Lightroom 5 Beta Features - Hal's Favorites

The three part video demonstrates and discusses my favorite features of the Lightroom 5 beta.  The full feature list is below but my favorites are: Improved spot removal and retouching, the Radial Filter, improved crop overlay, import functionality, Smart Previews, and Upright for auto lens corrections.

In the video I reference additional keyboard shortcuts for the Spot Removal and Radial Filter tools.  The shortcuts are shown below.

Spot Removal (Q)

-New circle spot (auto-find source): Single click

-New circle spot (user-defined source): Ctrl drag

-New circle spot (scale from center): Ctrl Alt drag

-New circle spot (scale from anchor): Ctrl Shift drag

-Connect two circle spots: Single click + Shift click

-Increase circle spot size: ]

-Decrease circle spot size: [

-New brush spot: Click drag

-Constrain brush spot to straight line: Shift drag

-Cycle Spot Type: Shift + Q

-Auto-Find New Source: /

-Visualize Spots: A

-Hide Spot Overlays: H

-Delete spot: Alt select

-Delete selected spot: Delete

-Delete multiple spots: Alt drag select

Radial Filter (Shift + M)

-New elliptical mask: Drag

-Apply new mask to crop bounds: Ctrl double-click

-Expand existing mask to crop bounds: Ctrl double-click on mask

-Duplicate: Ctrl Alt drag

-Invert elliptical mask: ’ (apostrophe)

-Hide/show guide: H (short press)

-Hide guide on press, show on release: H (long press)

-Apply & dismiss: Double-click on photo

-Delete selected elliptical mask: Delete

Major feature list

-Smart Previews

-PNGs now supported in Lightroom

-New fullscreen mode.  F key is true full screen.  Legacy full screen mode is Shift + F

-Configurable grid overlays for Loupe view

-New searchable criteria for Smart Collections - File size, Image size, Image bit depth, color channels, Color mode, Color profile, Smart Preview statsus, and PNG

-Advanced healing brush for Spot Removal

-Radial Filter

-Upright auto lens corrections

-LAB color readout on histogram.  Right click on the histogram for a flyout menu.

-New book features

I will do additional videos to show some of these upgrade features.

Fiat Lux!

Add Two Steps

Recently, we have seen an increase in photographers using the High Pass filter in Photoshop to add edge contrast and texture detail to their images.  This is a cool technique but when you use the filter remember to add two more steps; desaturate your layer before applying the High Pass filter and always target your filter effects with a mask.

Capture3.jpg

You may have seen or heard many photographers talking about how they sharpen only on the Lightness channel in L*A*B* or they make sure to change the blend mode of their sharpening layers to Luminosity or they use the Fade option with a Luminosity blend mode change.  There are many good reasons to make these switches and we suggest you use them in your sharpening or contrast boost workflow.  For the same reasons, when you use High Pass desaturate.

It is a common misconception that when you run the High Pass filter you are left with an image that is baseline 50% gray and only shows brighter or darker tonality at the edge contrast and texture detail.  Instead, High Pass may retain color information from the original image.  This can lead to color shifts or colored fringe along a high contrast edge similar to haloing.

Capture4.jpg

Notice the

remaining color.

Our workflow is to copy the background layer or stamp visible if you have a multi-layer document and then desaturate via Image>Adjustments>Desaturate this can also be executed with the keyboard shortcut of CTRL+Shift+U for Windows or CMD+Shift+U for Mac.

Capture2.jpg

For those who want to play or have more control you can

  • Run a Black and White adjustment instead and modify the tonality of the color arcs.
  • Use multiple layers of High Pass set to different radii.
  • Leave the color in your layer in order to generate a color boost. Watch out for fringing!
  • Use the filter on a Smart Object so you can make changes.
  • Invert your filter layer to decrease contrast and texture detail.

The second misconception is that areas that appear to be smooth after running the High Pass filter are not. Make sure to use a mask and target the filter effect to only those areas that you want to modify. In general, LIGHT does not recommend enhancing the edge contrast or texture detail on the following:

  • The sky especially blue sky.
  • Areas of constant color or tone.
  • Flowing water.
  • Out of focus areas.
  • Human skin especially female skin.
Capture5.jpg

Fiat Lux!

Elephorm Universal Player FAQ - For Hal's Lightroom Tutorial

Backpack: Universal Player FAQ

We have received a lot of questions regarding how to use the Elephorm Universal Player with Hal's Lightroom videos.  Here is the entire FAQ for the player with step by step description and images.

For those who might not be familiar Hal's Lightroom training is available via streaming video or you can download the content to your desktop/laptop.  If you download the interface to play the videos is the Universal Player.

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Currently, you can stream all of the videos on your idevices but the content is not downloadable there yet.  An iOS app for iPad/Phone is almost ready though.

Thank you to everyone for providing the great feedback and reviews!

If you have not checked the training out yet, you can find it here

Elephorm - Lightroom

Universal Player FAQ

What is the Universal Player ?

If you have access to Internet, you can view our tutorials with no installation needed. But what if you want to train yourself on the train, the plane or in an hotel with sluggish internet access ? That’s when our Universal Player comes in handy. We’ve made a super simple to follow step-by-step.

Player installation

Connect to en.elephorm.com with your email and password, and locate the Universal Player Blob, as shown on picture below. Click on the Install button and follow instructions.

Player Login

After installation, the player will open automatically. You will then be prompted to accept the End User License Agreement (EULA) and to enter your details (same email and password you use to connect to en.elephorm.com)

Your library

You are now in your library, and you’ll be able to download your tutorials to HD in a few clicks.

  • Click on the Arrow Icon on the right to initiate download
  • On first Download, you’ll be prompted to choose a directory. We suggest you use the one proposed, and avoid external HDs. Once chosen, all tutorials you may download must go into the same folder.
  • The flashing Arrow and the VOD label that turns into a HDD label means your videos are being transferred to your HD.
  • If you see a VOD label next to the Arrow Icon, you didn’t downloaded yet, but can view as you would on the site, that is streaming.

Please move on to next section to understand what’s happening behind the scenes

Understanding the Player

NOTE

: To access the Lessons Summary shown in the picture below, you just have to click on the Chapter Access button in the Library.

A few things you should know:

  • The player will download all the videos in a folder that should not be moved or renamed. You can choose which directory the folder will be created to, we suggest you should use the one first proposed.
  • Some tutorials have 200 chapters, and an over 15 hours duration. It will take some time to download, so please plan ahead !
  • The player downloads a maximum of 3 videos at a time, to save bandwidth. These three videos cannot be watched until completely downloaded (a progress bar shows download status, see picture below), all other videos, either downloaded or not can be viewed.

Still need help ?

Please feel free to contact us on en@elephorm.com !

LR 4 Local Adjustments - Adjustment Brush Example

A quick demonstration of an effective and efficient local adjustment workflow using Lightroom 4's Adjustment Brush feature to optimize Exposure and White Balance.  Although Lightroom is the example software the exact same process is available in Adobe Camera Raw.

Fiat Lux!

GoPro + Lightroom 4 + P90X = Interesting Time Lapse

Just finished recording a tutorial about the LR 4 slideshow module and its timelapse functionality (part of a 14+ hour LR tutorial series).  I am biased but the LR 4 series is without equal. Nothing like a little power yoga to relax afterwards. Thought I might try a  timelapse with Lightroom 4, P90x, and a GoPro camera.

Heading south from Anchorage tomorrow for Sitka to meet the Northern Song, Rick Sammon, and the participants on our first eagle photo trip.  Will put up a shot of the gear list I have with me tomorrow.

Fiat Lux!

P.S. Please no comments on the yoga form or lack thereof.

How to Get Rid of Chromatic Aberration / Jane Conner-ziser

Chromatic Aberration, in simple terminology, is when the colors in a digital file do not line up correctly and you can see colorfringing” around the edges of objects in your picture, mostly in places where a dark object is next to a light one. This is caused when the lens fails to converge all of the colors to a single focal point due to different wavelengths – and it can be exaggerated if there is movement during the capture process.

Sometimes chromatic aberration occurs only in specific areas of a file, but sometimes, like in this sample, it occurs throughout the image and correcting it can become a big job!

Img_01.jpg

SO, in this article I will share with you the most common options for getting rid of chromatic aberration, starting with the easiest; Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.

Both ACR and Lightroom have options in the Lens Correction Panel that address chromatic aberration.

Img_02.jpg

If the aberration is slight, all it takes is some visual adjustment of the sliders and choosing the defringing option that provides the best visual correction. Finite. Done – but it didn’t work on this image because the aberration is too severe.

Img_03.jpg

The next option is to consider that the problem is that the color channels are not lining up correctly and perhaps there might be an adjustment that can be made in Photoshop to realign them. There are two options for this. The first involves opening the Channels Window, clicking on a color channel plus the visibility icon (eyeball) on the RGB channel and using the Move Tool to realign the color channels, matching the edges of your image.

Img_04.jpg

This worked well in some areas, but not in others. It is possible to distort (transform) the separate channels … but you must keep in mind that image clarity is easily affected – which brings us to the second color channel option, changing the Image Mode to Lab Color first (Image / mode / Lap color) in order to separate the luminosity (detail and value) of the file from the colors. Once the adjustment has been made, return the file mode to RGB.

Img_05.jpg

Unfortunately, this option didn’t do very well on this file either! We will be forced to take care of this the old fashioned way – correcting it by hand, one edge at a time. It’s going to take longer but the results will be perfect – here is how you do it:

Make a New Layer and change the Layer Blending Mode from Normal to Color. Choose the Brush Tool and set the opacity to 50%; use a small sized brush (this image was done with the brush size at 5 pixels, just large enough to cover the discolored edges). Hold down the Option (Alt) key to choose the neighboring color, then simply color over the one you want to change. Apply a few coats, reselect, and continue throughout the image. It is faster than you think and the results are worth it!

Img_06.jpg

I dropped in a neutral gray layer under my paint and am showing the color layer in Normal Mode so you can see my work:

Img_07.jpg

The total of my work looks like this:

Img_08.jpg

And the detail looks like this:

Img_09.jpg

The job took just under an hour once I decided upon my strategy, and you can see how important it is to know your software! Options are important when you’re doing real world retouching because you want to get your work done as quickly as possible, but no two images are alike. Always start with the quick option, but learn a variety of ways of doing things so you won’t find yourself stumped on an important image that just has to be better.

This image was going to be printed as a 6 foot mural, part of a three image display with two other images that did not have the same problems as this one so it was really important that the work was perfect and would hold up to the enlargement. I’m so happy to say that everyone was pleased! Awesome!

Thank you for letting me share this project with you!

Jane Conner-ziser is an internationally recognized expert in ACR, Lightroom, Photoshop and Painter. She is an author, portrait retouching artist, painter and instructor living in Ormond Beach, Florida. She has been actively involved in professional photography for over 25 years. Contact Jane at Light Workshops lightworkshops.com or through her websites www.janeconner-ziser.com and www.jczphotographics.com

Lightroom 4 Beta Quick Look

Adobe released the Lightroom 4 Beta earlier today and this video is a quick first look at the major changes in the program that relate to still photos.  I used a fairly broad brush to cover the changes and will go more into detail as the Beta test progresses.

Unfortunately, not a single one of my main upgrade requests is included in version 4 of the program.  Regardless, there are some interesting and useful new features and functions. 

I think the new Book module will be very useful to many users.  Adobe partnered with Blurb and it is now very simple to layout a photo book design.  For those that do not use or have not used Blurb you can also export the book to PDF. 

There is also a Map module for use with geo locating or geo tagging your images. It's pretty cool.

Inside the Develop Module, the Basic tab changed (more detail in the video), there are more options for local adjustments, and CA removal has been simplified (although I have not found it to work all that well.) Soft proofing was also added to the Develop Module for use in prepping an output file.

There are some very large changes to video handling and optimization.  I did not have the time in this quick look to go through them.  But if you do video, you will like them.

I will discuss more regarding the Beta soon.

Fiat Lux!

The Dreadful Banding, Bane of the Photo Printer and How to Get Rid of it!

by Lee Varis

Most photographers who print their work encounter this sooner or later. It often rears its ugly head in clear sky gradients – the dreaded banding, posterized tonal gradients that break into discrete bands that destroy the smooth appearance of the sky. This is a "digital" artifact that is mostly blamed on 8 bit files! The fact is that banding in a print can often result even with high-bit depth files during the conversion to the printer profile for output. The problem is hard to predict or pre visualize and this can result in wasting expensive paper to discover that you have to "fix" something in the file.

The following image demonstrates the nature of the problem.

sky

It looks smooth doesn't it... but, if we look at the individual channels maybe we can spot the problem...

sky red channel

The green and blue channels don't really show anything but here in the red channel we can just barely see that there might be an issue. It's subtle though so we can't really be certain that there will be a problem. The issue of banding in skies, or any smooth gradient for that matter, has been around as long as digital imaging has existed and there have been numerous attempts to solve the problem. Back in the day, when real high-end imaging was only possible using Scitex and Quantel Paintbox systems the solution was more or less the same as it is today - one has to add noise in some fashion or another to break up the bands. Outputting a file only to discover that there were bands was quite expensive so many shops resorted to adding noise as a standard procedure before outputing anything. However, adding noise often resulted in a gritty appearance and if it wasn't necessary it wasn't desireable.

One of the original Quantel Paintbox engineers, Ed Manning, invented a technique to pre visualize the bands and old timers like myself will still refer to this as "Ed's Curves" – Now its mostly referred to as "solar curves." This technique is still useful as part of our strategy to eliminate bands. Begin by duplicating the background to a new layer...

Layer Panel with Curve Adjustment

To setup "Eds Curves," make a new Curves Adjustment Layer at the top of the layer stack and, once you are in the Adjustments Panel, place multiple points on the Curve...

Points on Curve

Now, pull the points up and down so that you end up with an extreme sine wave sort of thing like this:

Extreme Wavy Curve

The result puts all the tone transitions on a mostly vertical segment of the curve so we have a lot of contrast between tones – we also have a fairly psychedelic image...

psychedelic sky

Despite the rainbow color the image shows very obvious sharp ridges running through the sky. We can leave this temporary Curves adjustment on to help visualize just how much noise we need to eliminate the ridges. Select the duplicate layer and run the noise filter: Filter->Noise-> Add Noise...

psycho sky with noise

The idea is to use enough noise to completely hide or obscure the ridges. This is the traditional approach that most prepress professionals use. The problem with this approach is that often quite a bit of noise is necessary and it can lend the image a harsh look...

Noise in sky

Sometimes this will not look as bad in a print but there is a better approach. Instead of using the standard noise filter, use: Filter->Brush Strokes-> Spatter...

Brush Strokes

The large filter dialog allows you to select multiple artistic filters intended for creating painterly effects.

Filter Dialog

For our purposes, we want to have a high "Spray Radius" and a Smoothness setting of "1"

Spatter Settings

This filter is much more effective in smoothing out bands in a gradient than simply adding noise. The only trick is in masking off the dark "spatter" of the non-sky elements at the horizon. For that we can turn to the Blending options dialog...

Blending Options
Blending Options dialog

Setup the "Blend If" sliders for the Blue channel as shown above - the idea is to blend through the dark, non-sky tones to reveal the "un-spattered" image in the Background. Sometimes you can get away with only using the slider in the top layer – here I've used both to get a cleaner image. Often you'll have to do a little bit of masking for final cleanup – add a layer mask to the "Spatter" layer and mask out the dark speckles with black.

The final result is smooth with less obvious noise...

Smooth Sky

Compare this with the original and with the noise version! Spatter breaks up the bands with diffusion instead of adding light and dark noise so there is no grittiness and no bands. At this point you can throw away the Curves Adjustment layer and print with full confidence that you have vanquished the dreaded bands forever!

Remember "Ed's Curves" and use them whenever you have the slightest suspicion that banding may be present and you can clearly visualize the 'bands" before they bite you in the butt...

Learn more incredible digital imaging techniques from Lee Varis at the California Photo Festival, October 12-16, 2011! Lee will be teaching all 5 days during the festival, discussing topics like The Digital Zone System, Mastering Exposure, High Speed Camera Techniques and more!

Click here to see Lee's full festival schedule.