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Thread: Lightroom/ACR Guide

  1. #1

    Default Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Prepare for walls of text

    I'm not sure how many people actually know what the sliders they push around actually mean, so I'll just attempt to explain them here. I learn most of my Lightroom stuff from here so if you watch the videos there, you should pretty much know all this

    So in this guide I will explain most of the stuff in the develop module, which is basically the same thing as Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) that is in Photoshop. I'll also put the shortcut keys in brackets (these shortcut keys work in Lightroom, I'm not sure if they work in ACR, but what they do is essentially the same)

    Crop Overlay (R)
    Simple, crop tool. You can choose the aspect ratio, so if you want a square crop, or you want to crop to print, use this. (actually if you just want to crop for print I recommend cropping it in the Print Module in Lightroom so you can still have the original photo for web purposes etc)

    You can also adjust the angle to rotate the picture. I recommend using the ruler (click the icon beside the word "Angle") and just draw a line across a line in your image that is supposed to be horizontal, and then you're done correcting the angle

    Spot Removal (Q)
    Like a clone stamp tool, except you don't alt+click to sample, you click the area you want to "correct" and drag your mouse to the area you want to sample. You can change the area you sample from by clicking on the circles and dragging them around, and the size of the area you select by clicking on the edge of the circle and dragging it inwards/outwards, even after you let go of your mouse. If you just click on the spot you want to remove, Lightroom automatically samples an area close to the spot.

    Size: size of brush, don't bother using the slider, just use the square brackets [ and ] to change the size. If your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can also just scroll it to change the size.

    Opacity: I don't really touch that, if you want to remove a spot you'll want the opacity to be at 100% anyway

    Clone/Heal: pretty self-explanatory, Clone, well, clones like the clone stamp tool, heal just works like the healing brush

    Red Eye Correction
    I don't think I need to explain this

    Graduated Filter (M)
    Adds a graduated filter to your image. Click and drag to add the filter. Where you start your first click will determine where the gradient of the filter starts. Holding shift while doing this makes the filter completely horizontal, if you want that.

    Mask: New | Edit
    Basically, you can add multiple graduated filters to an image. Clicking new gets you out of the existing graduated filter so you can add a new one.

    Effect: Setting it to "exposure" or "brightness" or whatever resets all the other settings to the default, only leaving the setting that you selected unchanged. There are also presets available, and you can also save your settings as a preset.

    I don't think I need to explain what the sliders mean, they are pretty self-explanatory. I will explain what Clarity does when I talk about the Clarity slider.

    Colour: Adds colour to the graduated filter. If you want to add a tint to the skies or something, you can use this. The saturation slider will determine how much of this tint can be seen. When you up the saturation of the graduated filter, you are saturating the colours in that area where you added the filter. This will make the effects of the tint less noticeable. Go to 0 saturation, however, and the colour of the whole area will be tinted with the colour you chose. If you click in the colour selection panel and drag your cursor outside the box, your cursor becomes an eyedropper tool, where you can sample a colour from your image.

    Adjustment Brush (K)
    Everything is the same as the graduated filter, except this is a brush. Your presets will be more useful here than in the graduated filter menu, so for example you want to sharpen and saturate only the eyes of the model or something, just select a sharpness value and a saturation value and save it as a preset. The existing presets are pretty useful, like Iris Enhance, Soften Skin and Teeth Whitening. Use your creativity to come up with your own presets.

    Brush: A | B | Erase
    A and B are just presets for the size, feather, flow etc. I use Erase if I want to add a custom vignette, for example, when my subject is not to the middle of the frame and I want to add a vignette, I will paint over the whole picture with negative exposure (I will also up the saturation so the dark parts won't look so flat), then erase over my subject.

    Feather: high value means soft brush, low value means "hard" brush

    Flow: No idea what it does

    Auto Mask: does what it says. Ensures you don't accidentally paint over stuff you don't want to.

    Density: No idea what it does

    Pressing O when in the adjustment brush mode shows you an overlay of which parts of the image are selected. Red = selected.

    Some other useful shortcut keys or stuff
    Y: Puts your before and after shots side by side for you to compare
    Shift+Y: Cuts your photo in half, showing the before on the left, and the after on the right. Not very useful IMO, but you might find it useful
    Backslash (\): Toggles between the before and after shots
    G: Grid mode. Takes you back to the Library Module when you need it
    D: Develop Module
    L: Lights out. Press once to dim the lights, press twice to show your picture on black.
    Tab: Closes both side panels
    F6: Closes filmstrip (the bottom panel)

    If you're in the lightroom develop module, you can see a little icon thingy at the left of the words of each panel (or if you're in the spot removal tool or graduated filter or whatever, you'll see the same icon beside the reset button. That one toggles the effects on and off, so you can see, say, before and after you add a graduated filter.

    Double clicking on a setting (e.g. exposure) brings that setting back to the default, unchanged value.
    Last edited by brapodam; 22nd February 2011 at 02:11 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    The Basic Panel

    Colour or Black and White. Very self-explanatory.

    White Balance
    Couple of presets you can choose from.

    White Balance Selector (W)
    Pick a known grey area of your photo (can also be white or black, important thing is that the colour is neutral, luminance does not matter)

    Temperature/Tint: You can see the effects on the slider. For temperature, going left makes the photo cooler, going right makes it warmer. After you have done that, if your photo looks pinkish, go left on the tint slider to neutralise the pink with green, and vice versa.

    Exposure: Does what it says

    Recovery: Highlight recovery. If there are blown out areas in your photo, use this to recover details from them. If they are already completely blown out, nothing you can do.

    Fill Light: Shadow recovery. Looks for shadow/dark areas and brightens them up. You'll notice this (and recovery) tends to "flatten" the image (loss of contrast), so you may want to up the contrast or blacks. Basically, you can make a "pseudo-HDR" by going max on recovery and fill light (of course, combined with contrast, saturation, clarity and what not)

    Blacks: Looks for dark areas and then darken them even more. Also adds contrast to the image

    Brightness and Contrast are pretty self-explanatory

    Clarity: Midtone contrast. If you notice your histogram is peaked at the midtones, this works the best. It increases contrast in the midtones. This also appears to sharpen the image, but what it really does is increase midtone contrast and make the image appear sharper. If you have lots of textures in your image, going high on this will make the textures pop. Going negative with this softens the image, giving a "soft focus" effect. Used to smoothen skin. I sometimes use a negative clarity adjustment brush to soften harsh bokeh.

    Vibrance: err...makes the image look more vibrant? Boosts colours
    From CSer theRBK (thanks for the PM for clarifying this!):
    Basically, "Vibrance" increases the saturation of colours mainly in the "midsaturated" (for want of a better word) areas... that is, it mainly increases the saturation of colours in areas other than those that are already very saturated or very unsaturated... you could say it boosts saturation on a bell curve...

    the really saturated colours would thus not push into the boundaries of the colour space so much, and the very unsaturated areas would not develop colour casts so easily... it stills increases the saturation at the two extreme areas, but less so compared to the "midsaturated" areas...
    Saturation is pretty self-explanatory.
    Last edited by brapodam; 25th February 2011 at 02:08 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    The Tone Curve

    The eyedropper thingy
    If you want to darken/lighten a specific part of the image but don't quite know if it's in the lights or highlights or whatever, you just use this, click and drag up or down in the area of the photo you want to adjust. Note that this affects the whole image, not just the area you select. What it does is it identifies the area you select and then adjusts the image.

    The Highlights, Lights, Darks, Shadows Sliders
    Sliding these left will darken those areas, sliding right lightens them

    Point Curve
    These are presets that you can work from.
    Last edited by brapodam; 22nd February 2011 at 12:21 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide


    Hue: adds a colour cast to the specific colours you want

    Saturation: adjusts the saturation of the specific colours you want

    Luminance: adjusts the luminance (brightness) of the specific colours you want

    Same thing as HSL, but in a different interface.

    Black and white toning. Adjusts the luminosity of the individual colours in the B&W image. If, say, when you want to brighten the skies in your B&W converted image, push the slider of the blues to the right.

    The eyedropper thingy
    If you're in HSL, using the eyedropper to select the part of the image and then dragging up or down will adjust the hue/saturation/luminance (depending on which one you're on) of all the colours in that area you select. In the B&W toning, this is very useful as you don't have to guess what colour the area you are trying to brighten or darken is.

    Split Toning
    Adds a colour cast to the image. You can adjust this colour by using the hue slider, or picking a colour from the colour palette. Again, dragging out of this colour palette will make your cursor become an eyedropper tool so you can sample a colour from your original image. Split toning is usually used on grayscale images to give a colour cast, but it has some interesting effects on colour images too.

    Saturation: The intensity of the colour cast. It's defaulted at 0 so when you move your slider around hue it doesn't show anything, so hold alt when you play around with the hue slider. This will temporarily set the saturation to 100 so you can actually see what is going on.

    Balance: I don't play with it, and can only guess what it does.
    Last edited by brapodam; 22nd February 2011 at 12:33 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide


    Before we get to the sharpening sliders, you have to understand what sharpening does. Basically, it looks for edges where there is contrast. At these edges, what sharpening does is it lightens up the bright areas, and darkens the dark areas. Yes, basically it increases the contrast at the edges, making the image look sharper. This is why increasing contrast and clarity also appears to sharpen the image.

    Amount: intensity of the sharpening. Holding alt/option while doing this makes the image B&W so you can see the effects of sharpening. Recommended to hit the 1:1 button at the navigator panel so you can see the effects.

    Radius: How far the sharpening goes. Higher radius increases the area that the contrast between the lights and the darks at the edges is increased. Holding alt/option while shifting this slider will grey out the image and show you the effect of changing the radius. Also gives a halo effect when radius is too high. I usually leave it at 1.0

    Detail: How many "edges" the software will find to sharpen. Holding alt/option while shifting this slider will grey out the image and show you the edges that the software will find at that particular detail level.

    Masking: Automatically creates a mask so that sharpening will be hidden from certain areas. Counteracts "Detail". Holding alt/option while shifting this slider shows you the mask. Black = hidden/masked out.

    Noise Reduction
    Luminance: amount of luminance noise to reduce. Noise reduction smoothens out/softens the image, so you don't want to do too much of it.

    Detail: how much detail do you want to preserve in the image. Going 100 on this slider will make noise reduction totally useless.

    Contrast: no idea what this does, I haven't seen a difference

    Colour: How much colour noise to reduce
    Last edited by brapodam; 22nd February 2011 at 12:51 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Lens Corrections

    Choose your lens, and it automatically corrects the image. You can then tweak the settings from there.

    Distortion: Go left to increase barrel distortion (or reduce pincushion distortion), vice versa.

    Vertical: Going left will have the effect of pointing your lens downwards, vice versa.

    Horizontal: Going left will have the effect of pointing your lens towards the left, vice versa.

    Rotate: Going right rotates clockwise, vice versa.

    Scale: Going right "zooms in", vice versa.

    Lens vignetting: going negative on amount ADDS vignetting, going right REMOVES it

    Chromatic Aberration: Removes CA.

    Post-Crop Vignetting
    Style: I don't touch that, you can play around with it, usually I leave it at highlight-priority

    Amount: Again, going negative makes the edges darker, going right makes the edges brighter (no idea why you'd do that though)

    Midpoint: Going left on this slider enlarges the area affected by the vignette.

    Roundness: Going right makes it rounder, going left makes it more oval in shape

    Feather: feathers the vignette so it has a more smooth gradient

    Highlights: I don't touch that, I don't know what it does.

    Adds grain to your image, makes it look more "film-like".

    Camera Calibration
    Can only be used on RAW files

    Profile: This one depends on the brand of camera you use. It has the same effect of the "Picture Control/Style" settings of your camera (or whatever it is called). And yes, there is a difference between using this and getting a JPEG right out of camera with the picture control applied, as JPEG compression kills away a lot of the dynamic range of the photo, and this is why you shoot RAW.

    Sliders: I don't touch them, I can use HSL anyway if I don't like the colours.
    Last edited by brapodam; 22nd February 2011 at 02:07 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Alright, that's the end of my guide, if I miss out anything or if anyone has anything to add, you can post them here.

    Whew, that took a while.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    thanks for the guide
    D7000. AF-S 18-105

  9. #9

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Thanks bro!! Hope you can show me "live demo" some time soon

  10. #10

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by spree86 View Post
    Thanks bro!! Hope you can show me "live demo" some time soon
    Heh, that one organise in the random thread ba

  11. #11

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    for lightroom 3, how do u set the image resolution same as the original file? i can't seem to set.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by baggiolee View Post
    for lightroom 3, how do u set the image resolution same as the original file? i can't seem to set.
    Hmm, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, care to explain?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by brapodam View Post
    Hmm, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, care to explain?
    i mean when i export the file, i want to save the modified image in eg. dng format and its resolution to be the same as the original image.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by baggiolee View Post
    i mean when i export the file, i want to save the modified image in eg. dng format and its resolution to be the same as the original image.
    In the export dialogue, there is a section called Image Sizing, just uncheck the option "Resize to fit", so it won't resize the photo.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide


  16. #16

    Default Re: Lightroom/ACR Guide

    Thanks for the guide
    See the extraordinary in ordinary. | Always a noob.


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