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0001 .. meta:: 0002 :description: The digiKam Exposure Blending Tool 0003 :keywords: digiKam, documentation, user manual, photo management, open source, free, learn, easy, exposure, blending, bracketing 0004 0005 .. metadata-placeholder 0006 0007 :authors: - digiKam Team 0008 0009 :license: see Credits and License page for details (https://docs.digikam.org/en/credits_license.html) 0010 0011 .. _expo_blending: 0012 0013 Exposure Blending 0014 ================= 0015 0016 .. contents:: 0017 0018 No matter how good your camera is, taking a well-exposed photo of a high-contrast scene like a black bird on snow can be really tricky. Even if you switch to the manual mode and tweak the exposure settings, there is still a risk that you will end up with a shot containing under or over-exposed areas. One way to solve this problem is to use the digiKam Exposure Blending. This technique involves taking several shots of the same scene or subject with different exposures (**bracketing**) and then fusing these shots into one perfectly exposed photo. 0019 0020 While exposure blending sounds simple in theory, achieving usable results can be a rather laborious and time-consuming process. Fortunately, digiKam can do the donkey job for you. The exposure blending tool relies on the `Hugin command line tools <https://hugin.sourceforge.io/>`_ for processing and fusing photos, so you must install it on your machine beforehand. 0021 0022 From Icon-View, select the photos you want to blend, and choose :menuselection:`Tools --> Blend Stacked Images`, or click on **Blend Stacked Images** icon from **Tools** tab in **Right Sidebar**. 0023 0024 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_selection.webp 0025 :alt: 0026 :align: center 0027 0028 The Bracketed NEF Files Selected from Icon-View 0029 0030 This opens the Exposure Blending wizard that guides you through the entire process. 0031 0032 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_01.webp 0033 :alt: 0034 :align: center 0035 0036 The Exposure Blending Wizard with the Hugin Components Detection 0037 0038 In the Set Bracketed Images window, add other photos if needed, and remove and rearrange the photos that are already in the list. Hit then the Next button to move to the next step 0039 0040 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_02.webp 0041 :alt: 0042 :align: center 0043 0044 The Exposure Blending Wizard with the List of Items to Merge 0045 0046 digiKam can align the selected photos before blending them. This feature can come in handy if you took the photos without a tripod. If this is the case, tick the Align bracketed images check box, and press Next to start the pre-processing. 0047 0048 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_03.webp 0049 :alt: 0050 :align: center 0051 0052 The Exposure Blending Wizard Pre-Processing Stage 0053 0054 Once digiKam is done, press **Finish** button, and you will be automatically dropped into the **Exposure Blending Editor**. 0055 0056 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_04.webp 0057 :alt: 0058 :align: center 0059 0060 The Exposure Blending Ready to Edit the Stacked Images 0061 0062 Hit the **Preview** button to see the blended photo in the preview pane. If you move the mouse over the preview canvas, a toolbar must appears on top left corner to **Zoom In**, **Zoom Out**, and **Zoom to Fit** on the image. 0063 0064 If you are not satisfied with the **Preview** result, you can tweak the available **Enfuse Settings** on the right side. where you will found the following options: 0065 0066 - **Automatic Local/Global Image Features Balance (Levels)**: Set automatic level selection (maximized) for pyramid blending, i.e. optimize image features (contrast, saturation, ...) to be as global as possible. 0067 0068 - **Image Features Balance**: Set the number of levels for pyramid blending. Balances towards local features (small number) or global features (high number). Additionally, a low number trades off quality of results for faster execution time and lower memory usage. This option is enable only if **Automatic Local/Global Image Features Balance (Levels)** is disabled. 0069 0070 - **Hard Mask**: Force hard blend masks without averaging on finest scale. This is only useful for focus stacks with thin and high contrast features. It improves sharpness at the expense of increased noise. 0071 0072 - **Well-Exposedness Contribution**: Set the well-exposedness criterion contribution for the blending process. Higher values will favor well-exposed pixels. 0073 0074 - **High-Saturation Contribution**: Increasing this value makes pixels with high saturation contribute more to the final output. 0075 0076 - **High-Contrast Contribution**: Sets the relative weight of high-contrast pixels. Increasing this weight makes pixels with neighboring differently colored pixels contribute more to the final output. Particularly useful for focus stacks. 0077 0078 - **Use Color Appearance Model (CIECAM02)**: Use Color Appearance Modelling (CIECAM02) to render detailed colors. Your input files should have embedded ICC profiles. If no ICC profile is present, sRGB color space will be assumed. The difference between using this option and default color blending algorithm is very slight, and will be most noticeable when you need to blend areas of different primary colors together. 0079 0080 You can also exclude individual photos from the stack on the top right corner to improve the blending result. The clever part is that every time you tweak the settings and press the **Preview** button, digiKam generates a preview image stored on the bottom right corner which you can compare with the previous versions. You can then save all the generated versions, or save only the one you like most by selecting wanted preview. The output format to use at export stage can be set in **Save Result** settings. If exported file already exists, it can be overwritten or not. A common template file name can be also configured for the exported files. 0081 0082 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_05.webp 0083 :alt: 0084 :align: center 0085 0086 The Exposure Blending Editor to Create Fusionned Versions 0087 0088 digiKam’s exposure blending tool is capable of producing rather impressive results, especially if you are not afraid of getting your hands dirty with manually tweaking the final results. 0089 0090 .. figure:: images/expo_blending_final.webp 0091 :alt: 0092 :align: center 0093 0094 The Fusionned NEF Files Exported as JPEG and Displayed in digiKam