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Setting white balance in the Basic panel

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 4

Video: Setting white balance in the Basic panel

For many of you, the main reason to use Lightroom will be to take advantage of its powerful photo processing controls. As you process an image, your goal is to develop the colors and tones in the photo to match your vision of the scene. When you're ready to process your photos, the Basic panel here in the Develop module is to place the start. And in many cases, it's where you're going to end too. Because the settings and just this one Basic panel, are often all you'll need to get the look you want in a photo. So, I'm focusing on the Basic panel in this processing portion of the course, and I'm devoting the rest of this chapter to looking at the controls in the Basic panel.

Setting white balance in the Basic panel

For many of you, the main reason to use Lightroom will be to take advantage of its powerful photo processing controls. As you process an image, your goal is to develop the colors and tones in the photo to match your vision of the scene. When you're ready to process your photos, the Basic panel here in the Develop module is to place the start. And in many cases, it's where you're going to end too. Because the settings and just this one Basic panel, are often all you'll need to get the look you want in a photo. So, I'm focusing on the Basic panel in this processing portion of the course, and I'm devoting the rest of this chapter to looking at the controls in the Basic panel.

One thing that makes the sliders in the Basic panel so useful, is that they come with a simple, built in workflow. And that is, that the order in which the sliders appear in the Basic panel is the recommended order in which to use them. The idea is to start with the White Balance section at the top of the panel and work your way down through the sliders in order. So let's start by looking at the White Balance Section of this panel. The purpose of these White Balance controls is to help you to neutralize any unwanted overall color cast in the photo. A color cast is the result of the color temperature of the light in the scene you shot.

The classic example of an unwanted color cast is if you were to shoot a portrait under fluorescent lights in an office building which make the subject's skin look green. Or if you were to shoot outside on a sunny day, and there was snow on the ground, the snow might look blue. Now, every color cast is not an unwanted color cast. Sometimes, you want to keep that color in the photo because it adds to the mood or it adds a creative effect to the photo. But if a color cast doesn't match the way that you want to present the scene, you can use these controls to try to neutralize the balance of colors.

This tool, the White Balance Selector tool, I just call it the Eye Dropper tool can help you to evaluate a color cast and to fix it. To use the tool, I'll click on it here in the Basic panel to release it and then I'll move into the image. As I hover over a color in the image, this target appears and it tells me the red, green, and blue values that make up the color under my cursor. If the color under my cursor is neutral, then those three values will be equal or approximately equal. But as I move across this image, notice that the blue value is higher than the green and red value pretty much everywhere so that's true in this clouds.

It's true here in the mountain. It's true down here. And what that's telling me is that there is a blue color cast across this image. One way that I can try to neutralize that color cast is to click with this tool on a part of the image that I would like to be neutral in color. For example, I'll go up to this cloud. I'd like the cloud to be gray, not so blue. So, I'm going to click. And the result is, if you look at the top right of the screen, just under the Histogram, that the red, green and blue values underneath my cursor are now approximately equal.

And you can really see the difference in the image. With just one click, I've warmed the image up, reducing some of that blue color cast. Now often, I don't like the result that I get on my first click with this tool. I like to experiment clicking in different parts of the image until I get just the look that I want. But I can't click again with the Eyedropper tool until I go over to the Basic panel and select it again and bring it out. So to make things easier there is an option that I'm going to uncheck in the toolbar. First off, select the Eyedropper tool again and then down in the toolbar, I'm going to go to Auto Dismiss and uncheck that.

And that will cause the Eye Dropper tool to stay out and not go back to the Basic panel every time I'd click. While I'm here, I'm also going to uncheck Show Loupe and that's going to prevent that target from following my Eyedropper around. I think that target is pretty big and it sometimes gets in my way, and I can see the RG and B values up underneath the Histogram anyway. So, now I'm going to come into the image and try clicking in a few other places just to see what result that I get. Each time I click, the image looks a little bit different.

So, let's say that I am pretty happy with this result, I can still fine tune this result by coming back over to the Basic panel and using the Temperature and Tint Sliders in the White Balance section of the Basic panel. The Temperature slider runs from blue on the left to a gold on the right as you can see by the slider. So, if I want to warm the image up a little more, I'll click on the Temperature Slider and I'll drag it over to the right. If I wanted to cool the image down, I would take that slider the other way. And again, this is subjective, so I'm just going to put it somewhere and say this area.

There is also a Magenta to Green Tint slider. I use this slider less often. I find it comes in most handy if I'm working with skin tones in a portrait say, and I want to make the subject's face look a little bit more red than green then I'll drag the Tint Slider over toward magenta. I'm going to put the Eyedropper tool back by clicking the circle here in the basic panel so that I can show you another way, my favorite way, to quickly adjust white balance. If you're having trouble zeroing in on the right color balance using the Eyedropper tool and the sliders, you mightprefer going to the Preset menu which is right here and choosing one of the white balance presets.

By default as shot is the preset that's chosen. From this menu, I could just cycle through these other options. Auto is Lightroom's best guess as to how the white balance should be and I think it's done a pretty good job in this case. And then there are some other presets for Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, images shot in Tungsten light which is obviously wrong for this photo. Images shot in Fluorescent light. Images shot with Flash.

So after you decide which one you like best, I actually think I like Auto best in this case, you can select it and then use the sliders to tweak it further. So if I want a little less warmth, I can drag the slider to the left. So, that's how you can adjust white balance on a RAW File like this one. Things are a little bit different if you use a JPEG. I'm going to switch to a JPEG File. I'm pressing the Right Arrow key on my keyboard to go to the next file in this folder and this is a JPEG. So, the difference is that if I go to use the presets with the JPEG, I just have less choices.

I simply have As Shot, Auto, and Custom which means that I can drag sliders. So, in this case let's see how Auto does and it just paints the color balance quite a bit. And then as before, I can tweak this by dragging the Temperature or the Tint Sliders. So, that's how to neutralize an unwanted color cast in a RAW File or JPEG. The next step in processing the photo in the Basic panel is to use the Tone Sliders. There's a lot to tell you about the Tone Sliders and that's just what I am going to do in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 4
Up and Running with Lightroom 4

34 video lessons · 19106 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 4m 21s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. What is Lightroom used for?
      2m 57s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. What is a Lightroom catalog?
      5m 55s
    2. Importing the exercise files
      4m 41s
    3. Organizing your existing files before importing
      4m 8s
    4. Importing from a drive
      5m 31s
    5. Importing from a camera
      9m 30s
  3. 41m 32s
    1. Touring the Library module
      4m 56s
    2. Viewing and selecting photos and video
      5m 21s
    3. Reviewing and rating items from a shoot
      5m 33s
    4. Organizing your library with collections
      5m 10s
    5. Using keywords to organize your library
      6m 49s
    6. Finding photos with filters
      5m 37s
    7. Moving and renaming items
      8m 6s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. Touring the Develop module
      6m 35s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 33s
    3. Setting white balance in the Basic panel
      6m 51s
    4. Using the Histogram to evaluate tones
      2m 37s
    5. Adjusting tonal values in the Basic panel
      8m 28s
    6. Controlling color intensity in the Basic panel
      3m 10s
    7. Reducing digital noise
      6m 37s
    8. Sharpening
      8m 15s
    9. Working with video
      6m 3s
    10. Enhancing video
      7m 32s
  5. 17m 11s
    1. Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush
      8m 14s
    2. Making variable adjustments with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 13s
    3. Removing spots
      4m 44s
  6. 39m 16s
    1. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 50s
    2. Sharing photos and video on Facebook
      5m 34s
    3. Printing photos
      6m 6s
    4. Creating a photo book
      5m 50s
    5. Customizing a photo book
      8m 6s
    6. Exporting photos
      6m 50s
  7. 33s
    1. Next steps
      33s

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