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Monday, September 1, 2008

Photoshop Lightroom 2

With more sophisticated image-processing tools and a host of robust organizational features, the new version of Lightroom packs a punch for professionals

This Article Features Photo Zoom

lightroom 2Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 was launched officially in July. You should be able to get final versions as you read this. After working with it through Adobe’s development process, I think the new version may change the way photographers deal with color images. Lightroom 1.0 was widely regarded as a solid tool for organization and some elementary manipulation or enhancement of images. After a public beta period, the updated version builds on that foundation and gives you considerably more control in the manipulation of images. No, it’s not a Photoshop killer, but you’ll probably find that you spend much less time in Photoshop because you’ll be able to make more sophisticated changes and edits faster and easier with version 2.0.

1. History in Lightroom is different than in Photoshop, as it’s always kept with your file even if you go to a new image.
2. The screenshot shows the Develop module with the new local adjustment tools.
3. The screenshot shows the toolbar that holds the local adjustment tools and the adjustments available for the graduated filter.
4. The screenshot shows the adjustments available for the adjustment brush.

Lightroom 2 brings back traditional darkroom controls in such a way that adjustments are fast and easy. Lightroom was first developed to help the photographer gain more control over his or her images while maintaining an efficient and effective workflow. It’s about organizing digital images, processing them quickly and then getting them to an audience (your clients, editors, etc.) through slideshows, prints or web galleries (and, of course, image files).

Why Lightroom 2 May Change Photographic Visions
Just like working in a traditional film-based darkroom, Lightroom 2 features nondestructive dodging and burning. Want to see what a darker edge to the photograph looks like? Try it. Want to see what would happen if you changed the balance of brightness within the photograph? Try it. You can experiment with these things, and because they’re nondestructive, you can take them out at any time. This allows you to experiment with the images, to really see how you can focus your vision within the photograph. Quickly and easily, you can refine a photograph to make it better communicate your original intent. Sure, you could have done this in Photoshop with a lot of layers and layer masks, but it takes time, and Photoshop isn’t an easy program to use for experimentation.

The Adobe engineers have created two new tools for this purpose: the Graduated Filter and the Adjustment Brush. Both appear in a new toolbar on the right-side panel in the Develop module of Lightroom. They offer a variety of controls within their adjustment space: Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity, Sharpness and a Color Overlay.

The graduated filter tool acts like a graduated filter used over your lens, but you have a lot more control. After you select the type of control to be applied (Exposure, Brightness, etc.), you simply click and drag on the photo, and the effect immediately appears. You move your cursor farther away from your original point and the gradient gets larger, and if you rotate your movement of the cursor, the gradient also rotates.

This is an incredible feature. You’re not guessing what to use; you choose the control and see exactly what happens. White control points appear to show you where an adjustment begins. You can revise your adjustments as much as needed, plus you can add or delete them without any effect on the quality of the image. You also can set up multiple gradients across the photo to adjust all sorts of specific areas.

The Adjustment Brush uses the same controls as the Graduated Filter, but you literally brush the effects onto the picture rather than dragging a gradient across it. You can go over your picture and darken bright spots, brighten dark spots, give a line more contrast, paint in a bit of color and so forth. You set it up similarly to the Graduated Filter, although some additional parameters can be set. You can apply as many Adjustment Brush points as you need.


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