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Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 5

Video: Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel

The controls and the tone in present sections of the Basic panel are really essential. These are the controls that you'll use to adjust the overall appearance of almost every photo you work on in the Develop module. With these sliders you can adjust exposure, contrast, recover hidden detail in highlights and shadows and control mid tone contrast and color saturation all globally. If you want to short cut the process of setting each tone slider individually, you could just click the Auto button at the top of the tone section. Like this that automatically sets each of the sliders in this tone section to Ligtrooms best guess of where they should be.

Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel

The controls and the tone in present sections of the Basic panel are really essential. These are the controls that you'll use to adjust the overall appearance of almost every photo you work on in the Develop module. With these sliders you can adjust exposure, contrast, recover hidden detail in highlights and shadows and control mid tone contrast and color saturation all globally. If you want to short cut the process of setting each tone slider individually, you could just click the Auto button at the top of the tone section. Like this that automatically sets each of the sliders in this tone section to Ligtrooms best guess of where they should be.

But I often can do better then this, adjusting each of the sliders on my own. So I'm going to reset these sliders back to their defaults of 0. I can do that by going down to the bottom of this column and clicking the big Reset button but that would reset all settings in the Develop panels. So just to be safe, if I just want to reset the tone sliders I can come to his tone label at the top of this section and double click it. When you're adjusting the sliders in the tone in the present sections individually an efficient approach is to start with the Exposure slider.

And just work your way down through the sliders in order. Then you can go back and tweak a particular slider if you need to. But you'll get the same results regardless of the order in which you adjust the sliders. Each of the sliders in the tone section primarily affects a particular section of the tonal range as I've explained. The first slider, the exposure slider targets the mid-tones in the photo as you can see by that pale overlay in the histogram as I hover over the Exposure slider. Dragging the Exposure slider to the right brightens the photo overall and dragging it to the left darkens the photo overall. I'll put it back to 0.

A quick way to do that is to double-click the Exposure label as I've explained. This photo could be a little brighter I think so I'm going to drag the Exposure slider slightly to the right, which simulates opening the F Stop in your camera, in this case about half a stop to let in more light. By the way, if you're working along with me don't feel bound to use the same values that I'm using for the sliders. Either in this movie or any of the lessons in this course. My values will probably look different on your monitor than they do on mine since our monitors are probably calibrated differently.

So the direction of my moves may be helpful but use the values that look best to you on your monitor. Now let's move to the next slider, the Contrast slider. Many photos look better with a little increase in contrast, which brightens the bright tones and darkens the dark tones. But in this case, I think there's too much contrast. And that's obscuring some of the detail in the photo like in this area. So I'm going to decrease the contrast slightly. Now I could just drag the Contrast slider to the left but if you want more control as you're moving sliders. Then you can click the label on a slider once and then you can use the Plus and Minus keys on your keyboard to set the value of that slider. So I'll press the Minus key on my keyboard a couple of times reducing the value of this slider.

If I want to move a slider in even smaller controlled increments I can click in the field to right of the slider and then I can use the arrow keys on the keyboard. So if I want to decrease contrast even more I'll press the Down arrow key on my keyboard a few times, like this and then I'll press Enter or return on the keyboard. The next slider is the Highlight slider. Dragging this slider to the right would brighten the three-quarter tone highlights. But more often I find myself dragging the Highlight slider to the left of 0, which is a great way to recover highlight detail.

For example, keep your eye on the lemons as I drag this slider to the left. And you can see more detail coming into the bright area of the lemons. The next slider is a shadow Slider which focuses on the three quarter tone dark areas of a photo. I often use the Shadow slider to open up dark areas. So here if I drag the shadow slider to the right keep your eye on the wine bottles and you'll see more detail appearing there. Sometimes increasing the shadow slider like this can lower the contrast so that the photo looks a little duller or muddy.

If that happens, you can often bring back some punch by going down to the Black slider and dragging the Black slider to the left. Which makes the very darkest tones in a photo black. I'll go ahead and do that. Now notice that there is a spike here on the left side of my histogram. That spike represents the very dark tones that are pure black now. If you do see a spike like this be aware that you're losing detail on the darkest shadows. But in this case, I really don't think that matters because the wine is so dark anyway and I like this result so I'm going to leave that spike there.

The next slider, the White slider affects primarily the brightest tones in a photo. Dragging it to the right both brightens the brightest tones and expands the tonal range. As you do that, you want to be careful not to blow out bright highlights, losing detail there. For example, that's what happens if I drag the slider too much. I'm losing detail here in these lemons. So I'll put it back to 0 by double-clicking its label and when I'm ready to drag the white slider I'll usually go up to the Histogram panel and turn on the highlight clipping warning like this.

Now when I drag the white slider to the right, when I start going so far that I'm blowing out detail in the brightest tones, I'll see these red marks on the photo in those areas. And then I'll just drag back to the left until those red marks just disappear. And then I'll turn off the highlight clipping warning. Now we've worked our way through all of the sliders in the tone section. Let's compare the way things look now with the way things looked when we started by pressing the Backslash key. So there's the before view and here's the view with just these changes.

And you can see again before and after, we've made the photo brighter, we've added some contrast and we've brought in some detail in both the highlights and the shadows areas. Now let's move down to the important presence area. Here you'll find a few sliders that you can often use to bring more punch to a photo. The first of those is the Clarity slider. Clarity controls midtone contrast and this is one of my favorite sliders. If I'm working on a portrait, I'll sometimes drag clarity to the left like this to get a kind of soft diffuse glow.

But when I'm working on an image with detail like this, I find it's useful to drag the Clarity Slider to the right like this. And that will bring out detail in the mid-tones as you can see here in the lemons if you look closely. By the way this is also a great way to bring out the clouds in a sky. Now let's take a look at the Vibrance and Saturation sliders, both of which increase the intensity of color but do it in different ways. If I drag the Saturation slider to the left then that reduces the color in the image. And this is one way to make a color image black and white but it's not the best way.

I'll show you a better way later in the course. So I'm going to put saturation back to 0 by double clicking its header. And watch what happens if I drag the saturation slider to the right. All the colors in the photo get saturated and that's fine for some of the colors but it's making the lemons look too intense. And that's what often happens when you increase the Saturation slider because it effects all the colors to the same degree. So again I'll put saturation back to 0 by double clicking its label. And I'm going to use the Vibrant slider instead dragging that slightly to the right.

That does intensify the colors but it does it more subtly because vibrance has a stronger effect on colors that are less saturated to start with. And if you're working with a portrait, vibrance will protect the colors common in skin tones so your subjects won't look sunburnt. Now one more thing. I'm going to switch to another image to show you what to do if you open a photo in the Develop module and you find that the sliders don't look like the ones that I just showed you. That's because I've already adjusted this particular image in an earlier version of Lightroom, Lightroom 3 before Adobe had updated the technology.

Underline the Develop module sliders. The current technology introduced in Lightroom 4 and here in Lightroom 5 is known as Process Version 2012. If you adjusted a photo using an older process version than Process Version 2012, you'll see this flash like symbol under the histogram in Lightroom 5. And that's a different symbol and in a different place than it was in Lightroom 4. If you want to update the photo to Process Version 2012 so that you have access to the same sliders we just went through, click this flash symbol and in this window click Update. And now I have current sliders.

But you may have also noticed that that changed the appearance of the photo, which sometimes is the case when you update the process version. So now I would just come over and tweak these sliders to get the look that I want in this photo. So that's how to make global or overall adjustments to a photo in the Basic panel. Next we'll get more granular, looking at how to adjust individual colors in a photo in the HSL panel.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 5
Up and Running with Lightroom 5

40 video lessons · 20693 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 22s
  2. 30m 31s
    1. Understanding catalogs
      4m 21s
    2. Organizing your photos before importing
      3m 10s
    3. Deciding where to store your photos
      4m 28s
    4. Importing photos from a drive
      8m 14s
    5. Importing photos from a camera
      10m 18s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Library module workspace
      7m 21s
    2. Viewing and sorting photos
      6m 16s
    3. Selecting photos
      7m 9s
    4. Reviewing and rating photos
      8m 41s
    5. Organizing with collections
      6m 27s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      6m 21s
    7. Keywording
      4m 51s
    8. Finding photos by keyword
      5m 40s
    9. Finding photos with the Metadata filter
      4m 53s
    10. Moving files and folders
      7m 16s
    11. Renaming photos
      4m 18s
    12. Working with Smart Previews when traveling
      6m 6s
  4. 54m 18s
    1. Develop module workspace
      6m 14s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 25s
    3. Fixing perspective with Upright
      7m 19s
    4. Setting white balance
      4m 41s
    5. Using the histogram to evaluate tones
      4m 5s
    6. Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel
      8m 45s
    7. Fine-tuning colors in the HSL panel
      3m 35s
    8. Converting to black and white
      3m 56s
    9. Using virtual copies
      3m 43s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      3m 24s
    11. Sharpening
      4m 11s
  5. 26m 21s
    1. Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 45s
    2. Spotlighting and vignetting with the Radial filter
      6m 0s
    3. Gradual editing with the Graduated filter
      4m 5s
    4. Removing dust spots with Spot Removal circles
      6m 12s
    5. Removing content with Spot Removal brushstrokes
      3m 19s
  6. 30m 40s
    1. Exporting photos
      9m 22s
    2. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 22s
    3. Sharing photos to Facebook
      5m 44s
    4. Printing photos
      9m 12s
  7. 26s
    1. Next steps
      26s

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