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In this installment of the Photoshop Lightroom 4 Essentials series, author and teacher Chris Orwig guides photographers through the process of improving images with creative color, sharpening, and other effects in the Lightroom Develop module. The course covers each of the tools and features in the Develop module, and shows how to perform basic adjustments, such as exposure enhancement; how to improve image quality through noise reduction and clarity adjustments; how to apply creative effects, such as split toning and vignettes; and how to perform advanced tasks, such as correcting for lens distortion. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's take a look at how we can use our basic controls and the graduated filter in order to come up with some creative ways to process this sunrise picture. I like this photograph. This was the way that it came straight off the sensor. I like the silhouette, and some of the colors, and I want to see if we can kind of work with this, and experiment a little bit with a few different options for ways we could process this file. Let's go to the Develop module. We can do that by clicking on the Develop module button. Next, one of the things that I want to do is warm up my color temperature just a little bit.
I want to do that because I want to bring out some of these colors here in the background. Well, when I do that, I all of a sudden have a problem in this area: in the sky. It's not quite very blue. What I could do is I could bring this Color Temperature back down, and I could look at another way to possibly work on this area of the picture. One of the things that you could do is you could navigate to the Graduated Filter tool, and then go ahead and make an adjustment, say, Temperature slider here, and then click and drag. And here I am just going to click and drag up, so that I have this adjustment, and I will reposition this until I get it in the right spot as far as where it's adjusting the image, and how it's adjusting the image, and I am just experimenting a little bit with this effect, and this color tone.
Then let's crank this up a little bit more, and also maybe perhaps so you can see that we can go one way or the other, kind of bringing up a little bit more color there. I will work on my Contrast, Exposure; just focusing on the foreground, and we can flip this switch to see the before and after. Here's before, and then there's after. It's brightening up the yellows down here; also hitting these a little bit as well. Let's bring in a little bit more color with a touch of Saturation; great. Kind of interesting, right? Well, what about the sky? Well next, let's create a new adjustment.
To do that, we will click on the New icon. Here, I am going to go ahead and click and drag down, say, right to around there; I will experiment, and see if that's going to be good. I don't want to warming Temperature tint here, but the sky; I want that to be much more cool. So I am going to go ahead and decrease that, bringing in a lot of that cool tone there. Now this one, the distance between these two points; it may be too much. So I am going to try to collapse that, and then bring this back down, so I have a little bit stronger blue sky there, and then dial in how that transitions into that sunset.
Now, with the color temperature right now, it's a little bit over the top. We could always modify this by desaturating here a little if we want to take some of that blue out, so it's not quite so strong. Another thing that you can do; you can desaturate altogether, removing all that color, then you can go to the color chip, and you can add in your own. Let me show you. Here, you can see we've changed that sky color, and we can kind of experiment to see if we might be able to find a blue that might work with this image. Or for that matter, we could also warm it up to see if we might find a nice bright tone, in order to have some of that kind of golden color throughout the whole image.
Let's apply that for a second, and go back here just for a minute. If I bring my Saturation slider up, you notice that it changes the color. Now, why is that? Well, if you have Saturation, it's a combination of this orange, and this Temperature slider. So we can use these controls together to come up with a nice color palette. In this case, the orange and yellow; kind of mixing those to find just the right spot, and also perhaps our Exposure slider here. We can come up with this really just kind of golden, really red-yellow sunrise look, and this is kind of fun.
What you'll do so often is you'll work with this tool, and then you'll roundtrip back to your Basic controls. So we're done here with the graduated filter. It looks interesting. Let's click Done in order to exit the tool. Next thing we may want to do is just modify the image with our basic controls, perhaps a little bit of Clarity there, maybe some Vibrance, bringing up some more of that color. And then we can work with our other adjustment sliders here, just tweaking these until we have a nice look for the image. What's fun about this is it's really looking at how we start to connect our workflow, and use not just the graduated filter by itself, but how we can use it in combination with our other controls.
And the end result with a picture like this, well, here it is. Here is our before, and now here's our after. If ever you get to that point in the after where you don't like it, you don't like the change in the sky color up above, go back to the tool here, and then you want to show those pins. I am just going to put these on Always for a moment, so we can see them, and then click on the one for the sky. Press the Delete key; get rid of it. That will then bring back that original sky tone, and now here what we have is something that just really focuses in on the foreground.
It kind of lights up these tracks a little bit more effectively, and leaves some of those blue tones up there in the sky. So here, what I am trying to illustrate is just this whole idea of being flexible, and experimenting, and trying out different ideas, and sometimes, by experimenting and trying out different ideas, it can lead to creating some really fascinating color combinations, some fascinating corrections and enhancements to your pictures.
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