The prereleases came out a while ago on labs.adobe.com, but now the official versions of Lightroom 3.5 and Camera Raw 6.5 are out. If you have Lightroom and/or Photoshop set to automatically check for updates, they will prompt you next time you open Lightroom 3 or Photoshop CS5. Otherwise, in your software go to Help>Check for Updates. These include new camera support, new lens profiles, and bug fixes.
The tone curve is not the most intuitive feature of Lightroom or Photoshop. In this tutorial I will explain how to read the curve, and then how to use the basic version of it in Lightroom and Camera Raw. Note that this is a rewrite of an old post. If you are a Photoshop user, you will want to read the old one (but keep in mind that the Lightroom information is out-of-date there.).
The tone curve is used to brighten or darken tones in your image. For general image brightening and darkening, I usually start with Exposure in the Basics panel to set how bright the brightest tones in the image should be, and then I move to the Brightness slider to set overall image brightness. Finally, I go to the Tone Curve when I want to affect just particular ranges of tones — for example, perhaps I want to brighten just the shadows or darken just the highlights in an image. In Lightroom, it is the panel directly below the Basics Panel in the Develop Module. In Camera Raw, it is the second symbol from the left below the histogram.
Reading the Tone Curve
Let me first say that if at the first mention of “graphs” and “X and Y axes”, your eyes are about to glaze over, you can skip down to “Using the Basic Curve”. You don’t have to know how to read the curve to use the basic version. However, consider giving it a try! If you fall asleep, I will take full responsibility — just please don’t read this while you are driving.
These days I encourage students to leave Bridge and Camera Raw behind and use Lightroom for all of their basic image editing needs (resorting to Photoshop when heavy guns are required). But if you do find a reason to use Bridge and Camera Raw, you’ll discover that Lightroom does not automatically see and show any Bridge keywording, rating or other metadata changes, or Camera Raw image adjustment changes that you have made.
To update your images in Lightroom with any changes you have made in Bridge or Camera Raw, select them, right-click and choose Metadata>Read Metadata from File. This will read the XMP file that Bridge and Camera Raw have written the changes to. Of course if you have since made changes in Lightroom that haven’t been written to XMP, this action will overwrite your recent changes. All the more reason to use only one program.
When I don’t take the time to use a tripod, my horizons are often not straight. Here’s an example:
To fix this in Lightroom, in the Develop Module tool drawer underneath the histogram, click on the Crop Overlay tool (R). Crop options appear beneath it, and a grid is placed over your image.
Take advantage of Lightroom 2’s (or Camera Raw’s) adjustment brush to create images that are part black and white and part color.
I will start with the color image below, and convert all of it to black and white except the poster and the can.
In the Develop module, click on the adjustment brush tool (shortcut K).
Slide the Saturation slider all the way to -100.
Make sure all the other settings sliders, such as Exposure, are at zero.
Set your brush density and flow are set to 100, so that you fully desaturate when you paint. Adjust your brush size with the Size slider or the left and right bracket keys [ and ]. Now paint over all that you want to be black and white (all but the can and poster for me.) Adjust your brush size as needed. To paint with more precision, zoom in and out with Ctl/Cmd + and Ctl/Cmd – or with the Navigation Panel. If you painted over an area you didn’t mean to, click on Erase or hold down the alt/option key to get the eraser brush, and paint to erase.
When you are finished, put the adjustment brush away by clicking on it again or typing K.
PS: Yes, I wish I had turned the can around before photographing this!
In overcast conditions, your images may have a blue color cast, as does this great snowman image shot by my friend Debbie Espinosa. It was shot with the camera on daylight white balance, so the camera did not adjust for the bluish color that overcast light has. What the image “should” look like is subjective. Blue suggests cold, so you may like it as is. Or you may prefer it to be more neutral.
If you prefer it more neutral, the first way of achieving this is to photograph the subject with your camera white balance set to cloudy. If you haven’t done this, after photographing you can also adjust the white balance in Lightroom. There are three main ways to go about this, all using the white balance section:
1. From the white balance drop down menu, choose cloudy or shade, depending on which looks better to you. Both of these add yellow to adjust for overcast blue light.
2. Use the temperature (Temp) slider: slide it to the right to add yellow, which is the opposite of blue and therefore counteracts it.
3. Click on the white balance tool to select it, and then click on the snow in the image. Lightroom will calculate what color it needs to add to the image to make the area you selected completely color-neutral (i.e. white or grey).
4. Any combination of these methods. For example, you can use the white balance tool to get the image technically neutral, and then adjust the temperature slider to fine tune the white balance for visual appeal.
If you shot many images under the same conditions, fix the first one, then copy your solution to all your other images:
- Click the Copy button at the bottom of the left panel in the Develop module
- Check None to deselect all settings
- select White Balance
- Click Copy
- Highlight all of your other images
- Click Paste (next to Copy)
You can also accomplish the same with Synchronize or Auto Sync, if you prefer.
A couple other notes:
– The same white balance tools are available in Camera Raw.
– White balance correction works best on raw files, but you can also use the tools on jpegs and tiffs.