Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Q&A - When To Use Lightroom And When To Go To Photoshop

I've been seeing a lot of keyword searches bringing people to the gallery asking about when should you stick to either Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR4) or Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and when should you go to Adobe Photoshop (PSCS6).  I'm not going to give the "right" answer, because there is no "right" answer.  It depends on all sorts of factors.  One would be what are you comfortable with.  We're talking about the Develop Module in LR4 or using ACR.  If the only reason you're considering buying a copy of LR4 is the Develop Module, don't do it.  The Develop Module in LR4 is exactly the same as ACR.  The only difference is where they put the tools.  That's it!

If you're interested in LR4 for the fast (super fast) sort and cataloging of the Library Module, go for it.  If you want to use the Map Module and Geo Tag your images, go for it.  If you're interested in the Book, Slideshow, Print or Web Modules, go for it.  But if you're only interest is the Develop Module, fo git about it (as they say in New York).  To find out about the workflow of today's image and when it goes from LR4 to CS6 and pingpongs back and forth, hit the "Read More".

As with all images here, the import process is with LR4 (and before LR4 it was LR3, 2, and 1).  Being able to do a backup while importing is a great safety feature.  Keywording and adding Metadata are also pluses.  Once in the computer, today's image's first stop is over to CS6.  Why?  Because it's a five shot pano and using the unadulterated RAW files to create the panorama is just something I choose to do.  Some people will fool with the RAW files in LR4 first, I choose not to.  The five images are selected using Click/Shift Click if they are sequential or Click/CTRL Click if they are separated.  The next set of instructions is Photo/Edit In/Merge to Panorama in Photoshop.  That takes the images on their first trip to CS6.  The easiest way to remember it is that if something is open to be done to the pixels, it needs to go to Photoshop.  Creating a pano from multiple images is definitely messing with the pixels.

Once over in CS6 the pano was assembled.  After it's made and looks reasonable (no huge differences between segments) it goes directly back to LR4 (File/Save then File/Close)  Don't do Close As.  That would require you to give the image a separate name and define where you want it saved to.  Doing a Save puts the pano back in the same folder as the original.  Since you're using RAW files it can't overwrite the RAW files, so a new file (either a TIFF or PSD file) is created and your originals are maintained,

Back in LR4, the pano can be treated just like any "straight" image.  The Gradient Tool was used from the top down to darken the sky, making it more dramatic.  Another instance of the Gradient Tool was used from the bottom up to lighten the foreground.  The Adjustment Brush was used to lighten and sharpen the barn, the tree to the left of the barn and stone walls.

The image took another trip over to CS6.  There was no tree on the right side in the original pano, but without the tree the right side just sort of fall off with no interest.  The tree comes from another shot and can be seen in July 31st's post.  Once the tree was Masked and placed in the image it was back to LR4.

Finishing was done in LR4.  The image was sharpened (Basic Panel/Clarity), any noise removed (Detail Panel/Noise Reduction), and a vignette (Effects Panel/Post Crop Vignette) applied.
My workflow is that anything that is "straight" is done in LR4.  Anything requiring any "trickery" is done in CS6.  That's the way I work.  Is it the "right" way?  Not necessarily.  It's my way.