Using Local Adjustments
So I'm gonna start with just some detailed photographs of some plant life. And I wanna show you how I work on an image from start to finish. And along the way we're gonna teach you some tools, including our local adjustments. And local adjustments are all found up here right below the histogram. So below the histogram you'll see that you've got a brush tool, you've got a radial filter, you've got a gradient, then you've got red eye reduction, spot removal, and cropping. But first, before we go into that, we need to know what we're working with. Now this image, I'm not actually all that interested in the color in this image even though it's quite striking, the green versus the orange flower. I like that juxtaposition of the green versus the orange, but I think it will actually work better as a black and white. So I'm gonna actually turn this to black and white, but like I said yesterday, if I instead hit the V key for very black and white, so for black and vite. I don't know. I'm not su...
re why they used V. Anyway, so if I hit the V key, I will actually turn it to black and white, but the difference is this, if you go and click on this black and white here, like that, then inside of this area right down here, which is the black and white mix, because every time you turn something to black and white, the underlying color is still there. And so, it mixes it automatically for you. But I don't want to mix it automatically, so I'm gonna hit the option key and reset that and see how those go to zero. But I don't like the idea of auto-mixing, and so let's back up twice, and let's do it again, but instead this time I'm just gonna hit the V key. And when I do the V, ope, it did it in auto again. Dang it. Generally speaking, it won't do it auto. Okay, so we're gonna turn that off. See that, if you click that little auto thing, that's what it's doing, and we dislike auto a lot. So, here is one way that you can definitely not have auto, so let's turn it back to color, and let's go over to a preset, and I'm just gonna make a preset. So I'm gonna hit V, turn it to black and white, and then we're gonna go in, and we're, see now we don't have the auto, so you just never know. Anyway, so here we go, we have a zero on the black and white mix. If you come over here to the plus, and you create a preset right here, and you just say basic black and white, that's what we would name it, and then we're gonna tell it, we don't need the tone curve. We don't want the black and white mix, we just want black and white treatment. If you create that preset, then from then on out if you go now let's reset this back to color, if you go to your image and you click on that preset like this, it turns it to black and white, but if you go to the black and white area there's no mix. So you can hard code don't use the mix by making a preset of it, when you click on it, it doesn't mix it. Now, what I wanna do in this case is I wanna come to the mix, and I want to make the green darker, and I wanna make the orange brighter, cause I wanna create contrast. Remember yesterday we talked about when you go to black and white, you actually lose contrast because color is a contrast. So if I go to color, there's contrast between this flower and the rest of these succulents. But when I go to black and white, now the contrast is gone. We've lost our color. So in this case what we're gonna do is we're gonna take our green down, and our aqua and our blue, so we're pulling that stuff down, and then we're gonna take our yellow and our orange up, look what I'm doin. See how that starts to glow now? Ooh, and if I take the yellow down, look what it does, cause there's a lot of yellow in green. Ooh, I like it, I like it a lot. So, I think that's a far better photograph than the green versus the orange. So that's where I'm gonna go with it. So, that's a black and white mix is something that you wanna play with a lot, especially for portraits, because we all have a kind of orang or yellow skin, and so we want to kind of, if you increase the yellows and the oranges and decrease the blues, you're gonna usually have a much more beautiful portrait of somebody black and white, but this is a really good case for this. So now, if I want to work on this a little bit more, I'm gonna go into my tone curve, and inside the tone curve I can add a little bit extra brightness, just like that. I can take this, so what I'm doing is, I'm inside of the curve, so when you're in the tone curve remember that there are two different sections, there's the sliders here and that's just the basics, and then you can go into a point curve which is more like Photoshop, and you can click on any part in the point, and then when you click on it, you've made a point, and now you can drag those things up and down. And so, I'm just gonna set em about like that, gives me a nice S curve, but you can be much more controlled in this. For instance you can make sure that that white doesn't get too white by grabbing the actual top white area right here, grab it, and drag it down a little bit, and so the white can never actually equal pure white, it will always be kind of a softer white. So that's the curve we wanna use, but I'm noticing that it looks really great right around here, but over here, the light is striking too much here and it's taking my eye away from this. So, I want to fix that. The way I'm gonna fix that is I'm gonna go in to what we call local adjustments. So in the local adjustments I can choose to do basic adjustments to any small part of the photograph, and I can do that with different things. I can use a brush, or I can use a gradient, or I can use a radial filter. We're gonna use the brush right now, and when you go into the brush, we've gotta really talk about what this panel is, cause there's a lotta stuff in this panel. So the first thing that you'll see in this panel is an effect panel area here. So this effect here, if you double click it, see how there's sliders all over the place, if you double click it, it resets that to zero. So now that we have them reset to zero we can now play around with these sliders. But if I don't wanna play around with the sliders because I could take, you know five minutes trying to set up these sliders, instead I can click on this, right next to the effect there's a drop-down menu that is a set of presets. And those presets are anything that you've done you can always save as a preset. So if you've worked a whole lot of slider positions and let's just say we did something like this, and I don't wanna have to do that constantly, then what I wanna do is come down, or go up to the top and click on that effects panel, and then I wanna scale all the way down to the bottom. It's a lotta presets, and hit save current setting as a new preset. Then anything I've worked on up here inside of the settings gets saved in the preset. What doesn't get saved in the preset is the brush size, the feather, and the flow of the actual brush. So what we wanna do there is we have an A a B and an erase brush. So the A brush can be flow of 60, but the B brush can be flow of 100. So I can have zero feathering, or I can have 100 percent feathering. So it just gives me the ability to have different brushes really quickly. So then I'd, I really wish they would allow us to put those into the preset itself, like the brush settings, but since they don't, we have A and B brush, and then we have an erase brush. If you click on erase, it's gonna erase the effect that you are trying to paint in. So you can kinda go in and edit. There's also a little button down here called automask, and we'll talk about that in a little bit, and density. Now the difference between flow and density. They kind of accomplish the same thing, but flow is how much is coming out of your brush right now. So if you have 100 percent flow, it's just all in, it's just spraying as much as it can. Density is how much it can achieve. So if you have a lower density it can't ever achieve 100% like the whole effect. So no matter how much you paint, it's gonna stop at one point. Okay, so that's the difference. Flow is what's coming out of the brush now. Density is what that brush can achieve over time, got it? Okay, so, once we have our settings and we need to go and actually choose some settings, so we're gonna double click this, and instead of doing any work here, we're just gonna click on our drop-down menu and I'm just gonna choose a light burn. And notice that it just pulls this down to minus five, minus point five. So it's a half stop burn. That's what I'm doing. Now, you don't necessarily need a preset to take something from zero to a half stop. One slider is no big deal for a preset, but later on you're gonna see that we start using presets that we've done a whole bunch of slider movements to, and there's no reason for us to think through that we might as well save them as presets if we do something complicated and it works, stick with it and use it. Okay, so now I have my brush, and the bracket keys, and by the way I need to turn on some mouse and clicks and stuff so that you can see, mousepose, there you go. Okay, so now we have that on so you can see. So I'm gonna click my bracket keys, and that's what's gonna change the size of my brush. So I'm over here, and I'm just hitting the bracket up key, so that I can change the size of the brush, and I'm just gonna start painting in, see that, I'm just burning, and I'm burning areas that are calling my attention. The brush is the perfect tool for this because this is not a situation where everything is overly exposed. This is a situation where some things are overly exposed, and other things are just fine. So like this particular succulent is a little too bright, and so I wanna bring that one in, so I've got that, but notice that I'm not getting any more effect out of this brush. I can't see that, I'm brushing and brushing and brushing and nothing is happening. So if I want, and I'm at the flow of 100, but if I take my density and pull it up to 100, then see I got a little bit more out of that brush. Didn't get much out of it because I'm only at an exposure of minus point five. But after the fact I can come in and grab that and start bringing it down, and see how I can change the brush? But the problem is that if I take that one succulent down all the other ones get too dark. So I'm gonna make sure I've got the right brightness for all of those other succulents there, which is actually turns out to be that point five that I wanted, so let me. It's easier to do this with a mouse than it is to do it with a, to slide these sliders. There you go. Okay, so I like that, but I still need to do that one succulent, so if I come up here to that top mask area there's a button that says new. If I click new, it creates, see how it decommissions, where's my pen, where did I start? There it is, right there. And if I hover over it you can see where I've burned, I burned all over the place there. But this time I'm just going to, if I click on it, see how it's black and then white circle around it, it's got a key line around it? That means it's active. Then I can go over and change anything I want in relationship to that change. So I can take and play with it and do all sorts of crazy stuff to it, if I want to change that brush setting. Okay, but then if I wanna make a new one, to go over the top of that one I have to click new, once I click new that deactivates that brush, and now I'm gonna bring the size of my brush down a little bit, and I'm gonna start painting in. See how I'm adding burn to that area right there, so that succulent is right, but now I've got a little bit right here that I need to work on. Right there, right there, I'm looking for areas that call themselves out too much, cause we don't want any of these succulents jumping out out of their place. They all have a place and they need to stay in it. There we go, gonna get this corner over here, and then look at this one. I've got, I'm gonna brush that a little bit, brush this one a little bit, brush that, but I'm just brushing the areas that are standing out a little bit too much. And then once I've done that, I've gotta get this last one here cause this one's standing out too much, so then I just need to come in and go like this. Most of the time, you can do this just very fluidly. You don't have to worry about making any real serious edits, but occasionally you'll come in and your brush will overwrite, see how it's going over the flower? So we wanna erase from that area. And if I wanna see where that actually is occurring, I can come down here to the left hand side under the image in the tool bar. And the tool bar is shown by hitting the T key. So see that T, that shows you the tool bar? And we want to actually click on this show selected mask overlay. By doing that, it keeps that mask overlay active, so now I can go into my brush, the same brush that it's showing right now and hit erase, and when I hit erase, I'm gonna turn automask off, cause I'm gonna do this very fluidly. And I'm just gonna erase off of this flower right here, just like that. So now the flower itself has no adjustments to it. And so now I'm gonna turn that off. So you can see that that flower looks really nice, and everything else is nice and dark, and I think I'm done with that image. Questions, any? Yeah.
Jared, I actually I have a couple questions. When you hit the black and white for when it did the mix, will that change depending upon the image, as to the contrast of the individual image?
Correct, right so when it does that automix, it will do it based on the image, so it'll automix your image based on what it thinks would make the best image. And so that's the auto feature. And the auto feature is almost always wrong. It just is.
And actually I was gonna ask you about that regarding the auto feature in general, not just for black and white, but tell us what you think about it, cause several people asked.
So I will tell you what I think of auto. Auto inside of Lightroom is as good as auto in your camera. Both are awful. And sadly though, the auto in Lightroom doesn't have any kind of exposure compensation dials. So imagine if you took your camera, those of you who know how to use your camera really well know that you can turn it in an auto mode like aperture priority or shutter priority, or even in P mode, right? And if you're shooting in those modes, and you just let the camera make all the decisions, it's gonna make a lot of bad decisions. And you're gonna have some bad photography. But, a professional using a camera in an auto setting can actually do a very good job because they have exposure compensation dials. So you know, oh in this situation, that is going to overexpose, so I'm going to underexpose and compensate for what the camera doesn't recognize you know is the subject or whatever. And so I can actually get really good exposures based on auto settings but with compensations. So that's the camera. Lightroom doesn't have compensation dials. So when it clicks auto, it's just auto auto auto. It is as auto as it gets, and so I hate the auto settings inside of Lightroom. I think all of them are bad. They do a decent job to get you a neutral gray. If you took a picture of a gray wall and you put it in Lightroom, and then you click the auto, it would make that gray wall exactly gray. But that's as far as it goes. Any other time, I mean let's just do a example. So I'm gonna go in here and click on, say, well, let's click on this image right here. And then I'm gonna go to the basics and I'm just gonna click on the auto, just to see what it does. It didn't do anything good to it. All it did, look at that, it just went, I wanna add some contrast. That's all it did. But it didn't help me in any way. And let's go to say this one here, which is supposed to be kind of a dark image. Let's click on it, and look what it did. It brightened it up, and that's way too bright, so I'm gonna have to readjust it anyway. So let's go to say, this one, and click on this one, auto. It did okay on that one. Did all right on that one. Let's go to this one. Did all right on that one. So 50 percent of the time, it will do enough to get you close. And then the rest of the time you'll have to readjust it anyway. So I don't know, I just don't think auto is all that good. But I can guarantee you that black and white mix auto, you're always gonna hafta readjust it because it always makes weird decisions. Every time I go to black and white why is the black and white, oh, cause auto's on, so, yes.
So I think perhaps as a beginner and maybe many of you out there might do the same, I would always hit auto first, and then adjust from there, it sounds like you wouldn't recommend that?
Well all I'm saying is, don't click on auto. Like if you were a beginner you came up and you clicked on auto you'd be like, oh that looks really nice. So I'm gonna learn from auto, what does it do? It take this down a little bit, did this, did this, this, and you're learning from a computer that makes bad decisions 50 percent of the time. (laughter) Right? And so, if you think that the computer is teaching you, it's not. It's just, what it's trying to do is calculate neutral. Like for instance on this picture that's supposed to be a darker picture, when you click on it, it took the exposure up 2.25, I would never go that high on this image, ever. So if I were doing this image, I want it to be about here at 0.95, I'm gonna take the contrast down, remember? So I don't go up on the contrast all that much, I go down so I get more detail out of it. Then I come into the clarity and I pull the clarity out, and then I'm gonna take the blacks down quite a bit. The shadows is where I'm gonna bring it up, not the exposure. So look how much work I'm doing on this image after the auto worked on it. It just, auto's just not very good.
Jared I think I've used that in the past and realizing that my exposures were off in camera, so that kinda brought me to a general place and then kinda tweaked from there, so I think that's where I've kind of relied on it more than I probably should have, but because of having of not quite getting it right in camera.
I think one other problem with auto is that people do it as a blanket. Like they highlight everything and click auto, right, to get em in a place. But the problem is is that then the whole synchronization thing that we did doesn't work because you don't know where everything is, right? So, it does this auto blanket to everything, but it puts things that, like one image and the next image, because the person moves a little bit, even though the total exposure should be the same, it changes the exposure because the person moved in front of the sun or whatever, but the background should stay exactly the same, and so it exposes one image one way, and another image a different way, even though they should be exposed exactly the same way, because it's auto. And so then you have two images that are exposed exactly the same in camera and they should have exactly the same treatments, and if you had just clicked on all the images, and like we showed yesterday, did the auto sync, you would just adjust the one image and all of them would be done. Instead now you don't know where anything is on those other images, and so then you have to go retweak them anyway. So I'm just, auto's fine, click on it if you want to to see what it would do, but chances are you're still, in order to make a really good image, gonna hafta fix it because, also the other thing Lightroom's not trying to do is save the image. Lightroom's not looking at the image for quality purposes and saying, oh, I shouldn't bring the exposure way up, because it's going to give it noise. So if you take the exposure up to three, when you zoom in there, there's gonna be a lot of noise, look at all the noise that's in there. But it doesn't care about quality. It just cares about getting everything to a certain neutral gray. That's what auto does, it reads neutral gray. So there's, it just, and the other thing is, is that if there's a face in there, there's someone that's actually in the image, it's not paying attention to whether the person is you know a redhead with really white skin or someone who's got dark black skin. It's not paying attention to that. So if I have a picture of a black person on a black backdrop, it's gonna try and make that person look like they're Hispanic. That's not gonna work, but it doesn't know. So, don't trust auto.
Well, thank you for explaining that, because I think it's an easy thing to think that it's gonna be to do, and I think that distinguishing that it's doing what your camera is doing is very important to recognize. I do have another question, though about auto. There's a feature that is called match exposure feature, and is that a worthwhile that auto, if you will, function?
It's an interesting auto function.
And what is it?
Well let me show that. That's a great, great question. I just have to go find something that makes sense for us to use it. But let's say you were working on two different images that are different. So let's like go to a family vacation image here, and let's just go to here, this will probably work, there we go. Okay, so I've got two pictures here. So there's our two pictures right there. And you can see that they're different. And one of em is nicely lit and bright. The other one is kinda dim and not quite because the light was a little different and I hadn't set it, and this one I lit with a flash, and this one is lit by the sun. So they're just different. But I'm gonna put them on the same page, and I wanna somehow try and make this image and this image somewhat match. That's where it comes into play. So at that point, let's go to the develop module and turn off auto sync so I'm only working on the one image. So what I would do is I would just get this image all set, and I love this image by the way. This is my princess here, so. So I'm gonna work on this image until I like it exactly the way it is. Okay, so I like the way the image looks, and now I'm going to want to match the other exposure, so now that's where you go up into I think it's in the photo, no settings, where, there it is, match tonal exposures, right? So I wanna match the two tonal exposures. So I click on match exposure, and see what it did, and so I'm highlighting the one that I like, and it went, and watch the sliders here. I click on it, the sliders are not gonna be in the same position, it's not a sync. It's a match, so if I click on it now, see how these exposures changed? What it was trying to do was match her face, it didn't get it perfectly, but it certainly did a better job. So if I take this back, let's go to our history, that's the best place that we can show you. So if I click on this. That's what it had before, and this is what it has now. Do you see that? So it tried to match that tonal exposure so that it was closer, but it's completely different than the original images settings. It's just trying to compute it, and say what would I do if I wanted to make this as close to this as possible? And the thing is, you can do it across 50 pictures. So if you have a picture, and then you have like pictures that are just in the same situation, they look fairly similar, but they're just darker here, lighter there, darker here, lighter there, darker here, lighter there. You can highlight one, highlight the whole set, and just say match the tonal exposure across all of these, and it will try to make all of these look like that one. And it did a decent job, but it's too bright. You can see that that's not quite right. So then I would simply go into this one and bring this down just enough so that the tone was the same, and I would only have to adjust maybe one or two sliders rather than you know 15 sliders, but it would try and match em. So, it's a good question.
Great question, thank you. And just to clarify on that, what's the difference between that and syncing?
Okay, if I were to do the same thing. Let's take this one, and it, now look at the controls here, see how they're all adjusted like that? So we've got lots of different controls going on. If I were to just click on this one and synchronize it to the last one. So I'm synchronizing the settings, that's what I get. And you can see that all of these settings are exactly the same, but now if I compare the two, see how this one is not the same as that one. They're not, this one's not as bright as this one. This one has more brightness to it. Okay, but I also synchronized some burning and dodging, see right there? Little burning and dodging happening on that one. So, it synchronized it, it stole the burning and dodging because I burned in her sweater, er her shirt, and so, I had to, it burned in over here. So you can see if I go to the develop module, there's the burning and dodging, so I can delete that out of that one. Okay, yeah.
The tone is just certain sliders within tone
It's all basic tones.
Basic tones, that's what you're changing with the mouse?
It's just trying to get the two together, and I think it actually might only use the exposure and nothing else. I'm not sure what it decides to use at any one point and time, but if I were to select a whole series of images like this and go up and say, settings, match tonal exposure, then all of these settings, see all of these are gonna try to become the same, yeah, and it's just working on the exposure itself. Everything else is gonna stay exactly where it is. So it's just trying to get you in the ballpark, but trying to get you close to the ballpark of the thing of that same image. Which can be helpful, if you wanna just get em quickly there, so you can look at em. But in the end, now they're all gonna be in different areas, which quite frankly to me it would be better just to go highlight a set of images that are close and then just synchronize all the settings, check all except for your local adjustment brushes, your crop, and your spot removal, and synchronize it. And now I've got all of those, right, set. I mean that one's perfect as it is. And then these three, I just highlight those and make sure the autosync is on, like we talked about yesterday, and take the temperature down, and take the exposure up a little bit, and now done. Whereas if you use the match tonal exposure, you're gonna get em all over the place, and then you're gonna have to go image by image by image, to adjust for that particular image. Whereas you coulda just done it that way and you would of had it done. So again, auto's not as good as just doing it.
Well, I'm learning a ton about the autosync and the real power of autosync like we learned a lot about earlier in the class. So thank you.
Right, and those autosyncs and synchronization options are very important when you are working with lots of images. And that doesn't just, I mean this is a family photo trip. Think how much effort you go through to adjust and get all your stuff ready so you can make a little book about your family photo trip for the year, right? Or your yearly book that you make, or whatever. And we're gonna talk talk about making books, but boy if you can you know, if you can get all that done really quickly, you've got a lot of time to go do something else and make more memories with your kids rather than spend your time fussing with settings on images of your kids.