Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Virtual Copies when converting to black and white, part of Exploring Lightroom: Advanced Workflow Techniques.
- Another workflow scenario where it's really helpful to work with virtual copies is when you want to have a color and also a black and white version of your photograph. Let's take a look at how we can do that here. Here I want to talk about how we can have multiple black and white versions of the same image, and also talk about virtual copies and previews. In other words, previewing the before and after of an image. Here we have the original file. Again, typically the workflow starts in the develop module in the basic panel. In the basic panel perhaps I'm going to brighten up my shadows a little bit, just a touch of contrast, maybe a little bit exposure, and then bring down the highlights.
Not a lot is really needed with this photograph, it looks pretty good straight out of the camera. Here's the color image. I want to try out a black and white photograph as well. Let's create a virtual copy, and let's do that by way of the shortcut. Using the keyboard combination, do you remember that one? It's command, apostrophe on a Mac, control, apostrophe on Windows. Here is our first virtual copy. With this image, I want to convert it to black and white, so I'm going to click on the black and white option here in the basic panel. Then maybe I'll modify my sliders a little bit.
Perhaps I want to brighten up my shadows, and add a little more contrast, and brighten the exposure a little bit as well. This is one black and white version of the image. What's interesting here is if we click our preview button, which is the backslash key, that shows before, and then press it again, you see the before and after going back to the original state of the virtual copy. In other words, the color version. Because when the virtual copy was born, it was in color. But take a look at this: If we create another virtual copy, which we're going to do here.
That's command, apostrophe on a Mac, or control, apostrophe on Windows. Here we'll modify it by going down to the black and white panel. In the black and white panel, let's bring up the oranges. See how you can really brighten up the image a lot? The reds, that's going to control the lips there, so we can brighten or darken that. Just change the tone there. Also the yellows a little bit, too. Next, I notice there's some vignetting. I want to correct that. To do that, I'll go to lens corrections. Underneath the basic tab, we can click on enable profile corrections.
Can you see how that's really correcting the vignetting that we had there which didn't look very good? Here we've processed this image with a few more steps. We used the black and white adjustments, and also lens corrections. Now, if we tap the backslash key to see the before and after, notice it goes back to its original state when it was born, so to speak. It was born at this state here, and then we processed it in this way. What's great about having these multiple versions, is we can click back and forth and say, "Oh, gosh, this one isn't very good, but I like this one a little bit more." Or perhaps we want to test out another idea.
Let's press command, apostrophe on a Mac, or control, apostrophe on Windows and for this next idea, what I want to do is work with contrast. Back up in basic, I'm going to increase my contrast even more. I'm also going to bring up the clarity slider, you can see how that just adds a little bit of a nice snap there. In doing that, I feel like I need to brighten up this area. Here I'll make an adjustment using one of the tools from our tool strip. The adjustment I'm going to work with is this radial filter. I'm going to bring up my exposure just a little bit, and click and drag over the image.
Currently, it's not affecting the right area, so I'll go down to the bottom here, and click invert mask. If you aren't familiar with all of the workflow steps that I'm doing here, don't get too lost in that, the point is just that you can work on your images in different ways, going through your normal workflow, however it is that you like to work in Lightroom. I'm just trying to bring a little bit of light into this area here. If I go back to my exposure slider, you can see how I'm just brightening that up, adding a little bit more light to that part of the image.
That was virtual copy number three. Let me click done to apply those settings. You can go back and forth and see here's with, or here's without, and then here's with that adjustment. As you can see, really quickly, we have a lot of different variation regards to our black and white conversions. For me and my own workflow, I find this is so helpful. It's so helpful to experiment and try to find just the right way to process the image. By having these virtual copies like this, what it can help you do is it can help lead you to the right, or correct, or the best way to process a photograph.
We've learned quite a bit about working with virtual copies, and workflow, and we've started to see how we have them down here in the filmstrip, and how we can click through them. What we need to learn next is how we can start to really manage and work with virtual copies when we're working with a folder which has other images in it as well. Let's take a look at that topic in the next movie.
- Creating virtual copies
- Sorting and filtering virtual copies
- Building Smart Previews
- Creating snapshots