Monday, July 11, 2011

Finishing An Image In Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

It might sound like blasphemy coming from me, but sometimes an image just doesn't have to make the trip from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to Adobe Photoshop CS5 and back.  This from the guy who never met an image he didn't want to mess with.  Not that today's image wasn't tweaked a bit, but nothing needed to be done that couldn't be done in LR3.  A friend heard about a couple things that sounded like good candidates for getting some interesting shots and spread the word to our cabal of friends.  He just said "I'll be at this location on Sunday.  If anyone wants to join me, see you there".  That's all it took and it wound up with a half dozen friends shooting some motocross races.  One of the big reasons for running out to do some shooting (other than for the joy) was that the better half just got a brand new lens.  She's slowly building her gear up, had ordered a Nikon 70-300 lens and wanted to try it out.  Most of her shots are typically big shots.  Landscapes, bushes of flowers and general images.  With the 70-300 I explained that she wanted to isolate smaller pieces of things.  Saturday we ran out to Weir Farm Historic Site to experiment.  After a couple wider shots, she got the hang of focusing in on a small cluster of flowers against some distant trees as an example.  I have to tell you, I was very impressed with the images that came out of the Nikon 70-300 VR lens.  I've had a 70-300 since before VR (Vibration Reduction) was ever introduced and was mildly satisfied with the lens.  When I saw the results out of the 70-300 VR I was blown away.  Today's image (it's one of mine) was taken at 1/640 sec at F8.  Just fast enough to freeze the rider, but give a hint of wheel spin on the front wheel.  Wifey's similar shot (1/640 second at F5.6) shows the  same wheel spin, but the lines and folds of cloth on the rider's driving suit are really crisp.  Okay, to find out how today's image was finished, hit the "read more".

The first thing was a crop.  The shot was taken as in a landscape (horizontal) format, but looks much better as a vertical.  In LR3, when using the Crop Tool, some people I've talked to have said they get frustrated trying to get the ratio to go vertical from its default horizontal.  The "trick" is the X key.  In Photoshop, tapping the X Key flips the foreground and background colors.  In Lightroom, the X Key flips the horizontal and vertical orientation of the Crop Tool.  One of many different shortcut keys between LR3 and CS5.  The height wasn't changed by more than a few pixels, but the width was brought in tight.
It was a bright, sunny day and I didn't want to remove the shadows from the rider and bike.  I just wanted to open them up ever so slightly.  The right (in the image) side of the rider and the engine area of the bike itself were tagged with the Adjustment Brush (two separate selections) with Auto Mask turned on.  I went through an explanation of how I use the Adjustment Brush on June 9th.   The big takeaway was that you should use as many individual Adjustment Brush area as you need.  Each of the two areas was lightened to just barely show the detail in the shadow.
The next place the Adjustment Brush was used was on the goggles.  The result is that it appears that you can see the rider's face in the shadow.  You can't really, but it does give that impression.  It just opens it up it up a little bit.
The image was sharpened, a vignette applied and one last Adjustment Brush detail was added.  A big, fat, soft brush was used to bring the dirt in the upper left down enough to provide a vignette there.
Everything was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  It's one of the few images you'll see at The Kayview Gallery that hasn't had something replaced, altered, flipped, switched or anything else that needs to be done in a pixel altering program.