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Sunset Skyline

Lesson 4 from: Landscape Photo Editing with Adobe Lightroom Classic

Philip Ebiner

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Lesson Info

4. Sunset Skyline

Next Lesson: Snowy Lake Scene

Lesson Info

Sunset Skyline

Welcome to this new photo edit in this one. We are editing this Cityscape, which I kind of consider partly a landscape, a manmade landscape. And so we're going to be turning this photo on the left into something like this on the right, really making it pop, making those colors more vibrant, using again, graduated filters and some brushes to emphasize some of the colors and also make it just like I said, pop a little bit more. All right. So let's get into editing this photo, you can follow along as always. So the first thing I'm going to do is crop. So like I did, usually, I'm going to edit to a 16 by nine aspect ratio as you can see the horizon is actually very level right now. And so I'm just gonna pop it up just a little bit, something like. So I think in my edited version, I cropped in just a little bit for now. I'm gonna leave it as is maybe put a little bit more negative space at the sky. I was kind of just originally putting the land the horizon right on the lower thirds line, bu...

t I do want a little bit more space above the building, something like that feels a little bit more balanced to me. All right. So the first thing I'm going to do is play around with my basic tone adjustments. Overall, it's a little bit dark to me. So the first thing I'm going to do is bring up the shadows, may bring up the overall exposure just a little bit. When I do that, the shadows and the darks uh blacks are brought up, but also the highlights and the whites which we lose a little bit of definition there. And now it's a little washed out which I don't like. And so as you can see when I bring back down my highlights, I start to get a lot of color and information and detail back in the sky. So I'm gonna bring that back down. I'm also going to bring back down the blacks just a little bit just to bring back a little bit of that um contrast that's natural to this photo. So here we have the before after. So it's a little bit more balanced and exposed image in terms of clarity de Hayes Vibrance. I'm just gonna bring up the overall saturation just a little bit when I'm not with landscapes. I'm not too worried about bringing up just the overall saturation with more portraits and photos of people. I do worry about saturation because that can sometimes bring up reds and yellows and colors and skin tones that make it look a little unnatural. All right. So I'm happy there. One thing that I am interested in with this photo is clarity. Uh We got all these lines and lights and I think bringing up the clarity to give it a little bit of that sort of crispy HDR look is gonna make it look pretty cool. Now, if I go all the way to the right, you can kind of see the more precisely what this effect is doing to the left. We get kind of a glowing sensation, which is actually kind of cool too. So this is more just for me stylistically what I'm going for right now, I'm going to go drag to the right and add clarity rather than making it sort of soft glowing. But that was kind of a cool look too with the rest of these, I'm going to leave them as is maybe do a little bit of noise reduction because this was shot. It looks like at sunset. Uh there is a little bit of noise in the buildings. You can see the detail over here. It's hard for you to see on the screen, I'm sure. But if you're walk following along on your own computer, you can probably see some of that noise. So bringing up that noise reduction gets rid of some of that noise. Now, you gotta be careful because adding noise reduction is going to make lines and edges a little bit softer because it's just getting rid of some of that detail, softening the noise, make blending it all together a little bit. And so that's kind of doing the opposite of what clarity and sharpening does. So it's a balance of how much do you want it to be sharp with crisp edges versus how much noise are you OK with. So the thing that I did with the edited photo uh is really make the sky pop and also the ocean down below. So this is a combination of a few e effects. So the first thing I'm gonna do is take my graduated filter. We've got it all reset to zero, click and drag down. So I'm selecting everything above the horizon line pressing oh on my keyboard, you can see what I'm selecting. I'm going to turn on a range mask for luminance and then set that luminance to more of the highlights. So I'm not selecting all of the shadows in the buildings. I don't mind if I select some of them, but I don't want all of them. Now, I'm also gonna decrease the smoothness just to try to get more of just the sky. So turning that off, the main thing I'm looking to do is bring out some of those colors, warm it up just a bit just to make it a little bit more dramatic. So the first thing I'm going to do is add de haze. Now some people will play around with the colors saturation temperature first. But I like to play with the de haze first because that actually adds color, add saturation, adds contrast and detail which now I don't have to go in and add as much warmth or contrast to it myself. I will play around with adding a little bit more warmth though something like this just to make that sky super vibrant. And you can do that by adding temperature, making it warmer or just adding more saturation. I'm gonna do it with the temperature though because I want everything to be a little bit warmer. I can also play around with bringing down the shadows. Now, since I'm not selecting much of the shadows, it's with my range mask, it's not gonna be as effective but bringing down things like the blacks, the shadows see what happens if I bring back down the highlights even it's making more detail in the sky. Now with all of this, it's a good thing to kind of look away from your computer and then look back, even go away, come back and see what you're doing because you might think after playing around with some edits and looking away say wow, that's a little bit too dramatic. The orange over here is a little bit too warm, so I'm gonna dial that back a little bit. It's always good to look at the before and after as well. That's looking pretty, pretty cool myself. If I don't say so myself. All right, I'm going to add another a new filter. So I'm gonna click new and now I just want to play with the sky up here and create more of a gradient in the sky. So I'm clicking and dragging a little bit longer to create a bigger fade. So as you can see a bigger fade again, I don't wanna select the buildings or don't want to get the buildings as much. So this time, I'm going to click color because the sky is generally a more similar range. You can click or you can click and drag to select a selection of colors and lightroom will try to kind of select just that selection and I'm going to decrease the amount just a little bit. So as you can see, I'm getting mostly the sky and not the buildings o on off or just this check box down there. Now, with this, I want to actually make the sky a little bit bluer, make it a little bit more dramatic. So I'm decreasing the temperature and overall exposure, maybe not overall exposure but highlights shadows black springing down and what you can do. Let's turn off our color picker is drag this up and down to kind of see what this looks like. It still is going to have the range mask on. So it should only be selecting mostly that color. So say we want these clouds over here to also be included, we can drag this down like so that creates a nice filter gradient effect or what you can do is say OK, well, I don't wanna bring it down too much. What I can do is add with the brush. So click the brush over here, select our size and we're just gonna brush over these clouds over on the left hand side. Now, if I press o on my keyboard, it's processing, not selecting those clouds a little bit more, you can even go down here, brush over on the right hand side. This can be kind of intensive on your computer to handle. But as you can see now, more of this cloud gets the effect that I'm adding. Now, if I go crazy with this, you can kind of see more what's, what's going on, just gonna dial that back just a little bit though. All right. So that's looking pretty good. OK, let me click done, gonna see the before, after, before after and we can also do a kind of a comparison between these two photos. So if we do this, comparing contrast right here with the reference photo, we're gonna make sure we have the reference photo right here. So here's the original edit, here's the new edit which I'm actually liking a little bit. I think I add a little bit of contrast at the end which makes it a little bit darker. But for now I'm pretty happy with where we're going. The other thing I wanna do is because I've edited the sky. I also want to edit the ocean to sort of match the edits of the sky. So we are actually gonna go back at a new graduated filter click and drag up this time. This time, we are just selecting the ocean and I'm going to add some blue. Interesting to see what De Hayes does. De Haze. I don't like that, but that's one way of getting more color. Also decreasing clarity to make it a little bit uh more dreamy kind of decreasing the clarity and also decreasing. The sharpness can make it almost look like a long exposure may decreasing the overall exposure just, just a smudge, maybe a little bit too blue, you know, if you want to get wacky with the colors you can play with the tin as well. All right, that's looking pretty good. Now, one thing you'll notice on my edit is the ocean on the right hand side, I highlighted the orange from the sky. So in this edit that we're working on, you can see that the ocean on the right hand side is a little bit pink magenta. I want that to be more orange. So there's different ways you can do that. I'm just going to do that with a brush right here. So I'm going to brush on and I'm actually just going to right now, turn up my temperature all the way so I can actually see live what I'm doing. I'm also going to turn off auto mask because I just want this to kind of paint on everything and even blend it over here. See where there's like a natural sort of part where the building is shading. It's creating a, a shadow on the ocean. I've kind of painted over the edge so that whatever I'm adding to this effect actually adds over here as well. Now you gotta play around with this. I I'm gonna erase a little bit of that and see what happens. Yeah, I felt like when I did this, this harsh line is a little bit too harsh right there. And so that's why I was kind of at it blending it in just a little bit. If you want more of that magenta, I making it just more uh an orange, orangey magenta rather than just an a magenta. You can add some tint as well, which does kind of match the sky. He got that purple in the sky as well, gonna go back to my brush. So going back to my brush clicking this a just see what happens if I blend this in over here, you can e even decrease the flow and the density to kind of brush it in, in layers, less powerful layers. So something like that, I think actually does a decent job. So if I click, oh you can see kind of what it does here. So if I decrease the density a lot, you can kind of see that the selection that is added or the the layer that's added is very, very faint. So this allows you to kind of paint on like a paint brush with strokes to make it a little bit more natural because you might have some of that, you know, light shining through these buildings, maybe even over here, we want to add a little bit of warmth on the that side of the building increase the density. So you're really being like an artist, I think anyways. And so that's something I didn't do with the original edit. But I think that looks pretty good. I might actually click new and add an even more powerful brush over here, really crank up that temperature and then maybe just blend it just a little bit with a little bit less density. That kind of creates a nice balance and it really adds to the effect that these buildings are actually creating a, it's blocking the sun, blocking the sunset and it's um coming around on both sides, this, this nice sunset on the ocean, reflecting on the ocean. That is cool. I think that's looking pretty good in terms of our adjustment brushes. Let's go back to our basic edit. So we're gonna close this and the last thing I'm gonna do is just again, play around with that tone curve. See if I want to add a little bit of contrast, bring down the darks, bring back up the sh the highlights the mids to bring back that contrast. And when I do that, things start to pop even more. The issue though is as I add contrast, which you probably know by now it adds saturation. So if I like that contrast, but I don't like the saturation. If it's a little over saturated, I might bring back down my saturation here or I might bring down my vibrance because that's going to affect a lot of the colors. Not necessarily the oranges though, as much as I like. So I might actually come back up here to saturation and bring this down a little bit to get rid of some of that saturation that's added with the contrast. Let's see the before and after. So a completely different photo, I would say uh one thing that might look good for this photo is a vignette. I don't think I added this to the other one as well, but a vignette, small vignette, lots of feathering, you turn this on and off. Nah, I, I don't know sometimes I, I, lately whenever I add a vignette, I, I take it off, uh I think it's a natural thing for beginner, photographers and photo editors to add a vignette automatically. Um But I, and think it looks better, but to me, whenever I do that now, it just looks a little funky to me. One thing I also might test out is the upright. I didn't do this. Now I did this automatically made a little change, but I'm just going to use this upright tool. What you do is you click and drag along the horizontal and vertical lines of the photo. So I'm using it with these buildings and then also with the horizon and what it's going to do then is it's going to try to make all the lines in the photo perpend perfectly perpendicular to the edges of to the edges of the photo. So as you can see there, now, all these lines are a little bit more straight up and down uh which maybe to you looks better. All right, I'm happy with this edit. So a lot happened here, but basically a lot of it was with the graduated filters in the sky. I think the key difference that I did in this photo edit and a cool thing to think about is adding the reflection to the water and being a little bit more creative with how you're using the brush to add color, temperature change, saturation change to a portion of the image adding to the leftover here, which wasn't at all um orange before. But to me, adds a little bit more character, makes it a little bit more dra dramatic and adds some balance to this edit as well. All right, I hope you enjoyed this one. I hope to see yours as well. If you have any questions, let me know otherwise we'll see you in another lesson. Bye.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Practice_Photos_for_Landscape_Editing_Course.zip

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