What’s Extremely HDR? Every thing it’s worthwhile to know in regards to the new imaging format

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Key Takeaways

  • Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional introduce the brand new Extremely HDR picture format, which boosts HDR content material for a extra pure and lifelike look.
  • Extremely HDR maintains backward compatibility by utilizing the .jpeg extension, permitting it to be considered on any gadget that helps normal JPEGs.
  • Challenges for Extremely HDR embrace compatibility with numerous functions, compression points that will have an effect on the show of HDR particulars, and restricted availability on solely Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional units.


Google’s new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional are undoubtedly nice telephones with a lot to supply. Nevertheless, with their launch, as a lot discuss has been centered on the telephones themselves as on their new and improved software program tips.

There are, in fact, numerous new photography capabilities that new smartphones have, most of them powered by AI. There may be additionally Android 14, which brings a couple of beauty enhancements to the OS. Nevertheless, there are additionally modifications underneath the hood that may have a way more important affect than it may appear.

Probably the most important modifications that the Pixel 8 collection delivered to the desk is undoubtedly the introduction of a brand new picture format. Ultra HDR photos promise to get your pictures into a brand new HDR age with little to no ache from altering the picture format.


What’s a picture format?

Earlier than transferring on to the Extremely HDR, let’s speak about picture codecs normally. If you wish to see an image in your pc display screen, it have to be compressed. After all, by utilizing particular functions, akin to Photoshop or Lightroom, you possibly can view RAW, uncompressed information. Nonetheless, for the sake of viewing photographs, it is a large lack of computational energy, house, and bandwidth. Many compressed picture information may be round 8-10 instances smaller than uncompressed information whereas sustaining the same stage of element.

Compressed picture information are available all sizes and styles, and every format has strengths and use instances. In all probability the 2 most well-known ones right this moment are JPEG and PNG. The primary one is synonymous with a digital picture and provides a lossy compression. On the similar time, PNGs are a lossless compression format, which maintains transparency and different very important metadata whereas nonetheless considerably decreasing file dimension.

When searching the web or viewing footage in your PC, most will probably be saved as certainly one of these two codecs, however many others serve a bit extra superior features. The best technique to acknowledge what your picture format is is to take a look at the extension of the file. There, it’s best to see the title of your file and, after that, a dot with the extension. Most of those codecs are greatest recognized by these extensions, usually acronyms of their full names. So, JPEG information will finish with .jpeg/.jpg, PNGs will finish with .png, and so forth.

What’s Extremely HDR?

As we have talked about, Extremely HDR is a brand new picture format developed and launched by Google with the discharge of the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. Because the title implies, the largest change that this file sort brings to the desk is an outstanding dealing with of HDR content material, making it look even higher on units that assist it (and the brand new file format). So, you needn’t solely a tool that saves the pictures it takes within the Extremely HDR format but additionally a tool with a display screen able to displaying HDR content material.

Apparently, Google developed Extremely HDR as an extension of the JPEG format, so Extremely HDR images and footage are saved with a .jpeg extension. This additionally ensures backward compatibility – you possibly can view Extremely HDR images on each gadget that helps normal JPEGs, solely with out all of the HDR goodness.

For now, you possibly can solely take Extremely HDR images on a Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional with the latest model of the Digital camera app put in. In case you are a bit adventurous, you can too root your Pixel 6 and Pixel 7, sideload the app, and provides the brand new format a go – it really works simply nice when you get via the setup course of.

What are the advantages of Extremely HDR?

Google claims that Extremely HDR is the following step in HDR content material. There are a couple of advantages, and the largest one is compatibility because it makes use of the identical extension as JPEG information. Pictures shot in Extremely HDR may be simply considered on each gadget that helps the .jpeg extension however solely of their normal dynamic vary model.

Nevertheless, Extremely HDR additionally brings advantages and new prospects to HDR customers. On supported units, Google guarantees Extremely HDR provides a extra lifelike look than normal HDR because of a distinct method of dealing with distinction. Whereas some customers see normal HDR content material as too contrasty and synthetic, Google’s implementation is supposedly far more true-to-life, utilizing acquire maps as an alternative of tone mapping. It is important for conditions akin to a powerful mild that peeks from behind a topic. Extremely HDR will be capable of present that extra organically.

How does Extremely HDR work?

Extremely HDR is an thrilling format, because it primarily makes use of normal JPEG photographs with a layer of acquire maps embedded into the image’s metadata. This ensures that Extremely HDR not solely produces far more pure HDR however can be not a lot larger than SDR JPEG footage.

When taking pictures in SDR, your images have primarily just one brightness slider, which makes the entire image brighter or dimmer. That is why SDR images are dangerous when taking pictures footage with vivid and darkish spots. They usually crush them, leading to blobs of white and black with no discernable element.

Customary HDR images deal with brightness in a different way. These images use tone mapping, which is, to place it merely, compositing your photographs from pictures taken at completely different brightness ranges. This fashion, you possibly can have an in depth view of the brilliant sky, in addition to the shadow underneath a tree, all in the identical shot. Nevertheless, the downsides to this method are some echoing artifacts and a little bit of a synthetic, oversharpened look that many individuals complain about when speaking about fashionable (particularly smartphone) pictures.

Google Extremely HDR handles HDR content material a bit in a different way. As a substitute of tone mapping, it makes use of acquire maps which might be embedded into the metadata of your JPEG images. The acquire maps are primarily data in regards to the brightness stage of each image.

This method permits you to present your images on each HDR and SDR screens. With the SDR display screen, you may see a typical JPEG model of the images. Nevertheless, when displayed on a supported display screen with HDR capabilities, these acquire maps permit every pixel to be lit exactly as when the picture was taken, as this info comes from the RAW information earlier than compression. This ensures that the images are suitable with SDR units and look nice and pure when considered on HDR screens.

What challenges lie forward of Extremely HDR?

After all, there are nonetheless some hurdles to get via with this expertise. The most important one, as is often the case with newer picture codecs, is compatibility. Despite the fact that Extremely HDR is backward suitable, for it to be helpful and well-known, its implementation of HDR needs to be usable in numerous functions. This file format is extraordinarily younger, however Google already made certain that it’s readable by Android 14 units, in addition to in Google Chrome.

The opposite drawback that the picture format is dealing with is compression points. It seems that when present process compression (for instance, when importing the picture to social media and even to a webpage via its CMS), Extremely HDR images get compressed to common JPEGs and lose the metadata liable for their HDR-ness. Sadly, such a compression makes these particulars unable to showcase correctly, creating fairly a problem in exhibiting the variations between SDR and Extremely HDr in articles akin to this one.

The very last thing that Google has to fret about is the unfold of Extremely HDR. Up to now, there are solely two items of tech that may take Extremely HDR images – Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional. You possibly can sideload the digicam app to Google Pixel 6 and seven collection, however even with these unofficial options, the {hardware} able to producing Extremely HDR pics is extraordinarily slender for now. If Google desires this picture format to change into the brand new normal, it nonetheless has an extended technique to go.

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