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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training, author Chris Orwig provides a comprehensive look at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, the popular photo-asset management, enhancement, and publishing program. The course covers indispensable techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, and creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. In addition to exploring all of Lightroom 3's capabilities, this course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
This particular photograph was captured in a lower light situation, and what I want to do is explore how we can sharpen this image and also reduce the noise in the file. Now, when you open up your Detail panel, you will see this warning icon. If you click on that warning icon, it zooms your image into 100%. And this is a really nice view to have when you are working on the small details of your photograph, because if you are zoomed way out, you can't really determine or define how much sharpening to apply. Now, that being said, sometimes, we are going to capture images that are so big, especially because digital cameras are getting so good, that zooming 100% is going to be overkill.
So in those situations, what we might need to do is to zoom out a little bit. For example, here I will click on this pop-up menu, choose 1:2. In this case, I am just zooming out just a touch, in order to evaluate the overall photograph. Now once you have the view for your photograph, what you can do is modify your sliders. Now in a previous movie, I talked about how you can change the slider amount here, say by increasing the radius. And that a great way to preview this is by holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows and then clicking on the slider.
Well new in Lightroom 3 is the ability to see this frayscale preview at different view rates, and they have included because they've always realized that you are not always going to be zoomed in to 100%. Now that being said, for many images, going into 100% or greater will work really well. I just want to point out that you may need to experiment a little bit and zoom in and zoom out as you work on your sharpening and noise Reduction. Well, let's click on the warning icon to go into 100% so that we can really see what's happening here with this photograph.
Next, I am going to double-click the Radius slider. That will take that back to the default setting. Well, what do we want to do first here? Well currently, my Luminance Noise Reduction is zero, and we know that almost with every image we are going to need some kind of noise reduction, and the reason we will need that is because the way that digital capture works is it captures a raw file, and a lot of times we have higher ISOs, or we have shadows where our exposure isn't perfect, and so we have noise in the file. We then need to correct that.
So, we will increase the Luminance slider, and I am just going to bring this up, and then modify my Detail control in order to bring up some details there. Next, I will increase the contrast to add a touch of dimension. I will also work on my color noise reduction, removing all the color artifacts from the background. Now, at this point, how do we determine if we are doing a good job? Well, one of the things that you can do is click on this flip switch here. When you click on that, it will turn this on and off. Here we have our before view, without any detail work at all, and then there is the after.
Well, so far, so good. The next thing we want to do is take our fetail amount down to zero. This is the photograph of a person; therefore, we don't want to bring out any extra texture or variation to skin. So we are going to have a really low detail amount. From here we will increase the amount, and I am going to increase the amount incrementally. I will also work on the radius, and I will use these sliders, and then I will increase my masking so I am not sharpening the background of the photograph. Now as we do that, we are actually bringing out more noise in the background.
So if you see more noise, you may need to modify your Detail slider here, or increase your luminance amount. The trick, of course, is to think of all of these sliders as being related to each other, because the more sharpening, for example, more detail, we then need to reduce that noise that we exaggerated here. And in this case, we don't want that high of a detail. But I just did that to illustrate this idea that these sliders are all really interconnected. The other thing to think about as we work on the sharpening is that what we are doing is called input sharpening.
We are sharpening our native raw file. Now eventually, when we output the file, we will do another level of sharpening, which will be defined by the paper type, the resolution, the dimension of the print. Here, all that we want to do is get the image to look good on our monitors. We want to have a nice starting point because our raw files typically lack contrast. They lack sharpness. It's simply just that raw file coming straight off the camera. So in this case, we are going to dial that in appropriately. All right, well here ,at least on my monitor, I think this is looking pretty nice.
I will go ahead and just modify this, just a touch there. Click on the flip switch. Here is my before and after; that's looking a ton better. Next, I will go ahead and click and pan around the image, and I want you to view different areas of the photograph; some of the background, make sure that's looking good. And as you click, you can see your before and after slowly as it updates that preview there. It's also helpful to click on this switch to look at the before and after. Now, in my own workflow, one of the things that I like to do is to zoom out just a bit.
So here I will go to this 1:2 view, and again, just evaluate the photograph, pull back a little bit. Because sometimes I find that zooming in too far, you can overexaggerate things. The other thing that I should point out is that typically when you are sharpening your images, you are going to want to sharpen them just a little bit more than you are comfortable with, and the reason you are going to do that is because the way a monitor renders a photograph, you are going to see details in there that aren't going to be recreated in the print. So by just swinging the sharpening just a little bit high, that can then help you create even better prints.
All right, well here at this juncture, I think we have some pretty good sharpening. Let's go back to the 1:1 view, just to evaluate it and make sure it looks great. Here it is, our overall before and then after.
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