Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Lightroom Effects Panel

We're nearing the bottom of the list of panels found in Adobe Lightroom 3's Development Module!  If you're joining us late in the game, you can access all of the previous Lightroom posts here and work your way from the oldest to most recent.  If you don't own Lightroom but would like to follow along, click here to download a free 30 day trial from Adobe.  It's a phenomenal application and a "must have" if you find you're catching the photography bug.  On with the show...

I find the label "Effects" is a little misleading as you can obviously apply "effects" in just about every development panel.  In this context, "effects" refer to vignetting and grain.  Let's run through the list of options and what they do.
  • Style - The "Style" drop down provides you 3 options for applying a vignette: "Highlight Priority", "Color Priority", and "Paint Overlay".  Each option tries to protect different aspects of your image when it applies the vignette.  You can experiment with the various options.  I find I rarely change this setting from the "Highlight Priority" setting.
  • Amount - Controls how light or dark the edges get as you slide this control left or right.
  • Midpoint - Controls how far the vignette creeps in toward the center of your image.
  • Roundness - Controls how the vignette overlays the corners of your image.  Slide to the left and you get more of a rectangular vignette, to the right for more of a circular look.
  • Feather - Controls the hardness or softness of the vignette edge.  The default setting of 50 provides a nice transition, but feel free to experiment.
  • Highlights - If you've moved the "Amount" slider to the left to darken the edges, you can use this slider to try to maintain the highlights being covered by the vignette.  This doesn't apply if you move the "Amount" slider to the right which lightens the edges of your photo.
Stop back at the blog tomorrow for an example image that used the post-crop vignetting option.

The second half of the Effects panel provides you with a mechanism to add grain to your photos.  Generally we're trying to avoid graininess, but I have used this option for artistic effect a time or two.  Here's what it does:
  • Amount - Controls how much or how little grain you apply by moving the slider left or right.
  • Size - Controls the size of the grain you introduce with the "Amount" slider. 
  • Roughness - Without moving this slider, the application of the grain is pretty uniform.  Move the roughness slider to make it appear more random and course. 
You can see an example of an image where I applied grain for artistic effect in the post "Lightroom's B&W Panel".

That's all for this week.  Until next time, keep click'n.


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