Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating awesome color with Lightroom, part of Photo Tools Weekly.
- [Instructor] Now, one of the first things I'm going to do is change the brightness value of a few areas. Looks a little dark, so I'll use Curves to do that. Create a Curves adjustment, and I'm just dragging this up a little bit, and then darkening this area down, I want to make sure I'm maintaining a little bit of the density and also color that we have there. If we go too high, it just sort of washes color out, so, again, that's where I'm being cautious with that. Next, go to the tab for the Mask. We'll go here a few times with a couple other adjustments as well, so it's worth noting that each adjustment layer has a mask.
If we go over there, there's a button called Invert. Click on that, and it fills the mask with black, which is what we want. Next, we're going to grab our Brush tool. Here, I'm going to paint with white, so I'm going to choose white. From there, I'll go up to my Options bar for the brush, remove all the hardness, and then I want to have a really nice big brush. Next, for the opacity, I'm going to drag this down below 50%, go to about 30% or so, and then I'm just going to start to paint over a few areas of the image.
If you want to paint it in a little bit more quickly, bring that value up, looks like I can do that, especially 'cause that curve adjustment was pretty subtle, right? And all that I'm doing here is just hand-painting in brightness into a few areas of the image. I'm kind of looking at those areas which I think are a little bit dull or lacking, or maybe a little bit too dark, and, tap the left bracket key, make the brush a little bit smaller, and just paint over couple of those little areas. Now, if we want to modify the adjustment, just doubleclick the adjustment layer icon, this is the curve adjustment.
Here, of course, we could bring this up a little bit more, if we wanted to have even a little bit more of a brightening effect, and then, click back in the mask, and then you can keep painting throughout the image. We're going to add this brightening effect. Now, whenever you're using a mouse like I'm using here, and not a stylus, pen, use a Wacom tablet or something like that, what you're going to need to do is eventually go back and fix up your mask a little bit. So if we go to the Properties panel for masks, there's a slider called Feather, and what this essentially does is it softens the edges of the brushstrokes, makes them blend in really nicely, so we want to make sure that we're doing that so that it looks seamless.
And here again, just looking to hand-paint in brightness into a few areas throughout the image. Okay, well, that's step number one, great, so far so good, let's take another step. Let's say we want to bring out some more of the reds that we have in this area. We could do that with a few different adjustments. Click on Vibrance, and drag this to the right, and also increase my saturation. Now, when I do that, it kind of wrecks the yellows, right? So let me exaggerate for a moment. Can you see how the reds over here, looking okay, yellows, not so much. No big deal, we'll go to the tab for the mask, click Invert, and then, just like we've done before with that same Brush tool, go ahead and choose the brush, and we'll just say, hey, you know what? I'm just going to hand-paint in a few little areas, I want to bring in some of this blue and some of that yellow over there, maybe a little bit of the saturation to yellow in a couple spots throughout there.
Tap the left bracket key makes the brush smaller, I'm just painting over a few of these little areas, and basically what I'm looking to do is just hand paint in these adjustments, which, they are vibrance and saturation. Alright, next, let's go to that tab for the mask, and increase the feather, just make sure that our brushstrokes, the edges are nice and smooth. Now, when it comes to getting more precise with color, a few other adjustments we might want to try, our Selective Color and Hue/Saturation.
Let's begin with Selective Color. You can find that one right here, or if you go to the Adjustment Layer icon, it's at the bottom of the list right there, so that's a nice way to find it. This is a control which isn't used very often, but it allows you to do quite a bit to the image. For example, here we could go to the yellows, and with the yellows, we have various sliders, and what you'll want to do is drag the sliders to start to see how it's going to affect the image. In this case, we won't want to affect the cyan value of the yellows, but really the yellow slider here, you can see how I can change that, or make it a little bit of a, you know, sort of uniform pure yellow? What about the greens, down below? We could go to that area, and with the greens, what we could do is we could push those over so that we're kind of losing the distinction? Or drag it this way, we get even more of that green snap, that's exactly what I want.
We could do the same thing with some of the other areas, like our cyans, or our blues. Cyans, we're going to see a little bit on the door there, and so just, modifying the way that door looks, and also some of the other tones in the background. Blues, I just want to make those a little bit more blue there as well. So in this case, when working with Selective Color, I know that was a little bit quick, you want to open it up and just drag the sliders around to see how you can shift colors. If you want to get even more precise, you could go to Hue/Saturation.
What's cool about Hue/Saturation is you can use this tool here, Targeted Adjustment tool, and you can click on a color, like the blue that we have right there, I'm just going to exaggerate for a moment, but can you see how, what this allowed me to do, was to bring out blue that I had in different areas of the image. I like that. Not quite so intense, but I want to bring that out, maybe darken it up a little bit too. Or we could use this tool and click on another color, like the yellows, say hey, I want to increase the saturation, or decrease that.
Sometimes just adding maybe a little bit, a little bit of brightness there, might be nice. Okay, well, those last few adjustments are really a touch more advanced, but it's good to see how you can do that, right? You create these really vivid and vibrant and beautiful colors. Now if we go through the layer stack here, you can see that this was the original image, as it came to us from Lightroom. It looks pretty good, I think it was in good shape, but then after we did a few adjustments, we painted in some brightness into a few areas, broadened some more selective vibrance and saturation, looked at using Selective Color, and then finally Hue/Saturation to really finish it off.
And if we zoom in a little bit so you can see this, you can see how it really helped bring some of those colors out, and that's that before and after. This view, go over to this area a little bit, you can see how it helped those yellows as well. And so, the whole point here I think with this one is just to look at how we can go through that workflow, and really, I'm hoping to inspire you to think about how you can start off with tools like Lightroom, and you can apply some other techniques, like we've done here, and finish your images, take them even further by working with Photoshop, and it's the combo of these two tools together which lead to this result.