Edits in Lightroom
Let's talk about what do I make sure I do in Lightroom before I head to Photoshop? Because there are some things where if you're lazy about them and you don't think about 'em until later on in your process after you went to Photoshop and created a layered file, now it's much more difficult to fix. And so let's take a look at it. First, noise reduction. If I look at an image like this one, and let me make sure it hasn't been adjusted. I bet you it has. Okay, if you look at an image like this one, you'd click on it to zoom up. Can you see the noise that's in there? Okay? Well, the problem is if I open this image into Photoshop and I start working on it, often times I will use automated features that give me selections. There's something called select and mask. There's something called a quick selection tool. You could use techniques where you use something called channels or layer masks, also. And if I ever do anything that's actually based on the image itself, like painting with a quick...
selection tool where it's figuring out the edges, well if the edge of an object would be smooth if there was no noise, but there's noise breaking it up. Isn't that gonna make my selection break up with an edge that is noisy? Does that make sense? And then if I use that in a layer mask and then that layer mask is duplicated in another layer and we have it six times in my layer stack, and then at the very end I think oh, man, this is a noisy picture. I should do noise reduction. Well, you have the original picture down here. You have a bunch of layers, but there's so much of those layers that have the noise built in because you have masks attached that were based on the picture. So now it's more difficult to do noise reduction. Does that make sense? So noise reduction here, let me give you a few tips. It happens in the detail panel. And the first problem with noise reduction is not noise reduction, but it's sharpening. With default settings, sharpening sharpens everything in your entire picture including the noise, and, therefore, the noise is being exaggerated due to these settings. So the first thing I wanna do is make sure that this is not exaggerating my noise. And here's how I do it. I look at my picture and I say where is there no useful detail? Imagine a blue sky. What's the detail in a purely blue sky? If there are no clouds, if there's no plane that went by with a wisp behind it of, you know, a trail behind it, what is the detail you would see in a sky? Nothing, right? But what if your camera's producing noise? That's gonna be the detail in your sky, but it's not useful detail. It's not really from the scene. So right here, can you see stucco texture? Do you see fabric texture? Do you see any useful detail right there? No, I see noise. So I wanna make sure that area's not being sharpened. How do I do it? This choice right here called masking. With masking, in order to use it effectively, you have to know of a little hidden feature and that is hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows, when you move the slider. Option, when it comes to sliders, often means give me an alternative view of my picture, and so I'm gonna hold down Option, I'm gonna click on the slider, and now anything that's white will be sharpened. In the default setting, the whole screen will be white. Then, as you bring this up, some areas will start getting darker, and whatever turns black will not be sharpened at all. So do you see all that noise up there in that area that had no useful detail? I wanna bring it up until that area doesn't get sharpened. Right there. But do you see where we still have white or grays? It's the edges of objects, it's where there was useful detail. So just pick any area where you see some of that white or gray, and when I let go of this slider, you'll see what the picture looked like, and you'll see yeah, it was kinda useful detail there. So it's not that we're not gonna sharpen the image, it's that we just don't wanna exaggerate the noise. And all I did was I held down Option, Alt in Windows, and I brought up masking until a blue sky turns black, until whatever area where you can't see the grain, or not the grain, you can't see the weave of fabric, you can't see the texture of a wall, you can't see the pores and the wrinkles on somebody's skin. Instead, you just see noise. Get it to not sharpen that. Then, down here under noise reduction, we have luminance, and if I bring that up, I wanna bring it up until the noise is either gone or no longer objectionable. Now, we could talk a lot more about all these settings, and I have a whole, what is it, 30-day-long class or 20-hour-long class or something on this kind of stuff. That's when we cover that kinda stuff, but here we're talking about Lightroom and Photoshop, so I'm talking about only the essentials. I wish we had time to get into every slider. Just showing you what's essential there. Other things that I think about before I ever head over to Photoshop. Let's get this image open. Let me make sure a particular setting is turned off. Okay. And let's zoom up. When you look at this image and you look at it closely, I can see green on some edges, I see magenta on other edges that don't look like they belong. They don't like they were actually there. You see this green edge right there? Those are what's known as chromatic aberrations. And you're gonna find 'em where you have high-contrast edges like a dark thing touching a bright thing, often times near the edge of your frame, I find a little bit more with wide-angle lenses, and those are caused by your lens. Well, you wanna get rid of those because once they get into Photoshop and we start doing automated selections with the quick selection tool or we do other things, those are gonna become harder and harder to get rid of. How do we get rid of 'em? Under a section here called lens corrections, there's a checkbox here called remove chromatic aberration. Just turn it on. When I do, I don't know if you noticed that edge changed quite a bit. Well, turn it off. Turn it back on. It should minimize or completely remove that effect. On occasion, you'll get an extreme image. Let me see if this one is an extreme. I gotta make sure I have settings turned off, though. And I'm not absolutely certain, but I just thought I remembered. So here, do you see kind of a magenta, purple glow on the edge down here? If I turn on remove chromatic aberration, I still see some of it. Now, if you need to zoom in further than you get when you just click, on the left side of your screen, up here in the navigator, this determines how far it zooms when you click on your picture. And right now it says one to one. If I change this, I can go to two to one, and now I'm zoomed in higher. And I did that on the left side of my screen over here where the navigator is. This means when you zoom, how much you actually go to. But do you seen, when I click there, that purple stuff? How do I get rid of it? I already have remove chromatic aberrations turned on. Well, that's when you head over here to manual. Usually when it happens, it'll be either purple or green that you see. And when you get here, you see all these fancy settings here, defringe, the amount, the hue, and all that stuff, but we can get Lightroom to do most of the work if we grab that turkey baster that's there. Grab that, head over here, and I wanna find the most vivid portion of the purple. I get my mouse right in it, and I'm gonna click. There, do you see how it just dealt with it? What it did is it measured how vivid it was and exactly what color it was. And it moved these little sliders here so that they're, the color that I clicked on is right in between the two. Then it measured how vivid it was. In this slider here, the amount, it moved up just high enough so it could get rid of that color. If it wasn't enough, if I still saw some purple, I could put that even higher. And if it was green, it would have done it with these sliders instead. But chromatic aberrations are something where if I ever forget to deal with them before opening an image in Photoshop, I'm usually sorry. Once I start adding multiple layers, especially if you're gonna combine multiple images together and one image has really bad chromatic aberrations like this one and another one barely has any, and now you're gonna try to reduce it after you've combined them into a complex document. So that's when I would end up doing that. Other things that I ensure that I do before I end up bringing an image over to Photoshop is if you see an area within your file that looks as if it's white, it looks like there's no detail and you wish there was detail in your highlights, your bright areas, when it's a raw file, there's actually more detail lurking in there than what you can see with your eyes. Even if you were to move your mouse over it, in the numbers it would show up by the histogram would say this is white, meaning the numbers were as high as they could go. You can still get more detail back if it's a raw file, not if it's a JPEG, only if it's raw. And so if I need highlight detail more than I have to begin with, I'm not gonna wait 'til I get to Photoshop. I'm gonna do it here. The same is true for areas that look like they're solid black. If you wish there was detail where there is solid black, be sure you try to get that detail before heading to Photoshop, because once you go to Photoshop, if anything looked solid black and truly was when you move your mouse over it, there are numbers that can show up up here. If they say zero, zero, zero, which means there's no light whatsoever, then we will not be able to get any detail back there in Photoshop. But if it's a raw file, we might be able to get some here. So I ensured that I've done that. The last thing is white balance. If your image has a color cast, it's too yellow, it's too orange, it's too blue, fix it before you go to Photoshop. It will look better. And that's because of the way that your image needs to be manipulated before it's capable of opening it in Photoshop makes it so any change to try to color-correct the image later, it will be nowhere near as effective. The other thing that I think of before going to Photoshop is whenever I work with my images, in my workflow, I end up sharpening my image twice. The first time I sharpen my image is to compensate for my camera. My lens wasn't the sharpest it could be. I didn't buy that $3,000 lens, I bought the $400 one. It's kinda soft, and I wanna, you know, get it back so it looks better, right? Or a lot of cameras have a filter in front of the sensor that actually softens the image. It's so that if you take a picture of fabric, the weave of the fabric does not create a moire pattern. Have you ever seen two screen doors put together, and you rotate 'em and you get this weird pattern? Well, the same thing happens when you have the weave of fabric and you have the grid of your camera sensor that's perfectly aligned and you're doing this with 'em. And you can get that. But if you have this little filter in front of the sensor that softens the image slightly, it prevents it. So the first sharpening that's happening right here in Lightroom, it's in this area called sharpening, and the default setting is not zero. In fact, they've increased the default. It used to be 25. They bumped it up to to make it so you've even sharper, but this is to compensate for something, either my lens not being the sharpest or my camera delivering a slightly soft result. And right there, that's just your initial sharpening. And the default setting can be okay for a lot of situations, but it's best if you zoom up and evaluate it. And if your image still looks soft, boost it a little bit. But the reason I do that is because if I'm gonna combine together multiple images in Photoshop and they're shot with different lenses or different cameras, well, they're gonna have different amounts of softening effect applied to them due to the lens in the camera's sensor, and I want to compensate for that before it heads to Photoshop so I don't end up with one soft layer being combined with another layer that's much shaper, where they look kinda odd when you put 'em together. Does that make sense? All right, so those are all the things that I would think about doing ahead of time. I'm sure there are others. Other things that I do in Photoshop is I print from Photoshop. The process of printing from Photoshop is so much more elegant, and if you use presets, they're known as templates in there, the process is so, what's the word, just nice, whereas with Photoshop it's a pain in the ass. Okay?