• Hydra keeps asking me to connect to the Internet in order to register. I checked my connection several times. What am I doing wrong?
    Internet connection is established when you first activate the application. This problem usually occurs when you type something wrong in the license key (e.g. problem with the case, missing number or letter, an additional blank or carriage return after the code). Try again to copy and paste your license key because it is case sensitive.

  • Entering the registration code did not activate Hydra. I tried downloading a fresh copy, but this did not help. When I restart I get the message that Hydra is not registered.
    Please try again. As the registration code is case sensitive, it is usually better to copy/paste it. Please be careful not to enter leading or trailing spaces.

  • I've just registered Hydra. How can I remove the word "Unregistered" from the HDR images rendered with the demo version?
    If you saved the project as a .hydradoc file, it will be very easy. All you have to do is open the project (all settings were saved) and render the HDR image again.
    However, if you only saved the HDR image in .jpg (and not the .hydradoc file), you won't be able to remove the watermark quickly. You have to do the whole process again (photo import, alignment, merging, settings...).
    That's why we advise you to save all your projects to keep their settings.

  • I purchased Hydra on the Mac App Store but didn't receive any serial. Can you send one to me?
    Apple rely on another licensing system for activating applications available on the Mac App Store. You don't need any code to register it. After purchasing an application, it is fully functional right away. Moreover, the purchase is saved in your iTunes account history. It means that if you want to install Hydra on your new Mac, you only have to download a fresh copy from the Mac App Store (and you won't be charged a second time by the way).


  • What is the difference between Hydra Express and Hydra Pro?

    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

  • What is the difference between Hydra sold on the Mac App Store, and Hydra sold through Creaceed's website?
    The only difference is the licensing system: you need a serial for registering applications sold on Creaceed's website, but you don't need one if it was downloaded from the Mac App Store (Apple rely on another licensing system).
    So, the features of Hydra Express sold on the Mac App Store are exactly the same as the features of Hydra Express available on Creaceed's website.

  • What is the difference between the demo version and the registered version?
    Only one little thing: "Unregistered copy" is written in white on the output image made with the demo version.
    We don't want you to buy a pig in a poke. That's why the demo version enables you to try the application before actually buying it.
    Moreover, there's neither use limit nor time limit for trying the demo version.

Aperture Plug-in

  • How to register the Aperture Plug-In?
    You have to register Hydra's Stand-Alone Version to activate the Aperture plug-in's features.
    • Open Hydra.
    • In the menu, choose Hydra, then Register / Buy a License...
    • Type your email address.
    • Copy the activation code you received by email, and paste it in the "License Key or Activation Code" field.
    • Click Activate.
    Important notice: you have to keep Hydra's stand-alone version installed on your Mac to go on working with the Aperture plug-in.

  • With which versions of Aperture can I use Hydra's Plug-In?
    Hydra's Aperture plug-in works with Aperture 3.x (64-bit architectures).

  • I downloaded and installed the Aperture plug-in successfully but it is not available in Aperture. What am I doing wrong?
    First, check if the plug-in file (i.e. "HydraPlugIn.ApertureExport") is located in one of the following folders:
    • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Aperture/Plug-Ins
    • Home/Library/Application Support/Aperture/Plug-Ins.

    If you can't find the plug-in there, check the folder permissions. You should have at least read access to the folder. Change the permission if need be, and install the Aperture plug-in again.

    Sharing and permissions details

  • I installed Hydra's update but I still have the Aperture plug-in's former version. What should I do?
    Hydra's stand-alone version automatically warns you when an update is available for download. It was however not possible in the Aperture plug-in before version 2.1.
    You should check which version of the plug-in is currently installed on your computer (bottom left corner of the plug-in window):
    • Is it version 1.6 or 2.0? You have to download and install Hydra's latest version you find on our website. By doing so, your plug-in will be up to date.

    • Is it version 2.1 or higher? Auto updating is then available. You don't have to do anything by yourself. You can wait for the plug-in's update messages.

  • I can't import images from Aperture into Hydra because the Aperture icon is faded.
    Hydra tries to locate Aperture in the Applications folder. If you installed it elsewhere, Hydra won't be able to find it. Just create an alias of Aperture in the Applications folder.

  • Will Hydra work with images for which I modified the exposure in Aperture?
    Yes, it will. Here is what you should do to import modified images in the plug-in:
      1. Select all the photographs you need.
      2. Hold the Shift key.
      3. Choose Edit with Hydra HDR Processing.

Lightroom Plug-in

  • How to register the Lightroom Plug-in?
    The Lightroom Plug-in talks directly with Hydra. That's why you have to register Hydra's Stand-Alone Version.
    • Open Hydra.
    • In the menu, choose Hydra, then Register / Buy a License...
    • Type your email address.
    • Copy the activation code you received by email, and paste it in the "License Key or Activation Code" field.
    • Click Activate.
    The Lightroom Plug-in is now registered through Hydra. You can therefore render HDR images without watermark within Lightroom.
    Remark: keep the stand-alone version installed on your Mac. Otherwise, the plug-in won't be registered anymore.

  • With which versions of Lightroom can I use Hydra's Plug-in?
    The Lightroom Plug-in of Hydra is fully compatible with Lightroom 3 and 4 for 64-bit architectures (under Snow Leopard and Lion).

HDR Technique

  • I inspected the alignment panel, and noticed the 3rd image is grayed out, showing completely the wrong part of the image. Why? What can I do?
    A frame is grayed out in the alignment panel when the automatic method didn't manage to locate the point on that image. If you can clearly locate that point though, re-enable that checkbox and move it to the appropriate location by dragging the mouse inside the frame.

  • How can I get a .jpeg or a .tiff file at the completion of a picture instead of .hydradoc?
    In the export window, you can choose either jpg, tiff or OpenEXR, and then click the Save button (in the bottom right corner of the window). The HDR image is automatically exported to the requested location or service.

  • Is it normal for the final merged file (as a jpeg) to be so much smaller than the input RAWs?
    Yes, it is. Jpeg is an 8-bit compressed file, while RAW usually is a 12-14-bit uncompressed file.

  • Can I start with one RAW file, create a duplicate RAW, adjust the exposure, and then merge the two RAW files with Hydra? Will that work as if I had bracketed while shooting?
    Creating 2 jpeg files from a single RAW is unnecessary, and will provide worse results than using the single RAW directly. Hydra is indeed fully aware of the actual dynamic range of RAW files.
    And remember that working with a single RAW file makes sense in Hydra anyway. You can import it into Hydra, apply tone mapping, change brightness, contrast,... and render an HDR image.

  • What can I do with the + and - buttons at the bottom of the inspector in Develop mode?
    These buttons are for adding and deleting snapshots. What are snapshots used for? Imagine you want to experiment before rendering the HDR image.
    • Change the value of contrast, saturation, exposure, etc. and click the + button to temporarily save the image in your Hydra project. A dot appears in the first circle.
    • Then, move the sliders to change values again, and click the + button. Another dot appears in the second circle.
    • Click the 1st circle to preview the 1st image you saved. Click the second one to show the second image. So, you can easily compare images, and render the one you like best.

    part of Hydra's User Interface for using snapshots


  • I was told Creaceed released Hydra 3.x. Is there an upgrade offer for Hydra 2.x users? Is it time limited?
    There is indeed an upgrade offer:
    • You purchased Hydra Express 2.x on the Mac App Store - the upgrade to Hydra Express 3.x is FREE!
      Open the App Store application, and Hydra Express 3 will be listed among the updates to be installed.

    • You purchased Hydra Pro 2.x before January 1, 2011 - the upgrade to Hydra Pro 3.x costs $29.95
      Users got a coupon code by email. This code has to be used in Creaceed's store to get the upgrade price.

    • You purchased Hydra Pro 2.x as of January 1, 2011 - the upgrade to Hydra Pro 3.x is FREE!
      Users received their new serial by email. Watch your mailbox carefully!

    This offer is not time limited. You can upgrade to Hydra 3 whenever you want. If you didn't get your new serial, or your coupon code, contact the support team.

  • Is it possible to upgrade from the Express version to the Pro version of Hydra?
    Basically, yes but there's a difference depending on the sales channel you used for purchasing Hydra Express.
    If you purchase your license
    • on the Mac App Store, you have to write to support at creaceed dot com, and send the iTunes receipt showing the purchase of Hydra Express. We'll send you a coupon code so that you can purchase Hydra Pro on Creaceed's website at a discount. By the way, it is not possible to upgrade at a discount within the Mac App Store for some technical reasons.
    • through Creaceed's website, contact the support team, and mention all your contact information (name, address, email...). We'll locate the original order in our database, and we'll get back to you with a coupon code.

  • What can I do if I can't find my license key?
    Write to support at creaceed dot com, and mention all your contact information (name, address, email...) so that we can quickly search for your license key in our database.


  • There is a ghost-like effect around contours in the output.
    This usually happens for 2 reasons:

    • The objects or people moved between the shots.
      It is a limitation of the HDR process. The image content should be the same between shots. You can improve this by using a camera with bracketing, as this allows to reduce time between shots.
      NEW! Use the ghost removal feature available in Hydra 3. Simply draw a line around the area where objects are moving. Then, select which image(s) you actually want to use for this area when rendering the HDR image.

    • One shot is blurry, the others are not.
      This typically occurs for the brightest image (longer exposure time). Increasing ISO and/or aperture settings will make shorter exposure time, and will therefore reduce motion blur.

  • Why are reference points moving so slowly?
    Your Mac is probably not powerful enough for the current preview quality in Hydra. Go to the Preferences window and uncheck the "Full Resolution Previewing" box.

  • It seems that Hydra does not recognize my files. What can I do?
    Hydra supports the cameras supported by Aperture. However, there's a solution for unsupported cameras. Use Adobe DNG Converter (a free application) which will convert your images to the digital negative format that can then be imported into Hydra. RAW information will be kept.

  • Neither Hydra, nor Adobe DNG Converter supports the RAW files from my camera. What can I do?
    Hydra uses Apple's built-in RAW library which is regularly updated with new cameras. Until your camera is supported, we advise you to convert those images into 16-bit TIFF, and then to import the TIFF images into Hydra.

  • I processed 3 files to HDR successfully. On my second try, I tried 5 images and got only a black, blank image in Hydra. What might be the problem?
    The middle image is used as a reference for image alignment. If the brightest or the darkest image is too different from the reference (details not recognizable), alignment may fail and produce a black image. If this occurs, the best you can do is to align the images manually by moving existing reference points.

  • All images created with Hydra look much darker and less saturated when viewed in Windows or even in Firefox or Opera on a Mac.
    Open these images in Preview, choose the option Match to Profile (choosing Adobe RGB for instance, or any other), then save them as a new JPEG. That way, it should be fine on most browsers.

Can't find your answer? Need Help?

    Write to
    . When you ask a question, please send the following information so that we can quickly help you:
    • Mac Model
    • OS X Version
    • Hydra Version
    • Whether you purchased Hydra through the Mac App Store, or through Creaceed's Website
    • Input Image Format and Resolution
    • Camera Model
    • Crash Report if you have one
    • Any Message about Hydra when you open

    We developed an application to retrieve relevant information and therefore help us investigate issues and bugs. Download the Diagnosis application, unzip the file, and open the app. Click "Show details" if you want to check which information will be sent (no personal information included). Click "Send" to email us the diagnosis report.

    Thank you!

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