Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush: Flow and Density

Hi Folks:

I haven’t done a photography post in a while, and Matt Kloskowski at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips recently posted a video on his blog called, “Everything I Know About the Adjustment Brush“.  He did an excellent job in covering the ins and outs of the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom, but he left out two sliders: Flow and Density.  To that end, I thought I’d cover them instead.  You can find them here:

Adjustment Brush Tools

Now, by default Flow is set to 50 and Density is set to 100, and many people set them both to 100 and leave them there, but you might want to learn what they’re for as they can help you with your creative processing.  We’ll start with ‘Flow’. Continue Reading →

A Quick Tip: Lightroom Colour Picker

Hi Folks:

The following isn’t my idea, but something I picked up from watching a video by Matt Kloskowski over at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips.  The only difference is that he was working in Photoshop, and I thought it must be transferable to Lightroom; so it is.

The colour picker tool in Lightroom’s Develop module is used mostly with Split-toning, although it’s also available with the Gradient tool and the Brush tool.  As can be seen in the image below, one can either use the sliders to set the hue and saturation levels for the Highlights and Shadows, or, by clicking on the colour box, one can bring out the colour picker tool. Continue Reading →

Should I Get Lightroom or Photoshop or…?

Hi Folks:

One question I see a lot on Twitter is, “Should I get Lightroom or Photoshop?”  It seems to me that people who ask that question aren’t familiar with the limits, features or capabilities of either program so I thought I’d do a quick post on that.  Now, there are entire libraries of books, tutorials and instructional videos available on using these programs, so this blog post couldn’t hope to compete with them.  This post is not intended to be a series of instructions on how to use these programs, but an introduction to a few of the ways in which they differ and how they can be used together. Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – Triptychs and Lightroom

Hi Folks:

It’s Hallowe’en, but I don’t have any really good pumpkin images to share this month…  In going through my images for this past month I was drawn to an image I made of an old bicycle down in the Rockland area of Victoria, in part because it reminded me of an other bike I’d shot in Oak Bay back in August and one I’d shot in Kelowna a couple of years ago.  Rather than profiling this one as a single image I decided to combine the three bikes together into one ‘triptych’ image.  Basically a diptych or triptych is a process of combining two or three images into one image collage.  The images can be complementary or in stark contrast, they can highlight a theme or one subject.  One can even make a triptych from only one image, but I’ll get to that in a bit.  There are several good tutorials on how to make diptychs/ triptychs in Lightroom 3; I’d suggest beginning with two videos on this from Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost. You can see them here: Part 1 / Part 2.  The first video mostly covers how to choose images for your diptych/ triptych, and the second video offers some useful tips and ideas on how to use Lightroom’s tools to prepare the images you’re going to be using for your diptych/triptych to make them more consistent.  For making the triptych in Lightroom 3, one of the best tutorials I’ve found is by Helen Bradley over on the Digital Photography School site. Continue Reading →

Panoramic Photography and Stitching “Errors”

Hi Folks:

In a previous post I rambled on a bit about panoramic photography – basically a system where one combines several images into one using software designed for that purpose. One can also take several images of the same scene at different exposures and combine them into one HDR image using the same software. Mostly I use Autopano Pro for stitching, although I’ve also used Hugin, and since I work extensively in Lightroom I’ve been playing a bit with Photoshop CS5‘s HDR Pro and panorama tools as well. To create a stitched image the software looks for the same points in two or more images and assigns them as ‘control points’. The combined image is then mapped around those control points. Usually this works very well, but in my previous post I talked a bit about parallax errors and things like that, and sometimes these images don’t get mapped together perfectly. This can create situations like this: Continue Reading →

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Playing with Presets

Hi Folks:

Update, April 16, 2015: The comment below reminded me of this post. I had forgotten about it because I subsequently wrote a series of five blog posts on the different ways to use presets in the nine Lr modules. If you’re interested, you can find the first one here: The Many Faces of Lightroom Presets: The Import and Library Modules.

This is going to be a relatively short post – for me anyway.  One of the (many) wonderful things about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is the ability to use presets to speed up your workflow.  There are presets for everything from importing to exporting, for slideshows, prints and web galleries (although those are called templates), but for most people, I imagine presets refer to the Develop module presets.  Even in the Develop module there are presets for the sliders in the right-side panel and there are separate presets for the adjustment brush/ graduated filter, presets for the Crop tool (specific dimensions) and also for the Camera Calibration tools. Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

Well, since yesterday was the last day of the month this post may be considered an ‘April Fool’s’ joke, but the only fool in this case is me. Besides, yesterday was Wednesday and Marcia’s ‘Poetry Corner‘ post and I didn’t want to compete! Yeah, like that’ll work. Oh well… 😉

So. March has been a busy month, photographically speaking. I made close to 2000 images this month, and while there are those who will shoot that and more in a day, I come from a world of 36 and even 12-exposure rolls of film so I’m still not used to the scattergun approach when it comes to imaging. Of those 2000 or so images, many were used as the basis for panoramas, or more specifically stitched images, since not all stitched images are panoramas, nor need be. Continue Reading →

Playing With Clarity in Lightroom

Hi Folks:

This is just a quick idea I came up with last month as I was playing around inside Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The Clarity Slider is part of the Basic panel in the Develop module, and normally it’s used to increase mid-tone contrast in an image. In Lightroom 2.0 Adobe provided the option to use ‘negative’ clarity as well, which can be used to give all or part of the image a dream-like effect. I used negative clarity in my image titled ‘Do Bicycles Dream?’

It’s a tool, and like any tool, it can be used or abused. Anyway, this is my first spring here in in the city of flowers, and being a true Canadian I was both surprised and delighted to see crocuses and snowdrops peeking their heads out of the ground at the beginning of February. Up north February is synonymous with ‘mid-winter’. Not too far from where we’re living right now, one of our neighbours had their entire lawn erupt in crocuses and other flowers:

Crocus Panorama

Now, to extend the dyamic range of my hdr images I tend to use Timothy Armes’ LR/Enfuse plugin to combine the images I’ve made at different exposures. Thinking about how it works though, got me thinking about combining other sorts of images. I took a close-up image of my neighbour’s crocuses and processed as I would normally in Lightroom’s Develop module, then created a Virtual Copy of that image and turned the Clarity slider all the way down to -100. I then used the LR/Enfuse plugin to combine both images together. The result is below.

Blended Crocuses

At first glance it appears as though the image has simply had negative clarity applied to it, but there’s detail in it as well, especially if you zoom in on it. It would be possible to create something similar in Photoshop using layers and Gaussian Blur, but not exactly. Anyway, it’s just something to play with.

Have a great day,

P.S. You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.