Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Seeing a before-and-after view, part of Lightroom 5: 2 Optimizing Your Photos.
As you're applying adjustments to your images in the Develop module in Lightroom, obviously you tend to have at least some degree of an idea toward what your final destination is for an image. But regardless of the extent to which you have a vision for a particular photo, it can be very helpful to evaluate the before and after versions of the image while you're working. Let's take a look at an example of how we can work with these views. I'll go ahead and apply an exaggerated adjustment to this image. I'm just going to increase the values for Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation all the way to their maximums.
This obviously does not result in an improvement for the photo, it's just a highly stylized version of the image, but it does create a very obvious difference between the initial version of the image, and the current state of the photo. To compare the before, and after version of the image, I can very easily press the backslash key on the keyboard. This is a toggle that will take me to the before version and then the after version of the image. So pressing backslash once will take me to the before version, you can see the indication of before at the top right of the image and then, pressing backslash again takes me to the after version of the image.
But there are also a variety of before and after views that allow us to see the before and after version of the image at the very same time. I'll go ahead and click the before and after view button on the toolbar, and that will allow me to cycle through those various views. So I'll click once, and we can see a split view where the before version of the image is shown on the left, and the after version is shown on the right. Clicking the button one more time, we now have the before version on top, and the after version on the bottom. I'll click again and we gain a split view with a before on top and after on the bottom.
And then again we have both images at the same time, with the before image on the left and the after image on the right. In addition to cycling through the various before and after view options, you can also click the pop up button, to the right of the before and after view button, to bring up a list of the various before and after views. This way you can simply choose exactly which option you'd like. For example, if I want a left to right split, I can choose that directly from the pop up rather than cycling through all of the various options.
In addition to cycling through the various before and after views, there are also some additional options for replacing before with after or vice versa or swapping the before and after views. Now I have to warn you though that these options can be little big confusing if you're not familiar with them. The first button allows me to replace the after version of the image with the before version, in other words, essentially undoing everything I've done thus far. I can also replace the before version with the after version, essentially creating a new before version for future comparisons.
Or I can swap the two. Let's take a look at an example of the use of each of these. If I'm happy with the before, but not the after, I can replace the after version with the before, essentially undoing all of my changes. Now, I can start applying a new set of adjustments, for example. I'll go ahead and reduce Clarity and reduce Saturation, for example, but I can also replace the before version with the after version. I'll go ahead and click that button, the second button here and now, the before version has been replaced by the after version of the image.
The interesting thing here is that if I then click the Reset button to reset all of my adjustments, my before and after comparison view still shows that artistic interpretation of the image as the before version. This can certainly be helpful, but it can also be a little bit confusing. I'll go ahead and apply another dramatic change to the image for example. And so now we have a black and white version as the before, and this blue version as the after. I can also, though, swap the before and after views. So now, my before version is that blue version, and the after version is the black and white version.
I can then go through and apply various additional adjustments in order to change the appearance of that after view. And I think you can get a good sense here, that things can get very confusing, very quickly by swapping around these before and after views. If the basic concept here seems appealing and yet a little bit confusing, then I would suggest that you work with the history and snapshots in order to create what is in effect the same basic capability with a little bit more flexibility. And I think a little bit more clarity as well.
Most important though, I think, is to keep in mind that we do have the option to evaluate the before and after version of our images. We have a great deal of flexibility here, but for most photographers, I recommend simply using the basic before and after views to compare the before version with the after version, and save the before and after swapping options for the use of snapshots for example. When you're finished evaluating the before and after version of the image, you can return to the Loop View in the Develop module by clicking the Loop View button at the left of the toolbar or by pressing the letter D on a keyboard.
And that will take you back to the full display of the image in that after view.
This course was created by Tim Grey. We're honored to host this training in our library. Watch more courses in this series here.
- Evaluating images
- Adjusting white balance
- Working with Clarity
- Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve
- Painting adjustments into an image
- Applying noise reduction
- Correcting perspective
- Converting to black and white
- Duplicating adjustments
- Stitching panoramas