Photoshop Tutorial: Pseudo HDR

In this tutorial I will show to how to transform any JPG photo in a HDR type of photo.

End result:
Pseudo HDR Final Image


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Practice tutorial


Step 1

Let's start!
Open your image in Photoshop. I find mine at former giraffe contest

Step 2

Duplicate your original layer and convert it to "Smart object" by clicking right button of your mouse and choose "convert to Smart object" like in below picture

Step 3

On your duplicate layer converted go to Image->Adjustments ->Shadow/Highlights and set Shadow between 15-25 and Highlights 50-60. IMPORTANT !!! don't hit OK button

Step 4

On this pop-up menu mark "show more option".Now it's up to you to find a good contras by playing with "Tonal Width" and "Radius" (green mark) or "Color correction" (blue mark).Don't forget each picture is different and you will not have same settings twice.Now you can hit OK :)

Step 5

Above your second layer create a Curve Adjustment layer by going to half black half white circle hold down Alt key and choose Curve

Step 6

Now drag black and white slice like in my pic or set "output" to 255 and "input" around 200

Step 7

Return to second layer and go to Filter->Other->High Pass. In pop-up menu set High pass value between 1 and 2 , from my personal experience a value of 3-4 or above will not help.

Step 8

You will see at this point under converted layer 3 more "mini layers" :) . put your mouse on "High Pass" right click and when the pup -up menu appears choose "Edit smart filter blending option" (it is first in the menu) . A bigger pop-up will appear called "Blending option (High Pass)".Set Mode to Overlay hit OK and you are done! :)

Step 9

I hope this tutorial will help you in your future work.
All the best!

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avatar devangel
devangel says:


(5 years and 2332 days ago)
no avatar
unkskitty says:

Very good effect and much easier than other masking techniques I've seen. I'll use this a lot! Thanks!

(5 years and 2328 days ago)
avatar kremerb
kremerb says:

Thanks, this can be very helpfull.

(5 years and 2324 days ago)
no avatar

very useful. thanks

(5 years and 2324 days ago)
avatar wazowski
wazowski says:

In older PS versions your step 7&8 might not work, because in these versions you can not convert a (group of) layers as smart object yet (I forgot when they started with smart object though...). In that case with step 7 you have to duplicate your layer 0 copy first, then high pass and then blending option overlay

(5 years and 2323 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

You might want to explain what an HDR image is... cause I myself have no clue what that means... I would have to google it to find out.

(5 years and 2311 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

That is a fantastic technique, thank you very much, you've achieved a wonderful result with your image, I'm very keen to go and try it on one of my own

(5 years and 2291 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Thanks for the simple to follow steps! NICE TUT!

(5 years and 2252 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Hi, I love the outcome, well done!!

(5 years and 2227 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Wonderful tutorial for a noob.
I absolutely do not like the HDR effect. Not playing around with curves, does exactly what i want!
Thanks a million, never knew how to use layering before.

(5 years and 2218 days ago)
no avatar
Moon36 says:

ThnX for the Idea
But its not true ... for the HDR
Its for Only HD
be warnning!

(5 years and 2176 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

That's why it's called Pseudo HDR, people.
It's not true HDR, just "fake HDR".

Seriously, people are idiots

(5 years and 2106 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

And this is well done, by the way. Thanks.

(5 years and 2106 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Cool...... very effective steps... thks for sharing...

(5 years and 1975 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

thanks. very much useful when it comes to single file image.

(5 years and 1825 days ago)

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