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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 start to use some of the things that we've learned about the Develop module Basic Tone controls, and let's apply some of that knowledge to a few different photographs, starting off with this one here. You can find it in the snow folder. It's titled tahoe_03.dng. Let's navigate to the Develop module. In the Develop module, what I want to do is start to process this image, and let's focus in on the Tone controls. Well, this is a pretty tricky situation for a photograph, because we have this white snow, and in this white snow area, I don't really have much detail.
I want to try to bring back some of the texture and shape of the snow. Well, we know that we can use our Highlights and our Whites controls in order to try to bring down some of those brighter tones. Let's start off with the whites; with the brightest whites there, and that's going to be the top left-hand side of the histogram over here. As we bring this down, you'll notice that what it's doing is it's kind of pushing the histogram over to the left. So that did some nice recovery here, but I need some more in this region. So I'll use my Highlights control. You're going to see that that's going to push down some of those tones.
In a sense, it's kind of pushing this whole histogram over to the left. Now, in regards to been able to print this image, it looks a lot better in the snow area. Yet up top, it looks a little bit funny. I need to bring back some of the contrast. So, the Contrast slider, what it will do is it will kind of stretch this histogram out. Watch this. We'll click and drag it to the right, and it's kind of redistributing everything. We still have some nice detail down here, but now we have some wonderful color saturation, and the image just looks a little bit more alive.
We can also add a bit of vibrance using our Shadow slider; just brightening things up a little bit if we wanted to. So we could brighten that up a touch, then maybe darken down some of those Blacks. By doing that, it will increase the color saturation as well. Well now here, with just a few simple movements, we have a completely different photograph. Let's look at the before and after. You can access the before and after view by pressing your Backslash key. Here is our before, and then now our after, and you can see that we have much better detail here in this area of the image.
Now, once we've made these changes, as I've mentioned before, we may need to go back to some of our other controls, like white balance. Perhaps we want to warm this up just a little bit, to make this a little bit more vibrant. We could also go down to some of our other controls as well. Yet here, though, I'm going to stop doing those kind of adjustments, and really focus on what's been done in this area. Again, with a few sliders, with a few adjustments, we've really improved this picture. Let's take a look at another. In order to access the other photograph, let's go back to the Library module, and here in the Library module, what we're going to do is navigate to the people folder.
In the people folder, what I want to do is access this image here; it's called rincon_surfer.dng. This is a photograph that I used in a previous training course, and I went through all of these crazy steps in order to get this image to look good. Yet now here with the latest version of Lightroom, it's much more simple. Let me show you how this works. We'll click on the Develop module, and in the Develop module, what I need to do is to bring up some of the shadow detail. This is too dark in this area. So I can work on my shadows.
So go ahead and click on that slider, and I'm going to bring up some of the detail there. Let's exaggerate, so we can really see how we can bring in detail into those shadow areas. Now, for the blacks, we could also bring up some of the blacks if we wanted to. In this case, I don't. I still want some nice deep contrast. Now, what about the highlights we're seeing back over here? Well, we could go ahead and bring down some of the brighter tones in the image, and you can see how that's really working on the sky in the background there. The whites, well that's going to be the brightest tones in that area, so we can bring those down, or bring them up to have a little snap, and then modify those controls.
Next, with Exposure, we can modify the overall exposure, say, opening things up a little bit. When I do that, I then need to go back to my other sliders, and then darken up some of those whites, and perhaps some of those highlights. So, you can kind of see that what you're going to do a lot of times is move back and forth between all of these controls. What about contrast? Well, let's bring some of that back as well. So now here, we've processed this image in a pretty strong way, again, just by making our way through these different controls.
Now, in watching this, it may seem a little bit kind of blurry. Well, why did he move that one, then this one, then that one? Basically, what you're doing is kind of walking through the different controls, keeping in mind that you're targeting these different areas, and also keeping in mind that when you make an adjustment in one area, say, like shadows, well that affects the other areas as well. So you just may need to go back to another control to then modify that other area that it affected. Okay, with this image, let's look at our before and after. Here it is before, and then after. A much more usable and interesting picture.
Well, as you can tell, we're just really starting to scratch the surface in regards to how we can use these controls. Because of that, I think it'll be valuable to continue our conversation, and to continue looking at a few more examples in regards to how we can use these Tone controls in order to improve our images. So let's continue this conversation in the next movie.
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