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Fake HDR Photoshop tutorial

fake hdrThis HDR Photoshop tutorial will show you how to make fake HDR in Photoshop using just single image. Basically, in the process you increase dynamic range of your photo, then your increase local contrast. While HDR photos are getting momentum, it could be a good way to achieve popular HDR look without a lot of efforts and expenses to buy standalone software. I suggest also using Masks to apply HDR effect just to certain areas and play with Layers opacity. If you successfully used this technique, please post link to your fake HDR photos in the comments.

1. Duplicate Original Layer two times. That’s how Layer 3 appears. (Ctrl+J)

2. Set the Blending mode of Layer2 to Overlay.

3. Apply Image->Adjustements -> Desaturate. (Shift + Ctrl + U)

4. Now invert Layer2: Image -> Adjustements -> Invert (Ctrl + I)

5. Next step is to add Gaussian Blur to it (Filter- > Blur -> Gaussian Blur) around 50 pixels

6. Apply to Layer3 Filter->Other->Highpass with 60px Radius.

7. Change the blending mode of Layer3 to Overlay.

8. If you would like moderate looking HDR reduce Opacity of the 3rd layer, if you’d like to give it a punch duplicate the layer.

Original image
original image
Fake HDR image
Fake HDR image

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12 thoughts on “Fake HDR Photoshop tutorial”

  1. Lachel says:

    This is so good..Thanks for sharing it..Oh I found that after all the processes have done, just change the blending option for layer 2 to color burn and play with the capacity, maybe around 60 %, it will produce better image..;)..However, It can be applied to certain images only..

  2. marianethc says:

    Wow thank you for sharing a very quick, easy and memorable tutorial.

  3. John says:

    This is the best easy way to do HDR thank you

  4. Zahab says:

    hi, thanks a lot, this tutorial help me a lot, thanks again

  5. Eric says:

    Best HDR tutorial I’ve seen on the web. I’ve tried 4 other techniques and this provides the best result. Thank you.

  6. Larry says:

    very easy and thanks. tried this on a photo of a woman i know. photo looks awesome, thank you for your knowledge sir.

  7. Ahmed Amer says:

    That’s awesome. Very cool. Thanks

  8. NintendoPassion says:

    This is just insultingly easy! Awesome!

  9. Theamazingdave says:

    no substitute for true HDR, but works really well. Easy to get a lot of neat effects by playing with the blend mode of layer 2.

  10. Dave Cavner says:

    Nice and easy.
    I had to bump the values a tad because of the size file I was working with, but this is an awesome time saver!!

  11. Daniel Hitchcock says:

    Great tutorial!!

    I have seen many fake HDR how tos on the web but this surpasses them all!!

  12. Ashley says:

    Another great way to create the same pseduo-HDR effects is with Topaz Adjust. Check it out if you get a chance. Is a Photoshop plug-in and its easy on the wallet. . .and they give discounts for just about everything. I love this product! Just thought I’d share with you!

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