Saturday, June 23, 2012

Some basic adjustments in Lightroom 4

In a previous post, I showed a before and after test shot of the canyon at Tent Rocks National Monument. The new tools in the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 [LR4] develop module made the corrections incredibly easy.

In Lightroom 3.6, the basic panel looked like this:

These controls gave a great change to making adjustments to photos from Photoshop where several adjustment layers used to be needed for most corrections.

There are new tools in LR4:

This gives even greater control over the light and dark sections of a photograph, like the one I shot to test.

I shot the frame above to test both the tonal response of the new Nikon D800, and the recently released LR4. Due to the depth of the canyon, and the bright sunlight at mid afternoon, both the highlights and shadows are nearly completely blown out, as indicated by the histogram.

This shows that almost all of the tonality is at either end of the spectrum, with almost nothing in the middle.

The first thing I did was bring up the dark areas a bit with the shadows slider.

Which yielded this:

OK, I've gotten a lot of detail back in the bottom end, but the highlights are still too much, so I naturally went for the highlights slider.

Now we're getting somewhere... the details in the rock just right of center at the top of the frame are back. Unfortunately it brought down some of the detail in the shadows... so lets hit the blacks (clipping) slider...

Which gave me the end result:

To look at the histogram, the tonality is much closer to the middle of the range (OK, it's not dead center, but it's not clipped out anymore- and heck, it WAS really dark in there!)

Total time for the adjustments was about two minutes, and no layers were needed. I absolutely love Lightroom for how much easier post-processing has become.

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