Archive for April, 2013

#CreativeFriday – Lightroom 5 Beta – new features and JDI enhancements

If you have downloaded the Lightroom 5 Beta from labs, hopefully you are excited by it’s new capabilities. If you have not downloaded it, you can from this site for free (Free until Lightroom 5 is officially released). We have also included 50 JDI enhancements in this release. JDI enhancements are typically workflow items that are raised from the user community (that means you), so please keep the feed back come it, as you do make a difference. Anyway, here are a whole load of JDI’s included with Lightroom 5 as well as some more details on the new Lightroom 5 features.

Library enhancements & JDI’s

Smart Previews

  • Lightweight DNG files are used for the Lightroom 5 smart previews. This allows the files to be kept small and performant when in use.
  • Original files are prioritised above Smart Previews and will be used when available.
  • Smart Preview swill be used in the absence of an original file.  Changes are saved to the Lightroom catalog and will be visible on both the Smart Preview and original image.
  • You are able to generate Smart Previews in many ways
    • On import, check the “generate Smart Previews” field in the File Handling Panel
    • In the Library module, go to the Library-> Previews -> Build Smart Previews menu option
    • When exporting to catalog, there is a “Generate Smart Previews” checkbox option
  • Smart Previews can be used in Export, Publish Services, and Export to Email
  • Smart Previews can be generated while importing from another catalog
  • Previews can be rendered from Smart Previews if the original is offline but the Smart Preview is available
  • Quick Develop works with Smart Previews
  • Zooming to 1:1 with a Smart Preview – if the original is offline, then Lightroom will zoom to the Smart Preview’s 1:1 setting, which may be different than the original file’s 1:1 setting
  • A true full screen mode is now available by using the “F” key.
  • Previous “F” key features are now available using Shift+F
  • Drag-able view overlays available within Library module when Loupe view is active, also in Develop module during Tethered Capture. This can be enabled using the View-> Loupe Overlay menu option. You are able to modify the size of the gridlines of the overlay mode by holding the command/control key and click “Size” while dragging the mouse to the left (to decrease) or right (to increase). or by changing the slides at the top of the screen.
  • Support for Windows HiDPI at 150% and 200% resolution.
  • New criteria for Smart Collections including:
    • File size
    • Image size
    • Image Bit Depth
    • Number of color channels
    • Color Mode
    • Color Profile
    • Smart Preview status*
    • PNG*

*PNG Support:

  • Lightroom 5 now supports importing of PNGs
  • Edit-inside Photoshop is supported. The PNG will be converted either to a TIFF or PSD, based on the preferences that have been set in the preferences.
  • PNG Transparency appears white
  • PNG file type criteria is both part of a Smart collections and Filters


  • Upon hiding the Filter bar, a heads up information panel informs customers that the Filter Bar is hidden and can be restored using the / keyboard shortcut.  This occurs in Library, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print and Web modules.
  • Upon hiding the Toolbar, an overlay bezel informs customers that the Toolbar is hidden can be restored using the “T” keyboard shortcut.  This occurs in all Lightroom 5 modules.
  • Added a new menu item to the View menu called “Lock Zoom Position”.  If the menu item is checked, the zoom position of each image will be remembered, and when switching between images, the loupe view will be centered on the point you clicked last time.
  • Ability to generate Previews with 2880 pixels on the long edge.  These are Standard sized previews and is an option within the Catalog Settings preferences.
  • Keyboard shortcut F12 to trigger tethered capture.
  • “Direction” field is added to the EXIF Metadata panel. If the image contains GPS direction information, then this field will show the compass directions as one of 8 options (North, Northwest, West, etc.).  The degree value will shown as a tooltip on mouse hover. The “Direction” EXIF metadata field is editable.  The 8 compass directions (North, North-west, east, etc.) are the only values that can be entered in this field.  This field can be synced across multiple images using the “Sync Metadata” button.
  • Added a new Import option to Preferences.  When ” Show the ‘Current/Previous Import’ collection during Import” is checked, the customer is shown their newly imported photos.  When unchecked, the photos are still imported, but the focus will remain on the last previously viewed images (prior to Import).
  • Lightroom remembers last viewed image in a Collection.  You’ll be restored to that image upon returning to the Collection.
  • A “Set as target collection” checkbox has been added to the Create Collection dialog.
  • Photos can be dragged directly to Saved Locations and Saved Locations can be dragged to photos.  In both cases, the photo will receive the same location as the already defined “Saved Location”.
  • There is now a command to verify the integrity of DNG files (Library>Validate DNG Files). Any invalid DNG files will be placed in a special collection. Only DNG files created by Adobe software can be validated (camera-‐created DNGs cannot be validated because they do not contain the necessary checksum).

Development enhancements & JDI’s

Advanced Healing Brush

  • 2 types of spots are now available:
    • Circle spots – existing functionality within Lightroom
    • Custom shape spots – can be used for arbitrary shapes
  • Tablet/Mouse and keyboard usage options:
    • Click + Drag – create brush spot
    • Single click – create a circle spot from auto-find source
    • Shift + Click – connect the selected spot with the new spot via a straight brush stroke
    • Cmd/Ctrl + Drag – Create a circle spot from user-defined source
    • Cmd/Ctrl + Option + Drag: Create a circle spot that scales from center
    • Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Drag: Create a circle spot that scales from anchor
    • Backslash (/) – select new source for existing circle or brush spot
    • Shift + Drag – Constrain brush spot to horizontal or vertical axis
  • Deletion
    • Option/Alt + Click – delete spot
    • Option/Alt + Drag – delete multiple spots using a marquee selection
  • Visualisation spot mode to help detect hidden spots (such as sensor dust and pronounced artefacts)
    • A – Visualize spots*
    • H – Hide spot overlays
  • Using the shift-click to “connect the dots” will now automatically re-evaluate the source selection. In other words, the spot tool will now account for the fact that the user has extended an existing spot. Exception: if the user has previously manually set the source for a spot, then shift-clicking to extend that spot will not invoke the “auto find source” logic.
  • Improve spot tool’s ability to patch spots automatically
  •  Shift+Drag to constrain the brush to horizontal or vertical stroke
  • A “Select New Source” command has been added to the contextual menu.
  • Holding down Shift will constrain the brush stroke to the horizontal or vertical
  • New Loupe overlay (Grid / Guides and Layout Image) , with ability to change Grid layout, Guide.
  • New Aspect Ratio crop overlay, with ability to change the aspect ratios

* please note that this is also available as a checkbox and slider in Toolbar

Radial Filter

  • Radial Filter appears in the Histogram Toolbar between the Graduated Filter and the Adjustment Brush.  Radial Filter allows users to apply existing local adjustment attributes to a circular mask with a feathered falloff.  Users can now create off-center vignettes, among other effects.
  • Usage instructions:
    • Select the tool and drag out a bounding ellipse or command/Ctrl + double-click on the image to set the bounding ellipse to the image bounds
    • Bounding ellipse can then be manipulated in the same way as the Crop overlay
  • Keyboard Shortcuts:
    • Shift + M: Expand Radial Filter tool
    • Drag: Radial Filter is scaled from center
    • Cmd/Ctrl + double-click: Expand Radial Filter to visible image area
    • Cmd/Ctrl + double-click on existing RF: Expand to visible image area
    • Option/Alt + Cmd/Ctrl + Drag: Duplicate Radial Filter
    • H: Hide Bounding Box
    • Apostrophe key ( ‘ ): Invert Mask
    • Double-click on existing Radial Filter: Apply & dismiss Radial Filter
  • Upright has been designed to  straighten pictures automatically. Common use cases include fixing horizons (to avoid “tilted pictures”) and straightening buildings (to avoid the “keystone” effect).
  • Upright’s main advantage over previous methods (e.g., straighten and crop tools, Horizontal and Vertical sliders) is that it automatically finds the desired correction by analysing the image content.
  • Usage:
    • Within Develop-> Lens Correction, ensure Enable Profile Correction is checked, Upright will have a better if any lens corrections have been applied to the image, although it won’t stop the feature working.
    • Using Upright will reset any crop or manual transform adjustments
    • Check one of the 4 modes, but try them all to work out the best effect.
    • modify (if necessary) using the Manual transforms available in the “Manual” tab.
    • The Reanalyze button is helpful if you enable/disable Lens Correction.  Reanalyze will force Upright to calculate a new transformation.
  • Upright Modes
    • Off: Upright is disabled (no adjustment). This is the default option.
    • Auto: Apply an automatic “balanced” correction to the image. It generally tries to level the image and fix converging horizontal and vertical lines, but will be conservative (e.g., it will not completely fix converging verticals if doing so would involve an overly strong correction that would result in distorting too many image features). In general, Auto will not be the same as Full, Level, or Vertical.
    • Full: Apply a full 3D warp correction to the image (level + fix converging horizontals and verticals). This may mean that strong correction (large rotations) are applied in some cases.
    • Level: Level the image (i.e., fix tilts). Similar to an automatic application of the Straighten tool or using the Rotate slider. Doesn’t fix converging horizontals/verticals.
    • Vertical: Combines the level (see previous item) with fixing converging verticals.
  • Copy/Sync Behavior when used for Upright mode
    • “Upright Mode” will utilize the same Upright mode as part of the preset or copy/sync.  Each image will be independently analyzed to determine the best transform based on the Upright mode chosen.
    • “Upright Transforms” utilises the Upright transformation from that image for presets and copy/sync.  Each image will utilize the exact same transformation.
  •  Ability to show LAB colour values on the Histogram. Right/control + click on the Histogram. Hover the mouse cursor over the image and the RGB Histogram will be replaced by LAB color readout.
  • If available Lightroom 5 will load the preview first when moving to the Development module, enabling basic Develop modes (i.e. basic panel), in parallel Lightroom will build a high-resolution preview in the background, swaping in the high-resolution preview once built and enabling all of Develop functionality.
  • The before/after views now show the current photo and the proofed photo in Soft Proofing mode
  • Aspect slider was added to the Lens Correction Manual Tab.  Slider allows for small aspect ratio change that helps to improve image appearance.  Dragging to the left should make things look more “squat” and dragging to the right should make things look taller and skinnier.
  • A new “Basic” tab exists within the Lens Correction panel.  This includes a checkbox to enable lens profile, constrain crop, remove chromatic aberration, and Upright.  As in prior versions, Lens Profiles can be enabled via the Profile tab, and Chromatic Aberration can be enabled via the “Color” tab.
  • Clipping indicators are persistent between Lightroom sessions.
  • Crop Overlay Aspect Ratios – Enable via Tools-> Crop Guide Overlay -> Aspect Ratios.  They provide a crop aspect overlay that can be enabled using the O keyboard shortcut while in the Crop tool.
  • Transparent Buttons for “Page Text” and if a photo exists on the page, “Photo Text”.  These are linked to the existing Page Text and Photo Text controls and are designed to help make the text experience in Lightroom easier to use.
  • All the text tools available in Lr4 can still be used, this is a simpler way for customers to interact with the text technology
  • Ability to input text directly to a Text box in Book.  In Lightroom 4, you had to first change the Text panel to “Custom” before you could enter text. Ensure that the “Fill Text Boxes with” customer preference in Book Preferences is set to “Filler Text” for this to work.
  • New global checkbox for adding the Page Numbers.  You can also use the icon to select where the Page Number should go.
  • The appearance of Page number can be changed either globally or locally
  • Page Numbering can start at a custom page, or starting on the first non-cover page.
  • After modifying a page template (for example, by changing the cell padding), you can now save the modified template as a Custom User Page.
  • These page layouts are available as “Custom Pages” in the Page Picker
  • Custom Pages are saved to the Layout Templates -> User Templates folder
  • Add video clips to your Slideshows
  • Improved synchronization of slides with soundtrack duration.
  • Visual indicator to help identify favorite page layout styles within the Page Picker.  Click on the circular Collection badge in order to quickly add them to their Favorites list.  Favorite pages will have a filled in circle, making them easier to find.
  • Ability to print books with Blurb’s “Standard” paper type.  This is a lighter weight option than “Premium Luster”.
  • Selected pages will have a thicker yellow border compared to unselected pages.
  • All the same metadata that is available for captions in other modules is now available for captions in the Book module.

Book enhancements


  • Improved text creation on  pages
  • Introduction of Page numbers, including option to hide and start numbering
  • Ability to create custom pages from an existing template. The custom page will appear in the custom pages section of the Lightroom Book templates, and is useable in the auto layout section of the book build

Slide Show

  • Ability to inclue a video as part of an image slide show.


Using ranking keys in Lightroom’s Development mode when Adjustment brush is enabled.

I was speaking at an event with the @AOP earlier this week and somebody asked if there was a way to use the star rating and colour assignment (0-9) keys inside Lightroom when the Adjustment brush is enabled in the Development module. Good news is that you can, and there are two options.

Using the numbers keys (0 to 9) when the adjustment brush is turned on in the development mode does not work the same as in the other modules/modes. However :-

  • Using SHIFT+the number key (0-9) will star rate the picture or change the colour (the Auto advance setting if turned on will be ignored).
  • Using CTRL+the number key (0-9) will star rate the picture or change the colour (Auto advance mode will fire if turned on).




#CreativeFriday – Crazy Sharpening for texture

Today’s post is all about revealing the texture of the image using a very different sharpening technique. It doesn’t actually use any traditional sharpening inside Photoshop, but uses blending modes instead.

Open the image inside Photoshop and make your adjustments (in the example supplied I have used a Gradient Map adjustment layer and applied a Selenium Tone 2 (available in the Photographic toning gradient maps, for a tutorial see this past post). When it comes to final sharpening, either make a final flattened image or a layer that contains all of the adjustments layers. To make the layer that contains all other layers, there is one keyboard shortcut that will really test the finger flexibility, press SHIFT+ALT+CMD+E (replace CMD with CTRL on a PC) (or Merge Visible upwards (including the ALT key will place the new layer above the others), this new layer is called “Consolidated Layer (Shift+CMD+ALT+E” in the example file (on Creative Cloud)).

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 16.17.06

Then duplicate this layer using CMD+J (MAC) or CTRL+J (PC), the example layer is called “Dup -Consolidated Layer (Shift+CMD+ALT+E copy)”.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 16.16.53

Select both of these layers and place them into a group. Click on the fly out menu in the layers palette and choose new group from layers.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 16.17.21

When you are making the new group, you can either set the blending mode here to be “Overlay”, or change it once the group has been created (directly on the layer in the layers palette)

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 16.22.16


Now change the upper most layer within the group to have a blending mode of “Vivid light”, then invert the layer using CMD+I  (MAC) or CTRL+I (PC). Before the Invert is applied to the image it will look very contrasty, after the invert it will look the same as when we started. If it does not go back to this look, then something went wrong.

Now we have inverted the “Vivid light” blending mode layer, we can then extract the details with a “Surface Blur” filter. This may sound strange, but remember we have inverted the “Vivid light” layer, so a Blur filter will sharpen.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 16.27.01


To achieve the exact look that suits your image, you may need to adjust the sliders, making sure you are working at 100% zoom (to see the sharpening effect). I have used 15/15, and it works really well and will bring out some crazy details. But by experimenting i find that I actually prefer 5/15 (as shown above), it is not a crazy, but brings out some lovely texture in the image.

If you want to dial down the effect then you can reduce the opacity of the sharpen group, or you can place a mask on the sharpen group and paint in/out the effect.


This shot was taken inside the Chernobyl 10km zone with the Leica Monochrom with a Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm F2 ASPH lens. This lens has the ability to resolve amazing sharpness, and this technique really brings out the texture in the tones. The final image is available to view here, don’t forget you are able to turn on and off the layers to see the changes that the sharpening has.

CC Layers

Lightroom 5 – New feature deep dive.

Lightroom 5  is now fully released, and it’s pretty amazing. I have recorded a deep dive session covering all the new features and why i think they are great, as well as some of the JDI’s that will certainly help the photographer in the task of image processing. You are able to download this exciting release from here.

(HD YouTube version is available here)
Additional JDI’s in Lightroom 5

– Smart Preview Builder is under the Library module / Previews/ Build Smart Previews or in import. You can also control the building of smart previews under the Catalog settings “Build smart previews during import”.

– Smart collections now include : – Smart Preview status, PNG’s and are also all available as filters.
– “Direction” field added to the in the EXIF Metadata panel (GPS), and supports 8 compass directions.
– “Set as target collection” added to create collection dialog box.
– You are now able to verify a DNG file Library / Validate DNG Files.
– Clipping indicators are persistent between Lightroom sessions.
– Blurb’s “Standard” paper is now supported in the Books module.
– Selected pages in the Book module will have a thicker yellow border compared to unselected pages.
– Before/after views now show the current photo and the proofed photo in Soft Proofing mode.


If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber you will already have access to this amazing version directly within your Creative Cloud Desktop Application (see more details on how to get this here).


#CreativeFriday – Image Enhancement – Colour balance

Most of us have been using levels in Photoshop to tighten up our shadow and highlight end points in our images. As an alternative to this we have the opportunity to explore the colour balance inside photoshop to achieve something similar but with another twist.

In this example we are using Levels to bring the tighten up the highlight and shadow end points. The Levels adjustment layer is available in the pull down menu, Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Color Balance, it is also available on the bottom row of the layers palette, 4 icons from the left (looks like a half black, half white circle).

Before applying levels

Colour Bal - Before Levels

After applying levels

Colour Bal - Post Levels

notice how the pointers at either end of the histogram have been moved slightly towards each other, this adds more impact to the image.

To make your photographs look more natural you may need to work the colour balance inside Photoshop. This technique is going to work using the colour balance adjustment layer. This example will show the values that i have been using, however, the idea is to show you the process and you can then experiment to find something that suits your style of image making.

To create a cleaner and more impactful look i will add some blue into the shadows (+8) and some yellow in the highlights (-8), using the colour balance adjustment layer (i have used two layers to show it in this example, but you can just use a single layer).

Before applying adjustmentsScreen Shot 2013-04-12 at 18.17.59


After applying the Colour Balance adjustments

Colour Balanc e- Yellow - Highlights- ClrBal

Colour Balanc e- Blue Shadows - ClrBal


To see the final image and turn on and off the layer groups, please click this link.

It is worth trying different combinations in all areas of the image, including specifically highlights and shadows. The values that i use are dependent on my camera, lens and style. I would urge you to try different settings and choose your look and feel.




Filming day in the studio yesterday

Yesterday was fun, had David Oduro from Wacom UK and Tigz Rice in the studio making another how to video. Can’t say what the video is about yet, but it’s going to be great and will be available (once i’ve cut it in Premiere Pro) shortly. All i can say is, get ready for a Wacom and Adobe product shower, connected workflows and some great tips from Tigz.

While waiting for this video, why not review our others on the Adobe YouTube channel or the other videos that we have made locally.










Photoshop and Premiere Elements 11 – Camera RAW 7.4 update.

Are you using Photoshop Elements 11 or Premiere Elements 11? If so, then don’t forget to run the software update inside the application (for both Windows or the Mac) to get the newest version of Camera Raw 7.4. This is a free update and will add more RAW supported cameras and other things. You are able to read more about this update here.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 13.48.12

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 13.48.38

If no update is waiting for you in the updates section, then you can download the Camera Raw 7.4 manual updater from here and run the AdobePatchInstaller file.


#CreativeFriday – Exposing to the Right in the Camera

This weeks post is more fundamental than post processing and is linked to the  new highlight recovery algorithm that was released in Lightroom 4. This version of Lightroom is able to extract more information from the highlights of an image than was ever possible in previous version of Lightroom. This post is a summary of the extended document written by Bruce Faser (Document is available here and is referred to from the Camera Raw In Depth article here).

When you are creating the image inside the camera, the best thing you can do is to make sure that you expose the image based on the histogram data. The job of the histogram is to show the Highlights, Mid-tones and Shadow areas of the image. The image below clearly shows a correctly exposed histogram and and all tones are nicely distributed across the whole range.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 23.48.03

If we analyse the information that is shown here, we can see that the highlights of the image are to the right hand side  mid-tones in the middle and shadow information to the left.

If an image is under exposed then the histogram will look something like this

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 23.50.41

If an image is over exposed then it will look like the following

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 23.50.56


Both of above examples are considered to be not correctly exposed (unless of course you are using this for a creative purpose).

The objective here is to make the image with a fully distributed histogram. To make sure that we do this, we want to capture the maximum number of pixels for the range of the image, In fact,  we are trying to ensure that we include as many highlights as posible, otherwise known as “Exposing to the right”.

The reason why we shoot for the highlights in digital photography is that we want to record the most pixels possible for every frame taken. Taking the example in the document referenced above, if there are 4096 levels of image data in a 12 bit image, then half the levels are in the upper mid tones (i.e. 2048), in the lower mid tones there are half as many (i.e. 1024), in the shadow there are half of this again (i.e. 512) and in the extreme shadows there are half again (i.e. 64). Images that are biased for the shadows are represented in many different ways.

  • 1. Shadow areas are murky and have no detail and may contain a lot of noise (sensor dependent)
  • 2. File sizes are different for each image, as not all data is used.
  • 3. Images are dark out of the camera and look noisy when the exposure is increased.

The best thing to do is when in the camera make sure you are shooting RAW (later inside Lightroom 4 or Camera RAW we can make sure that the image data is fully maximised). Also, i would recommend that you turn on Shadow and Highlight Clipping in the camera settings (most cameras have this and if you are not sure where to find it, please consult the manual). Once this feature has been turned on, any shadow clipping/highlight clipping will most likely appear as flashing images/part of an image on the back of the camera’s LCD screen.

To make sure that we always capture the most amount of data possible, you need to make sure that all highlights are captured but not blown out (you have a little flexibility with Lightroom 4 here by using the new algorithms).  It is most likely that you will need to either to a Manual mode in the camera when shooting your images and this can take practice to get right. Or you may need to alter the amount of additional exposure that camera applies to it’s metering (typically you will use this when in camera modes (A and P)). This information will be covered in your cameras manual.

When you are taking the picture, check the histogram and alter the exposure so that the recorded highlights are just below the clipping point (you will see flashing in the LCD if they are clipping), so just dial down the exposure a little and re-shoot). Lightroom 4 with it’s new Highlight recovery is able to pull back highlight information even when a little over exposed. The best way to test this is to take a few shots and try the new sliders in Lightroom 4 to see how much you can push the camera.

Shooting this way has a few pro’s and con’s


  • It can be a little frustrating, but my opinion is that you will get more detailed shots and have more information to work with in Lightroom 4. 
  • You may miss the shot! this is a big one, but remember there are many other shots to focus on.


  • It will slow your picture taking down and allow you to focus on the craft of photography.
  • You will get more pixels for your shot and ultimately cleaner images.
  • Final images will have more punch and feel brighter.
  • Your image making will improve as you start to think about exposure.

I hope this helps your image making process.

Closing thoughts

We all check our images on the back of the camera to check that we “got the shot”, i feel that can lead to removing images prematurely and judging quality and composure and removing based on the time screen. Once thing that i have started to do is to shoot the JPG’s in Black and White. So when the image is viewed on the LCD you will see a Black and White image and not a colour one. This for me, allows me to think about the image as an object as opposed to the actual colour image that i just shot, it disconnects me and allows me to think about composition and form of the image as opposed to the picture. To try this technique there will be a setting in your camera that will allow your camera to take RAW and JPG, then preview in Black and White. Why not try for a few frames to see what you think.

Remember that when you shoot in Black and White, the actual RAW file will contain all of the colour, however the JPGs will be in Black and White and not convertable back to colour.