FAQ Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop

I get an error "Photoshop doesn't recognize this type of file" when I try to load the plug-in.

This happens if you are trying to double-click the plug-in file to install it, as this does not work for Photoshop plug-ins. To install the plug-in, please follow the installation instructions:

Installation instructions for macOS
Installation instructions for Windows

Since I upgraded to macOS Mojave, the plugin doesn't close when I click OK or Cancel.

This is due to an incompatibility with macOS Mojave, for which we apologize. We are working on fixing the issue as a high priority.

Note that your image will be updated when you click on the OK button. So, the plugin is still doing its work, but remains open until Photoshop is closed.

The fix will be in version 3.0 of the Tone Mapping plugin. If you are interested in helping us test version 3.0 when it is in beta testing, please contact our support to be notified when betas are available.

I'm using Photoshop CS5.1 on a Mac and can't get the plugin installed

You can solve the issue by installing the plugin manually as follows:

  1. Download the ToneMapping.plugin file
  2. Using the Finder, go to the place where Photoshop is installed on your computer. By default, it would be:
    Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS5.1
  3. You should see there a Plug-Ins folder and inside it a Filters folder.
  4. Move the ToneMapping.plugin file you downloaded in step1 to the Filters folder located in "Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS5.1/Plug-Ins"
  5. Start or restart Photoshop.

Which version of Photoshop is required for your plugin?

The Tone Mapping Plug-In is designed to work with High Dynamic Range images (32 bits per color channel) and only Photoshop CS2 and higher support this.

However, the plug-in can also work with 48-bit images (16 bits per color channel), which is supported in earlier versions of Photoshop and also in Photoshop Elements, but with those other versions, the plug-in will only work on the Windows platform. The plug-in requirements are detailed here.

Does your plugin work in 64-bit Photoshop?

Yes. For that, you will have to download the 64-bit version of the plugin on the download page of the Tone Mapping plugin for Windows.

Does the plug-in work in Photoshop CC?


I bought a license of Photomatix Pro. Is there an upgrade path for the Tone Mapping Plug-In?

Yes. Customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro can upgrade to the Bundle license that includes both the standalone Photomatix Pro and the Tone Mapping plug-in for just US$20. Please contact us to get the link to purchase Photomatix Bundle at the upgrade pricing.

Do I need to buy a second license if I install the plugin on my laptop?

One license entitles you to install the Photomatix Tone Mapping plug-in on other computers you own. However, a license is limited to one user. You will need to buy an additional license if this other computer is for another user.

I am getting a completely blown-out image even though the preview looked OK.

This problem is usually related to incorrect preview settings of the image after tone mapping, i.e. the blown-out image. For some reason, Photoshop sometimes changes the Exposure setting from the default, which results in showing a blown-out tone mapped image when the exposure becomes higher than zero.

Once you get the blown-out image, go to Photoshop's Image menu, click on Mode and select either 8 or 16 Bits/Channel. Then, check the Exposure setting on the HDR Conversion panel. If the Exposure is higher than 0, this will explain the problem and setting it to exactly 0 will then solve it.

You should never get this problem if you apply the Tone Mapping plug-in to a 32-bit image file you have opened, i.e. to already saved HDR images.

Why am I getting black artifacts on the final image?

This may happen if you have applied the plug-in on an HDR image directly after having created it with Photoshop's "Merge to HDR" function. In this case, Photoshop sometimes changes the Exposure setting to a negative value instead of the default, which results in black artifacts on the tone mapped image.

Once you have processed your HDR image with the Tone Mapping Plug-In, go to the Image menu of Photoshop, click on Mode and select either 8 or 16 Bits/Channel. Then, check the Exposure setting on the HDR Conversion panel. If the Exposure has a negative value, this will be the cause of the black artifacts -- setting the Exposure to exactly 0 will then remove the artifacts.

This problem should never happen when you apply the Tone Mapping plug-in to a 32-bit image file you have opened, i.e. to already saved HDR images.

The preview image looks great but when I click OK I end up with a weird muddy fudged up image!

This behaviour seems to happen with images directly generated with the function "Merge to HDR".

A workaround that usually works is to save the HDR image (once it has been created with "Merge to HDR") in the Radiance (.hdr) format, and then to open the saved HDR image (.hdr file) in Photoshop later on. Tone Mapping should work normally in this case.

After I click the OK button, the resulting image does not look like the preview of the Tone Mapping dialog.

If the cause for this is not related to the above questions, then it is worth having a look this section of the Photomatix Pro FAQ where the issue of the difference between the preview and the final tone mapped result is discussed, and suggestions of potential workarounds are given.

(Note: the Tone Mapping method referred to as "Details Enhancer" is the method implemented in the Tone Mapping Plug-In. The method "Tone Compressor" will be implemented in the next version of the plug-in, and the upgrade will be free of charge for registered users).

I sometimes get noisy results with the tone mapping. Is there a way to avoid this?

This question is answered under the Photomatix Pro FAQ here.