Artistic or Photorealistic Photography
for All HDR Lovers

Hydra is a superb and easy to use piece of software. It has an amazing range of controls. It is easy to use. What more do you want?
Barrie Smith from the Digital Photography School

What is HDR?

This certainly happened to you: you went abroad, and took many pictures. You came back home, and were somewhat disappointed when you looked at the photographs. They were slightly different from what you remembered. You might have thought: "I am not that good at taking pictures..." And what if the issue was due to something else?

Something else is at stake indeed: camera sensors - how expensive they might be - are not sensitive enough compared to your eyes. They cannot cope with the full gamut of light because the sensor has physical limitations (which you don't have, as a human being). So, the difference you noticed was partly due to a technical issue. It also means you can use a technical trick to fix this: HDR photography!

High Dynamic Range Photography deals with combining different exposures of the same scene to create a stunning final image, which is called an HDR image.

Want to see some HDR examples made with Hydra? Have a look at this page.

How Does it Work?

Take a series of regular photographs - some are underexposed and some are overexposed - either with a DSLR or a traditional point-and-shoot camera. Import these pictures into Hydra (up to 3 in the Express version, up to 7 in the Pro version), and let Hydra mix them. It will provide human eye-like perception to the output, the HDR image.

On the left, one overexposed shot and one underexposed shot of the same scene which are merged to create an HDR image (on the right)
The first image is burnt (look at the sky), and the second one is under-exposed (look at the trees).
Combine them with Hydra to create an HDR image, i.e. an image which is closer to what your eyes actually see.
All parts of this HDR image show good focus and detail.

Express & Pro Versions

2 versions of Hydra are available (each one with specific features). You can find the main differences between Hydra Express and Hydra Pro in the table below.

Hydra Express 3
Hydra Pro 3
Input Images Up to 3 Up to 7
Batch Processing No Yes
Custom Scope Selection with Probes No Yes
Aperture and Lightroom Plug-ins Yes Yes
Price $49.99 $99.99
Sold on the Mac App Store Yes (no trial version) Yes (no trial version)
Sold through our Store Yes (trial version available) Yes (trial version available)

Hydra Express for Mac Icon

Hydra Pro for Mac Icon

Each version has the same features whether it is sold on the Mac App Store, or through our store (i.e. Hydra Express on the Mac App Store is exactly the same application as Hydra Express on this website).

More information about Hydra Pro's exclusive features here.

Powerful Tone Mapper

We developed a brand new tone mapper for Hydra 3 to make it much more powerful than the 3 tone mappers available in Hydra 2.
This new tone mapper allows real-time previewing on full resolution for the best possible user experience. Moreover, it is fully user-controllable with easy to understand settings.

12 Tone Mapping Presets

There are 12 presets available in Hydra 3 for the HDR image
Click a Vignette to Apply
the Presets to your Image.
For the 1st time, Hydra 3 offers you a series of 12 tone mapping presets. They will give a fresh new look to your images you might never have thought of.
  • Photorealistic
  • Artistic Black & White
  • Contrasted Surrealism
  • Soft Surrealism
  • Arabesque Silhouettes
  • Crispy Clouds
  • Tinted Sky
  • Reds Only
  • Sepia Tones
  • Retro
  • Cyanotype

Numerous Adjustment ControlsNext to presets, you can fine-tune many controls for creating the perfect HDR image in Hydra 3

Next to the presets, there are more new controls awaiting you:
  • You can fine-tune the image by adjusting for each scope: the overall exposure, hue, saturation, brightness, contrast, or by enhancing shadows & highlights, or details.
  • Scopes are available for local, specific adjustments of the image: bright areas, dark areas, red tones, green tones, or blue tones.
  • You can use probes to select areas based on distance, color, or brightness tolerance, and modify these areas. This custom scope selection with probes is only available in Hydra Pro.
  • You can make use of snapshots to save several images with different presets in the current Hydra project, and easily compare these images.

And last but not least, Hydra 3 enables you to work with full resolution photographs which can be previewed in full resolution and in real time. As a photo lover, you'll really appreciate.

Aperture & Lightroom Plug-ins

Apple's Aperture IconAperture Plug-in Icon
Download Hydra's Aperture Plug-in

Plug-in Compatible with Aperture 3

Hydra talks with Aperture. You can directly import images from Aperture, or export them to Aperture (and the same for iPhoto by the way).

Hydra is also available as a plug-in compatible with Aperture 3. You can now create HDR images right from within Aperture.

Photoshop Lightroom Icon
Try Hydra's Lightroom Plug-in

Plug-in for Lightroom 3, 4 & 5

Photoshop Lightroom users are going to rejoice. Hydra is also available as a plug-in for Lightroom 3, 4 & 5. So, you can use the pictures of the Lightroom library to render HDR images. Then, they will be automatically reimported into Lightroom and, if you wish, stacked with the input pictures.

How to Get the Plug-ins Working?

Install the plug-in and the stand-alone version. Purchase a license of either Hydra Express or Hydra Pro, and register your copy of the stand-alone version (only if purchased through Creaceed's website). Keep the stand-alone version installed on your Mac. Then, you can use the plug-in with all features enabled.

User Experience

Hydra also features a gorgeous UI all Mac users will appreciate.

You can work on full resolution images in the Mac HDR application Hydra
Work on Full Resolution Images
Moreover, you can work on high resolution images in full size previewing and in real time.

The image information display is now more eye-catching so that you can quickly access meaningful data like image format, image size, pixel dimensions, ISO sensitivity, focal length, aperture, or exposure duration.

We also implemented the multitouch zoom in/out which will help Trackpad users a lot, as well as refined many keyboard shortcuts for high-end users.

Optimized for Mavericks

Hydra 3 features an improved way for showing the image information
Enhanced Camera Information Display
Hydra 3 was developed from the ground up to take advantage of the latest enhancements available in OS X. It includes the fullscreen mode, autosaving and versioning, as well as automatic termination and restart.

Hydra 3 supports the fullscreen mode of OS X 10.7 Lion and higher
Fullscreen Mode

Share your HDR Images with the World!

Hydra 3 features many export options: Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Mail, iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom...
Following a huge number of user requests, Hydra 3 features many export options for...

★ locally saving your HDR images:
  • You can of course export them to your iPhoto, Aperture, or Lightroom library.
  • It is also possible to save them anywhere on your disk (Desktop, Documents...).
★ sending your HDR images to your friends and/or colleagues
  • post the HDR picture on your Facebook account (choose the image size, and add a caption)
  • add the HDR picture to your Flickr account (choose the image size, add a caption, and indicate if the picture has to be made public or not)
  • send a tweet with the HDR picture to your followers on Twitter (choose the image size, and write the message text)
  • send it with the Mail application: the HDR image is automatically added to a new message.
You can also add copyright information to the picture EXIF data.

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