Aurora HDR Review 2020

Aurora HDR
 
(4.5/5)
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS
Price: $99

Verdict: Aurora HDR is feature-rich software with tone mapping technology based on artificial intelligence. It is used to expand the dynamic range of your images. Using it, you can merge together shots with different exposures and capture the full range of brightness.

Despite being difficult to use, the program enjoys a high rating among photographers. Any Aurora HDR review will remark on the powerful merging and editing tools that allow you to create multi-layered compositions when working with photos.

Pros+
  • Wide range of tone and color settings
  • Supports third-party plug-ins
  • Performs non-destructive image editing
  • Creation of multi-layer works
  • Smart photo editing tools
  • High degree of image processing
Cons-
  • Requires a powerful graphics card
  • No trial version
  • Relatively long merging process
aurora hdr interface

This software is more suitable for advanced users, who have experience with exposure merging. While you can perform this process in the automated mode quite neatly and efficiently, Aurora photo editor can still be difficult for beginners to understand the workflow.

With automatic alignment and merging, you can create an image that includes multiple exposures from different frames. In general, the editing techniques in Aurora HDR are designed to work with difficult lighting situations where both glare and flare are present in a single shot.

Complete Aurora HDR Review

aurora hdr logo

You will be pleased with the quality of merging, as well as an impressive set of photo editing tools that will allow you to do just fine without professional photo editing software for PC. The additional assistance of the embedded presets and LUTs can be reinforced by the creation of personal filters ready for further use.

Additionally, you can save the finished works in the special “as.mprau2” Aurora HDR format or use one of the popular ones: PNG, TIFF, JPEG, and others.

Unique Filters

This software has a powerful set of built-in filters that you can use to transform your image. You can use “Customizable Gradient”, contrast settings, HDR Enhance panel, and Image Radiance filter.

These don’t require extra layers to do their tasks since the image can be split into top and bottom segments adjusted separately. When using some of those AI filters, just make a couple of mindful clicks to obtain a stunning result that is far from looking artificial.

Automated AI Functions

Aurora HDR has received an increase in the automated features controlled by artificial intelligence. Using the Quantum HDR Engine function, you can slowly but with much quality improve the dynamic range. There will be no noise artifacts or color fringing.

With Smart Tone, HDR Clarity, and HDR Smart Structure, you can have more advanced tonal control over your shots. Skylum has also implemented Shadow and Highlight controls in a few features and it has been a real boost as well.

Joint Processing of RAW and JPEG Files

using filters hdr enhance in aurora hdr

When merging images, you can work separately with RAW and JPEG files and achieve great results. However, you can get better results if you get the bracketed exposure sets for both formats.

You can use the entire set of exposures and the selection can be simplified with the Auto Alignment checkbox. Tick the best options and carry on to the next step. Make sure to not ignore this feature for the images you were taking with a camera in hands.

HDR Fine-Tuning

stitching images into aurora hdr

The Skylum Aurora HDR carries out excellent merging thanks to the algorithm of blending the layer with the mask or the HDR effects. Any additional adjustments are also mixed in seamlessly, letting the overall result look real and striking. The downside is the processing time since all these complicated algorithms are resource-demanding.

8 Collections of Looks

using looks in aurora hdr

Within, you will find eight built-in Looks (formerly called presets): Essential, Landscape, Architecture, Dramatic, and a few others. These elements give you complete visual power over the image. Another set of LUTs can be turned to for performing improvements with one click.

Smart Image Enhancement Algorithm

The main advantage of this product is the HDR enhancement panel with which you can quickly make changes to the structure and micro-contrast of the image. By slightly changing the position of the slider, you can extract fine image details without creating unnatural, over-processed effects.

In addition, an updated enhancement algorithm considerably extended the reach of the color contrast slider. Latest Aurora HDR reviews claim that it provides stronger effects without distorting the image artifacts that arise from affecting the integrity of the photo.

Great Work with Masks and Layers

working with layers in aurora hdr

While increasing clarity or, alternatively, blurring the image, you need to add an adjustment layer to the dedicated panel. You can further supply it with a mask for limiting the range of its effect. A mask can be shaped manually, using white and black brushes, with a circular or a linear gradient, or built automatically with the help of the brightness levels.

Image Overlay in Automatic Mode

By automating the merging process, Aurora HDR can accomplish this task quite easily. With the Align Images feature, you can merge multiple frames with different exposures easily and almost instantly. Then, using the Ghost Reduction function with the Highest parameter, you get rid of unnecessary contours and get a minimum amount or no artifacts at all.

More than 80 Unique Looks

An overwhelming selection of 80 Looks allows creating amazing visuals from your raw shots. These can be found only in this program and were developed by professionals teaming up with a long list of famous photographers with universally-admired styles.

Exclusive Quantum HDR Engine

using the function quantum hdr engine in aurora hdr

Making improvements to one or a series of images with different exposures, thy engaging the Quantum HDR Engine. It is a technology for displaying tones using the artificial intelligence that has been developed in the AI ​​Skylum laboratory for the last three years.

Its mechanisms automatically reduce the amount of overly bright colors, compensate for the loss of contrast, and reduce noise, as well as mitigate distortion that occurs due to the movement of objects.

Extensive Toolkit

This program, even though less famous than some others, has quite an impressive toolkit opening an endless field of capabilities to its users. Some of them, like Tone Mapping, HDR Denoise, Structure, and a few similar, are there to help you make the image look natural and technically invisible.

FAQ: Aurora HDR Review

  • Is there a free trial of Aurora HDR?

No, only a $99 purchase can entitle you to a legal download and further use. If you are not happy with the program, apply to Skylum within the first 30 days and you’ll be refunded in full.

  • Does this program support third-party presets and LUTs?

Yes, you can either click on built-in plug-ins or import any presets and LUTs to enhance images.

  • Does Aurora HDR have basic photo editing tools?

Yes. You will find all image editing tools necessary for performing the corrections of white balance, highlights, shadows, color intensity, contrast, and more.

  • Can I add masks to filters?

No, a mask is applied to an additional adjustment layer, never to the filter itself.

Aurora HDR Prices

No trial version has been presented for testing so you need to purchase the full program from an authorized distributor. The cost of the software is $99, which you pay once. Specialists, who write Aurora HDR reviews, specified that updating to the newer version is possible with the reduced $59 payment.

After updating, you can combine multiple photos with different exposures thanks to the functions that work on artificial intelligence. With a simple press of a button, you can get stunning images that look as natural as your own eyes could see at the time of the shooting. If you are not satisfied with the offered capabilities and functions, the company will refund your money within the first 30 days after purchase.

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Aurora HDR Freebies

For easier and quicker working with the program, I suggest you use presets. Using them, you can perform complex tasks of editing your HDR images with little effort.

Best Deal Presets

freebies hdr effects presets

After downloading this set, you can use such presets as Pure, Moody, Soft Contrast, Dark Colors, Royal Light and more. With their help you can improve the light levels of your images instead of resorting to the photo merging processes.


Eva Williams

Hi there, I'm Eva Williams - a professional blogger, read more

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