Announced by Macphun, the California-based software developer known for making complex photo editing tasks simple and fun, as “the ultimate HDR solution”, Aurora HDR 2018, offers major updates to create the most realistic and natural images possible. Co-developed with renowned photographer Trey Ratcliff, which is considered a HDR evangelist, the program can be purchased for $89 and current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade at a special price of $49.
“The original Aurora HDR quickly became the industry standard for HDR photo editing on Mac and the new version is even more innovative and powerful than its predecessors,” said Kevin La Rue, Vice President at Macphun. “With Aurora HDR 2018, we’ve introduced the next-generation of tone mapping for superior natural results, plus long-awaited lens correction and transform tools that allow users to create perfect HDR images,” La Rue concluded.
Aurora HDR 2018 has a completely new and smarter algorithm for tone mapping single or multiple exposures that results in the most realistic starting image possible. When merging brackets, the algorithm analyzes each image separately, automatically detecting dark and light zones and adjusting the level of detail which will produce a very natural looking HDR image. With single image processing, the tone mapping algorithm brings out colours and enhances dark and light zones. Either way, this initial starting point is a great foundation for advanced image editing.
Another major improvement to Aurora HDR 2018 is the new HDR Enhance Filter. A single slider adds details and clarity to an image, adjusting colors, details and contrast without creating artificial halos or other problems. Moving the slider also adjusts the intensity of changes, making the picture look more natural or revealing a more dramatic look, depending on the desired effect.
Browse through the full list of new and improved features introduced in Aurora HDR 2018, to get an idea of what the program offers:
- NEW: Next-generation Tone Mapping – A new smart Tone Mapping algorithm automatically reduces noise, and produces more realistic and natural initial results.
- NEW: Mac and Windows versions – Aurora HDR 2018 is available both for Mac and PC users, enabling mixed-computer households to share the same product key.
- NEW: Lens Correction Tool – The new Lens Correction filter easily fixes all kinds of lens distortion, from barrel and pincushion to chromatic aberration and vignetting.
- NEW: Transform Tool – Easily scale, rotate and shift your image to better fit your vision.
- NEW: Dodge & Burn Filter – Selectively lighten or darken specific areas of an image to artfully direct your viewer’s eye towards the key subject of your image, similar to a traditional darkroom technique.
- NEW: HDR Enhance Filter – Adds details and clarity to an image, adjusting colors, details and contrast without creating artificial halos or other problems.
- NEW: User Interface – A new, modern and responsive user interface brings a powerful, yet joyful experience to HDR photo editing.
- NEW: History Panel – An easy-to-reference list of edits made to your image, the History panel allows you to click on any editing step to revert the photo to an earlier stage of editing.
- NEW: Touch Bar support for Mac – Aurora HDR 2018 adds Touch Bar support to give new MacBook Pro users fast access to key editing features and speed up their workflow.
- NEW: Image Flip and Rotate – Perfect for correcting photos with incorrect horizons or making creative compositions or other stylistic changes to an image.
- IMPROVED: New Structure Algorithm – The re-developed Structure tool allows you to adjust detail and clarity of an image to get a classic HDR effect with great detail or a smoother effect with less details.
- IMPROVED: RAW handling – An improved RAW conversion brings out more details in shadows/highlights, displays colors more accurately and reduces noise in RAW files.
- IMPROVED: Crop tool update – Now specify custom crop sizes for even more versatility.
- IMPROVED: Speed – Faster merging and masking performance, improvement in RAW image processing.
The list does not end here, as the new Aurora HDR 2018 also brings more blend modes, improved color temperature, image radiance, and an improvement whereby custom textures can now include RAW files. Aurora HDR 2018 can work as a standalone app, as well as a plugin to Lightroom and Photoshop both on Mac and PC versions, and with Adobe Elements and Aperture on Macs.
Although the program is going to be available for both Mac and PC, it should be noted that some features will be missing from the PC version at launch. Macphun says that “Lens Correction and Transform tools, as well as image flip and rotate will be available in the Mac version at launch, and arrive in the PC version with the first free update in the beginning of October. Other tools and features that are currently available for Mac only would be added to PC version by the end of the year.”
The pre-order period runs from September 12 until September 27 at aurorahdr.com/2018. Pre-order customers will receive a bonus pack including Trey Ratcliff Deep Dive video, a Travel Photography Tutorial by Matt Granger, Source Brackets and 3-month Zenfolio Pro website, including a complementary design consultation, with a $60 value.
Aurora HDR can be activated on 5 devices, either PC or Mac, using the same product key, an option which is great for mixed-computer households. During pre-order, current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade at a special pre-order price of $49, while new users can purchase Aurora HDR 2018 at a special preorder price of $89. The normal retail price of the program is $99, with the upgrade price for Aurora HDR users being $59.