A Student Used Microsoft Excel to Create a HDR Photo?!

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If you were to ask a friend which software they use for photo editing, the chances are that they would probably respond by saying either “ Photoshop”, “Lightroom” or “I don’t edit photos”. But what would be your reaction if they told you they use Microsoft Excel? You would probably assume that whoever said either doesn’t really edit at all or is, to put it kindly: as mad as a hatter.

However Kevin Chen, previously a camera software intern with Apple, has not only managed to use Excel for photo editing, he used it to create an HDR photo!

“Have you ever taken a photo with areas that are too bright or too dark? As any photographer will tell you, high dynamic range photography is the right way to solve your problem. And, as any business person will tell you, Microsoft Excel is the right platform to implement your solution.”

So how did he do it?

Chen made it sound simple when he stated that the algorithm was “ just a system of linear equations”, but linear equations are not simple for us all. To explain it as briefly as possible, Chen broke down the images into grayscale pixels and assigned each of these pixels to an individual cell in a spreadsheet. He then squared up the cells and used the zoom setting to zoom out which revealed the photos in full.

Hey, presto!

You can see how the detail in the stained glass windows is far more visible in the photo on the right.

HDR Excel

As amazing as Chen’s work may be, it is unlikely that you are now going to rush to open Excel in an attempt to reproduce his complex algorithm, who really has time for that? Besides, there are much more simple solutions that exist.

The classic methods of producing HDR photos would be through exposure bracketing, where you take several shots of a subject in different exposures and then blend them together to create a single photo with more depth of field and detail. This method can produce some stunning results but is highly limited as if the subject is moving, it will produce blurred images known as ‘ghosting’. When it comes to creating HDR photos of a moving subject, there is only one software that works and that is HDRinstant.

How does HDRinstant work?

HDRinstant creates HDR photos from videos without the need of different exposures by artificially increasing the dynamic range. This is a revolutionary method which stacks the neighboring frames together and results in a high-resolution HDR photo.

This process may also sound complicated, however, it is very simple for the user. You simply need to open a video in the software, select the frame and then it does the complicated part leaving you only the finishing touches with tone mapping.

So if you fancy creating an HDRimage without the having the knowledge of linear equations, download a free trial of HDRinstant by clicking Here!