Join Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Lightroom and Camera Raw, similar but different, part of Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop: Workflow Strategies.
- Okay, so now we're going to get into editing in Lightroom CC. This is the gold standard for editing RAW files. There's kind of an interesting history to it. So I was on the Photoshop team for 15 years and I saw a lot of magical things happen. I think one of the most historic and interesting to me was that when Thomas Knoll, many many years ago, this is the guy who created Photoshop. He went on vacation and he was so frustrated with the RAW conversion software that came with his camera, that he decided to invent his own.
And he came back and he asked us if we thought that would be interesting and of course everyone agreed that it would. That became the camera RAW plugin and you still have that camera RAW plugin today. It's pretty miraculous that he was able to take that functionality and use Photoshop's plugin architecture which is quite old at this point and do all those amazing things. But later when we did Lightroom, we decided to take that same technology, that same engine that Thomas had created and make the Develop module.
So they're very very similar, but the benefits of course with Lightroom's workflow are when it comes to multiple images, syncing, connection and just an accelerated more flexible workflow. Photoshop comes from a time when images were edited one at a time. Lightroom is much more mindful of having dozens, hundreds, even thousands of images. So I'm going to really advocate using Lightroom Develop module because it is so fast and flexible.
But keep in mind, just about everything I'm going to show you will apply to camera RAW, very very similar. Same engine, different interface and different architecture around it. Okay, having said all that, let's jump into the Develop module and see what's possible there. We're going to start off working a file and end, I'll give you some tips and tricks and then we'll go a little deeper into some advanced editing from there. Alright so here we are in the Library. I'm just going to pick any one of these images.
Let's go ahead and choose this one here. Completely flat, just as it came off the camera. And I'm going to come into the Develop module and I should note that as with the Library module, I've got quick controls on the left. I've got my history, I've got all sorts of presets. Now in addition to the presets that come with Lightroom, we can save our own. And that's really important because those are going to save us time. But the sake of showing you how this works, I'm going to dismiss this entire part of the screen, so I can focus on my image. Now on the right hand side, for the most part I want to work this image from top to bottom.
As I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Auto, so I'm always going to start there. Clicking Auto is going to open up the image, it's going to dramatically change it, because it's adaptive, because it's intelligent. All of these things change right away. Now I'm reasonably happy with the color temperature here, but if I did want to adjust it, I'd use the white balance tool and I'd find something neutral. Now luckily there's a lot of neutral information in this image. You're for a gray, a black, white is less ideal but it will work. Just by choosing that, I adjusted my color temperature and my tint.
The image looks better, still super flat. So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to come down here and recover my highlights. Did a nice job of giving me some of what's in the sky. RAW files are really amazing, there's so much latitude to the file. That's the drama I'm looking for but it'll do to start with. Let's move down a little bit. Opening the shadows, pretty self explanatory, actually looks pretty good just the way it is. If I did make an adjustment, let's say I bumped the whites up or down and I say "you know that's really not what I wanted. "I want to go back to where it was." Simply double click on the slider to restart to zero.
Now clarity is something I talked about earlier. Positive clarity is going to give the image a lot more drama, negative clarity is going to to give it a more ethereal foggy look. Depending on the mood, you might want to go one way or the other. I'm going to give this a little positive clarity, because in my mind this is a high contrast, black and white eventually. Now even though I see it as a black and white image, I'm going to edit it in color. And the reason for that is, I might decide along the way that I prefer it in color. The other reason for that is I want to see all of the information available to me when I'm editing it.
Now the difference between vibrance, which will bump up my colors, but not make them ridiculous, and saturation is pretty obvious. I rarely use saturation, Vibrance is nice tuned way of saturating the image and it plays especially well with skin tones. Let's talk really quickly about the tone curve, the idea here is that, yes I can pull this curve around as I would in Photoshop, but I can also use these sliders to have a little more refined control. Now, some people look at this and they think that this is a little bit dumbed down or not precise enough.
What they don't realize is that these quadrants at the base of the tone curve can be moved. So now what I've done, is I've taken the extreme ends of the histogram, the shadows and the highlights and I've made it so these sliders only affect 10% rather than 25%. So if I pull my highlights over now, they're only going to affect the very brightest area. And if I take the shadows and open those, they're only to open the darkest areas of the shadows. The darks slider and the lights slider still affect a larger area of the image.
25% of the histogram. That's how curves work here, really friendly. This is a really busy dialog. HSL, Hue, Saturation, Luminance. Color and Black and White. All you really need to know here is that you can either move these individual sliders, which you notice have very familiar names like orange, aqua and purple, names you wouldn't see in Photoshop. Or you can turn on this targeted adjustment tool, and that's a really nice way to adjust based upon the content of the image. So if I want to adjust the luminance of the grass, I don't have to worry about what color it is.
I just pull it up and down. If I want to adjust the luminance of the sky, I don't have to worry about what color it is, I just pull it up and down. If I hit a flat color like this in the foreground, there's not a lot to adjust there. Now I could switch to Hue. Maybe I find that the grass is a little too green, well I can click on that and I can take it in either direction. That looks a little better, I can do the same thing with the color in the sky. More red, more orange, you get the idea. Just make sure you switch between Hue, Saturation and Luminance.
Now if you wanted to do black and white, same thing with that same control. You're obviously not seeing all that information. I'm going to switch back to color. Okay, so that looks pretty good. There is one last thing I'm going to do to this image. And that's that I really want some drama in the sky. Now, just like we did in Lightroom mobile, I love Dehaze for this. You can see how dramatically it changes the sky. But I don't want to apply it to the whole image. I just want to apply it to part. I'm going to move back up here to the top, to my graduated filter.
I'm going to shift click, to ensure that I have a straight line, hold that down under the sky. I'm going to make sure these are all zeroed out except for Dehaze, which I'm going to pull to the right. That looks much better. If I wanted another graduated filter on the bottom, I could pull that up and maybe warm up the foreground a little. That looks fantastic. Now maybe I decide I want that to be black and white. I actually prefer it in color. And at any point, I can always see my image Before and After right there on screen.
So that's a fantastic example of how far you can take an image really really quickly in the Develop module in Lightroom CC.
- Ingesting raw files from your phone or tablet
- Navigating Lightroom for mobile
- Handling files in Lightroom
- Handling virtual copies and collections, HDR, and panorama
- Archiving, backup, and sharing
- Comparing Lightroom and Camera Raw
- Using Smart Objects and Smart Filters in Photoshop
- Using brush-based tonal tools in Photoshop
- Using Photoshop Fix for detailed edits