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  • Is Hydra 4 compatible with Yosemite (macOS 10.10)?
    No, it isn't. Hydra 4 relies on some technologies only available in macOS 10.11 El Capitan or higher. It would be very difficult and time-consuming to develop exactly the same application compatible with previous versions of macOS.
  • What are the technical requirements?
    The technical requirements are:
    • macOS 10.11 or higher
    • 64-bit Architectures
    • GPU compatible with OpenGL Core Profile 4.1 (HD Graphics 4000 or latest). More info.
    • Metal-based Mac if you want to use Metal rendering (Optional)


  • 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 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 sold on the Mac App Store are exactly the same as the features of Hydra 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.

HDR Technique

  • How to capture different exposures?
    High Dynamic Range photography combines different exposures of the same scene to create a stunning final image, which is called an HDR image.

    How Does it Work?
    Take a series of photographs (typically 3, but it depends on scene lighting) with different exposure settings to correctly expose every region of the scene. You can use a DSLR camera or a traditional point-and-shoot camera. Import these pictures into Hydra and let Hydra mix them. The merged image can then be “tone mapped” to make it so that it can be displayed on a computer screen.

    On the left, one overexposed shot and one underexposed shot of the same scene which are merged to create an HDR image (on the right)
    The first image has the monument correctly exposed but the sky is burnt, while the second has the sky correctly exposed.
    Combine them with Hydra to create an HDR image

    About Exposure
    There are 3 factors that determine the amount of light your camera captures and that you can control: Exposure time: it’s the duration your camera sensor is exposed to the light, often a fraction of a second. Aperture: that’s the diameter of the hole that lets the light come through. ISO: the sensitivity of the sensor. The right exposure of a photograph is a perfect balance between these 3 settings. Not as easy as it sounds! To capture different exposures of the same scene manually, you need to change the exposure time from shorter to longer. You could achieve the same exposure changes using either aperture or ISO settings, but we recommend exposure time only (if possible) because that preserves the visual attributes across photos (noise, depth of field stay the same) and makes the image merging process easier.

    There is a possible method to automate to automate this process that is called bracketing. Some point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras have this setting. Please refer to the manual or camera specs to determine if you have it. Bracketing will quickly capture multiple images (typically 3 or 5) in succession, automatically changing camera settings between shots. You can configure it to change exposure time, or apply an EV offset between capture. The amplitude of the offset depends on the light dynamics in the scene. For instance, if shadows and highlights are relative close, a 1 EV offset could be enough (3 shots will be taken: -1EV, 0EV, +1EV). The idea is that first and last pictures capture the most extreme lighting conditions in the scene. One advantage of bracketing is that the rapid succession of shots minimize the amount of motion in the scene, especially with people or animals. We recommend that you use it if available.
  • 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


  • Is there a Hydra 4 upgrade offer for existing Hydra 1, 2 or 3 users? Is it time limited?
    There is indeed an upgrade offer:
    • You purchased Hydra 1 on Creaceed website: upgrade price is $37.49, not time limited.
      If you qualify, please contact support to receive a coupon that can be used on Creaceed online store.

    • You purchased Hydra 2 or 3 on Creaceed website before July 1, 2016: upgrade price is $24.99, not time limited.
      Existing users have been sent a upgrade coupon by email, to be used on Creaceed online store. If you qualify but did not receive one, please contact support.

    • You purchased Hydra 2 or 3 on Creaceed website or the Mac App Store after July 1, 2016 : Hydra 4 upgrade is FREE.
      If you qualify but did not get your new activation code by email, please contact support. Qualifying Mac App Store customers: please send us a proof of purchase so that we can send you an activation code.

    • You purchased Hydra 2 or 3 on the Mac App Store: no reduction can be granted.
      Please acquire Hydra 4 on Creaceed online store.

  • 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.

  • Hydra does not support 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. You can find the complete list of supported cameras here.
    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
    • macOS 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 Console.app.

    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!