Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Virtually" No-Risk Lightroom Trick

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3
We've been working our way through the various panels in the Adobe Lightroom 3 Development Module over the last several weeks (click here for all Lightroom related posts).  Before we continue the journey next week, I thought I'd share this little tip to make experimenting with the various Development tools that much easier.

As we've already discussed, adjustments you make to your images within Lightroom are "non-destructive".  This means it never really modifies your original image.  Instead, it applies a series of layers over the top of your image that apply the various adjustments you've made.  When you print or export your image, those layers are applied to that output all the while leaving your original image EXACTLY as it came from your camera.

One way to experiment with different adjustments without having to worry about how they will impact your final output is by using "Virtual Copies".  For example, let's say you've been editing an image and you come to a cross roads.  You like what you've done so far, but now you can either go left or right.  What to do? Make a virtual copy and experiment.  The virtual copy will have the layers you've applied so far, but any additional adjustments you make apply only to the virtual copy and not the original image you were adjusting.  How's that for handy?

To make a virtual copy, simply right click on the image thumbnail and select "Virtual Copy" or use the shortcut key Ctrl + ' (apostrophe).  A virtual copy will have the words "Copy X" appended to the image name and the thumbnail will appear with a turned up corner in the bottom left of the image.

What to see what your photo will look like as a black and white? Virtual copy.  How about pink? Blue? Orange? Virtual copy, virtual copy, virtual copy!  You can make multiple virtual copies of the same image or virtual copies of your virtual copies.  Don't like the results? Just delete the virtual copy. The possibilities are endless!

That's it for this week.  Stop back next week when we continue our Development Module journey with a look at the Split Toning panel.

Until next time, keep click'n.


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