Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dropping One Hundred Adjustment Pins In Lightroom

Click image to enlarge
Today's image comes right out of my mind.  (Some friends think that's a symptom of a much larger issue.)  It's a composite of three shots.  The barn is on Zimmermann's farm in the Pennsylvania Poconos.  The two "gentleman farmers" can be found in Colonial Williamsburg,  Virginia.  I thought it might be interesting to have a discussion between neighbors with one very serious and the other taking a more light hearted view of the goings on.  The positioning of the two tries to give the impression of depth in the barn.  The interior of the barn isn't an HDR effect.  It was shot using a reflector to bounce sunlight through a door and light up the entire space.  But, this post is about "dropping Pins" in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  To find out where they are, hit the "Read More".

LR uses "Pins" to set the starting position of several of it's tools.  Pins were dropped for the Adjustment Brush (AB), the Graduated Filter (GF), the Spot Healing Brush (SHB), and the Radial Filter (RF). 

The easiest to explain is the Graduated Filter.  I was being "artsy" and went for a negative (lighter) vignette for the edges.  After working the image a little I decided against that and had to bring back the corner detail.  A GF Pin was dropped in the upper right corner, adjusted and then duplicated (right click on the Pin to bring up the duplicate function) for each of the other corners.  Once the Pin was located it was spun around to get the right orientation.  (bring your cursor out from the center along the outside line to get more precise control of the spin.)  A fifth GF Pin was brought up across the entire bottom to darken the lower eighth of the image.

The SHB was used about a half dozen times to eliminate hot spots showing up in inappropriate areas.  It was also used to get rid of three mysterious thin lines that suddenly appeared to the left of the post on the left.  Very weird, have no idea where they came from.

So, we've accounted for fifteen (or so) of the Pins out of what I'm claiming to be somewhere around one hundred.  Seems like the Adjustment Brush and the Radial Filter got quite a work out.

One of the areas for the AB was a riff on adding highlights and shadows that I normally do in Adobe Photoshop (PS) using pairs of Curves Adjustment Layers. (One light and one dark.)  In today's image I figured I might try something similar, but different.  Using Higher and lower Exposure with very small, very feathered ABs I was able to achieve the same effect.  Overall adjustment was made using pen pressure and a graphics tablet.  That's another half dozen Pins.  (Two for each of the fellows and one as a general effect throughout the image.

That wasn't the only use of the AB.  There are probably forty instances of making "fine tuning" adjustment is various sections of the image.  Some very subtle and some not so subtle.  Some individual boards being treated one way and others being dealt with in a totally different manner. Some needed Contrast changes, some Exposure, some any combination of attributes you might be able to think of.

We're now left with the RF.  I've never seen so many Pins dropped in any image I worked on.  There were the broad stroke types of RFs, but there were so many very small, detail RFs that I had to zoom to 1:1, touch up a sleeve (or something), back out to Fit into view and move the cursor off the image to see through the clutter of Pins.  Some Pins were duplicated, moved a few pixels away and used to affect another area.  It became a sea of Pins.

Things change.  Five years ago I would have done ninety percent of what was done in PS.  Today it's totally reversed.  The only thing done in PS was the compositing of the two characters.  LR does most of the "heavy lifting" as far as fine tuning an image.  My recommendation?  If you don't do compositing, use LR.  PS is no longer needed for "straight" images.