Atlas

Atlas 0.4

HDR photo of the Tokyo skyline

Type: Plug-ins

Updated: April 3, 2011

Availability: End-of-lifed

Compatibility

Host Applications: After Effects CS5

Operating Systems: Windows and Mac OS X

Architecture: 64-bit

Overview

Atlas is a port of the pfstmo tone mapping operators to the Adobe After Effects plug-in format. This plug-in is free open source software licensed under the GPL.

Tone Mapping

So what’s this “tone mapping” you ask? According to Wikipedia:

Tone mapping is a technique used in image processing and computer graphics to map a set of colours to another; often to approximate the appearance of high dynamic range images in media with a more limited dynamic range.

The technique is particularly useful if you have high dynamic range images, such as rendered 3DCG imagery or HDR photographs, and you want to bring their broad spectrum into a range more suitable for display on a computer monitor or television screen.

There exist numerous tone mapping operators that approach this problem from different angles and achieve varying results. Some of these algorithms are quite simple in their computation and take very little time, while others perform extremely complex computations on the images and may take a minute or more per frame to compute.

Supported tone mapping operators
Drago
Ashikhmin
Reinhard ’02
Reinhard ’05
Mantiuk
Durand
Pattanaik
Fattal
Filmic

Lately, the effect has also become something of a fad in photographer’s circles, as a quick Flickr Search will show.

Nonetheless, tone mapping is a very versatile technique that can be used for photorealistic as well as artistic effects.

Open Source

Atlas is free open source software under the GPL. The source code for the plug-in and the pfsmo library is included in the download as an Xcode project setup for compilation under Mac OS X 10.6.

The 64-bit version of Atlas for Windows was compiled and kindly made available by Zbigniew “Ziggi” Szczęsny from Warsaw, Poland.

Note that if you wish to compile the plug-in yourself you must install the After Effects SDK separately. I do not include the SDK in the download for practical and legal reasons.

Examples

Compatibility

Atlas 0.4 is compatible with After Effects CS5 on Windows and Mac OS X (64-bit).