Working with Raw-Format Photos in Lightroom and Photoshop
Illustration by John Hersey
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Understanding the basics of the Develop module


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Working with Raw-Format Photos in Lightroom and Photoshop

with Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Video: Understanding the basics of the Develop module

We're going to take this image of the car here and we're going to work that through the basic module in develop. And in order to get into develop I can either click on develop, or I can hit Option + Cmd or Alt + 2. And that's going to pop me over here. Now I like to get rid of my preset view over here and I've clicked on that little triangle. Just so I'm only seeing my image, I want to really focus on what I am working on. In any other triangle on the side of the screen can dismiss the interface and I want to talk about a couple of the tools that we have here.

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Watch the Online Video Course Working with Raw-Format Photos in Lightroom and Photoshop
1h 2m Intermediate Jul 18, 2013

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Many cameras can save photos in raw format, and it's the best way to capture all the data the sensor is capable of recording. Learn how to use Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw (included with Photoshop) to bring out the best in these kinds of photos.

In this course, Photoshop senior product manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes explores the art and science of raw-format processing in both Camera Raw and Lightroom. First, take a look at working with raw-format photos in Lightroom, and using the Develop module to improve contrast, color, and tone, which make the details in your images pop.

Then switch over to Camera Raw to optimize raw-format images as well as video. Bryan also draws important comparisons between Camera Raw 8 and Lightroom 5, and shows ways to employ Camera Raw as a filter to layers or Smart Objects in Photoshop CC.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Lightroom Camera Raw
Author:
Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Understanding the basics of the Develop module

We're going to take this image of the car here and we're going to work that through the basic module in develop. And in order to get into develop I can either click on develop, or I can hit Option + Cmd or Alt + 2. And that's going to pop me over here. Now I like to get rid of my preset view over here and I've clicked on that little triangle. Just so I'm only seeing my image, I want to really focus on what I am working on. In any other triangle on the side of the screen can dismiss the interface and I want to talk about a couple of the tools that we have here.

The first one is Crop if I toggle the O key I'll see a variety of different overlays. Usually like something like rule of thirds here. And I've got the ability to straighten this to constrain myself to a particular aspect ratio. I could select my own custom crop, I have a lot of control. But the thing to note here, as with anything in Light Room. Is that when I've committed a crop, that's not permanent. I can always go back and return to my original image. This is all non-destructive.

Remember it's just a list of settings that tell the file what it looks like. We're always working with the original, but we always have a safety net. And we can get back. Now the other tool I want to talk about is Spot Removal. And while it works a little bit like the Healing brush, or even the Clone tool. The way that spot removal is intended to be used in Lightroom is to remove spots from the sensor or dust. We don't really have any of that here, but we've got some little items on the pavement that we want to get rid of here. So I'm going to click on the tool and I have two choices, I can either choose to clone or heal.

Let's do clone first just to show you how this works. I'm saying I want to clone this area on the right to this area on the left, so If I put that on the yellow line then we'll move that over there. You're probably not going to want to do this very often. I'd say 95% of the time you're going to want to remove spots and heal. And you can change that after the fact. And you just choose the area that you want to patch in there. And you've got a couple of different controls. You've got a control For the size and the opacity or strength. Now what's really neat about this is you can resize those on canvas here.

And you can have multiple spots. More often than not, it gets it right where it's sourcing from. In this particular case, it grabbed it from way down there. What's neat, though, is I can say, no, I want you to source that information right there. I can hit the delete key and remove individual spots. I can add them back really quickly and easily. It's interactive, it's fun, and it works really really well. It's not Photoshop grade retouching, but it's great for removing little spots.

Ok, so now I'm going to click on the image to come back to my 100 percent veiw And I'm going to really quickly take you through the Basic panel. And this is where you're going to spend a lot of time making your image look great. This one right here, I can tell you already, it's overexposed. It needs some work. But the first thing I want to do is work on the White balance. And that's going to give me a different temperature and tint. And one myth to dispell is that once you've clicked on the Eye Drop tool, you don't want to choose a white area. You'd think white balance, you want to choose white .

You want a neutral area. And that could be, this is a silver car, it could be the paint. Click on that. I saw the result. It's cold blue. I could choose it again. I could click on the concrete, that'll work a lot of the time, kind of the same blue tone. I'm going to go with the tire because that's also neutral, it's black, but that's much closer to what I want. I've got a nice temperature and tint and if I want to warm that up just a little bit, I can do that. And the next thing we will talk about is exposure, now exposure is really a sledge hammer.

This is a really heavy adjustment, I can pull this down multiple stops and I can pushed up multiple stops. Any slider in Lightroom I can double click on it to restore it to its default value pretty much the only time I am using exposure If I have left exposure compensation on. If I left this over- or underexposed, I can adjust that. Now, in this particular image, it's pretty hot, so I am going to pull it down just a little bit. Now, one neat trick here is if I'm holding the Option key and I pull the slider, I can tell when I'm starting to clip information.

So everything is fine here, but as I am ramping this up I am starting to lose some of the details on my highlights. So that if I pull over here those are all areas that I am going to lose that wouldn't be recoverable. So it can be a nice guide to take it right to the point were you've just seen clipping and let go over there. Contrast works just the way you'd expected to that introduces or decreases contrast we are not going to worry about that right now. Into two things we lean on the most are highlight recovery which if you take this to the left your highlights are going to darken and we're going to get all the detail back in the paint there. And shadow is going to brighten all the areas in the grill now on the pavement there.

Now what whites will do is it will darken the white areas or brighten them. I don't use that a lot but I do use blacks quite a bit. Same idea it's just going to introduce contrast in the shadows. Now again, a really good tip here is to use that Option key when dragging this because you'll start to see just where it's clipped and you know just how far you can take it. This particular case, I can live with that, negative nine looks good. Clarity is probably the most fun slider here, if you move this to the right you're introducing mid tone contrast.

We used to call this punch and that's exactly what you'd get the image just pops. The car looks shinier and it looks more dramatic. Conversly if I were to come to the left here it would look like I rubbed a vaseline on the lens and softended the image. I'm going to go with a little bit of additive clarity and I love the way that looks. Now the difference between Vibrance and Saturation here, Saturation there is really not a lot of intelligence to it. Its just going to push all of the colors and saturate them, if you have people in this image their skin tones would look really weird. Well a vibrance knows what colors to (UNKNOWN) and it will increase them with the lot more sensitivity.

So what I am going to really do is increase the vibrance and slightly decrease the Saturation I've got things looking the way I want them here. I've got a slight crop. I've worked through my basic adjustments and that looks really good. I want to make sure I can re purpose that down the line so I'm going to come over here to my presets. I'm going to hit Plus and lets just call that one Basic so that I can save my work and continue on later.

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