Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Exploring Local Adjustments in Lightroom 3

We've been exploring the Adobe Lightroom 3 Develop Module for some time.  Up until now the tools discussed have all had a "global" impact on your images.  In other words, when you move the Exposure slider in the Basic panel, you are adjusting the exposure for the entire image.  Today we're going to introduce the "local" adjustment options and then cover them each in more detail in the coming weeks.

The local adjustment tools can be found in the toolbar immediately below the histogram.  Clicking on any of the options causes a "fly out" menu of additional options for that feature to appear below the toolbar.

The options found here are (from left to right):
  • Crop Overlay - This feature not only allows you to crop your image, but provides tools to straighten and constrain the crop to specific aspect ratios.  Press the "R" shortcut key for quick access to the Crop Overlay feature.
  • Spot Removal - Unwanted "blemishes" in your photo?  Whether it's dust spots or any other distraction in your image, Spot Removal can quickly and easily make them disappear.  Press the "Q" shortcut key for quick access to the Spot Removal feature.
  • Red Eye Correction - Who hasn't turned a cute little kid into a possessed, red-eyed demon with a misplaced flash?  The Red Eye Correction tool does exactly what it says.
  • Graduated Filter - This amazing tool performs the same job a graduated filter would in the field, but in post production.  Is the tonal range in the image too much to overcome with simple exposure adjustments? You'll be amazed at what this feature can do. Press the "M" shortcut key for quick access to the Graduated Filter.
  • Adjustment Brush - Remember the power of the sliders in the Basic Panel?  With the Adjustment Brush tool, you decide EXACTLY to which areas of your image you apply those adjustments.  It's like precision surgery for your photos. Press the "K" shortcut key for quick access to the Adjustment Brush.
Don't let the small toolbar fool you.  These tools provide some of the most powerful features within all of the Develop Module and allow you to really transform an image using precise, localized adjustments.

Next week we'll take an in-depth look at the Crop Overlay tool.  While you may think, "Eh.. I've cropped an image before. Big deal.", cropping an image can be one of the most dramatic ways to impact your photos and Lightroom provides you with a whole host of incredible features to help you get maximum results.

Until next week, keep click'n.


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