Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Crazy With Lightroom's Radial Filter

Click on the image to enlarge.
Today's image is a "finished" image and how it got there.  On top is, obviously, the end result.  I've included the bottom image to show the use of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom's (LR) Radial Filter.  I've seen a couple photographers who have used the Radial Filter once and thought that was it.  Sort like the Crop Tool would be used.  You make your Crop and you're done.  Of course you can go in and readjust your Crop, but it's a one shot deal.  Just by looking you can probably tell that a lot more has been done to the image than just LR's Radial Filter.  The sequence can be found if you hit the "Read More".

First out of the box was a trip from LR to Adobe Photoshop (PS).  The purpose was to add emphasis to the man's jacket and pants.  I've done several posts about this technique.  It uses two Curves Adjustment Layers (one to lighten and one to darken)   The first time I saw it done was a demo by Scott Kelby.  I've been playing with it ever since.  I like the effect and it can be as exaggerated or as subtle as you like.  In today's image it's on the wilder side of reality.

Step two (once back in LR) was a trip over to Topaz Labs (TL) Simplify.  The entire image was exaggerated there starting with one of the "painting" presets.  The strength, density and detail sliders were messed with until there was a rough amount of detail.  (Real blocky.)  Then back over to LR.

Next the "simplified" and the "emphasized" versions were brought over to PS as Layers.  Just as a matter of habit I ran Align Layers (Image/Auto Align Layers) to insure one was exactly on top of the other.  (When something like TL's Simplify has been done to a copy of an image there can be a slight shift.)  Blend Modes were gone through to see what gave the best solution of being "real" and being "stylized".  Once Pin Light was decided on as being the top Layer (it was played with with each Layer taking a turn as the top Layer) the Opacity was reduced to further Blend the Layers.  It was then back to LR for finishing.

Now is when the Radial Filter was used to "relight" the image.  You can see in the bottom copy that there's about twenty Pins throughout the image.  Some were used to brighten areas (the falling water, the man's head and hand, the leaves in the lower right side, and pieces of the foreground rocks).  Other Pins were used to darken or desaturate areas drawing the viewer's eye to unwanted or unimportant areas (the sunlit brush in the top center, the rocks where they were touched with sunlight and the man's shoe [nobody gives a rats ass about people's shoes]). 

By "relighting" an image using LR's Radial Filter you can lead the viewer's eye through the image in the sequence you intend.  It keeps someone from bouncing from place to place in an image with a lot of detail.  Use as many LR Pins as needed to get your story across.