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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.
Here I want to introduce you to working with the White Balance tool in order to color correct, and modify the color temperature of your photographs. You can find the White Balance tool in the Basic panel. It's located up near the top, and there is a great shortcut key you can use to access this tool: it's the W key. Think W for White Balance, or you can simply click on it. Now, once you click on this tool, you'll notice that the toolbar changes down below. Well, we have a few options. We can use this White Balance tool with Auto Dismiss turned on.
What that means is, when you hover over your image, and click on your image, it will then automatically put this tool back in its little dock. We also have the option to show a loupe, and to change the scale of the loupe. Well what this loupe is, is it shows us what we are hovering over right underneath our cursor. We can change the scale by dragging the slider one way or another. Now, it's especially helpful to have a more detailed scale when you have a higher resolution image. And what this allows you to do is to kind of average out what you're seeing underneath your cursor, and again, here you can see we have a much smaller grid there on that loupe.
If you have a three button mouse, you can also change the loupe size by simply using your third button on your mouse -- the scroll wheel -- and here you can see I am changing it with that shortcut. All right. Well this particular image was captured at the end of the day. It's captured of two of my really close friends; they are wonderful people. You can just see it in their smiles and their faces, yet the trick with photographing near the end of the day, especially up in the mountains, is that it's a little bit too cool. And I know that just because of that time of day, right? I also know that the woman here, Holly; she was wearing a black jacket.
Well what you can do is you can use this White Balance tool in order to measure color. Let's hover over the jacket. When I do that, at the base of the loupe, do you see those little numbers? R, G, B? well those numbers, they are telling me there is some kind of a color shift, and I know that because in digital imaging, we know that neutral tones, like black, like this jacket, they should have equal amounts of red, green, and blue. They definitely don't, so again, there is some sort of an issue here.
So what you can do, then, is you can simply click on something in your image which you think should be neutral, and it will color correct that photograph. Yet, before we do that, I want to point something out. Take a look at my Temperature, and Tint. You'll notice they are currently at 0 and 0. Well what I'm going to then do is turn off Auto Dismiss, and then I'm going to hover over this jacket, and click. The reason why I am turning Auto Dismiss off is so that this will leave the White Balance tool up, so we can look at the new numbers we have here.
Well once I click in that area, the numbers at the base of the loupe -- R, G, B -- well, now they're close to equal: 32, 32, and 32. And take a look at my Temperature and Tint sliders. Well, it increased the Temperature and the Tint values, and it did that in order to color correct this image, and now this image is really good to go. Well, at this point, I need to put away this tool, because I didn't have Auto Dismiss turned on. One way to do that is to simply click Done. Another way is to press the shortcut key.
You can present W to access the tool, press W again to put the tool away. Now, in most workflows, it's going to make most sense to have Auto Dismiss turned on, because typically you are going to sample or click on an area, color correct the image, and then move on to another step; move on to another aspect of your workflow. So again, typically, I recommend you leave this preference on, as well as Show Loupe, and you keep the loupe scale up really high. All right. Well now that we have color corrected this image, let's take a look at our before and after.
Let's see if this image indeed is better. Do you remember the before and after shortcut? Well it's the Backslash key. You think of going back in time. Here it is; here is that before, and then here is the after. And again, the color and tones are much better. The image is much more inviting and warm. That jacket color, well, that's neutral, and it kind of color corrected and took care of everything else as well. So as you can see, if you have something neutral in your image, this can help you to create images which will have more accurate color.
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