Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Seeing a before-and-after view, part of Lightroom 4: Image Optimization.
One of the things, it seems, a lot of photographers struggle with is evaluating their adjustments for an image. It seems that sometimes we get a little acclimated to relatively strong adjustments, strong contrasts, and strong saturation, for example. And so we sorta lose sight of when we've taken things a little bit too far. For that reason and for a variety of other reasons, sometimes I'll work with the Before and After view turned on. Or I'll at least evaluate the image after applying some adjustments using that Before and After view. Let's go ahead and apply some basic adjustments, just so that we can get a sense of the Before and After view here.
I'll assume that I want to increase contrast, maybe I want to darken up the blacks just a little bit. I might also want to increase clarity, and perhaps increase vibrance. Now, at first glance, this might seem like a good adjustment. But I think it's actually a little bit too strong. Let's take a look with a Before and After view. And see how it can be helpful to see the original unedited version of the image along with the final result. On the toolbar below the image preview area, you'll see that we can switch between our Loop view or the primary view of just the image, and a Before and After view.
I can turn on the Before and After view, or I can click the pop-up to the right of it, to choose a particular option. We can arrange the images left to right or top to bottom, and we can also see the entire image or a split where we see half of the image with the adjustments and half of the image without the adjustments. I'll cycle through each of these so that you can get a sense of them. Here's the Before and After with both versions of the image visible in their entirety. I can also show one version of the image with the left being the before version and the right being the after version. And I can enable a similar view with the images arranged above and below or with that split happening with a top to bottom split.
Part of the decision here relates to personal preference. And part of it relates to the image itself. In some cases you might be able to work with a Split View. And in other cases that might not work quite as well. While you are working in the Before and After view, you can also designate whether you want to copy the before settings to the after image. In order words essentially undoing your adjustments, you can copy the after settings to the before making that setting a new before so that future adjustments would revert to this setting. Or you can swap the two if you want to go back and fourth between the two for any reason.
Generally speaking though I don't swap the Before and After but rather continue refining my adjustments. And I can actually do that while I'm looking in this Before and After view. I'll reduce the clarity for example just a little bit and maybe tone down that adjustment for black so that we don't have quite as much density in the image. Somewhere around there looks to be a little bit better. And sometimes you might find that it's helpful to switch between the top-bottom split and the left-right split for example. Just evaluating the image in a variety of different ways. And also keep in mind, especially when you're really scrutinizing an image.
It might be helpful to hide the panels, so that you can see just the image. I'll press the Shift+Tab keys in order to hide all of the panels. You can also press the T key to hide the toolbar if you'd like, and you can even go into Lightouts view and press L once to switch to the End display. And then L one more time so that only the image itself is visible. Or then press L again to get back to the full display of Lightroom and Shift+Tab to bring back my panels, and T to bring back the tool bar.
As you can see the Before and After view can be very, very helpful for evaluating your images, and making a decision about whether or not you need to further refine your adjustments.
- Evaluating images
- Seeing a before and after view
- Correcting mistakes with the History and Snapshot features
- Develop module basics
- Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve
- Sharpening an image
- Painting adjustments into an image
- Image cleanup
- Creative adjustments
- Duplicating adjustments