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About Antraman

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  1. Antraman

    It's here! :)

    I'd be interested in seeing more of what this can do. Looks pretty awesome though
  2. Antraman

    The Cyborg Era

    What the UMCP did to Angus Thermopyle at the end of Stephen Donaldson's Gap series was awesome...
  3. Sorry I haven't posted any updates for the past week or so...I've been struggling with the effects of severe arnica poisoning...it had almost knocked me outta the stadium...
  4. Antraman

    It's here! :)

    What the hell is that, and what can it do? 8-)
  5. Antraman

    Smenkhare's Photos

    Interesting. They look aged already.
  6. Antraman

    Gabber's Photos

    Nice shot. And I love watches that do stuff other as well as tell the time...
  7. Antraman

    Gabber's Photos

    Nice tones. I wouldn't have noticed the wheel if you hadn't mentioned it. The blacked out windows looks kinda ominous... By the way, Flickr is not showing in my FF browser...weird. EDIT: flickr NOT showing....
  8. Textured Overlays An effect becoming popular these days due partly to artworks created in the media for special atmosperic effects and also the prevalence of iPhone based camera apps which offer built in effects. The only real texture overlay that Lightroom offers is the grain effect, which adds a speckle. Textured overlays are available in Edit Plugins for Lightroom, which are 3rd party software packages, and will be discussed at a later date... Textured Overlay - Film Grain Grain is added by opening the Effects bar in the Right Pane, towards the bottom. Grain amount will determine the severity of the effect, size will make the effect harder to see (to the left) or easier too see (to the right) by changing the size of the speckle, and Roughness will make the grain effect look either smooth (to the left) or rough (to the right). Good grain effect I believe, is barely noticeable, but gives the image a creamy soft look. I should stress that grain is not colour noise... Textured Overlay (only available through Lightroom plugins) --------------------------------- As I mentioned, these effects are only a guide that you can use to do whatever creative adjustments you wish to your image. Many of these effects can be mixed, or standard presets can be altered. The important thing is that you create an image that you like and you think will appeal to other people. Copying existing film effects is a good way to start learning what you can do and how. Eventually you should become familiar enough with all the adjustment controls in the Right Pane so you can create in Lightroom, the effect you envision in your mind. Artistic photography is a creative process so in the long run, there are no hard and fast rules. If you like it, and anyone else likes it, then it job done. The idea is to create something that many people will like, and thats the fun. Next, in Part 5, I may look at a more freestyle approach, where you use the same adjustment tools as above, to enhance the appearance and the atmosphere of an image, based on what the scene itself calls for. EDIT: Damn formatting because images don't scale down smaller...
  9. High Key high Contrast High Key effects are created partly by taking the right photo, usually a dark subject against a light background, plus raising the exposure using the Radial Filter. The Filter button is centred on the subject, so the outside areas of the Radial ellipse will be lightened. Use feather tool to adjust the severity, and midpoint can be altered by changing the size of the ellipse. Low Key. Similar to High Key but in reverse, weak lighting that causes mid to soft tones to become black, keeping only the high tones which fade in dark tones, still giving a faint impression of the subject without a lot of detail. There are also several types. Low Key Black and White Low Key Colour Low Key High Contrast Low key, in the same way as High Key though in reverse, are created partly by taking a single spot lit photo of the subject against a dark background, although this can be compensated for using the Radial Filter tool and lowering exposure around the subject. You may need to raise the overall exposure and add some contrast, then increase the Radial Exposure amount again to get the desired effect. Troublesome light spots in the black background can be photoshopped out later. Split Toning (Sepia and others) This is a process of converting a black and white photo to a particular colour. Most famous example of this would be Sepia toning, which is the faded brown look that old photographs tend to get with age. Other colouring effects can also be created to get different effects. The split toning process was originally performed in the darkroom by replacing the silver in the emulsion process with different metals. Hence the name of some split toning has names related to metals or chemicals, like Selenium tone and Platinotype. To create Split Tone effects, go to B&W in the HSL/Colour bar, and click B&W. Adjust the colour sliders in the drop menu to find a pleasing black and white image. Next go to Split Toning, and in that section, you can alter the colour in 2 parts of the image, shadows and highlights. In the Highlights section, for example, there is a colour box to the right of the text. You can click on this and select a colour, and its intensity, from the whole colour palette, then use the Saturation slider to bring out the intensity of the colours only connected to the highlights. Then you can do the same with shadows. Using this Split Tone tool, you can create two colour effects as well single colour effects, and you can vary the intensity of the colour from a mild greyish tinge to full colour. The balance slider can then be used to vary the intensity between the two colours. 300 Film effect This effect was made (sort of) famous by the film 300. It is almost the reverse of the bleach bypass effect, lowering the cool tones and keeping the warm tones, adding a slight desaturation, and also a slight softening. Here's a image I did, using a modification of Matt's 300 v1 This effect is pretty specific: Exposure +30-40, Contrast +70-80, Saturation -70, Highlights +20, Shadows +40, Tone Curve Highlights -40-50 Lights -30-40 Darks +30-40 Shadows +40-50, Split Tone Highlight Hue 55 Saturation +30-35 Shadow Hue 55 Saturation -5 Balance +55, Vibrance +40, Clarity +30-40, Vignette Amount -40 Midpoint 20-30 Feather +85-90. Depending on your original image's exposure level, you may need to tweak exposure to suit. Retro and other Film effects A lot of colour and light effects we see today derive from old film photography. These are either based on the types of emulsions and papers used in devloping prints ie. Film Stock, or the way old prints deteriorate in colour and light as they age. Generally Film Stock effects are a simple adjustment, whereas Accelerated Aging effects require multiple effects achieved in several stages. Retro effect - aged print Retro effect - camera mistake Film Stock effect - Fuji Sensia Film stock effects are many and varied, in my Tiffen Dfx Filter software which has presets that copy most of the known film stocks, there are more than 120 options. To emulate a film stock, you should probably either get Tiffen Dfx which will function as a plugin for Lightroom, or make yourslef familiar with a particular film stock and try to copy it with what you have learned with the above tools. Camera mistake effects are also created outside of Lightroom, as these are random, organic changes in the colour of the existing image. These effects emulate such camera mistakes as slightly exposed negative, dirty or foggy lenses, out of focus sections etc. Accelerated aging effects, are also created outside of Lightroom, as these are also random, organic changes to the printed, such as burned edges, dirt or scratches on the print, smears, texture of the print material, etc.
  10. Part 4 - Adjustments for Artistic Photography II - Manual This topic is huge, due to the many artistic styles and effects that have been developed by photographers over the years, and the many possibilities of digital manipulation available to create beautiful images. I know I am going to struggle to keep this concise...8-) So what I shall do first in this post, is discuss some already well known, established artistic effects that have come to be somewhat of a standard within the art photography world. In a later post, I will discuss more freestyle or individual approaches to image manipulation. If I have forgotten any obvious ones, please pm and let me know, and I'll add them to this section if it fits. Once again, I must stress that this viewpoint on Artistic Photography that I take, is mine. I'm not saying this is how everyone should think and work within the artistic photography field, or even that my way of looking at it is the way things actually are. My way of looking at this is how *I* make sense of it. This is compounded by the fact that artistic appreciation is a very personal thing, it varies from individual to individual, and that the concept of what is good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't really apply here, since appreciation of Art is a very subjective matter. The best you can say, I believe, about an artwork that you are appraising is "It works for me" or "It doesn't work for me". Sometimes, a consensus over the merits of an artwork will develop through agreement by a large number of people saying the same thing, and these merits can be generally defined among academics through an examination of the various artistic elements and their execution in a particular artwork, for example (almost) everyone agrees that a Van Gogh painting is an example of great art. I believe its necessary to first examine the already well known and established photographic effects, because it gives us a vocabulary which we can use to talk about styles, effects, and aesthetics later on. I look at these known effects as landmarks, or roadsigns which point the way when manipulating your images to create various effects of your own. In doing this, we will necessarily have to learn some technical terms as well, so we are all speaking the same language. So, I will just list the effects I can think of, post a random photo from Google search to illustrate the effect, then briefly summarise it. Black and White A colour image converted to black and white. Sounds simple, but there is actually a bit more to it than simply removing the colour. Different colours have different tonal values (light), so you can get different black and white effects depending on which colours of the image you choose to weight the adjustments on. Black and White Conversion is performed by clicking on the B&W text of the HSL/Colour/B&W bar. A drop menu will appear with a list of colours, which you can adjust. Each colour will darken when you slide to the left, and lighten when you slide it to the right. The idea is find a balance of darks and lights which create a pleasing effect, or show best detail. Partial Black and White Sometimes you may want to have your black and white image with a spot of colour remaining in it, to highlight a particular object. To do this, click on B&W in the HSL/Colour bar, and in the Saturation tab, move all the sliders to the left except for the colours you want to leave, If you are not sure what the colour is exactly, you can click on the little button to the left of Saturation text which will enable you to use a dropper like cursor directly on the image, then you can slide up or down to increase the exact colour/s which the object you selected posses. Bleach Bypass Warm tones, reds, yellows, oranges and browns have been reduced, leaving higher cool tones such as greens, blues, with high contrast, and sometimes added grain. This is the effect sort of made famous by the movie Saving Private Ryan, as the whole movie was shot in this effect. Bleach Bypass effect can be generated by decreasing the saturation to around -60-70, increase vibrance +10-15 in Basic, decreasing red luminance in HSL. In Split Toning, raise Highlight hue to 30-40, saturation to 5-10, Shadows hue to +50-70 and saturation to +15-25. Grain can be added to taste, as can vignette. Cross Processing These are film effects originally caused by developing Negative film with Slide film chemicals and vice versa. Called E6 to C41, and C41 to E6, or colour slide cross-process and colour negative slide cross-process respectively, these create colourful and interesting effects. Colour slide CP creates images with increased contrast and strong clours, while Colour negative CP creates softer pastel colours with lower contrast. Colour slide Cross Process Colour negative Cross Process There are many different types of Cross Process effect, it would be too difficult to list the steps for achieving each of the here. The simplest way is to use Cross Process Presets, or failing that, google image search for CP images and pl;ay around with the sliders to emulate the effect. The Tone Curve tool here is usually most effective. Its a linear graph of the image histogram, however you can adjust light levels by dragging the line up or down to change the lighting effect, then adjust the colours as you like. The Tone Curve tool adjusts the tonal (light) contrast in 4 sections over the image light range, Shadows, Darks, Lights, Highlight. Sliding one of these sections therefore will change the contrast within only the range selected. HDR HDR is an acronym for High Dynamic Range, and is a much maligned effect. When a scene has a high contrast lighting, such as very dark shadows and very strong highlights, the camera sensor cannot capture the full tonal range, so several images are made, with one that meters to the darks, and one that meters to the highlights. These are then merged using software to create a single image that includes the darks and lights. The effect can be overdone, and this tends to turn people off the HDR effect. HDR - Good Why is it good? Because you cannot notice that its had the HDR effect applied, it just looks like a well exposed shot. HDR - terrible Why is it terrible? Firstly, the effect is overdone, causing an unnatural light glow around the elements of the image, and also, there is no dynamic range in this pic...its very flat, tonally. HDR should stretch the limit of lights and darks in an image to the black and white extremes. True HDR is normally achieved exporting your images to a 3rd party plugin, although you can create a good emulation of HDR either by using a User Preset, or fudging one of your own, by first creating a virtual copy of your image of choice, as long as its a RAW file. Do this by right clicking on the image and select Create Virtual Copy in the drop menu. On one image, drop your exposure so the histogram peaks are just touching the far left boundary, then on the other image, raise your exposure so the histogram peaks are just touching the far right boundary. Then click on the image in the film strip below, hold CTRL and click on the 2nd image in the film strip. This will highlight both images. Now right click on either one and select Edit In, and there will be some choices, perhaps greyed out. Lightroom will automatically detect and assign Photoshop or Elements as your external editor if installed, otherwise you can set a 2nd editor, eg Paintshop Pro Photo X2 as I have done, by going to Edit | Preferences | External Editing and under Additional External editor, press the Choose button to look for your image editors .exe file in your C: drive or wherever its installed. You'll need to restart Lightroom for this to take effect, so do it first. So, right click image, Edit In...and choose your application. The Image editor will open and the image will be imported in the editor already merged as a single image, with the darks and lights both appearing. This is more than just a simple Contrast increase, because when you compare the merged image with your original that has Contrast increased to max, it is not the same. Lomography, or Lomo effect This is basically a cross processing effect with extra lighting effects such as vignetting caused by a certain type of simple camera called the Lomo LC-A made by the Russian government. It produces a range of unusual and organic colour and lighting effects due to the low technology of the camera, however the Lomo effect has grown to something that can be reproduced digitally. The effect usually has high saturation of part of the colour spectrum, high contrast, heavy use of vignetting and out of focus areas. Playing around with the Tone Curve to separate the darks and lights into higher contrasted areas, then using the Split Toning options in highlight and shadows you can alter the colouring and lighting to effectively emulate a Lomo effect. Post crop vignette or Radial Filter using exposure option can get you closer. Out of focus effects will need to be created either by your aperture selection when taking the original image, or using a 3rd party defocus tool, such as Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator High Key. Very strong lighting that washes out backgrounds, mid to soft tones, and keeps only the stronger tones, which get bleached into soft tones, thus giving a faint impression of the subject, without a lot of detail. There are several types of high key effect. High Key Black and White High Key Colour
  11. Ah, then probably not. There isn't that much difference between them.
  12. I'd say try Lightzone first as its free and pretty capable, and a lot like Lightroom. If you're serious about image processing, then maybe it would justify buying Lightroom
  13. Part 3 - Adjustments for Artistic Photography I - Presets Before I start looking at my photos in terms of making manual adjustments for creating artistic photo, I'll first check through the Presets to see if there are any which stand out, so I'll discuss Presets before going onto Manual Adjustments in the Artistic side of things... Presets are simply adjustments that have been made with the tools in the Right Pane, and saved for future use. Lightroom comes with a variety of its own presets, and many users have created great presets of their own. These are normally used to speed up the adjustment process when you have to do something similar to many images. You can also use them, as I do, to discover artistic effects, styles or a look on your existing image that you wouldn't have thought of doing manually yourself. Thus you can often be surprised by the effect that a preset can create. There are also presets for some famous film effects. There is a Bleach Bypass effect that removes the warm tones leaving cool blues and greens, adds a high contrast and an amount of grain, to replicate the effect used in the movie "Saving Private Ryan". There is also the 300 movie film effect, and also a preset that emulates the effect produced by old Fuji "Velvia" negative film. There are other presets made available to the public by famous photographers and Lightroom proponents, such as Steve Kelsey, Ruben Silva, Matt and others. Many presets are used to replicate old film effects, like Polaroids, sepia tones, and certain popular professional film types. Others are simply to add punch in one way or another to an otherwise nondescript photo. Presets are found in the Left Pane of the Develop Module. To use presets, click on the Navigator bar to open up the small preview window of your selected photo. You can click drag the Left Pane across to the right to make the preview image bigger. Under the Navigator window, click on the Presets bar, and a drop menu will appear of Lightroom's built in Presets. These are all in subfolders which makes it annoying to use as a mouseover preview trick, so I copy all my presets from each folder and drop them into one. If you want to add your own presets, or collect them all together in one folder, you will have to move them from some subfolders and into one. Go up to the top left of Lightroom to the File menu and click on Edit and select Preferences to open the Preferences Window. Click on the Presets tab, and click on the button "Show Lightroom Presets Folder" This will open a Windows Explorer and take you to Lightroom folder. In that, click on Develop Presets. I paste all my presets into User Presets folder. You have to restart Lightroom for them to appear in the UI. Also you can download Preset collections, and paste them (***.lrtemplate files) into the User Presets folder, and move any of the other Presets from the other Develop Presets folders into UP, delete the other folders within Develop Presets except User Presets, then restart Lightroom. This will give you a single folder in Presets which you can click on to create the full drop list of presets, which you can now mouse over with your cursor and view real time previews of the effect in the small image above in the Navigator window. If you like an effect you click on it, and the main image will update. If you don't like it you can just undo with CTRL-Z and move on. Sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised, for example this photo http://www.antramanphotography.com//portfo...ringa_med1a.jpg was just a pretty boring normal snap of the ruins, and I didn't know how to improve on it, until I moused over a particular Preset and this popped up. I thought it was perfect, and was not an effect I could have deliberately done, even if I tried. Now, my system above, of putting all the different presets in the one folder and using it as a lucky dip may not be the best way for other photographers. Once you become familiar with the different types of film effects and processes, and the names by which they are known (and this can get quite busy), you could alternatively create folders within the Develop Presets folder, and label each folder after the family of effect process, eg...HDR, B&W, Bleach Bypass Effects, Platinotypes, Sepia Tones, Colour Separations, Cross Process, InfraRed, Lomograph Effects, Split Tones, Tone Curves, High Key and Low Key etc...and if you know what effect you want, you can go straight to the relevant folder and select the preset you want. Create your own Presets. You can create your own presets after you have made adjustments to a photo in the Right Pane. To do this, click on the + button on the Presets bar, which will open the New Develop Preset window. Select the boxes you want to include and click Create. This will appear in your User Presets section in the Left Pane. You can also edit these in a text editor. Just go to the Develop Presets folder, and open a .lrtemplate file in Notepad (I prefer Editpad) and you can see the code for the preset. You can change the values in here, save it as is, and it will show the change of effect in LR when you restart. You can always undo whatever changes you make, either by pressing CTRL-Z or by looking at the History bar in the Left Pane below the Presets. It lists every step you have made in the adjusting of your image. Lightroom documentation says that all Presets are non destructive, but also that each preset will change the settings of the previous step, however I have noticed a cumulative effect with some presets when added in a sequence. I haven't yet worked out which ones do this and how.... Another thing you can do with presets is reverse engineer them for your own understanding. You can open up a .lrtempate file in a text editor and see what adjustments have been made to create the effect. For example, I include here a copy of Matt's 300 film effect v1 Preset s = { internalName = "300 v1", title = "300 v1", type = "Develop", value = { settings = { AutoBrightness = false, AutoContrast = false, AutoExposure = false, AutoShadows = false, Brightness = 45, Contrast = 73, ConvertToGrayscale = false, EnableColorAdjustments = true, EnableDetail = true, EnableGrayscaleMix = true, EnableLensCorrections = true, EnableSplitToning = true, Exposure = 0.33, FillLight = 40, HighlightRecovery = 20, HueAdjustmentAqua = 0, HueAdjustmentBlue = 0, HueAdjustmentGreen = 0, HueAdjustmentMagenta = 0, HueAdjustmentOrange = 0, HueAdjustmentPurple = 0, HueAdjustmentRed = 0, HueAdjustmentYellow = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentAqua = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentBlue = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentGreen = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentMagenta = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentOrange = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentPurple = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentRed = 0, LuminanceAdjustmentYellow = 0, ParametricDarks = -2, ParametricHighlightSplit = 75, ParametricHighlights = 0, ParametricLights = 2, ParametricMidtoneSplit = 50, ParametricShadowSplit = 14, ParametricShadows = 8, Saturation = -70, SaturationAdjustmentAqua = 0, SaturationAdjustmentBlue = 0, SaturationAdjustmentGreen = 0, SaturationAdjustmentMagenta = 0, SaturationAdjustmentOrange = 0, SaturationAdjustmentPurple = 0, SaturationAdjustmentRed = 0, SaturationAdjustmentYellow = 0, Shadows = 50, Sharpness = 25, SplitToningBalance = 53, SplitToningHighlightHue = 55, SplitToningHighlightSaturation = 31, SplitToningShadowHue = 55, SplitToningShadowSaturation = 0, ToneCurve = { 0, 0, 32, 22, 64, 56, 128, 128, 192, 196, 255, 255, }, Vibrance = 40, VignetteAmount = -100, VignetteMidpoint = 20, }, uuid = "385EBB76-E687-11DB-B1FC-0014511CB470", }, version = 0, } By looking at the .lrtemplate file of the Preset you can learn what steps are necessary to be able to create your own effects. In summary, Presets, along with the manual adjustments possible in the Right Pane, allow you to change the levels of a whole range of attributes to a RAW image. JPEGS have a much more limited range of options which can be changed, so I always opt to shoot in RAW. This section got a bit technical and much of the latter part probably won't apply to most photographers until they get curious about the inner workings of Lightroom. Next Part I will look at manual adjustments for artistic photography..
  14. Part 2 - Adjustments for Documentary Photography OK, as I said earlier, this is just what I do with them, not saying this is how everyone should do it, after all, Lightroom is a very flexible program that permits a vast number of photography related things you can do with digital images. Firstly, I decide what I want to do with the images. As I mentioned in my Photo thread, I believe there are 2 types of photography...Documentary and Artistic. All types of photography can be fit into one of these two groups. Documentary is where you want to document, or record a scene/event, without any artsy fartsy effects or flourishes. Its simply to accurately represent in an image form, something that you can see, using the digital imaging format. Documentary can be something as simple as happy snaps of a holiday, ranging right up to highly technical scientific photography for encyclopedias etc. Artistic photography on the other hand is where you take a photo and you apply some colour and light effects to create an aesthetically pleasing image that appeals to people's personal tastes in art. So in Documentary photography, you would really only use Lightroom to repair bad photos, fix up or enhance certain technical aspects of the image, such as sharpening, noise reduction, improve the lighting, or to bring out particular lighting, colours or detail, whereas in Artistic photography, you are more free with what you can change in the overall image, so you would use the tools in creative ways which can dramatically change colour and lighting to create the effect you want. In this post, I will focus on technical adjustments for Documentary style photography, and in part 3 and 4 will concentrate on adjustments for Artistic photography. Note that this does not mean you will be restricted to one set of adjustments for Doco and another set for Artsy...you can use any and all tools no matter what you are doing. When I import a library of holiday photos for example, I simply want the best possible record, visually, of things I saw and did on my holiday, so I can give copies to friends or family, or post them on a blog. I won't need any arty effects, just want to have well taken photos that accurately record what I did. I will already have done the Lens and Camera corrections I mentioned in Part 1, so we'll move straight on to the adjustments. First thing I do is study the photos, one by one. I go through each photo and as Chancellor mentioned above, flag the keepers, the possibles and the unrecoverables with different tags that Lightroom offers, either Flag, Star, or Colour tag. These Tags etc are not switched on by default, so you have to switch them on by clicking on the white down-pointing triangle in the grey bar directly under your main central image window. I turn everything on except grid overlay. You should now see stars and colour blocks, and some other stuff. The Flags are for definite Keeper or definite Reject. The stars I use to rate them as best possible candidates for recovery, and the colour tag system for any number of other things I may want to separate images into by group. When I look through the pics at this stage, I am just looking at general things like Exposure, Focus, and composition, and pick the best to work on. Then the next level is ones that aren't so great but might be recoverable with a bit of work. Out of focus pics, or ones with too much clipping, or even bad compositions, I will delete...because you don't want to keep passing over them when flicking between your good images. You have to be ruthless...recognise the good ones, discard the trashy ones - by removing them from disk! Some may be bad shots, but of something you really want to keep a pic of, simply for posterity....and this is where you might use the colour tags. Next, I go back to the first pic, and looking at it in detail. The Exposure is probably the most important to look at first. I have the Histogram window in the top of the Right Pane open by clicking on the Histogram bar, and I have the photo set to Fit size in the main central panel. If the peaks are inside the left and right edges of the window, then you are sweet. If the peaks on either the left or right (or both) are up against the edges and the up-pointing triangles above the peaks are lit up, then you have either blown out the highlights (right side) with whats called Highlight Clipping, or muddied up the shadows (left side) with Shadow Clipping. You can easily compensate for this by clicking on the Basic bar and opening the lighting tools (Tone sliders), then sliding the Blacks and Shadows sliders to the right a bit, to increase light levels for the shadows, or slide the Whites and Highlights sliders to the left to decrease the light levels for the highlights. You don't want to pull these in too much, otherwise you will start to make the whole image contrast rather flat, and even may introduce noise into the shadows. I then look at the image and see what's actually too light and too dark. If you click on the Clipping triangles it activates a colour guide on your image to show which parts of your photo are blown out. If its only a small area of some dark shadow, it may be fine as it is...or if its a light globe that's blown out, that may be fine as well. You just look at the overall image and decide whether stuff is too light or dark, and you can use those four sliders in Basic to fix the lighting. I think Lightroom's layout of the Tone Sliders and Exposure slider being in separate sections is rather misleading as to what they do. People think Exposure adjustment is for the whole image, and it should be, but in Lightroom it doesn't, and people think that in Lightroom, the Highlights, Whites, Shadows and Blacks sliders only affect the Tonal range they are referring to, which they should, but they don't. If you mouse over the histogram, from left to right, you will see the dark background light up in 5 sections, Blacks, Shadows, Exposure, Highlights and Whites. If you move any of these 5 sliders, they will also affect the light levels of the other 4. Exposure occupies the widest amount of space on the light-dark range, so it makes the most obvious changes, within that area, so it *looks like* an overall change, but it changes the levels to a lesser extent in the other 4 areas. Likewise, moving the levels in any of the other 4 areas will affect all 5 areas of the light-dark range, but to a lesser extent in the 4 ones not selected, and more in the one selected. This is all therefore, a relative change to light and dark over the whole image, with a focus on the particular light band you select. Either way, it gives the Lightroom user great amount of control over not only the lights and darks, but their relative contrasts to each other. The Contrast slider will change the relative maximum and minimum levels of light and dark over the whole image, it is not selective like the 5 Tone sliders. Sometimes, adding a bit of contrast will add some punch to your image, but other times it will make it look worse, especially if you already have strong darks and strong lights. Sometimes, you might have to add contrast as a necessity - what I do is shoot in camera with Tone Compensation set in the negative, which means its taking what appears to be a flatter than normal image. I do this because negative tone compensation allows your sensor to pick up a greater dynamic range of light and colour from the scene, so when you load it in Lightroom, you may need to add Contrast to expand the tonal range so it fills more of the Histogram spectrum. I know this is true of Nikon cameras, not sure its actually required for Canon. Its also worth noting that Nikon cameras pick up more dark detail than Canon, whereas Canon is better with lights, so with Nikon you tend to deliberately under-expose to capture the tricky highlights, and with Canon you tend to deliberately overexpose, so you pick up the tricky darks. Then you adjust your Tonal levels in Lightroom accordingly, recovering what may look like lost whites or blacks. Its important to remember that a RAW file (ie. the original camera image) picks up a lot more light and dark information than what our LCD/LED monitors usually depict. I remember I took a bunch of pics in New Zealand on a cloudy day, and while my ground level exposure was all good, my skies were all flat swathes of white, and they looked useless. If I dropped the exposure, it would have darkened the ground, to bring out the clouds, which is not ideal, but when I pulled the Whites slider to the left, suddenly all this cloud detail appeared that I didn't think was there. So its important to pull your lights and darks in first to recover what you can before you start playing around with the other adjustments, otherwise you will potentially lose detail forever, that you could have had. Next thing I look at is the White Balance (WB in the Basic bar). WB is the colour tint of the ambient lighting in the original scene, it can be very blue in daylight photos, or it can be very orange/red in indoor photos where there is incandescent lighting, or green in indoors where there is flouro lighting. In the WB section, you click on the top right label, either Auto or As Shot. This gives you some preset option which will cancel out unnatural colour tinging caused by the light source. Usually Auto will be good enough. If you haven't set the WB properly in your camera for the shot when you took it, As Shot will always look a bit funny. You can then tweak the colour tinge by adjusting the two sliders, Temp and Tint, to your liking. That's pretty much it for WB. You most likely won't need to touch that again in that photo. I leave the Presence silders in the Basic section alone for now, and go on to look at focus and noise, in the Detail section below, in the Right Pane. You can click on the image to zoom in and check carefully for fuzziness (focus) or spots (noise). You should zoom into 1:1 at least, sometimes 2:1 for careful checking. Noise is of two types, Luminance (light) and Chrominance (colour). These are created by various shortcomings of the sensor and the ISO rating that you used in camera. I always try to shoot as low ISO as possible, as the subject movement (shutter speed) and lighting will allow, simply because low ISO has less noise. ISO noise is usually Luminance, ie grain spots of black and white dots. When you start increasing exposure or lighting levels in Lightroom to bring out details in blacks and shadows, you may start to see little green, purple and red spots appearing all over the image. This is Chrominance noise, and is a failing of the software to properly parse the colour/light information at the local (pixel) level when increasing the overall light level. So, you might have introduced Luminance noise into your photo because of your ISO settings, and this can't be helped now...you just have to work with Noise reduction tools in this Detail bar (the Luminance sliders). If you have introduced Chrominance noise into your pic, this is generally due to moving your Tone sliders too much to the right, and you can possibly turn these back down a bit to find a happy medium between too dark and too noisy...however, Lightroom's Luminance and Chrominance noise corrections are very good, so play with them first before making the decision to turn down your Tone sliders. Chrominance noise looks much worse than Luminance noise in a photo, so I always do Chrominance Noise reduction first...since Luminance noise is sometimes desirable, and looks nowhere near as bad as Chroma, and Luma might even be reduced when you do Chroma NR. To use these tools, slide to the Chroma to the right first, then adjust the detail left or right to find a happy balance between level of noise, and level of detail lost. There is always a tradeoff. Sharpening will remove a certain amount of fuzziness, but it can't correct bad focus. Fuzziness is usually seen in edge detail between light and dark sections of local detail. Sliding the Amount to the right will increase local contrast (ie. pixel level) and appear to bring out more detail, or less fuzziness, by raising contrast between details. Radius changes the diameter of the local level contrast sampling, and Detail changes the amount of apparent noise created by the upper two sliders. I usually set the Amount, high, the Radius 3/4, then drop the detail from default. Masking I haven't really played with, but I believe its a tool to help you selectively do sharpening. After that, I go back to look at the Presence sliders. This is a somewhat confusing section for many people, because it does some pretty neato adjustments. Presence controls include Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation. Saturation is easy to grasp...it governs the strength of all colours over the whole image. Reduce Saturation to zero, and you get a grey image, set it to max and you get strong, almost solid colours. The problem is, that Saturation bumps up the colour depth on all colours in the image, including those already very colourful, so bumping the saturation up can cause the strong colour sections to blow out and lose detail. Vibrance takes over here, and increases colour depth only in areas that don't have strong colourl, without blowing out the already strong colour areas. So you can use Saturation and Vibrance together to improve the colouring of your image without blowing out colours at the extreme ends of the colour depth scale. Clarity affects the midtone contrast between colours, so raising it will have an apparent sharpening effect, and lowering it will have an apparent softening effect. Clarity I would usually adjust last. Then I'd move onto the next image. Usually I do each image individually, but you can automate this process...especially if you have a bunch of similar photos that you want to affect in the same way, much like batch processing. I might do a Post on this and related automation features at a later date. The above section is what I generally do for all images, before exporting to my Finals folders. However, some photos may have certain problems which require a bit more attention. So now, I will be looking at some potential problems and how to repair them. For a start, perspective, horizon and spot problems you should have sorted out first, as I outlined in Part 1. One common problem is a section of the image being too light, and another section being too dark (or dark by comparison). This seems to split your image into two. Or you may have an area of background that is the same tonal depth as your foreground, and you might want to darken it to make it less intrusive. This can be remedied by the Graduated Filter, in the small toolbox under the Histogram window. When you click on the 4th button in the toolbox, the Grad filter is activated, and a drop menu of adjustment options appears. This allows you to create a gradation not just of light/dark, but other things like contrast, saturation, sharpening, noise reduction, even Moire. You then click on the image, or outside it, starting at where you want the darkest, and then drag the mouse into the image and position it so that it only affects the areas you want changed. When you're happy with the positioning, you can then adjust the sliders to change the amount of gradation you are adding. An example of how you can use Grad filter is shown here. In the first image, my subject appears buried within all the greenery. The foreground and the background show too much detail, detracting from the subject, which is obviously pinggu-chan, making a relatively flat looking picture. What I did was add a grad filter from the top left corner and dragged it towards the subject, and set it filter to Exposure. I then did the same for the bottom right corner. What this did is highlight the section of ground the subject is standing on, causing your eye to be drawn to it, rather than searching around at all the excess detail. This pic shows the grad filter lines across my image. This is for the first filter, as indicated by the black spot in the centre of the button which is highlighted. Lightroom 5 has finally introduced a much needed tool, the Radial Filter. This is like the Graduated Filter except that it is a circular effect rather than moving in a straight plane from one side to the other, and the choice of adjustments is the same. This is the 5th button in the toolbox under the Histogram window. This is useful for highlighting a particular area within the image, such as your main subject, eg a portrait. You can add an radial exposure, which darkens around the face, in a gradated manner, making it look like there is a spot light on the person's face. I know some people don't like Vignetting, but in some cases they can be used to great effect. I refer you to this Lynda.com video showing an amazing transformation using Radial Filter and exposure. Another powerful tool that Lightroom has recently been adding, is the Adjustment Brush. This is much like a mask in Photoshop etc, whereby you can do local and user defined adjustments, as determined by where you paint the brush over the image. The Brush is the far right button in the toolbox below the Histogram. This tool operates much like the Graduated Filer, however, it is a flat effect rather than graduated. This tool is useful mostly for touching up areas in a finished photo that you want to be just perfect. Sometimes poor composition can be corrected by clever Cropping. This means cutting out parts of the image along any of the four edges, bringing the visual focus more to the subject you want to portray. You could have a tree branch out of focus in the foreground along the bottom edge, or leaves hanging in picture at the top (the technical terms for this is "dingle"), that you want to remove, or you could just have a boring mass of scenery to the side that just isn't needed. The Cropping tool is the first button on the toolbox, click on it and then click on your image to create the movable boundaries, then slide them to your preference. When you press ESC or click on the Crop icon again to remove the boundaries, then your pic will snap to full screen minus the cropped areas. You can also set the aspect ratio of your image here. This is useful if you are going to be printing on papers of standard print dimensions, that don't match the proportions of the image your camera takes. Here you click on the lock to unlock the aspect ratio, then click on the text next to the lock, Original I think its defaults at, and here you can select standard aspect ratios or create a custom one. This just makes printing easier, saving you from worrying about sections of your photo being cut off, or having weird blank sections on your print that you have to cut off by hand. Getting a bit more technical now, there are also tools for helping adjust problem colours. Sensors on digital cameras are getting pretty good these days, but sometimes, whether it be due to unusual lighting conditions, or an unusual colour (yeah, there are some...they fall outside the colourspace, or colour gamut, that current digital processors can handle), and therefore get rendered inaccurately within the Post Processing stage. These are very specific adjustment sliders for very specific parts of the colour gamut and the tonal range, and are referred to as the HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance). Hue is the main colour families, Saturation is their depth or strength, and Luminance is itheir brightness. Its just a method of separating the colour spectrum into an easily definable set of variables, a bit like RGB (Red/Green/Blue) or CYMK (Cyan/Yellow/Magenta/Black)...it depends on the printing processes used. If a particular colour was rendered too strongly, or too weakly in post processing (ie...what you see on screen), then you can focus on that particular colour and reduce or strengthen its saturation, brightness, or even change its colour slightly. In the HSL/Colour/B&W bar below the Basic bar, for sake of demonstration, click on ALL. This opens up the 3 different sections within HSL adjustments. You may have to minimise the other bars to get all 3 sections to fit within the Right Pane. Picking a colour in the Hue section and sliding it, will increase or decrease the "temperature"...cool or warm...of that particular colour, and leave all the other colours alone. Picking a colour in the Saturation section and sliding it, will increase or reduce the strength of that particular colour, without affecting the others. Picking a particular colour in the Luminance section and sliding it will increase decrease the brightness of that particular colour, without affecting the others. This is a handy tool to accentuate a colour that was not rendered properly in Lightroom. An example of this could be say, taking a shot of a red-back spider for a science brochure. For some reason when you get home and load everything up in Lightroom, the red mark on the spider's back didn't seem to be right. It could have been bad white balance, there could have been a shadow over the red spot...anything..the point is, you can't go back and re-photograph it. So you can adjust it using HSL. Click on Red in the Saturation or Brightness sections, and slide to the right, to bring the red up to what it should be. If you are uncertain of the actual colour to be adjusted, you can click on the little button in the top left of each of the HSL sections, and this will create a dropper where you can click on the colour in the image itself, and slide up or down to change the colours. Sometimes, a colour in the picture may be composed of 2 or even 3 colours in the sliders. These will all adjust together. You could also change these settings to create an unnatural effect, ie... drop all the spider colours and the foliage down in saturation and leave or increase the red spot. This is not a natural situation in which the spider will be seen, so it's a change of what's real...it becomes an Artistic choice, to change the colour. Once you do this, it is no longer, in my mind...Documentary photography, but Artistic. The Colour section of the HSL/Colour/B&W bar does the same thing as the HSL, but in a different way. You select a colour first, then can change the hue, saturation and lightness, without having to jump sections. Its a convenience feature. The B&W section of course, converts the image to black and white, and that's part of Artistic Photography. That's pretty much all I can think of for using adjustments to fix, repair or enhance photos. If anyone has questions related to this section, or I have forgotten some part that falls within this section please pm me and I will look about adding it. Next Part, 4, I will be looking at using adjustments in creative ways, in order to create Artistic images, rather than repairing or fixing images for documentary purposes.
  15. In my previous post about Lightroom workflow, I outlined how to set up your folders for storing photos, then importing your photos from camera to PC and into Lightroom. I also outlined how to export them to print, or save in a folder, however I did not go into detail about using the adjustments, so I will do that here. I'll describe my process rather than try and cover everything, since its what I know. I'll probably do this in parts because once I started, I realised there is actually a lot to it. Part I - Start off by getting the best image to work with First of all, to examine whether you're capturing your images properly (ie. in camera), I reckon you need to separate the act into 2 parts - the mechanical process of capturing an image, and the artistic process of capturing the scene. Mechanical process means getting a shot with all the basic technical things right...you get the focus right, the exposure right, the horizon straight, the composition right without strange lines and shapes. The artistic process is the visual effect that you want to scene to have, ie. the look or style. I can't help you with the artistic part, because that's personal taste, but mechanically, all you need to worry about is focus, shutter speed, exposure and composition. Exposure is easy since you can look at your camera's histogram (the coloured peaks on the graph), and make sure the left and right extremities of the peaks are within the maximum left and right bounds of the graph. Focus is a bit more tricky because you have to know the depth of field capabilities of your lens, and the aperture you are using to take the shot, along with the centre of attention you want to focus on. Shutter speed will vary according to what you are photographing. Composition is even trickier since there are so many elements to good composition. But at least I have broken things down into sections which you can look at yourself in more detail. Once you have loaded your photos into Lightroom you are now ready to start making adjustments. This is all done in the Develop Module (top right corner of the interface), and using the many tools in the Right Pane. I see adjustments as serving one of two purposes...fixing bad photos, and creating images with specific artistic effects. What you choose is entirely up to you. I like to "paint" with Lightroom's tools to make photos with certain artistic effects, some photographers, eg bbf6 here on Atomic, take great photos in camera and don't need to add artistic effects. For me, I generally use Lightroom to improve my images because I didn't do a good enough job in camera. First of all, whether you are going to do a repair job or an artistic job, there are a few things you still need to do first, and that is camera and lens corrections. These are sometimes necessary because of the shortcomings of the lens and the camera sensor. There is lens corrections and camera calibrations, because these are the two areas where errors can occur...camera and lens. Camera corrections you don't need to worry about unless something is seriously wrong with the colour output of your camera. In Lightroom on the right pane down the bottom is the Camera Calibration menu. Leave everything on zero, until it is necessary to play with these. Lens corrections are more common, because different lenses have different characteristics. Lens problems come in the form of Lensatic Distortion and/or Chromatic Aberration. Lensatic Distortion refers to the *shape* of the subject being distorted, whereas Chromatic Aberration refers to the *colours* being affected. Chromatic Aberration is a colour shift on the edges of objects towards the outer parts of the image, Fringing, which is one particular colour shifting right across the image, or Colour Cast (or Blooming) which is like a cloudy film of a particular colour across the whole image. Lightroom can correct Lensatic Distortion, Chromatic Aberration, and Fringing with built in tools, but not Cast (you have to do that with individual sliders and is much more difficult). Lensatic Distortion. Go to the right pane in Lightroom and click on Lens Corrections bar to open the menu. Click on Profile tab, here you can search for your lens model in the Make and model drop menus, and select a presaved profile that matched your lens. Then tick the box to enable profile corrections. Or you can click on the Manual tab and make the various distortion adjustments yourself. This is for correcting perspective issues like pincushion or barrel distortion, horizontal issues and vertical issues. If this is all too much, you can click on the Basic tab and have Lightroom do it for you automatically...although it is not always perfect. In the manual tab, there is also a Vignetting slider. There are several Vignette tools in Lightroom, this one is specifically for removing dark or light corners cause by either filters (dark) or glass problems which make the edges and corners darker or lighter. Chromatic Aberration. Go to the Colour tab within Lens corrections, and tick the box to remove Chromatic Aberration. I dunno why this feature isn't always on, because almost all lenses have some form of CA, and Lightroom's automatic process of removing it is so good. LR3 and earlier had a manual tool for removing it, 4 and 5 do it with the press of a button. After you have removed CA, you might still see some coloured haze on the edges of objects in your image. This is called Fringing, and is usually a red or a blue that is across the whole image. Use the eyedropper to select in image what the colour is, and it will automatically be removed. The sliders underneath can fine tune to selected fringe colour. A third and final thing that one should do before starting to play around with their image is spot removal. Dust on the sensor or lens elements can cause spots on the image especially at high aperture. If you can't remove dust from the lens or sensor with proper cleaning techniques, you can remove spots within Lightroom. Click on the image in the centre pane to zoom in and look for dark grey circular spots, usually found in the sky, or large flat areas of colour. In the right pane under the Histogram bar at top right, there is a toolbar with some buttons. Spot removal is the 2nd one. Click on it, adjust the size according the size of the spots, and simply click on the spots on your image. Lightroom will select an area nearby to paste over the spot and thus hide it. You can use Heal for flat colours, or Clone if there is detail that you want to retain (ie a spot on a bunch of leaves). The 3rd button will do red eye removal as well, in eyes glowing because of flash. You can use the spot removal tool to get rid of lens flare, which is the usually green, red or white hexagons and circles that appear over the image, particularly when the sun is striking the lens. Sometime these flares may be desirable, usually they are not. If a flare is pronounced, and covering a busy and detailed section of the image, this can't be corrected in Lightroom, and you may have to discard the image. You may be able to remove flaring later on in Photoshop using a tedious process of masking and local colour adjustments, but only if the image is worth the effort. So to summarize, Part 1 is focusing on preparing your image to be the best technically and mechanically possible blank image to start with, by correcting Lens Distortions caused by the geometry of the optics, correcting Aberrations such as Chromatic Aberration, Fringing and Cast caused by the quality of the glass and sensor, and removing spots caused by dirt on the lens glass or sensor. Part 2 to follow.