Monday, May 18, 2015

Relighting An Image Using Lightroom Radial Filters

Click on image to enlarge
Today's image is a case of what I would have done if this had been a studio shoot.  It would have been possibly two light sources with snoots zeroed in on a specific flower.  There may have been a couple flags (or gobos) used to keep any direct light from falling on the rest of the composition.  In any case, that's what coulda, woulda, shoulda been done if the shot were taken in a controlled environment.  Since it wasn't (it was taken on a photo walk in a park while on vacation) it had to be relit in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) with a slight assist from Adobe Photoshop (PS).  The trip over to PS was just for speed and convenience.  The work done there could have been done in LR.  I'd say about 90% of what was done was done using LR's Radial Filter.  Another 5% was the Gradient Tool in LR and the rest was that quick trip to PS for some Dodging and Burning.  For a little more detail (bad pun) hit the "Read More".
The "big deal" isn't the fact that the Radial Tool was used.  It's the number of Pin Drops used to get to where we are today.  There were overlapping areas, nested areas, duplicated areas, areas over areas, areas under areas, areas next to areas.  You name it.  There were Pin Drops all over the places.  Straight Pin Drops, inverted Pin Drops, tight Pins, highly feathered Pins.  All told there were about forty individual areas worked on.  And the online image you see really doesn't do the final print justice.

There are big "global" areas.  The whole flower, both upright and inverted.  The background was darkened and the flower toned down just a bit from the original.  Then the individual elements making up the flower were pushed and pulled to lighten or shade specific petals.  Every petal got it's own treatment.  Bottom, middle and top, left side and right.  The thought was to make it look like light was coming in from within the flower while some petals were shading others. 

Giving the overall background a dark cast was to add drama and lift the lit flower out of the flower mass.  The primary flower was no further forward or back from the flowers on the left side of the image.  Lighting it differently just makes it appear closer.

Light wasn't the only type of Radial Tool "trickery".  Some of the Pin Drops consisted of Clarity and Sharpness adjustments.  They were brought up in areas of the flower and down in the background areas.  Depth of Field (DoF) was controlled in the camera and "enhanced" in LR. 

One often overlooked "trick" in LR is duplicating a Pin.  Right click on a Pin and a small dropdown menu appears.  First on the list is Duplicate.  Once duplicated the use of the second Pin can be changed.  i.e. individual dodging on one Pin and Clarity on the duplicate.  (or any combination you choose).  Another way to use a duplicate Pin is to drag it to a new location.  Once there it can be resized, spun around, the feathering and function changed, anything you feel would further enhance your image in the new location.

One issue with using so many Pins is that the image area being worked on gets to look like a field of Pins.  Toggling the "H" (for Hide) key lights up or hides the Pins.  Once a Pin is dropped or selected the "H" key can be tapped to allow work to be done directly under the Pin location.