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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, we are going to take a few minutes to formally talk about a topic which has already been introduced, and that's the topic of viewing before and after views of our photographs. You know, typically what happens is, in the Develop Module, we get pretty excited. We start to process our photographs. We make adjustments, but then we are not quite certain, are those adjustments actually good? And you know, it's easy to fool yourself. Let me exaggerate this for a moment. Let's say that what happens is, we add a little bit of a temperature here; we make the image much more warm.
Well, eventually what happens is, we don't see the adjustment as strong as it really is. The same thing happens when you go skiing, right? You put on those goggles with that blue tint; well after five minutes the snow doesn't look blue. Or perhaps your goggles have a yellow tint, after five minutes, the snow doesn't look yellow. The eye accommodates for what it's looking at. The same thing happens inside of Lightroom, in the Develop Module. We make an adjustment -- whatever type of adjustment; contrast, saturation, color, temperature, who knows -- yet we are not quite sure if it's right.
So we need some kind of ability to compare it to its original state. Well, we can do that in a few really effective ways. Let's take a look. You need to have the toolbar visible. To have it visible, press the T key; that will either hide or show the toolbar. Next, click on the Triangle icon, and make sure you have your View modes clicked on. Over here we have our View modes. The first one is Before/After Left/Right. This will show us where the image was, and where it is now. Here we can really see, it's just too warm; it doesn't look very good.
We can also change this Before/After view. We can do so by using the icon. Let's go to another type of a Before/After comparison. Let's go to the one which is a Split. This shows us the image split in a half, and this even works as we zoom in. Here, I will go ahead and zoom in a little bit on this picture, and then click and pan to move, and we can see how it's affecting the colors here in the photograph. Let's see if I can get this to a good spot, where we can see we have a really distinct color difference on the photograph.
Let's go back to the Fit In View mode, so that we can see this more zoomed out. Now, this little icon here is really helpful, but what I think is more helpful is to use the shortcuts. Let's navigate back to the Normal view here -- we will click on this icon, and let's use the shortcuts to navigate through these various views. The first one is the Y key. Press the Y key once, you will get one view; press it again you'll get another, back to Normal. Another way to do this is to press Shift+Y. When you press Shift+Y, it will toggle back and forth between these two views.
You can also change this by holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and having that split go top to bottom, rather than left to right. All right. Well, what do you need to write down in regards to this shortcut here? Well, write down the Y key; that one is really easy. Why did I do this? Is this a good adjustment? And then also write down the Modifier keys: Shift+Option if you're on a Mac, Shift+Alt if you are on Windows, and that will give you access to different before and after views. Now, the last shortcut is perhaps the most powerful, and the most important.
This shortcut is the Backslash key. When you press the Backslash key, that takes the image back to its original state. You can think of this like going back in time, and the Backslash, that's a slash which leans to the left; it leans backwards. Press it once; here we have our before. press it again; here we have our after. The reason why I think that one is the best, at least in my own workflow, is because I don't have a dividing line. I think that line is sometimes just too distracting. Pressing that key gives me a real quick glance at before and after; helps me realize, this image is much too warm. I need to tone that down a little bit.
I want a touch of warmth, but that was just over the top. Now press that key again. It's a little bit more subtle; a little bit more reasonable, and this adjustment, I think, is good to go. Now here, of course, I have to point out that I'm illustrating this concept using just the Temperature control, or the Temperature slider. This can be valuable with any adjustment that you make in the Develop module. It's really helpful to be able to see that before and after comparison in order to evaluate the quality of the adjustment.
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