How To Create a Non-Destructive Workflow

Lesson 1/15 - What is “Destructive”


How To Create a Non-Destructive Workflow


Lesson Info

What is “Destructive”

All right, we will have some fun with photo shop, so one of the interesting things I think about photo shop is that it sort of brings out some of my let's call them psychological issues, and one of them is that I'm an absolute control freak, pretty much in everything, but especially in photo shop, and so I love exercising as much control as I possibly can with my images, and so I want to talk about kind of defining a non destructive work flow in photo shop, but first we have to talk about what is non destructive and there's a couple of facets to this, actually. So like many photographers, I do most of my photography with raw captures because it gives me the best potential in terms of image quality and so there's kind of an intermediate step in the work flow when we're optimizing the photo, and that is to take an image into adobe camera ross so when I open or all capture adobe camera raw starts up automatically, we'll talk more about adobe camera all in just a minute. For the moment, I'...

m just going to open that image so that we can get destructive so that we can appreciate why we would want to be non destructive, plus it's, just fun to be destructive every now and then. So that image will open up here in just a moment in photo shop and again, in theory, I would have applied a variety of different adjustments will talk about that momentarily, but when it comes to a non destructive workflow, what I'm talking about is not touching my original pixels. Now, there's sort of two fastest, this number one is the original raw capture, and I always will have my original raw capture safe really stored on my hard drive backed up onto another hard drive with another hard drive stored off somewhere else that a different location? I mentioned the paranoia thing, and so I have my original raw capture as sort of my original starting point if I ever need to get back to it, that gives me one insurance policy, but I also when I'm actually inside of light room and in photo shop, I want to work non destructively now in light room, nondestructive his automatic there's no way around it, you can't destroy a pixel in light room if you want it in photo shop, you could be very destructive if you were to decide to do so it's all just apply a variety of adjustments let's assume that for this photo, I needed to add a little bit more contrast, we want to darken up. The shadows and brighten up the highlights did I say a little bit of contrast? I meant a lot of contrast and then I come back and I decide you know maybe I want to increase contrast even mohr well there's two problems with this number one is I'm actually having a cumulative effect on the image every adjustment we apply to a photo in photo shop is causing some degree of loss of information in that photo not a huge loss in most cases especially if it's a relatively subtle adjustment but there is a cumulative effect more importantly is if we just apply an adjustment directly to the pixels in our photo those adjustments are essentially permanent yes right now I have history I could go back in time essentially but once I've saved the image then I'm sort of stocks I'm going to zoom in on some of these dark shadow look the wonderful deep dark shadows that we've created here now I've changed my mind and I want to brighten up the image let's just brighten up those wait where did the shadow detail go let's take the shadows way way up let's make black no longer black black is now some shade of gray almost middle gray and I still have zero detail in those shadow areas that is destructive obviously to be fair I'm being a little bit extreme here ok a lot but extreme here but the idea is that even with subtle adjustments there's that sort of cumulative effect and I can't go back so I want a non destructive workflow for two reasons number one to maximize image quality for my photos and number two perhaps more importantly for me at least is that I want the flexibility on indecisive I changed my mind a lot I might decide that I want to go back to a color version instead of a black and white version of the photo I want flexibility and so a non destructive workflow makes that possible so having said all that let's go ahead and switch to an image and what I'm going to do in this case is work on a single image essentially from start to finish just to kind of show you a little bit more of the fluid workflow that's involved I find that sometimes it's a little tricky if I'm showing you a variety of different adjustments each one on a different image it could be a little bit of a challenge to know exactly how all those pieces fit together so let's take a trip join me if you will in horseshoe bend outside of page arizona anybody been anybody ventured to the ledge looking a thousand feet down to the colorado river below I've been there and I didn't mind standing on the edge the most amusing part about standing on the edge of horseshoe bend is the reactions you get from other photographers and especially the reactions you get from non photographers who are like having heart attacks behind you wondering what on earth is this crazy person doing sitting on the ledge? The trick is, though this is the challenge of the shot at horseshoe bend conceptually it's super super simple it's kind of like one shot labor right there before you accept you got to get right up to the edge to get a good shot and so a lot of people miss out on it, but I didn't mind risking life and limb to get a photo mostly I enjoy the amusement of other people freaking out because I'm sitting on the edge and so I've got this image the scene looked pretty also now, obviously here we've got this incredible expansive view down below us it's pretty remarkable the problem is is that it doesn't quite look the way I remember it it's not quite as detailed or as kind of dramatic obviously it's overcast light and so we've got a little bit of that kind of hazy soft light effect, but the texture just isn't quite there and so I want to work with this image. The first step again is to process the raw capture, so I'll just double click in this case I'm opening the image from adobe bridge and so I just double click on the thumbnail for the image and bring it up in adobe camera raw. Now, this is my first opportunity after the capture to actually apply some adjustments. So during the capture, hopefully I'm being very careful about my settings. I'm making sure that the image is in focus, that I've got adequate depth of field and all those sorts of things, making sure the exposure is good. But now, after I've taken the picture, this is my first opportunity to work with the image a little bit, and I often get asked when it comes to processing that raw capture. Should we perform all of our work in adobe cameras? Should we save some of it for photo shop after that initial processing? And what I would say is that the at the bare minimum, the basic set of adjustments, should be applied in adobe camera raw in that raw processing, so that you're really maximizing the initial quality of the image.

Class Description

Non-destructive editing helps you maintain maximum flexibility when editing your photos in Photoshop. Learn how it’s done in How to Create a Non-destructive Workflow with Tim Grey.

Tim will show you how to leverage your RAW captures to ensure the best starting point in your workflow. He’ll show how to use adjustment layers for non-destructive edits and how to use Smart Objects and Smart Filters for safe, effective edits.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2, Adobe Lightroom 5