The HDRI file is a digital image format. HDRIs are often created in photo editing software to enhance digital photographs that can then be converted to smaller files to share and upload. Discover the pros, cons and uses of the HDRI format — and how to create your own HDRI file.
What is an HDRI file?
HDRI is short for High Dynamic Range Image. Digital cameras only have a limited dynamic range — that’s why some areas of a photo appear darker than they do in real life. HDRIs give photo editors a chance to brighten the corners and create an image that looks more natural.
History of the HDRI file.
Gregory Ward invented HDRI files for Radiance, his lighting simulation software, in 1986. But many of the file’s capabilities we know today were introduced through the Merge to HDR functionality in Photoshop in 2005.
This new functionality allowed for HDR tone mapping, which addressed the limited dynamic range of photography and display equipment. Tone mapping involves combining multiple photographs captured at different exposures.
How to create and edit an HDRI file.
Follow these easy steps to create an HDRI file in Adobe Photoshop:
- Open Photoshop.
- Select File > Automate > Merge to HDR.
- Select images from your computer.
- Select Align source images, if necessary. You might not need to do this if you’ve shot on a stable base, like a tripod.
- Click OK.
- When the preview box appears, select the images you want to remove, using the zoom function to look closely at the preview. You can also alter the image exposure here.
- Select OK to create your HDRI file.