24 Replies Latest reply: Mar 6, 2012 6:55 AM by KateMann RSS

    How to edit a photo in Lr4b1

    areohbee Community Member

      Intro:

      ======

       

      The purpose of this thread is for people to discuss tips, tricks, and difficulties editing PV2012 photos.

      Please be courageous enough to post about what you love, what works, what doesn't, as well as what you don't like about PV2012.

      Please keep personal comments to yourself. If you must uncork, consider discussing personal issues via PM, or create a new thread for venting them...

      Reminder: Only you control which threads and which posts you read.

       

       

      How to edit a photo, basically:

      =======================

       

      * exposure - squint and take a whack (don't worry too much about over-bright highlights or over dim shadows at this point. Some people have found that setting initial exposure by looking at the navigator or a thumbnail instead of the big picture helps to keep from getting misguided by extra-bright/dim areas).

      * contrast - assess desired level of (midtone) contrasty-ness, and take a whack (don't worry too much about over-bright highlights or over dim shadows at this point).

      * adjust highlights so they're not too bright (or dim)

      * adjust shadows so they're not too dim (or bright).

      ---------

      optional:

      ---------

      * +whites to stretch exposure out a bit (stopping shy of the clip point, right at the clip point, or beyond the clip point, as desired).

      * -whites to compress highest tones a bit (or a lot).

      * -blacks to clip point to take full advantage of dynamic range, or beyond clip point to create some true blacks, or stop shy of clip point to keep darks from being too black.

      * +blacks to eliminate true blacks, fill darkest tones, or compress shadows.

       

      Assess midtones with the TAT tool (of the tone curve).

       

      if midtones are too bright, drop exposure and take another pass at the rest...

      if midtones are too dim, increase exposure and take another pass at the rest...

      if midtones are OK, but it looks over contrasty, drop contrast and take another pass at the rest.

      if midtones are OK, but it looks under contrasty, increase contrast and take another pass at the rest.

       

      If tone is still not exactly what you want, use the tone curve.

      If some areas are wonky use the locals...

       

      Advanced editing topics:

      ===================

       

      (Note: If you want the opposite, then do the opposite)

       

      How to increase intra-highlight contrast:

      -------------------------------------------------

      +whites -exposure -highlights +shadows

       

      How to increase midtone contrast:

      ------------------------------------------

      +contrast -highlights +shadows

      (-vibrance and/or -saturation if this makes it too "colorful")

       

      How to increase intra-shadow contrast:

      ------------------------------------------------

      -blacks +shadows

      (if this makes midtones too bright, then -exposure...)

       

      Note: @28/Feb/2012, my biggest use of the tone curve is for primping darkest blacks/shadows.

       

      If all's well except mids are a tad bright:

      -------------------------------------------------

      -exposure +highlights +shadows

       

      If all's well except mids are a tad dim:

      ----------------------------------------------

      +exposure -highlights -shadows

       

      If -highlights is not recoverying enough highlights, or is creating too much highlight stratification, try -whites.

      If deepest blacks are still too black, try +blacks.

       

      Note: @28/Feb/2012, one of my biggest uses of locals is for primping highlights.

       

      Bonus topics:

      ==========

      If image looks OK, but you want to punchify it, then follow the instructions for increasing highlight contrast, and/or midtone contrast, and/or intra-shadow contrast, and maybe toss in some clarity and adjust vib/sat.

      And to unpunchify? - do the opposite...

       

      Often (meaning not always by a long shot), optimal toning includes -highlights value of same magnitude as +shadows value. For normal photos, when fairly normal results are desired, it's often a good starting point.

       

      If you want radically different toning than what you can do with the basics, then after getting image as close as possible using the basics, go crazy with the point curve...

       

      Don't forget, if you are having a very hard time getting the look right, maybe you need a different camera calibration profile.

      Overly contrasty and too intensely colored? - try neutral.

      Underly contrasty and not well saturated? - try vivid or landscape.

       

      Also the RGB channel curves can be a godsend.

       

       

      Troubleshooting:

      =============

      * Overbright highlights? If nothing will bring them down, and they're like bright dead-zones, wait for beta #2 - this should be fixed.

      * Shadow halos? Clarity halos are mostly gone, but now we have a new kind of haloing - dunno if this will be fixed or not, but Eric is aware of it.

      * If new clarity looks ugly, wait for beta #2 - hopefully this will be improved.

      * If highlights are still flat, or you can't get all whites white, or you can't get an "unadulterated" highlight look, try finessing whites/exposure/highlights/tone-point-curve/locals. If still not acceptable, switch to PV2010 - this will not be fixed (problem is auto-highlight recovery).

      * If blacks are not blacking the way you want, this can usually be remedied by finessing the tone-point-curve (and maybe some locals) - difficulty is due to auto-shadow recovery.

      * If you are converting an existing photo, beware of locals. Locals from previous process versions do not always translate well to PV2012, especially if they include a brightness adjustment.

       

       

      Finally:

      =====

      You can not use the tone/point curve for spot tone adjustment - tone curve should be smooth or it will (usually) destroy at least one tonal range. Use locals for spot toning.

      If you seem to need a complex shaped tone curve, you probably haven't got the basics right yet.

       

       

      Lastly:

      =====

      by beta#2 I mean next release.

        • 1. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
          asdasd98

          Great post, Rob. I haven't messed with LR4 b1 all that much, but will be printing these tips up to keep as a little cheat sheet as I work through PV2012.

           

          cheers,

          ~gr

          • 2. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
            areohbee Community Member

            asdasd98 wrote:

             

            Great post, Rob. I haven't messed with LR4 b1 all that much, but will be printing these tips up to keep as a little cheat sheet as I work through PV2012.

             

            Thanks gr - I hope these tips will help.

             

            Please report back after you work through a few photos...

             

            ---------------------------------------------------------------

            ~ Lr3 fill-light: +shadows +exposure -highlights (preserves midtones similiarly as Lr3; consider -blacks to go with it, and maybe some reshaping of the blacks via the tone curve: see following post)

            ~ Lr3 brightness: +exposure -highlights (better than Lr3 brightness, since it won't wash it out like Lr3 did. You can get exactly the same brightening effect as Lr3, including the loss of midtone contrast, using the tone/point curve, if you want).

            ---------------------------------------------------------------

             

            Question: What's the most common adjustment I make after converting a photo from PV2010 to PV2012?

            Answer: -blacks (most of the time it's necessary to me, and sometimes even sufficient). YMMV.

             

            Also, don't be afraid to use that hundredths digit of exposure (second digit right of the decimal point). For example, it's not at all uncommon for 0.50 to be not enough, 0.60 to be too much, and 0.55 to be just right - kinda like goldilocks.

             

            Rob

            • 3. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
              areohbee Community Member

              How to clip blacks without leaving "black spots", and related topics - i.e. how to control tone of the bottom-most shadows...

              ========================================================================================== ======

               

              Intro:

              ------

               

              Lr4 automatically protects you from having clipped blacks, it pulls them off the left wall and pushes them into the shadows. This is great when open shadows (I mean blacks) are desired. Examples:

               

              - Pictures of animals with black eyes.

              - Landscapes where deep shadow detail is very much a part of the picture.

               

              Lr4's shadow handling tends to unclip & open blacks, in a magical way that not only recovers blacks but also increases deep shadow detail. Although it can be quite awesome for some photos, it can be problematic for others, depending on the level of detail desired. Also, the extent to which one can reshape the deeper shadows depends on the shadow tone distribution, and how well it jives with the PV2012 algorithm. One of the problems people often have when coming over from Lr3:

               

              +shadows +exposure -highlights creates a similar efect as Lr3 fill-light, but sometimes leaves the shadows still wanting.

               

              Definition:

              ------------

              Black Spot - this is what happens sometimes by clipping blacks in Lr4 using -blacks. Because blacks emerge from the left wall rather quickly, just clipping blacks can result in a visible seam between clipped blacks and (still) protected blacks. The clipped blacks then appear as black spots.

               

              The key to the solution lies with the tone curve.

               

              *** After adjusting -blacks to clip blacks by the desired amount.

               

              Adjust the parametric tone curve, maybe start with:

               

              - Move the shadow split to 10

              - Set Shadows to -20 (on the parametric curve, not the basic shadows slider).

               

              This will eliminate the seams and drop the darker parts of the shadows back.

               

              +shadows for more shadow detail, if desired (basic slider, not parametric shadows).

               

              Basic shadows slider still lightening darker darks too much? - return to the parametric tone curve:

               

              - Move the dark split to 40

              - Set darks to -10

               

              +shadows some more, if more shadow detail desired... (basics slider)

               

              And so forth (values chosen are for example purposes only - nothing sacred about them...).

               

              *** Although this tip was original intended for clipping blacks without spots/seams, it applies equally well to reshaping the blacks and darker darks without clipping - just don't -blacks as much.

              It also applies to making Lr4 shadows look more like Lr3 shadows, although that was not it's original intent - reminds me of the tips given to Lr3 users to make the shadows look more like Lr4 shadows, before Lr4 was invented ;-}

               

              Summary:

              ------------

              For some photos, clipped blacks are good, and minimization of visibility into the blacks is also good, and no seams between true black and near blacks is good. This tip describes how to accomplish those goals, and applies to similar related goals as well.

               

              R

              • 4. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                areohbee Community Member

                How to deal with auto-highlight recovery, and other highlight design features

                ============================================================

                 

                Intro:

                ------

                1 - PV2012 pulls highest highlights away from the right wall and pushes them leftward, this unveils highlight detail, and can make the highlights look a little "powdery" (processed), instead of "glowy" (unadulterated).

                2 - PV2012 tends to keep highest highlights high even when reducing exposure and whites, presumably to minimize dullness and maximize intra-highlight contrast.

                 

                Tools for influencing the behavior of highest highs:

                ---------------------------------------------------------------

                * Whites slider (in conjunction with exposure and highlights sliders)

                * Tone curve

                * Locals

                 

                PV2012 likes for you to have lots of highlight detail, and +whites although it can unravel the recovery to some extent, still tends to preserve details in the whites. This is, most often for me anyway, a really good thing. But sometimes the charm of a photo is in the way the highlights have a glowy, unadulterated, somewhat detail-free look.

                 

                +whites will work to a limited extent to restore glowy-ness, but if pushed too far will just result in too much white.

                 

                So, what's a poor boy/girl to do?

                 

                To make a long story short (after balancing +whites with exposure and highlight sliders (and compensatory shadows adjustment)):

                 

                - use the tone curve to finesse the shape of the highest tones

                - use local brush to drop highlights overbrightened by pushing +whites a bit much (-highlights tends to preserve more detail than -exposure).

                - use local brush to buff out distracting highlight details... e.g. +exposure, +highlights, -clarity, +contrast, -sharpness, +nr, -saturation and/or white-balance, and maybe even colorizer in some cases.

                 

                ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------

                 

                The tendency for keeping highest tones high has some anomalies that are being worked on, so I shan't comment too much, but one thing:

                 

                If one channel extends way far right, it can ruin the whole deal in highest highlights - consider bending the offending channel downward at the very top-right using channel curve.

                 

                ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------

                 

                R

                • 5. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                  rendezvousnz

                  Thanks for typing out all this information Rob, much appreciated.

                  • 6. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                    KateMann Community Member

                    thank you Rob, that smooths out a few blurs in my processor brain.

                    • 7. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                      Cornelia-I Community Member

                      Hi Rob,

                      That is fantastic, that you blog about your hard-earned LR4b develop experiences in such a structured way !

                       

                      Which leads me to suggest even another format for this: to publish an eBook, with some sample images included to illustrate each use case, maybe even with a download offered for the raws, so your readers can get some hands-on experience as well.

                       

                      An eBook could be updated if need be with every new version of LR4(beta), if justified by new insights.

                       

                      Like the guys at Craft and Vision (http://craftandvision.com/) - I'd gladly buy such a volume form you !

                       

                      Cornelia

                      • 8. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                        areohbee Community Member

                        To Cornelia - thank you, but your proposal sounds a lot like work to me, plus I've already given away all my secrets... .

                         

                        My reasons for this thread:

                        1 - to get my own thoughts straight.

                        2 - in case anyone else can benefit, including Adobe - to see how people are getting on with PV2012 dev.

                        3 - The hope that others will include their tips as well.

                         

                        To everyone: I appreciate your appreciation . If you experiment with any of the formulas or concepts here, please let us know how that turns out, or if you find anything new...

                         

                        Rob

                        • 9. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                          areohbee Community Member

                          How to get results from PV2012 that would otherwise be impossible

                          =====================================================

                           

                          Could have been titled: "Camera calibration profile is the key to redistributing tones in a way that will click better with PV2012".

                           

                          But now that I've given away the punchline, there's hardly any point in telling the joke... - I'll take a whack anyway...

                           

                          Intro:

                          ------

                          Just twisting sliders from one extreme to the other and watching the histogram will reveal some very sophisticated programming is at play in PV2012. The goal being to allow great flexibility with a relatively small control set, and to have everything "work out".

                           

                          When the tonal distribution of the "original photo" jives well with the PV2012 algorithms, the results are generally superior - better than what one can accomplish with PV2010. However sometimes PV2012 can be problematic - difficult (if not impossible) to achieve the desired results even after hours of fiddling with basics and tone curve. Locals can fix up almost anything, but for the purposes of this post, I'm going to consider that "cheating".

                           

                          The astute reader will notice "original photo" was in quotes. The reason is that the camera calibration profile is processed before PV2012 basics. Put another way, the output of the camera calibration profile is the input to the PV2012 basic sliders. Thus one can affect the tonal distribution of the "original photo" so it jives better with PV2012 using the tone curve in the DNG Profile Editor.

                           

                          Sorry I gave a way the punchline...

                           

                          Rob

                          • 10. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                            Timur Born Community Member

                            I consider myself a beginner, but found that the "Highlight" slider is what I use most (in both directions). As long as there are known issues and things to be changing I am not sure if general hints are fully useful yet. For example -White in combination with -Exposure as of now behaves unwanted, so the final outcome after a fix (new version) will likely be quite different.

                            • 11. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                              areohbee Community Member

                              Hi Timur,

                               

                              Original design of highlights slider did not support positive values.

                              Original design of shadows slider did not support negative values.

                               

                              They were more like highlight recovery and fill light in Lr3 - they only went one way.

                               

                              While I too find positive values for highlight slider useful sometimes, and negative values for shadows slider, as does Adobe (which is why the options are available now), the vast majority of time when you are using positive highlight values what you really need to do is increase exposure.

                               

                              PS - PV2012 behavior may be fine tuned, but I seriously doubt it will change in any big way.

                               

                              8 times out of 10 (YMMV), having -highlights equal to +shadows is perfect (or nearly so). In those cases, if tone is not right with equal and opposing values for highlights/shadows, what you need to do is adjust exposure.

                               

                              For example, starting with

                               

                              Starting with:

                              highlights = 0

                              shadows = 0

                               

                              +contrast by 20

                              -highlights by 20

                              +shadows by 20

                              (-saturation by 5)

                               

                              Results:

                              More midtone contrast.

                               

                              Or,

                              +whites by 15

                              -exposure by .1

                              -highlights by 20

                              +shadows by 20

                               

                              Results:

                              More highlight detail.

                               

                              eh?

                               

                               

                              Timur Born wrote:

                               

                              -White in combination with -Exposure as of now behaves unwanted...

                               

                              It should be +whites -exposure (increased whites, in conjunction with reduced exposure).

                               

                              I use this on >50% of my photos and I consider it a critical feature of PV2012@b1.

                               

                              ?

                               

                              Reminder: The single biggest trick to editing in PV2012, by far, is that exposure should be set for the midtones - not for the shadows, and not for the highlights. Use the TAT tool of the tone curve to determine which tones are the mids.

                               

                              Rob

                              • 12. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                areohbee Community Member

                                How to set contrast in PV2012

                                ========================

                                 

                                Intro:

                                ------

                                The contrast slider in PV2012, in many ways, is very much like the contrast slider in PV2010, except:

                                 

                                1. Like everything else, it includes the benefits of auto-highlight & auto-shadow recovery.

                                2. It is applied along with the rest of the basics (prior to tone curve).

                                3. It's effect on highlights and shadows can be modulated, independently, using the highlight & shadow sliders.

                                 

                                This post is about point #3 - this is a really powerful aspect of PV2012 and one of the things that makes it so cool.

                                ------

                                 

                                In Lr3 (as in Lr4) contrast could be increased, and would separate midtones while compressing shadows and highlights. Lr3 fill was pretty darn good at being able to "fluff" those compressed shadows back out without losing midtone contrast, but highlight recovery in L3 was weak, and so trying to recover highlight detail lost due to contrast compression was quite a challenge. Highlight recovery tended to make things dull, which was sorta the opposite of what one was generally after when increasing contrast. I spent a lot of time in Lr3 brushing -contrast into the highlights to avoid using the global highlight recovery slider, or just keep contrast low and use +clarity to maintain the appearance of midtone contrast.

                                 

                                This problem has been solved in Lr4.

                                 

                                It's important to set the contrast slider correctly in PV2012, but what is the "correct" setting?

                                 

                                Often (meaning not always by a long shot), the contrast slider is used just to set midtone contrast, thusly:

                                 

                                +contrast

                                -highlights

                                +shadows

                                 

                                i.e. increasing contrast separates the midtones and compresses the highlights and shadows, but -highlights decompresses the highlights, and +shadows decompresses the shadows. Leaving, you guessed it, just increased midtone contrast. Note: this also increases saturation which may or may not be desirable.

                                 

                                As always, if you want the opposite, then do the opposite, which means, in this case, if you want less midtone contrast, then:

                                 

                                -contrast

                                +highlights

                                -shadows

                                 

                                Not too much is new so far, but this is:

                                 

                                Unlike in PV2010, contrast slider can be used to darken and compress shadows without compressing highlights using:

                                 

                                +contrast

                                -highlights

                                 

                                or lighten and compress highlights, without darkening shadows using:

                                 

                                +contrast

                                +shadows

                                 

                                The astute reader should be confused at this point.

                                 

                                I mean, isn't -shadows supposed to darken and compress shadows, and isn't +highlights supposed to lighten and compress highlights? Answer: yes, but they do it differently:

                                 

                                +contrast -highlights, in addition to darkening and compressing shadows will increase "punch" more than -shadows, and likewise:

                                +contrast +shadows, in addition to lightening and compressing highlights, will increase "punch" more than +highlights.

                                 

                                Try it!

                                 

                                Rob

                                • 13. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                  areohbee Community Member

                                  How to set exposure in PV2012

                                  =========================

                                   

                                  This is #1 skill to master for PV2012 editing.

                                   

                                  It is far more important to get this right, than in Lr3. Why? Because in Lr3 if exposure was too low, you would often just end up with an image that was fine, but not quite bright enough, if set too high, the final image might look fine, but lack detail in the highlights, or require more than optimal highlight recovery. In Lr4 it's more like a keystone - without it, the whole structure crumbles. Bringin' it home:

                                   

                                  If exposure is set a little too high or a little too low, you will end up with wonky toning.

                                   

                                  Although the effect of PV2012 exposure is a lot like the effect of PV2010 exposure, the basis for setting it has changed, and that's a psychological hurdle that must be overcome for optimal results using PV2012.

                                   

                                  Review:

                                  ---------

                                  In Lr3, one would generally set exposure based on the highlights. Most of us would try to keep highlight recovery as low as possible, so if the highlights looked good exposure was set correctly. Bring up the bottom using fill, and set the mids using brightness, maybe fine tune using the tone curve, done...

                                   

                                  In this post, for simplicity, I'll be leaving out issues of contrast - discussed elsewhere.

                                   

                                  However in Lr4, exposure should be set based on what the midtones will be - and not what they start out being. This can be very tricky:

                                   

                                  * The correct value often makes shadows and/or highlights look temporarily worse, not better.

                                  * Dark shadows will make you want to set it too high.

                                  * Bright highlights will make you want to set it too low.

                                  * It's easy to mistake a bright shadow tone or a dark highlight tone for a midtone.

                                  * Other subsequent adjustments will also affect midtone levels.

                                   

                                  Thus, you can't hardly know what the correct exposure will be at the outset, or whether you've set it correctly, until after at least one pass setting the other adjustments in the ball park, and sometimes multiple passes are required to hone in on the correct value for exposure.

                                   

                                  Setting exposure is the trickiest aspect of using PV2012

                                   

                                  In Lr4 (meaning PV2012) exposure is like the fulcrum of a see-saw. Everything else gets balanced around it.

                                   

                                  If you set it too low and then try to compensate by increasing highlights and/or shadows, you'll end up with wonky toning.

                                  If you set it too high and then try to compensate by decreasing highlights and/or shadows, you'll end up with wonky toning.

                                   

                                  Think goldilocks - it must be just right...

                                   

                                  How can you tell if it's right? simple - after at least one pass, check which tones are midtones using the TAT tool of the tone curve, and ask yourself if they are too bright or too dim. If neither, then exposure is set correctly. Now, that assumes you've got appropriate contrast and both highlights and shadows are in the ball park. All other adjustments besides exposure have been designed to have minimal impact on midtone level, although they will affect it a little or a lot, as necessary when making adjustments. The good news, once everything is in the ball park, the other adjustments will only affect midtone level a little, thus you can often have photos adjusted optimally after "only" 2 or 3 passes. Once you get a feel for this, it all becomes 2nd nature, but until then it's worth "following the rules".

                                   

                                  Note: since most photos like -highlights to be about the same as +shadows, pay attention to this - if it's not the case, there's a good chance exposure is not set correctly yet.

                                   

                                  I often use the second digit after the decimal point when setting exposure in Lr4 (never did that in Lr3) - it's that critical.

                                   

                                  Once you have exposure set correctly you can play with contrast, highlights, & shadows with relative impunity...

                                   

                                  Although changes to exposure may be minor from here on out, even relatively minor changes in exposure can often mean fairly major changes to the highlights and shadows. Likewise relatively minor changes to contrast can also mean fairly major changes to highlights and shadows - I often set highlight and shadow values all over the map in the course of optimization - don't get too attached to any particular values for highlights & shadows!

                                   

                                  It's an easy trap to fall into, to attempt to compensate for incorrect exposure by setting incorrect values for highlights and shadows, and come up with something that looks almost right, but is still curiously off - hammering at it with the rest of the sliders will make it different, but still off. Only way for it to look right, is to set exposure right.

                                   

                                  eh?

                                   

                                  Rob

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                   


                                  • 14. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                    KateMann Community Member

                                    At the risk of causing thread bloat, I would like to thank you, Rob, for this excellent tutorial. With mid-tones as my base objective, I have found that the adjustments to shadows and highlights are more powerful and much more sensitive than they were in 2010. Without being all that technically aware as I work, I have been very happy with the results. Your posts in this thread have made it clear why that might be.

                                    • 15. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                      areohbee Community Member

                                      Hi Kate,

                                       

                                      KateMann wrote:

                                       

                                      At the risk of causing thread bloat, I would like to thank you, Rob, for this excellent tutorial.

                                       

                                      You're welcome. And this "book" needed something on the cover flaps - so I thank you too.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      KateMann wrote:

                                       

                                      With mid-tones as my base objective...

                                       

                                      This is the most important take-away, even if all the rest seems unintelligible...

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      KateMann wrote:

                                       

                                      I have found that the adjustments to shadows and highlights are more powerful and much more sensitive than they were in 2010.

                                       

                                      For Lr3, Adobe concentrated on image quality and performance. Although they didn't meet their performance objectives, the raw processing, noise reduction, and sharpening are some of the best the world has ever seen (no comment about lens corrections). And they probably did too good of a job with fill light . One can forgive a lot when their image quality is top notch. Likewise, in Lr4, along with a couple of highly demanded and convenient bells & whistles features (books & maps), they have done some truly revolutionary work in image quality improvement and control (I'm not a soft-proofer so no comment about it). The new highlight and shadow handling (auto-recovery and basic sliders...) are at the heart of it. Lr4 is now top-notch in allowing us to create images with fully lit shadows, and perfectly controlled and detailed highlights. OK, maybe not perfect, but you get my point, right? And once one learns how, it is possible to create subtle, natural, more "old school" photographs, or a highly detailed and punchy look,  with a hint of grunge if desired (new clarity).

                                       

                                      I could hardly be more stoked about PV2012, which is why I'm also passionate about pointing out it's weaknesses and limitations, and more importantly - how to get around them when need be.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      Rob

                                      • 16. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                        KateMann Community Member

                                        The clarity function was a delightful surprise. I thought it lacking

                                        somewhat in Lr3.

                                        • 17. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                          areohbee Community Member

                                          KateMann wrote:

                                           

                                          The clarity function was a delightful surprise. I thought it lacking somewhat in Lr3.

                                           

                                          Yeah, new clarity opens doors that were closed to Lr3 clarity - I particularly like how it can clarify shadows.

                                           

                                          However, I often find it "harsh looking" in many photos.

                                          • 18. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                            KateMann Community Member

                                            A nudge to the clarity works best when making .jpgs for the net. They

                                            frequently need a little boost that larger, printed photos don't require. I

                                            have always used a bit of unsharp mask, even quite a lot of unsharp mask,

                                            in my Photoshop workflow. It, clarifys, things.

                                            • 19. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                              areohbee Community Member

                                              How to use the highlights slider, basically

                                              ================================

                                               

                                              Highlights slider raises or lowers level of highlights while attempting to have minimal impact on midtones and whites.

                                               

                                              +highlights will raise level but may compress highlights some (or it may not).

                                              -highlights will lower level and also usually enhances highlight detail.

                                               

                                              Say what?

                                               

                                              It is clear that Lr4/PV2012 involves some sophisiticated algorithms that influence how things work, to try and assure things work out for the best in all or the majority of cases. Highlight slider does not necessarily do exactly the same thing in every photo! What it does is governed not only be the original tonal distribution, but the other settings too.

                                               

                                              I suspect the two biggest mistakes newcomers to PV2012 will make:

                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----

                                              * attempting to use +highlights (and/or +shadows) instead of +exposure, (or the opposite), and perhaps even more likely:

                                              * attempting to use +highlights -shadows to increase midtone contrast (or -highlights +shadows to reduce contrast).

                                               

                                              What not to do:

                                              -------------------

                                              * Attempt to finalize highlights (and/or shadows) before exposure has been set correctly (see note below).

                                              * Attempt to finalize highlights (and/or shadows) before contrast has been pleasingly set.

                                              * +highlights (and/or +shadows) when what you should do is +exposure.

                                              * -highlights (and/or -shadows) when what you should do is -exposure.

                                              * +highlights -shadows when what you should do is +contrast.

                                              * -highlights +shadows when what you should do is -contrast.

                                               

                                              Note: You have to get highlights and shadows in the ball park before you can finish setting exposure correctly, so there's kindofa catch-22 here, still...

                                               

                                              What to do:

                                              --------------

                                              * Keep highlights and shadows bounded, even if sloppily, while honing in on the correct exposure.

                                              * Adjust highlights in response to contrast changes to keep highlights from being over-brightened.

                                              * Once exposure is correct and contrast is pleasing, highlights can be fine-tuned for taste.

                                               

                                              As always, if you want the opposite, then do the opposite. For example, if you lower contrast, you may want to increase highlights to keep them from being too dim...

                                               

                                              Final thoughts:

                                              ------------------

                                              There's no right or wrong value for contrast (strictly a matter of personal taste), but exposure must be correct for the toning goals you have in mind (you may not like the results once you achieve them, but this is about achieving your goals, whether or not you'll make new goals again afterward...).

                                               

                                              Rob

                                              • 20. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                                areohbee Community Member

                                                KateMann wrote:

                                                 

                                                A nudge to the clarity works best when making .jpgs for the net. They

                                                frequently need a little boost that larger, printed photos don't require. I

                                                have always used a bit of unsharp mask, even quite a lot of unsharp mask,

                                                in my Photoshop workflow. It, clarifys, things.

                                                 

                                                Gotcha. I may very well implement export presets (meaning (usually relative) develop presets applied to exports) if Adobe does not beat me to it.

                                                 

                                                Right now it would be a very klugy implementation, due to lack of sufficient support in the SDK, but maybe Adobe will come through in the Lr4 SDK.

                                                 

                                                Rob

                                                • 21. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                                  Timur Born Community Member

                                                  Rob Cole wrote:

                                                   

                                                  I suspect the two biggest mistakes newcomers to PV2012 will make:

                                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------

                                                  * attempting to use +highlights (and/or +shadows) instead of +exposure, (or the opposite)

                                                   

                                                  Hey Rob,

                                                   

                                                  I am one of those beginners. In some situations one might get away with a quick and dirty +highlights. Here is an out-of-camera JPG where I wanted to lift mid/skin tones a bit and increase contrast slightly.

                                                   

                                                  Before:

                                                  lr4_highlights_before.JPG

                                                  After +Highlights:

                                                  lr4_highlights_after.JPG

                                                  Using +Exposure instead:

                                                  lr4_exposure.JPG

                                                  As you can see the +Exposure would have needed further working on in order to get closer to the results of the +Highlights. Yes, there are some very small clipping areas in the +Highlight image, but the biggest/most pronounced was cut out of the final image anyway (made a 4:3 into a 16:10). It's surely not the best possible outcome, but it's fitting for the non-artistic flash in the face snapshot I was trying to enhance a bit.

                                                   


                                                  * +highlights -shadows when what you should do is +contrast.

                                                   

                                                  I understand what you mean, but sometimes it may be the tool of choice and I wouldn't dismiss it as generally "wrong". The results of +Highlights -Shadows can be quite different looking to +Contrast. In my image +Contrast makes the skin look like having taken a sunbath (or the old Kinder chocolate kids) while +Highlights -Shadows keeps the rather pale winter skin intact and generally looks less "processed".

                                                  • 22. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                                    areohbee Community Member

                                                    My only point was to beware of using the sliders for the wrong purposes. While you can often get most regions toned up satisfactorily even so, sometimes you can't get all regions toned up satsifactorily that way.

                                                     

                                                    I made this mistake over and over and over again in the early days - overusing highlights and shadows sliders to tone one region before finalizing exposure. Then you can't tone another region correctly, and you end up forever chasing your tail... - thus my cautions to newbs.

                                                     

                                                    But your points are well taken.

                                                    ---------------------------------

                                                    If you had exposure set correctly, and appropriate contrast, and shadows were already toned, but highlights are not quite bright enough, then +highlights by itself may be just the right thing to do, otherwise probably not.

                                                     

                                                    And, if you already had exposure set correctly, and sufficient midtone contrast, but the highlights weren't bright enough, and the shadows were too bright, then doing +highlights -shadows together may be just the right thing to do, otherwise probably not.

                                                    ---------------------------------

                                                     

                                                    Iff you are certain exposure is already set correctly, then you can pretty much do whatever you want with contrast, highlights, and/or shadows sliders - that's the beauty of editing in PV2012 (although I recommend always checking highlight & shadow sliders after adjusting contrast). Until then, you may not be able to accomplish optimal toning across the entire tonal range.

                                                     

                                                    Consider this experiment:

                                                    --------------------------------

                                                    Take one of those jpegs that's about right and set highlights and shadows both up to +50, and drop exposure and tweak contrast so that overall tonality is as close as you can make it to the original.

                                                    Now set both highlights and shadows to -50 and crank up exposure and tweak contrast until overal tonality is as close as you can make it to the original, and compare them all.

                                                    Photos look very similar in many ways, except the ones with the large same-signed values for highlights and shadows probably look a little off, no?

                                                    These are the kinds of situations that my cautions are trying to help people avoid.

                                                     

                                                    Once you know all the ins & outs you can forget all this stuff, and just do what works for you...

                                                    Having both values for highlights and shadows positive, or negative, may be just what you need to achieve an effect you're after, but unless you know what you're doing, the odds are you've gone astray.

                                                     

                                                    I rarely follow the advice or editing procedures I've given here. But, I'm vigilant about constantly checking and possibly tweaking exposure before readjusting highlights & shadows, and I no longer try to do with highlight & shadow sliders what should be done using contrast slider (and vice versa). Read that last sentence again - it has been, for me, the key to successful editing in PV2012 - YMMV. Truth is, I find editing in PV2012 a joy since I got the hang of it, and learned how to avoid the editing traps I kept getting snagged in the beginning.

                                                     

                                                    R

                                                    • 23. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                                      areohbee Community Member

                                                      This document will be gone soon! - if you want to save it:

                                                       

                                                      * View as pdf

                                                      * Save Page As...

                                                       

                                                      Long live Lightroom 4, it's creators, defenders, criticizers, and everybody else...

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      Rob

                                                      • 24. Re: How to edit a photo in Lr4b1
                                                        KateMann Community Member

                                                        Thank you for all this Rob! I have found it very helpful indeed.

                                                         

                                                        I have a fresh clean copy of Lr4 sitting on my desk, mysteries mostly unraveled, thanks to you, as far as the Dev module goes.