The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom book 1.1 Update:
The Develop Module interface
In this second part feature story on the Develop module in Lightroom 1.1, I focus on new features such as the Clarity slider control, White Balance tool behavior the Remove Spots and Remove Red eye tools, synchronizing spotting in Lightoom (and ACR 4.1), plus Color panel adjustments and new Defringe options.
I believe Jeff Schewe campaigned hard to get this particular feature included into Adobe Camera Raw, and here it is now in Lightroom 1.1. Although, as Jeff himself will tell you, Clarity is a hybrid based on two separate contrast enhancing techniques. One is a local contrast enhancement technique, devised by Thomas Knoll (and described in the above link by Michael Reichmann), using a low amount and high radius setting in the Photoshop Unsharp Mask filter. The other is a midtone contrast enhancement Photoshop technique that was originally devised by Mac Holbert of Nash Editions. Those who have bought my most recent book, Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers, can read there the steps Mac used in Photoshop to create this effect. The Photoshop instructions were admittedly quite complex. However, Clarity is now available as a simple one shot slider control in the Basic panel of the Develop module.
Step 1. Here is a screen shot showing a close-up 1:1 view of photograph taken of some pumpkins. A few adjustments have been made to the basic tone controls and sharpening has already been added via the Detail panel. You don’t have to necessarily be viewing the image at 1:1 in order to evaluate the results, but it is usually the best way to work.
Step 2. In this next screen shot you can see how the pumpkins looked after adjusting the Clarity slider. In this example I have taken the slider to the maximum setting in order to show the most dramatic difference between the two. Normally, you would want to start around ‘10’ and try not to overdo the effect. But as you can see, the Clarity adjustment adds a halo edge effect to the midtones only (the shadows and highlights are protected). As you increase the amount, the halos will get wider and this will usually strengthen the midtone contrast effect and make the midtone areas look sharper. You can see the halos forming as you drag the slider left and right.
The Clarity adjustment is one that can usefully be applied to a great many kinds of photographs. Mac Holbert originally devised his technique in order to boost the midtone contrast and he found that it helped him to bring out crisper detail in his landscape prints. But I think most photographs can gain from having a little bit of clarity added. I usually aim to add a value of about 10 and no more than that. However, a number of Lightroom users have been complaining about the limited output sharpening in Lightroom. And so you might want to consider giving certain photographs a clarity boost just prior to printing. The way I suggest you do this would be to create a virtual copy of the master photo and mark this as a ‘print only’ copy (using the Copy Name field in the Library module Metadata panel) and increase the Clarity amount more significantly. Try doing some experiments for yourself and see if it improves the look of your prints.
White Balance tool
The white balance has a few new features, plus one that was in the beta and then left out of the shipping version: namely, the ability to make persistent white balance adjustments. Here is a step-by-step guide to working with the new white balance tool.
Step 1. To use the white balance tool you need to click on the White Balance tool in the Basic panel. This will undock the tool and allow you to take a white balance measurement from anywhere on the photo.
Step 2. To make a white balance adjustment, you should try selecting an area of the picture that should be neutral in color, but not a bright white area of the photo. The light gray stones are a perfect place to sample from. If the Auto Dismiss box in the toolbar is checked, the White Balance tool will automatically dismiss after you click and return to its docked position in the Basic panel. But if you uncheck the Auto Dismiss box in the toolbar you will now be able to click and keep clicking with the White Balance tool until you are satisfied with the white balance adjustment that you have made.
Step 3. The Show Loupe checkbox will allow you to toggle displaying the loupe that appears just below the White Balance tool cursor. And you will notice that you can now adjust the loupe scale setting by dragging the slider next to the Show Loupe item in the toolbar. This slider will adjust the sample grid pixel size, and dragging the slider to the right will increase the number of pixels used to sample a white balance point measurement.
The Remove Spots tool and Remove Red Eye tools have both undergone a makeover in the interface design and the way these tools are used.
Remove Spots tool
The Remove Spots tool has now done away with the red and green colored circles where red represented the source circle and green, the sample circle. We now have white circles with a thin circle to represent the source and a thicker circle to represent the sample area.
Photograph © Jeff Schewe
In this screen shot I have illustrated several of the ways you can work with the Remove Spots tool. Some of the behavioral changes are quite subtle, so here is a list of some of the ways you can work with the Remove Spots tool:
Clone or Heal
The options here are the same as they were previously. In Clone mode, the Remove Spots tool will copy pixels using a feathered circle edge. In Heal mode the Remove Spots tool will copy pixels and blend them around the inner edge of the circle. And you can also use the Clone/Heal buttons in the toolbar to switch the spotting mode for a Remove Spots circle. Another important thing to be aware of with the heal mode is that if you click with the Remove Spots tool in heal mode, rather than drag to set the sample point, the Remove Spots tool behaves like the spot healing brush in Photoshop. That is to say, Lightroom will automatically select the best sample point to sample from. This behavior is well worth noting when using the Synchronize Settings (see below) to synchronize your spotting work. I’ll be coming on to this shortly.
This used to be called ‘Cursor Size’, but it’s still pretty clear that you can adjust the size of the Remove Spot cursor circle by adjusting the slider. You can do this before you apply the tool or you can use the slider to readjust the size of a selected circle. You can also use the square bracket keys to adjust the spot size of the cursor before you use it to create a new spot. Use the left bracket ([) to make the spot size smaller and the right bracket (]) to make the spot size bigger.
Click and drag
Place the Remove Spots cursor over the area you want to remove and center the cursor using the crosshair. Hold down the mouse and drag outwards to set the source circle position. As you do this, you will see the area inside the source circle get updated as you drag to set the position of the sample circle.
Just click with the Remove Spots tool to remove a mark or blemish. In this respect you could say that the Remove Spots tool is able to work a bit like the spot healing brush that is found in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. When you click with the Remove Spot tool in Lightroom, it will automatically place the sample circle for you and use a certain amount of built-in intelligence to choose a suitable sample point to sample from.
Editing the spot circles
As before, the Remove Spots circles remain fully editable. You can mouse down on a sample circle and drag to move the sample area. But you will notice that you can now only resize the spot size by dragging the slider in the toolbar or by holding the mouse down on the edge of a source circle only and dragging. And you will notice now when you drag on a source circle to resize it, that the thin circle cursor will conveniently disappear, allowing you so see more clearly the effect these changes are having on the photo. Similarly, if you hold the mouse down inside a spot circle, the thin circle will disappear and change to show the hand icon and allow you to drag and reposition the source spot circle.
Hiding the spot circles
The most convenient way to hide the spot circles and inspect a photo without them overlaying the image is to use the H keyboard shortcut. Pressing H will always hide the spot circles, but as soon as you commence work with the Remove Spots tool, all the spot circles will be revealed again.
Undoing/deleting spot circles
Use Command–Z (Mac), Control–Z (PC) to undo the last spot circle. To delete an individual spot circle, click to select it and hit the Delete key. And to remove all spot circles from an image, click the Reset button in the toolbar.
In case you missed it before, you can quite easily synchronize the spotting work done to a single photo in Lightroom with other photos. All you have to do is to make a selection of images via the Filmstrip, make sure the photo that has had all the spotting work done to it, is the one that is the most selected or ‘target’ photo and then click on the Sync… button.
This will open the Synchronize Settings dialog shown below. If you click on the Check None button, check the Spot Removal checkbox and then click the Synchronize button, Lightroom will synchronize the spot removal settings across all the selected images. By the way, if you have made a selection of images via the filmstrip (or in the Library Grid view) you can also use the Command+Shift–S (Mac), Control+Shift–S (PC) shortcut to open the Synchronize Settings dialog.
Heal mode synchronization
As I mentioned previously, if you click with the Remove Spots tool in Heal mode instead of dragging, Lightroom will automatically choose the best area of the photo to sample from. As long as you don’t try to edit the sample point (by manually dragging the sample circle to reposition it), the spot circle will remain in its ‘auto- select sample point’ mode. If you therefore carry out a series of spot removals using only the heal mode and always click with the tool rather than drag, you can synchronize the spot removal more efficiently. The reason for this will soon become clear if you try this method out for yourself because if you synchronize a series of photos in this way, the Lightroom spot circles will auto-select the best sample points in each of the individual synchronized photos. This of course does not guarantee 100% successful spot removal synchronization across every image, but if you follow this advice you will find that your spot removal synchronization results will generally be more successful.
Synchronized spotting with Adobe Camera Raw
Now you may be aware that many of the new features found in the Lightroom 1.1 Develop module are there because they are also part of the Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 update. If you happen to be using Photoshop CS3 with this latest version of Camera Raw, you may like to know you can synchronize the spot removal as you apply it! Make a selection of images in Bridge and open them up via Camera Raw. Now click on the Select All button. This will select all the photos and if you now use the Retouch tool (that’s what it is called in Camera Raw) to remove spots from the most selected photo (the one shown in the main preview), the spotting work will automatically get updated to all the other selected images. This is quite a cool new feature in Camera Raw, but alas, there is no mechanism in Lightroom that will allow you to achieve the same thing in the Develop module!
Remove Red Eye tool
Before the 1.1 update, we used to have a cursor in the shape of a cross, where you would marquee drag with the cursor to define the area you wanted to treat and Lightroom would calculate where within that area to apply the red eye correction. What you ended up with was a rectangle overlay that would shrink to fit around the pupil and the pupil red eye would get auto corrected.
As you can see the Remove Red Eye tool cursor in Lightroom 1.1 now looks a lot different. The way you should use the tool now is to target the center of the pupil using the cross hair in the middle and drag outwards to draw an ellipse that defines the area you wish to correct. Although I should point out here that you don’t have to be particularly accurate. In fact it is quite interesting to watch how this tool works when you lazily drag to include an area that is a lot bigger than the area you define with the Red Eye tool cursor. It is quite magical really the way Lightroom knows precisely which area to correct and the cursor will shrink to create an ellipse overlay representing the area that has been targeted for the red eye correction.
Step 1. Here is an example of the Red Eye tool in action. In this screen shot you can see that I selected the Red Eye tool from the tool bar and dragged the cursor over the left eye here dragging from the center of the pupil outwards. Alternatively, I could simply have clicked on the pupil using the red eye tool.
Step 2. After I released the mouse, a Red Eye tool ellipse overlay shrank to fit the area around the eye. As I just mentioned, you don’t really have to be particularly accurate here with the way you define the eye pupils. In this screen shot you can see that I had just applied a red eye correction to the eye on the right. Notice here how the first ellipse overlay has a thinner border and the current ellipse overlay is thicker, indicating that this one is active. When a red eye ellipse is active you can then use the two sliders in the toolbar to adjust the Red Eye settings. Use the Pupil Size slider to adjust the size up or down for the area that is being corrected. Next to this is the Darken slider that you can use to fine-tune the appearance of the pupil. I tend to find that the Lightroom auto-correction (using the midway settings of ‘50’) is usually spot on in most instances.
There are a few more things to say about the Red Eye tool. To start with, you can adjust the size of the cursor by using the square bracket keys. You can use the left bracket ([) to make the cursor size smaller and the right bracket (]) to make the cursor size bigger. To be honest, the cursor size doesn’t always make much difference because big or small, once you click with the tool you can drag the cursor to define the area you wish to affect. The cursor size is probably more relevant if you are using the Red Eye tool to click on the pupils to correct them rather than dragging. But as I say, the tool always seems to do such a great job anyway of locating the area that needs to be corrected!
Step 3. As before with the Remove Spots tool, when an ellipse overlay is active you can hit the Delete key to remove an individual ellipse overlay. However, if you move the mouse over to the edge of the ellipse and drag to resize the area or drag from inside to reposition the ellipse the behavior is quite different. If you drag the overlay edge to resize the Red Eye overlay, it does not recalculate the Red Eye adjustment, it allows you to fine-tune the shape and size of the red eye adjustment. You know how it is said by the Lightroom engineers that there are no layers in Lightroom? Well, this is so far the first example of what you could call a Lightroom layer. The benefit of this is that you can really get the red eye correction coverage to match the eye pupil precisely.
Step 4. All will become even clearer if you hold down the mouse over the center of the pupil and drag the ellipse overlay outwards. Basically the ability to resize the shape of the red eye correction and reposition it allows a much greater degree of red eye control than you could previously in Lightroom.
Over in the Color panel you can use either the Shift key or the Command key (Mac) or the Control key (PC), to click on the individual color swatches so that you can choose which specific color slider controls you want to have visible. Previously you could only click to see one set of color sliders at a time or click on the All button to have all of them visible at once. This new refinement allows you to economize on screen real estate.
Lens Corrections panel
The Lens Correction panel features two new automatic defringe controls. The first one is called Highlight Edges and it is able to correct for the color fringing that you sometimes see in the extreme burnt out highlight areas. This type of color fringing is caused by extreme light exposure hitting the camera sensors, which can overload individual photosites with too many photons and this in turn creates problems in the demosaicing process. The Highlight Edges defringe option is therefore carrying out a different kind of calculation in order to correct the magenta fringing that is sometimes seen around the highlight edges.
I have to say that the effect is really subtle and it has not been easy to find a photograph where one can show a significant amount of difference between the before and after, but here is a picture taken of the sunlight reflecting off the sea, that is a typical example of the sort of shot that could benefit from a Highlight Edges correction.
The All Edges correction also offers a rather subtle auto correction, but I do find that it can be useful if you need to improve an image with chromatic aberration that is proving tricky to remove using the manual sliders in the Lens Corrections panel.
Step 1. Here is a photograph where you can see really bad chromatic aberration at the edges of the frame.
Step 2. This image required quite a bit of manual correction and in this example you can see that I set the Red/Cyan slider to –19 and the Blue/Yellow slider to +32. This seemed to be the optimum setting to use, but there was still a little bit of fringing around the high contrast edges that I could not get rid of completely.
Step 3. In this last example I selected the All Edges Defringe option. The difference between this and the previous screen shot may appear quite subtle on the screen, but when you compare the before and after by toggling the effect in Lightroom you should be able to see a distinct improvement. I therefore like to look upon the All Edges defringe setting as a way to polish up the edges and remove the chromatic aberration that the slider settings on their own can’t manage.
Reset Develop settings
The Reset button will reset the Develop settings to whatever default user settings you might have already set in Lightroom. Just to recap here, in the Develop Menus story, I explained how you could now create user default settings in Lightroom. And I further explained that you could use the Lightroom Presets preferences to make default settings specific to the camera body serial number and ISO setting. So if you click on the Reset button, Lightroom will use whatever default setting you have created and reset the Develop settings to this.
How do you create a default setting? Well, you could select a specific photo, go to the Develop menu and choose Set Default Settings… That will create a new default setting in Lightroom and if you have the above preferences set to make the setting specific to the camera body and ISO type, the default setting you create will be specific to that combination of camera and ISO setting.
Or alternatively, you can hold down the Option key (Mac), Alt key (PC) and the Reset button in the Develop module will change to Set Default… Whichever method you use, the following dialog will appear, asking you to confirm that you want to go ahead and set this setting as a new default.
And finally, if you hold down the Shift key, the Reset button will change to say: Reset (Adobe). If you click on the button in this mode, this will override the Lightroom user default settings and reset the Develop settings to the standard Adobe Lightroom default values.
If you have found this extract useful and would like to read more then you will be pleased to know that Martin Evening, author of The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book, has also written a free Lightroom 1.1 PDF supplement update for readers of his book. The PDF is a compilation of all the Lightroom 1.1 update Lightroom-news stories, is 177 pages long and will soon be available for download via the Peachpit website (registration required). This is not a book revision, but a supplement to the original book in which Martin Evening desribes in detail all of the new features found in Lightroom 1.1. Martin writes: “I wanted to provide a free update for Lightroom 1.1 that would satisfy readers who had already bought the book as well as all those who hadn’t bought it yet but wanted to make sure they were up to speed on all the new program features”.
How to download the PDF supplement
The PDF update supplement will soon be available free for everyone to download. All you will have to do is visit the peachpit website at: www.peachpit.com/register. There you will need to create a new account by providing your email address, full name and a password to access the site. Once you have confirmed your account details proceed to the register page and enter the 10-digit ISBN number of the book. Please note that this PDF is not limited to those who are buying the book. Everyone will be welcome to register and download the PDF. Just copy and paste the following ISBN number: 0321385438 as shown below.
You will then be ready to download the PDF supplement after it is published. Watch out for further announcements on Lightroom-news for when the PDF is ready to download.
Martin Evening has worked on the development of Adobe Photoshop as an alpha tester from the program’s earliest beginnings. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book describes all of Lightroom’s features in detail, with photographers in mind. Photographers who routinely work with raw (and even jpg & tiff) images will find Lightroom–and The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book–an indispensable tool in their digital darkroom.
Lightroom-news has a free PDF download of Chapter 1. (click here to download-4.6MB PDF).