I don't see any equivalent to a brightness slider in the basic panel of the develop module of LR 4.1, and I cannot imagine why Adobe would choose to get rid of this most basic of adjustments options that has been a feature of every photo editing program I have ever seen.
Brightness in LR 3 (I did not use LR 4.0, but I know it had a brightness slider) was a good way to boost luminence in the mid-tones without blowing out highlights too readily. "Whites", in the basic panel of LR 4.1's develop module -- if this was indeed intended as LR 4.1's answer to the brightness slider -- on the on the other hand, seems to blow out whites before accomplishing anything else (hence the full name "white clipping"). Boosting the "shadows" slider in 4.1 seems to do the same thing as adding fill light in LR 3, and the "blacks" slider in 4.1 has been inverted and now has a negative side that does the same thing as increasing "blacks" did before, whereas increasing it on the positive side lifts the darkest tones, a capability that wasn't possible in LR 3. Am I right, so far?
All this is well and good, except for Adobe inexplicably dispensing with the brightness slider. So my question, as stated in the subject heading of this post is, why get rid of a function that seems so necessary and intuitive, and what has it been replaced with, in case I am missing something?
The Brightness slider was removed in Lightroom 4 with the introduction of the new Process Version 2012. This is an entire new rendering algorithm of raw data.
I suggest you look at this tutorial on the new features in the Develop Module.
Just a heads up:
PV2012 is a lot *less* like PV2010 than it might appear at first, (or any other editor you've used so far).
Trying to map the PV2012 controls directly to something you are familiar with in PV2010 (or other editors you've used) is a recipe for frustration.
In PV2012, everything is tuned to work together (sometimes differently for different photos), kinda "centered" around exposure. If you want the photo brighter, then increase exposure (usually. - sometimes it may be preferrable to increase whites instead, or also). In any case, if that makes it too bright up top, then drop highlights (usually. - sometimes it may be preferrable to decrease whites instead, or also). Likewise, if not bright enough at the bottom, raise shadows (and consider blacks).
PV2012 is really awesome once you get the hang of it, but it takes some getting used to...
One thing I find educational is to use auto-tone. It will often give you a ridiculous value for exposure, so adjust it as much as need be after auto-toning; blacks may need a nudge too (as may the others - but only after you've done your best with exposure). In any case, the values it comes up with for highlights and shadows (and whites) are worth noting, and learning from, even if they're a little much or too little for your taste on any given photo. adjust contrast to taste... This is very worth doing as a learning aid, even if you prefer manual adjustment in the end.
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