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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 New Features, photographer and author Chris Orwig explores the enhancements that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 brings to each phase of the photographic workflow—from importing and editing, to exporting and publishing. This course details Lightroom 3's new importing and asset-management features and its significant improvements in the Develop module, including enhanced sharpening and noise reduction. Chris also shows how Lightroom 3 broadens output options, and shares workflow tips and advice for upgrading Lightroom 2 catalogs and working with images processed in earlier Lightroom versions. Exercise files are included with the course.
With this photograph we are going to explore one of the most important and significant improvements inside of Lightroom 3, and that is how we sharpen our photographs. In order to take a look at how we can sharpen this, let's navigate to the Develop module, and then open up the Detail panel. Now, for starters, one of the things you'll notice in the Detail panel is that there's a little warning icon. You'll get that warning icon if you're zoomed out. If you want to zoom in to see the appropriate detail or see a one-to-one perspective of your image, you can simply click on that icon, and it will zoom right in.
All right. Well, now I'm viewing this image at 100%. I'm seeing the actual pixels here. Now, once I zoom in, I notice that characteristic of low-light type of photography like this image. We have a lot of noise in the background and the image isn't very sharp. So, what we can do is we can use these different Sharpening sliders that we find in the Detail panel in order to fix up the image. Now, first what I want to do though is deconstruct these sliders. So, in order to do that, I'm going to crank the amount all the way up to 150.
Here, I'm over-exaggerating the sharpening, but this will help us understand how these different controls work. Now, how does Radius work, and what is Radius? Well, if we decrease this, what we're going to see is we're going to see a little bit less of an edge or glow. Now, as we increase this amount, and again exaggerate it here, you can see that the glow or the edge around the area of sharpening has increased. So again, let's take a look. Here's with a low Radius. There's with a high Radius. Well, what about Detail? Well, a low Detail amount means a lot of the little details aren't sharp.
Increase the Detail and you all of a sudden bring out all of that texture. So, how then do we start to think about Detail? Well, you think about Detail in this way. Typically, for people, you're going to have a really low Detail amount. Say for architecture or landscape or photograph of a leaf or an old rusty wall, you might want to increase the Detail to bring out the texture. What about Masking? Well, Masking is fascinating. What we can do here is click to increase this, and it's going to limit the area that's sharp. In this case, you can see the Sharpening is primarily affecting the outer edge of the photograph.
A great way to be able to see this is to hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then to click on your Masking slider. As I click and drag this, you notice it shows me a mask which is either black or white. This mask works a lot like masks in Photoshop where black limits the sharpening, and white reveals where the sharpening is being applied to the photograph. Now, what's great about the shortcut is we can hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and click and drag any of these sliders. This will give us this really interesting perspective where we can actually deconstruct how these edges are working to help us understand the sharpening a bit more and more importantly, it will help us dial in an appropriate amount of sharpening.
Now, one of the things that's new to Lightroom 3 is that we can also take advantage of these different views even when we've zoomed out. Here, I'll go ahead and click on Fit. Well, now I've zoomed way out on the photograph. But still, if I hold down Option or Alt, I can click on these sliders and I can see these different perspectives in regards to how the Radius or Detail or Masking or Amount will affect the overall sharpness of the photograph. Now, why is that important? Well, one of the things that we've discovered is that sometimes zooming into 100%, especially with really, really high-res files is overkill, meaning we're overdoing it.
We're zooming in too far. We're seeing too much detail. So, sometimes, in those situations, it pays to just zoom out just a bit and then dial in the exact amount of sharpening that you want to use. It's also worth noting that the sharpening that's taking place here is completely different. One of the things that happened with Sharpening and Noise Reduction previously is that it became a little bit too painterly. In other words, this allows you to have much better edges, much better control of the way the image appears. What's happening with the Sharpening here is completely different.
They've really torn down the sharpening engine and then rebuilt it from the ground up. All right. Well, now that we've deconstructed how to work with these Sharpening sliders, let's next take a look at how we can work with the Noise Reduction sliders. You'll notice we have some new options here. Then finally, let's explore how we can apply an appropriate amount of sharpening and noise reduction. So, let's go ahead and take a look at all those things in the next few movies. In those movies, we'll be working on this image, so let's reset the sharpening.
We can do that by holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then clicking on this button here which changes to Reset Sharpening. That brings the sharpening back to the default settings.
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