Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Painting with light, part of Enhancing an Urban Landscape Photo with Lightroom and Photoshop.
I think the most fascinating element in an urban landscape like this is the play of light on the buildings. The way the light reflects off the glass and metal of the buildings and bounces between the buildings. I'd like to emphasize that play of light by using the Radial Filter in Lightroom to kind of paint with light. So I'm going to select the Radial Filter here on the right side of the Develop module. And in the Radial Filter panel that drops down, I'll set all the sliders back to zero by double clicking the Effect label. I'd like to add a few spotlights of bright, gold light so I'm going to start by increasing the Exposure slider.
Dragging it to the right. And to make these spotlights gold, I could drag the Temperature slider over to the right. Maybe add a little magenta tint as well, or I can come down to the Color field. I'm going to click in the box to the right of the Color label to open this window where I can select a color, or a tint of color to paint with. I'll just click on a color that I like. And I can drag that around to get just the color that I want. And up here I can see the color that I'm selecting. Then I can drag the slider labeled S, for Saturation, to specify the saturation of that color.
I'm going to make this peach color a bit more saturated. And then I'll click X to close this window. So now I'll be painting with a tint of this peach color and with increased exposure. I'll move into the image with my Radial Filter and I'm going to start over here on this building on the left to try to emphasize the reflection of the clouds there. I'm going to click and drag and oval. By default, the effects I've added to my Radial Filter are being applied everywhere outside of the filter that I've just created. I've rather have those effects inside of this oval that represents the filter, so I'll come back over to the right, and I'm going to check invert mask.
Keep your eye on the photo as I do this. You can see quite a difference. I'm also going to soften the edges of that spotlight that I'm adding here. By dragging the Feather slider way over to the right. And then I'm going to move over to the spotlight. I'm going to click on the black pin that represents the spotlight. And I can drag that spotlight wherever I wanted in the image. I can also change the size of the spotlight, dragging on any of the squares on the oval boundary, to change the size and/or shape of that oval. Now that I have one spotlight, I can duplicate it and apply it elsewhere on the photo too.
To duplicate this spotlight, I'll right-click on its pin or with a one-button mouse, you can hold the Ctrl key and click. And from the menu that appears, choose Duplicate. Now, you may have noticed this spot get a little brighter. That's because the duplicate pin was created right on top of the original Radial Filter. I'll move that duplicate Radial Filter by clicking on the pin and dragging to the right. Let's put this one over here. To add some light to this building. And I can change the shape of this duplicate filter without affecting the first one.
Maybe I'll make that a little narrower. And I'll duplicate this second pin as well by right-clicking or control-clicking the pin and choosing Duplicate. And then I'll drag this pin maybe onto the side of this skyscraper. Now here, I'd like things a little bit brighter. So with the pin on the skyscraper selected, I'll move over to the Radial Filter panel and I'll increase the Exposure just a bit. And maybe a change of color there also by clicking in the Color field. And I'll choose a little deeper peach color and then I'll click X to close that window. Now to compare a before and after view without any of the Radial Filters and with all three of these, I'll come over to the Radial Filter panel and I'll click the toggle at the bottom of this panel.
So there's how the image looked with out my spotlights. And you can see that the spotlights just add a little life and variation to this photo.
In this course, Jan Kabili details a collection of straightforward techniques for making urban landscapes look their best. Jan begins in Lightroom: optimizing exposure, fixing distortion problems, and making selective tonality adjustments. She also reduces noise, sharpens the photo, and shares her favorite techniques for painting with light. The course concludes with a dip into Photoshop, where Jan makes some final refinements before returning to Lightroom for output.
- Optimizing tone and color
- Sharpening and reducing noise
- Fixing perspective
- Painting with light
- Finishing the photo