Dec 112008
 

I have been thinking lately that it would be nice to have a point and shoot camera that I could always have in my pocket. Here’s an article from yesterday’s New York Times, with recommendations for point and shoots under $300.

article

I didn’t check them all, but I doubt they shoot in raw. I know the Canon G10 does, but it is closer to $500.

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Dec 102008
 

I have written about moving your Lightroom work from your laptop to your desktop (or any two computers) here. This involves exporting your work on the laptop as a catalog, then importing it into your desktop catalog.

Sometimes though you may want to simply move your catalog. Mine was initially on an external hard drive; I then decided to move it to my internal C: drive because it would read and write faster.

The first step in doing this is finding out where it is stored currently.

  • In Lightroom go to Edit>Catalog Settings on the PC, or Lightroom>Catalog Settings on the Mac.
  • In the General Tab, the location of your catalog is shown.
  • Click on the Show button to open up a Mac Finder or Windows Explorer window with this catalog folder highlighted.

Finding Your Catalog Using the Catalog Settings Dialog

  • Close Lightroom.
  • Next, open up a second Windows Explorer or Finder window (Mac: File>New Finder Window; Windows 7: right-click on the folder icon in your task bar, choose Windows Explorer) ; navigate to where you want to put your catalog folder, and then drag the Lightroom Catalog folder from its current location in the first window to its new location in the second window.
  • Double-click on the .lrcat file within this catalog folder, to launch Lightroom with this catalog.
  • Lightroom will open, recognizing the new location of your catalog.
  • Go to Edit (Lightroom on the Mac)>Preferences, General tab, and where it says “When starting up use this catalog”, choose this one.

Done!

 

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Dec 072008
 

The adjustment brush and the graduated filter tool are wonderful additions to Lightroom 2 for making local changes. But there are often quicker ways to make local changes. I will talk about HSL in this post.

In the image below I want to darken the sky. Yes, I can get the adjustment brush, set the exposure to a negative amount, and paint the sky.

Before

Before

But since the only blue in the image is the sky, it is alot faster accomplish my goal by darkening the blues in the HSL/Color/Grayscale panel: click on HSL, click on luminance (luminance refers to brightness), and slide the blue slider to the left.

Darkening the Blues in The Image

Darkening the Blues in The Image

Darkened Blues

Darkened Blues

Let’s say I now want to saturate the grass and tree more. I can use the adjustment brush with a positive saturation setting, but instead, in the HSL panel I will click on Saturation.    I’m not sure if the grass is green or yellow or some combination, so instead of guessing and fooling around with the sliders, I’ll use the handy Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT). I will click on it, and then click on the grass and drag upwards since I want to increase saturation. I will do this in a few places in the foreground.  The TAT detects the colors you are dragging on, and adjusts those throughout the image — in this case increasing saturation of yellows and greens.    It works for us here because there are no yellows and greens in the building or sky — otherwise those would become more saturated as well.

Saturated Foreground

Saturated Foreground

tat

The yellow is a little too saturated for me, but now it is easy to go to the Yellow slider and reduce it a little. Note also that I could have darkened the sky with the TAT as well, clicking on luminance and dragging downward on the sky, rather than using the blue slider.

Finally, I am going to use the Hue component in the HSL panel to change the color of the background in this image:

Before

Before

I click on HSL, Hue and the Targeted Adjustment tool, then click and drag up and/or down on the blue background to change the color to something I like. Because there was no blue in the subjects, they are unaffected.

After Hue Change

After Hue Change

By the way, if skin is too red, try clicking on saturation, and dragging downwards on the face to take some of the color out. In this case, since purple also contains red, it will change the background a little as well, but that may be acceptable, and a big time saver over working with the adjustment brush.

The key to being able to use HSL to do local adjustments is that the area you want to darken, lighten, increase or decrease saturation of, or change the color of, is made up of colors that don’t exist elsewhere in the image. In my first image, for example, if the building had also been blue, I could not have isolated the sky using HSL. I would have had to use the adjustment brush to specifically darken the sky.

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Dec 032008
 

I showed you how to use the spot removal tool in Lightroom and Camera Raw, and how to copy your spot removals from one image to others in Lightroom in my spot removal video.

However, I didn’t mention how to copy your spot removals from one image to others in Camera Raw. (Thanks, Teri for this question.) So here it is:

  • Open your first image and fix your spots. Click Done to close the image.
  • In Bridge, select all the other images that have spots in the same places (i.e. dust on the sensor).
  • Right-click, choose Develop Settings>Paste Settings …
  • From the drop down box in the dialog that appears, choose spot removal. Hit OK.
  • As I recommended in my video, review each image to make sure that its solution for each spot works well.

You can also open up all the images at once in Camera Raw, click Select All, and work on all the image simultaneously. Or, with all of them open in Camera Raw, select the first, then click Synchronize and choose Spot Removal. But I find both of these to be slower than pasting in Bridge.

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Dec 022008
 

In the Lightroom Develop module, there are different ways to look at Before and After for changes that you have made. One of my favorites is to use the backslash key to toggle between Before and After. The default Before state is the first step in the History panel, usually your file import. So by default, you are toggling between “before all changes” and “after all changes”.

Sometimes though, you may want to look at Before and After just the last change you made, or the last few changes. Fortunately, you have the flexibility to set which step in your processing will be the Before state: in the History panel in the Develop module, simply right-click (ctl-click for one button mac mouse users) on the step you want to assign to Before, and choose Copy History Step Settings to Before.

In the example below, my Before state will be before sharpening (which involved setting four settings). Toggling the key will therefore show me before and after sharpening.

Right Click to Set Your Before State

Right Click to Set Your Before State

Sometimes when I am using the key to toggle between Before and After, I will try to continue making adjustments to my image and find that Lightroom is locked up, and I can’t do anything. It is always because I have forgotten that I am still in Before mode, and changes can’t be made in this mode. If this happens to you, hit the key again to get back to After.

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Dec 012008
 

If you have used the adjustment brush in Lightroom, you may have noticed that you have the ability to paint color on your image. After clicking on the adjustment brush to make it active, click on the color square next to the word Color to choose your color.

Adjustment Brush Color Setting

Adjustment Brush Color Setting

In this case I chose blue. Here is the image I am going to work on:

Before Painting

Before Painting

When I paint over the flower with blue, blue is added to the existing red, and the result is a bluish red:

Painting over the Flower with Blue

Painting over the Flower with Blue

What I really want to do is to replace the red with blue. Here’s the secret: in addition to selecting the color blue, I also reduce the adjustment brush saturation slider to -100.

Settings to Replace Color

Settings to Replace Color

Then the red is removed and I get what I want:

Painting with Blue AND Saturation of -100

Painting with Blue AND Saturation of -100

By the way, with auto mask turned on, painting over the flower with a large brush produced a very good selection of the flower, with just a few missing spots. I then turned off auto mask and painted in those missing spots. The auto mask check box is located right below the brush settings.

Adjustment brush settings are sticky, so next time you use the adjustment brush you will most likely still have your color selected. To unselect it, click on the color square, slide the slider down to 0%, and then close the color window.


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