Working with Ultra-high Dynamic Range Images in Mira MX x64

Mira MX x64 provides a new paradigm in processing high bit depth color imaging data, being the only image processing software in the world offering native support for Ultra-High Bit Depth ("UHDR") image data in its image display, plotting, measurement, processing, and analysis tools. UHDR, processing uses high bit depth and floating point type pixels to accommodate color images having unusually high dynamic range or non-integral pixel values. Offering both integer and real pixel types having 96 and 192 bits per channel, UHDR goes far beyond the capabilities of ordinary 48-bit High Dynamic Range, or "HDR" imaging. If your work involves high precision 3-channel color imaging, then you can benefit from using UHDR. (Note: The table below defines the names of Color Pixel Types "URGB", "LRGB", "FRGB", and "DRGB" which are used in the following description).

UHDR processing also provides benefits beyond simply opening and saving UHDR image data. Even when the input and output color images have 24 or 48 bits per pixel, using real-type UHDR for calibration and processing assures higher precision results. Just as using 32 and 64 bit calibrations and intermediates gives measurable benefit to integer image data, using UHDR processing gives measurable results when processing 24 and 48 bit color images. Of course, processed RGB or URGB images may be saved in high bit depth form as LRGB, FRGB, or DRGB TIFF files.

Fast and Efficient

Working with UHDR images in Mira is both fast and efficient. This means that realizing the benefits of UHDR imaging is now a completely practical using current mainstream PC technology. For example, consider working with a 3K x 2K x 192-bit image (3 x 64-bit real pixels) using a typical 3 GHz machine. Using Mira, zooming and panning is instantaneous, even with the image zoomed 16x. Changing the display gamma takes about 0.12 seconds to re-compute the image histogram and fully re-display the image. Opening the image from a 140MB TIFF file is almost entirely a function of hard drive speed, being equal to the time needed to read the hard drive, plus 1/8 second for computing the multi-channel image histogram and displaying on the monitor. Similarly fast times are realized when doing arithmetic operations between images. For example, adding or multiplying two 3k x 2k x 192 bit real color images takes a mere 0.4 seconds total, also includes saving an undo copy of the image, doing the math, re-computing the transfer function, and re-displaying the result.

Image Data Types Supported by Mira Platforms

The table below lists the data types supported by the various Mira software platforms. All Mira platforms support the first 8 data types, ranging from "Byte" through "URGB". Mira MX x64 adds support for UHDR types listed in the bottom 4 rows of the table.

Image pixel types supported by Mira MX x64
Color Pixel Type Bits per pixel Bits per channel Channel format Terminology
Byte 8 8 unsigned byte  
Short 16 16 short integer  
Unsigned short 16 16 unsigned short integer  
Long 32 32 long integer  
Float 32 32 single precision floating point  
Double 64 64 double precision floating point  
RGB 24 8 unsigned byte  
URGB 48 16 unsigned short integer HDR
LRGB 96 32 long integer UHDR
FRGB 96 32 single precision floating point UHDR
DRGB 192 64 double precision floating point UHDR
Binary 8 8 binary (thresholded) data  

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