Archive for April, 2015

#CreativeFriday- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Tips and Tricks with Richard West and Richard Curtis

Webinar – Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Tips and Tricks – with Richard West & Richard Curtis

This webinar will look at the Photographic editing in Lightroom 4,5 and 6, as well as some other elements of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

The two speakers for this event will be Richard West of Datacolor and Richard Curtis of Adobe.

Richard Curtis
Richard is a Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe and is focused on the Digital Imaging Solutions in the UK (Lightroom and Photoshop). Richard is also a Photographer with an interest on street, travel and landscape photography, and has been making images for over 20 years.

Richard West
Richard West was the Business Development Manager for the Photo Markets at Apple for 10 years. Richard then joined Nik Software in the UK and was responsible for the growth of their suite of Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in tools. Richard is now runs Datacolor in the UK and will cover off how Datacolor’s products integrate into the Adobe workflow.

#CreativeFriday – Getting in Sync with Lightroom

I once had a conversation with a highly successful Photographer about what he thought made a collection of photographs more compelling and his response was consistency. There are many things that we can use to get consistency, for example, one could be the framing style, the other mounting or even aspect ratio. For my stories I prefer to employ a look and feel consistency, so I look to use colour tones that are similar to each other. This can be easily achieved using the Lightroom Development module, but some times, it’s an older look that I would like to achieve.

For me, I love the old film types, like Fuji, Kodak or Ilford, for both colour and black and white work. To get a desired look and feel, a preset’s can work very well. The folks at VSCO have spent lots of time to create an amazing set of old film type/vintage styles that can be used on your digital files, the complete set are not free, but well worth exploring in my opinion.

Let us take this series of images on a walk that I took whilst in Japan. The first image is a village scene and is quite dark, but i’m going to adjust the exposure, correct any lens correction, then apply the look and feel preset.

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These quick changes will show what the image is capable of.

Now that a base look and feel has been applied, any of the local adjustments can be applied. i.e. If may be that you would like to recover highlights, shadows or just set the white, black or the clarity, it’s up to you to add your own character.

To have these settings as well as any adjustments automatically SYNCED to the other images, first select the image that is the reference, then use the CMD key (to select individual ones) or the SHIFT key and click on the last desired image to select a range of images (the images in the film strip or the grid view, will show the images that have been marked for selection). Once the images have been selected, then the SYNC button (Marked in Red) will appear and can be pressed to apply the same settings to the other images.

Before the settings are SYNCED, the following menu will be displayed which will allow you to configure which development settings are copied to the other images. You will need to experiment which ones are copies accross, but essentially all settings to an individual one can be copied.

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Once the settings have been copied, then each image can be tweaked. I.e. on the image below, the original crop has been modified in line with the original aspect ratio.

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This one also has an additional crop applied to it.

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Again another crop.

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I am happy with the settings that have been applied from one image to the other and only a little cropping was required. This approach saves me a lot of time to come up with a look for the images, but also the SYNC and small adjustments for each image allows me to process all images with a consistent look and feel in super quick time.

The folks over at VSCO have a special trial edition of the film pack available, with inbuilt presets for two vintage films, that have been tailored for a selection of cameras, these are variations on Kodak Gold and Kodak Tri-X.

Of course the SYNC settings does not only apply to these types of presets, but also for your own that you have created/saved, or any development settings that you have created within the development module.



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You can learn more about this set and have a play with them as well as the variations by clicking on the following link. Also, there is a help page dedicated to answer any questions that you may have, here.

I hope you have fun with this workflow.



Adobe – Creative Cloud Photography update

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Within the Creative Cloud Photography update, there are many components for the Photographer that have been updated, including Lightroom. This blog post will outline the majority of new features, and will be followed up with deep dives on specific items at a future date.
Lightroom has got some great new updates that include inbuilt HDR and Panoramic stitching, but also the ability to create HDR Panoramic’s. There are also great new ways to publish your work and create engaging stories, by integrating your Lightroom Mobile catalog with Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice.
Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice have been designed to enable you to create your stories on the go. Adobe Slate integrates directly into Lightroom web or from the mobile apps on your mobile device. On your mobile devices, both apps link with your Lightroom mobile collections and Creative Cloud folders and assets.
64 Bit Support
Lightroom now has a minimum requirement of 64bit Operating systems for both Windows and Mac.
GPU Suport
Lightroom is now able to utilise the power of the Graphics processor (GPU) within the development module. This not only means that images will load much faster, but Lightroom will be much quicker when editing in development process. This support will enable newer computers, as well as older computers to get a performance boost ,(higher resolution (4K and 5K screens) will notice an improvement in performance as well)
Working with the community we have heard that Photographers are using HDR techniques more and more, but there is a requirement for a more integrated solution. Lightroom now supports HDR as a dedicated feature, and on output creates a new 32 bit RAW DNG file, supporting over 30stops of tonal range. This means that now for the first time ever you can use HDR created images in RAW space and all of the Lightroom Development sliders will be able to work on this data. Also, the DNG HDR file will be created in the background, so you are able to carry on working whilst it is being created.
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The ability to create Panoramic’s is another feature that Photographers like to create. Similar to the HDR feature, the Creative Cloud Photography update includes creation of DNG RAW Panoramic’s. During the creation process Lightroom keeps all of the lens and camera meta data information from all the images (so things like Lightroom Upright as well as Photoshop’s adaptive wide angle technology can play well with the output and correct any distortion).
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Adobe DNG RAW Support for Google devices
Adobe has been working with Google and as of the Lollipop Android update, will now support the Adobe DNG (Open Raw format). This essentially means that a mobile first RAW file workflow is here, enabling photographers to capture RAW data from within the Phone or tablet device and take full usage of the RAW data directly within Lightroom.
Is this the first time you have heard of the DNG format ? If so, what is it?
The DNG open RAW format was introduced by Adobe to offer a publicly documented version of the RAW format, as opposed to a closed propriety format (like CR2, NEF, OLY or RAF etc). The format is in use today, and companies like Leica, Pentax as well as others) and now Google have adopted this as a native camera format. The benefits for the photographer are significant. Both Lightroom and Camera RAW support DNG out of the box. This means that a DNG files can be opened with Lightroom (both current and past) without having to convert them. This means that if a camera manufacturer supports the DNG format (like Leica, etc), Lightroom will be able to open the RAW file without the need to wait for updates to Lightroom for for Adobe to support the file format. 
Converting a propriety RAW format to DNG. 
Some photographers have adopted the DNG format was part of their workflow. As already explained above, Lightroom can import DNG formats, it can also export DNG formats (which can also embed the original RAW file), but also Adobe provides the Adobe DNG format convertor (which is a free download for Windows and Mac) and is able to convert supported propriety files to the DNG format. 
HDR Panoramic’s
One of my favourite features in this update, is the ability to created RAW HDR files and then create Panoramic’s from them. For the first time ever, you can now create a Panoramic’s based on HDR Raw DNG files direct within Lightroom. To explain how this works, let’s look at the following example.
In the example below, the pictures were taken with a 1 stop bracket exposure. This means that the far left picture is one stop under the meter reading in the camera, the next is the metered reading and the third is one stop over the meter reading. The last image is a Lightroom HDR blend of the first three.
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This step is performed for the next 4 set of exposure brackets and will create 4 HDR images that are reading for turning into a panoramic.
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A total of 5 HDR images are now ready for turning into the panoramic. By Selecting the HDR images and choosing to create Panoramic will present the Panoramic screen and output the combined file.
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This DNG RAW panoramic is over 8500 pixels on the long edge. Having the Development module utilising the Graphics Processor, means that Lightroom won’t hang about when the image is zoomed into or worked on.
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Filter Brush
One area that Photographers have been enjoying is the new Filter Brush which was included in Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw as part of the Creative Cloud updates. This is a highly useful feature is now available in Lightroom and enables filters such as the Gradient filter and Radial filter to have areas of the mask refined to suit the image in hand.
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Face Recognition
This update to Lightroom also includes the highly anticipated Face Recognition, and the ability to easily and efficiently recognise and tag faces within your catalog. As Lightroom has got some amazing performance improvements to the Development module, the new performance isn’t inhibited by this feature. Face Recognition has been implemented in a way that once turned on will work in the background and while the computer is idle.
Face recognition is enabled in the Lightroom catalog settings
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, when this is turned on, it will allow Lightroom to search in different ways :-
  • When images are imported into Lightroom, they will be automatically indexed into the People database.
  • When Lightroom is parked in the library grid mode, faces through your whole catalog will be indexed
  • When Lightroom is within the People module for a folder, faces will be index within this folder
Once indexing has been performed, the faces for both unnamed and named will appear in the People mode.
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Slide Show
Slide has received the ability to include multiple music tracks (up to 10) into the slide show, but also the ability to dynamically tune the slideshow to the speed of the music.
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Adobe is always innovating and supporting technology which creative people enjoy using. This release of Lightroom supports Windows touch devices and now supports the Wacom Companion as well as the Microsoft surface touch mode. Lightroom’s touch interface is available just above the film strip at the bottom of the screen to the far left hand side. Changing to the Lightroom touch interface will allow you to work more intuitively on these devices. You can now work on the majority of the Development features all within the Lightroom regular interface, or move Lightroom into the new touch interface.
Lightroom mobile on Android Tablet
Lightroom mobile has been available on the Creative Cloud for quite a while now and unlike Lightroom for the desktop has seen a variety of updates being delivered thought out the year, via the Creative Cloud. Lightroom for Android phones can out a short while ago, and now as of this update for Creative Cloud users, now supports Android Tablet.
Adobe Slate
Adobe Slate is a new type of App for the iPad which allows any Creative Cloud user to make visual stories quickly. Adobe Slate has integration to Lightroom mobile collections, as well as your assets on the Creative Cloud storage space.
To see the Adobe Slate project, please click on the following image.
Fire balloon festival
Adobe Voice
Adobe Voice is an app that enables you to make a visual animated video. Adobe voice also has links to your Lightroom mobile catalog, as well as the Creative Cloud storage area.
Pet Eye
If you have animals and are taking photos of them with a flash, then you are probably experiencing the pet red eye, which cannot be easily removed using the standard human read eye reduction. This version of Lightroom now brings the Photoshop Elements Pet Eye removal feature into the fold.
Import Directly into Collections (Including tethering)
Throughout my travels, I see Photographers using Collections in many different ways. This might be to just automatically organise their images based on metadata or Keywords from the camera using Smart Collections. For example, I know photographers that will use a Smart collection to help with their star rankings (i.e. One star is ok, Two stars are good (good B roll supporting imagery for a story perhaps), and Three for outstanding ‘A’ class work).
Photographers have also been using simple collections to manually organise their images, possible into a Blurb book (images in a collection can be manually re-ordered), unlike in a standard folder. Or maybe using a collection as a Target collection, and adding selected images into using the ‘B’ key.
Collections are also at the heart of Lightroom mobile. Once a Lightroom catalog has been enabled for sync with Lightroom mobile, a collection can be marked for sync. This essentially means that images inside this collection will be synced to Lightroom on the Web as well as into Lightroom on the mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android Phone and now Android tablet). Lightroom collections are a great way to collaborate on your images with other photographers, or with your clients for feedback and review.
Now with this update to Lightroom, adding to collections in different ways has been added :-
  • Import direct into a Collection
  • Tether into a collection
Lightroom for mobile
GPS Support into Desktop
When images are imported from a Lightroom Mobile catalog taken with the device, images with GPS data are brought across for reference in Lightroom on the desktop and representation on the map.
CMYK Soft proofing support
Lightroom soft proofing under the Development mode now has the ability to soft proof for CMYK profiles. These profiles are also available in the printer ICC profile configuration under the Print module.
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Profile selector
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New MetaData filtering options?
There is now the option to set up a custom order as well as sort by last reviewed comments on Lightroom mobile enabled collections on this dialog on
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New Camera and Lens support

All the new camera support that’s been added for Lightroom 6.0 so far :-

  • Canon EOS 5DS
  • Canon EOS 5DS R
  • Canon EOS 750D (Rebel T6i, Kiss X8i)
  • Canon EOS 760D (Rebel T6s, Kiss 8000D)
  • Canon EOS M3
  • Casio EX-­‐ZR3500
  • Fujifilm X-­‐A2
  • Fujifilm XQ2
  • Hasselblad Stellar II
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D7200
  • Olympus OM-­‐D E-­‐M5 II
  • Olympus Stylus SH-­‐2
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-­‐GF7
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-­‐ZS50 (DMC-­‐TZ70, DMC-­‐TZ71)

Lens Correction Support

All the new lens correction profiles that have been added for Lightroom 6.0 so far:

  • Canon EF
  • Canon EF 24-­‐85mm f3.5-­‐4.5 USM
  • Canon EF 100-­‐400mm f/4.5-­‐5.6L IS II USM
  • TAMRON SP 15-­‐30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD A012E
  • Canon EF 8-­‐15mm f/4L Fisheye USM
  • Canon EF 11-­‐24mm f/4L USM
  • Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro
  • Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2
  • SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM A015
  • Venus Optics 60mm f2.8 2X Ultra-­‐Macro Lens   


  • DJI Inspire 1FC350


  • Voigtlander LTM 28mm f/1.9 Ultron Aspherical
  • Voigtlander LTM 28mm f/3.5 Color Skopar
  • Voigtlander LTM 35mm f/1.7 Ultron Aspherical
  • Voigtlander LTM 50mm f/2 Heliar
  • Voigtlander LTM 50mm f/2.5 Color Skopar
  • Voigtlander LTM 50mm f/3.5 Heliar
  • Voigtlander LTM 75mm f/2.5 Color Heliar o Voigtlander LTM 90mm f/3.5 APO Lanthar o Voigtlander VM 40mm f/2.8 Heliar


  • Voigtlander MFT 17.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Aspherical
  • Voigtlander MFT 25mm f/0.95 Nokton
  • Voigtlander MFT 42.5mm f/0.95 Nokton

Nikon F

  • Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED
  • Nikon AF-­‐S DX NIKKOR 55-­‐200mm f/4-­‐5.6G ED VR II
  • Nikon AF-­‐S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
  • Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS
  • TAMRON SP 15-­‐30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD A012N
  • Voigtlander SL II 20mm f/3.5 Color-­‐Skopar Aspherical o Voigtlander SL II 28mm f/2.8 Color-­‐Skopar Aspherical o Voigtlander SL II 58mm f/1.4 Nokton
  • Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2
  • Venus Optics 60mm f2.8 2X Ultra-­‐Macro Lens


  • SIGMA 18-­‐200mm F3.5-­‐6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
  • Pentax K
  • Venus Optics 60mm f2.8 2X Ultra-­‐Macro Lens


  • dp1 Quattro* o dp2 Quattro* o dp3 Quattro*
  • SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM A015
  • SIGMA 150-­‐600mm F5-­‐6.3 DG OS HSM C015

Sony Alpha

  • SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
  • TAMRON 16-­‐300mm F/3.5-­‐6.3 DiII PZD MACRO AB016S
  • TAMRON 28-­‐300mm F/3.5-­‐6.3 Di PZD A010S
  • TAMRON SP 70-­‐200mm F/2.8 Di USD A009S
  • TAMRON SP 150-­‐600mm F/5-­‐6.3 Di USD A011S
  • TAMRON SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 USD F004S
  • Venus Optics 60mm f2.8 2X Ultra-­‐Macro Lens

Sony E

  • Sony FE 24-­‐240mm F3.5-­‐6.3 OSS
  • Sony FE 28mm F2
  • ZY Optics Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f0.95 Pro
  • Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS
  • Sony FE 28mm F2 + Fisheye Converter
  • Sony FE 28mm F2 + Ultra Wide Converter o Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA


  •  CGO2gb

Tether Support

All the new tether support that’s been added for Lightroom :

  • Canon 7D Mark II
  • Nikon D750
System Requirements
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Will still be available as a perpetual version at your local retailer.

#CreativeFriday – Adobe Previews New 3D Features for Photoshop CC & Unveils 3D Printed Artwork from James Stewart & Francois Veraart

 At the 3D Printshow in New York, Adobe showcased three new features that will be available for 3D and 3D Printing in a future version of Photoshop CC.

The previewed features allow users to automatically adjust 3D object resolution; quickly and powerfully convert images into bump maps that can be applied to the surfaces of 3D objects; and more easily edit textures captured from 3D scans within Photoshop:


·      3D Mesh Simplification enables faster processing, printing and expands sharing options Many 3D models have a large number of polygons which, although define the model in detail, provide a level or resolution that is not often necessary for the desired output. For example, most desktop 3D printers are low-resolution, and high-resolution 3D objects can unnecessarily slow down the processing and printing process. Further, as 3D viewers have become more prominent on devices with lower-speed processors, such as tablets, often high resolution models perform poorly on these platforms or, in some cases, don’t load at all. The new 3D Mesh Simplification capability provides a simple slider that allows users to quickly and easily reduce the number of polygons to enable faster processing and ability for others to view their 3D object regardless of device.


·      Create and apply 3D Bump Maps from any photograph to add texture to 3D objects

Convert textures from a photograph into a bump map, with flexibility to control desired height and depth of embossment or imprint to create a custom, textured 3D object. 


·      Edit colors from 3D scans with Vertex color to texture conversion

While 3D scanning is expected to become increasingly prominent, many 3D scanning solutions capture color data as vertex color, which is not editable within Photoshop. The new Vertex Color to Texture Conversion will interpret and allow users to edit and change colors through creation of a Photoshop Texture.


In addition to these feature previews, two artists unveiled new 3D art pieces that take advantage of the advanced 3D and 3D printing capabilities in Photoshop CC.


·      James Stewart, a visual effects artist who has worked on movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, brings to life an image that captivated him in Brazil through 3D printing:


You can read more at the video on Adobe Inspire.

·      Francois Veraart, a designer and illustrator with more than 20 years of experience in international advertising, dreams up an “American Football 5.0” player, built by using just the 3D and 3D printing features in Photoshop CC 


#CreativeFriday – Desktop to Touch Tablet Computer Workflows with Creative Cloud

The Creative Cloud offers so much more than just the desktop applications and has lots of time saving and efficiency workflows built in. This post will give ideas on how the Creative Cloud can be used when you have a desktop as well as a laptop or touch tablet computer in your workflow.

Just to paint a picture. Image you are working in the studio or at home using Photoshop CC on a PSD or a TIFF document (Mac or Windows), and as part of your workflow, you might also have a Wacom Cintiq Companion/Companion 2 at your disposal that you use for the touch/pen interface when working on your artwork.

I and many photographers/designers like using the touch/pen computers, as they allow a more tactile experience when working with photographs or art work.  I tend to use a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 for my work, mainly due to it’s portability and flexible nature (currently it’s currently scanning colour film negatives from 1994 into Lightroom, as well as connected to my 3D Printer for creating 3D models). However, it’s wider attraction is that I can plug my Mac into it for working as a medium size Cintiq at any time. This combination of the Mac and a touch/pen interface is perfect for my re-touching when required.

Once my edit is finished, I can then unplug it from the Mac and go back to the Windows operating system on the Companion 2.

In the scenario above, I might be working on the Cintiq with my Mac Plugged in, then I want to leave the studio, but I might want to carry on working with the artwork. Using the Creative Cloud, I can easily set up both machines (Mac and Windows Cintiq) with my two licenses of Photoshop CC that I get with my Creative Cloud subscription. Each computer is then logged into the Creative Cloud desktop app and both have file sync running.

The PSD file that I am working on will most likely start out on my MAC and probably be derived from my Lightroom catalog or might be a 3D model that I would like to work on (as shown in the example screen shot below).

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On saving the PSD file for the first time, i’ll make sure that it’s stored on my Creative Cloud Synced folder on my Mac (you can see the folder called “CC Tablet Share” below, and the asset has a green tick on the icon, this green tick let’s me know that the file is already on my Creative Cloud storage area).

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It was mentioned earlier that the Creative Cloud Desktop app is signed in and has file sync turned on, this means that it will automatically start to sync the PSD to the Creative cloud, once any save activity has completed.

N.B. The time taken to sync to the Creative Cloud and to the other computer will depend on your network speed, internet speed as well as the size of the file.

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The file can be seen on the Creative Cloud web view by logging into your Creative Identity on

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The file(s) will be shown graphically using a thumb nail, also, don’t forget you can also collaborate with other Creative Cloud users on this folder if required.

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Clicking on the icon will show a larger representation with more specific details about the file.

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Now I can unplug the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 from the Mac and it will return back to windows. If the object here was to carry on working on the file using the Cintiq Companion 2, but away from the studio, then I can check that the file has synced, and if so, go on the move with my artwork.


N.B With a yearly subscription the applications can work without an internet connect for 90 days, if a month to month plan they will work without an internet connection for 30 days.

I can now travel anywhere and carry on working on the same file in the same way as in the studio.

When an internet connection is next found then the updated contents will be sent back to the Creative Cloud and synced back to the studio Mac. The other option is that if i have collaborated with others on this art work, i can login from any remote cafe or location and get the updates that the collaborators have made.

You can see the catchlights that have been added to the eyes.


Once save is pressed, the Creative Cloud Desktop app will sync the file back to the Creative Cloud storage area.

Capture444 copy

The update and the activity are also available in the Creative Cloud web view.  I can then, if required, revert the change by clicking on the previous version (If this is selected, everyone will get the older version).

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Hopefully this describes one of the workflows that the Creative Cloud solves and provides an end to end continuous workflow, across devices and operating systems.

N.B. This also applies if you are a Windows only platform (where no Mac’s are involved).

#CreativeFriday – Photographic Edge Burn Technique

Over Exposing or burning the edge of a final photograph, has been around for a long time and has been used extensively by the photographic master printers since the 50’s (maybe even earlier). The primary reason to create the edge burn area is to hold the view in the image whilst they are looking at it. This post is about how to re-create the same effect in Lightroom and Photoshop.
If we think why we start the imaging post process, we are thinking about what the final image needs to represent or communicate to the viewer. To achieve this we can use the Lightroom and Photoshop and the wealth of features that they both provide. Not all tools in each program need to be used on every single picture, but I would suggest that there are a few mandatory develop mode panels that should be used for each image.
Basic Panel. 
     This is great to getting your images to a state of readiness for any additional processing. This panel is focused on working with the histogram, and using these control you have the ability to correct any white balance, exposure corrections, contrast, as well as recover any shadow and highlight information in the picture. There are also other powerful tools, like setting the white and black clipping points in the image, as well as clarity, saturation and vibrance. Most of the time, these tools might be all you need to correct the image to make it presentable.
     This panel is typically used to sharpen the image, we will look at this in more detail in a future post. But in essence, it will enable you to choose how much sharpness is applied and the details to recover, but also the ability to control the sharpen mask and select which areas of the image will be sharpened. Sharpening is typically performed at the end of the post processing, however, when using Lightroom it’s ok to add sharpening at any point and refine during the editing process (this works hand in hand with Lightroom’s non destructive editing philosophy).
Lens Corrections
     I would also strongly recommend that lens profiles are applied to the camera body and lens that the image was taken with, i.e. Canon, Nikon, Leica and Hasselblad are a few of the manufactures that Adobe works with to make sure that any natural vignetting or barely distortion are removed before the image is worked on.
N.B. Compact system cameras like the Fuji x-series and Olympus cameras to name a few automatically transfer the lens correction details to Lightroom and the software will automatically apply this to the image.
Effects panel
     The other panel that I typically use in my post processing is the Effects Panel.
The reason that the master printers used an edge burn technique back in the day is that it can help a viewer of a photograph stay within the image when they are looking at it.
To fully understand why the edge burn is so important, we have to look at what the human mind or the limbic part of the brain is looking for and what grabs it’s attention. In it’s basic form, the Limbic brain when seeking for things doesn’t care if it’s good limbic or bad limbic. For example, imagine you are sat in the train carriage and there is another passenger that is working on their laptop and has very heavy hands. Once you hear the tapping of the keyboard it can be challenging to de-focus , the tapping of the keys is very limbic, but not in the good way, it can be highly distracting. The same applies to photographs and something that we can think about and use to control of how the viewer interprets the photograph and gain their attention.
When i’m editing my images, there are some basic elements I am looking for and wanting to improve. Elements like image structure/composition, engaging content as well as more specific limbic elements that can grab the viewers attention. Limbic areas in a photograph that I tend to focus on are how how the dark and light areas are represented and affect each other. These areas if done badly can be highly distracting, however, if done well can be used to navigate the viewers eyes around the image, and focus on the part of the image that I want them to focus on.
Brightness – The areas of brightness in an image need to be controlled for maximum effect. For example, if there are elements within the image that are brighter than the main focus point, these will grab the attention of the viewer and could loose the main focus and point of the image. Once our eyes see this part of the scene, the limbic part of the brain gets attracted, engages and tends to override other parts of the image. Once these areas have been found, the viewer (in my opinion) will get stuck on these areas and will be drawn back to them time and time again, potentially missing the point of the photograph.
So when i’m working on an image, my first activity is to remove anything that will distract the viewer in this way. In the dark room this was called dodge and burn, and also spotting (spotting was mostly done once the print had been created and was done directly to the print using inks), spotting was used to remove dust spots or anything that would show the natural brightness of the paper. In the digital world on a screen this could be something as simple as litter or other artefacts in the original scene. It could also be a bright light in the image, which might not have been noticed when taking the picture (I’ll come onto bright lights in a little while).
Removal of bright areas is pretty straight forward and there are many ways to remove bright areas in the scene, especially when they are small. Tools like the Clone/Heal in Lightroom, or tools like the Spot Heal/ Clone stamp or variety of patch tools in Photoshop have been designed for this type of activity.
Dark areas can also be Limbic but in a different way. As bright areas are attractive, dark areas like shadows push our eyes away and promote hunting of other Limbic bright areas.  So when our eyes see dark areas, they tend to shy away and repelled from these places.
The edge burn technique is a great way for us to control the viewers experience and when the viewers eyes reach the edges of the image, they are pushed back in to the image (centre) to find areas of interest, in this case bright areas.
Times of change.
Back in the day, photographs were printed and photography was all about the print. And edge burning was an active part of the process. However, as times have moved on, there are less images printed and more images appearing on the screen. This does change that way that we need to think about edge burning and when it’s required. For example if the image is shown with a white border on the screen, our eyes will focus on the border and use this as a frame of reference, as opposed to the image, due to the brightness of the border. Once the tones of the border become darker, from middle grey onward the focus and dominance of the image changes, allowing the eyes to focus more towards the image (probably why most slide shows are on a black border). When darker borders are used, burning is not important as the border it self is a big edge burn. If the image on the screen is surrounded by a brighter border (from middle grey to white), then an edge burn might be required to keep the viewer in the image.
When we print (especially in fine art printing), however, it’s most likely that the border will be a mount, and will be a shade of white, (natural white or maybe a snow white are typical). Regardless, it’s still bright and if we are not careful when editing the image, focus of the story in the frame can be lost to the borders and loose the attention of the viewer. In this case, edge burning might be a consideration.
Applying a simple edge burn
In Lightroom the Post Crop Vignette (available under the effects tab) is a simple way to implement the edge burn. There are numerous options for the vignette
Sliders and Controls
Highlight Priority 
Enables highlight recovery but can lead to color shifts in darkened areas of a photo. Suitable for photos with bright image areas such as clipped specular highlights.
Colour Priority minimises color shifts in darkened areas of a photo but cannot perform highlight recovery.
Paint Overlay mixes the cropped image values with black or white pixels. Can result in a flat appearance.
The sliders:
Amount – negative values darken the corners of the photo. Positive values lighten the corners.
Midpoint – lower values apply the Amount adjustment to a larger area away from the corners. Higher values restrict the adjustment to an area closer to the corners.
Roundness – lower values make the vignette effect more oval. Higher values make the vignette effect more circular.
Feather – lower values reduce softening between the vignette and the vignette’s surrounding pixels. Higher values increase the softening.
Highlights – (Highlight Priority and Color Priority only) Controls the degree of highlight contrast preserved when Amount is negative. Suitable for photos with small highlights, such as candles and lamps.
The post crop vignette also supports changes in the crop, by applying the effect after a crop has been modified.
The above options will allow you to create the required edge burn, you will need to wrangle with it to get the results that you want. But if you are wanting to apply an edge burn, similar to the way that the master prints did in the dark room, then it should not be obvious to the viewer, only slightly darker to move the eyes back to the main part of the scene. In the book ‘The Print’ by Ansel Adams, Ansel recommends that the edge burn should be no more than 10% to 20% more than the current exposure of the main part of the scene. In the context of Lightroom, this will need to be converted into a negative value (-10 to -20, I tend to typically use about -17).
Which images might work better with an edge burn.
Not every image will require an edge burn, this will mostly be dictated by the strength of the content in the scene.
i.e. When an edge burn may not be required
In the following example, the bright areas will attract the eye and will keep the viewer in the scene.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.05.15
The adjustments to this image are quite simple. A recovery of any highlight and shadow detail, then set the white and black point. These are the basic adjustments that I would apply to this image to add more interest for the viewer. Other options include adding 2 radial filters, one to each of the subjects that will darken the areas around them even more. The basic adjustments here, work (in my opinion) because there no strong leading lines or lines of travel in the photograph, so if the viewers eye does accidentally drift to the edges, then the quantity of contrast and the darken edges will move the viewers eye back into the scene.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 14.23.35
If there are bright areas in the edges, then an edge burn would most likely be effective and required.
In the following example. The young hay gather is the focus, however, the edges are brighter than the main subject. The hay is important as it adds context to the image but I don’t want it to take over and fight for attention with the main subject.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 14.24.40
In this case i would use a Radial filter over the young man that will give more focus on him, then use an adjustment brush on the eyes to increase the exposure to attract the viewer into the scene. In the post process, i’ve also added a gradient filter on the left hand side to darken this area down, as it’s a bit bright. The final touch is a crop to remove the break up of hay on the left, then a post crop vignette of -20 to darken all edges equally.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.11.03
If there are dark edges already, then an additional edge burn won’t make much of a difference, the natural darkness will perform the same thing as the edge burn would. The final presentation should be taken into consideration, and if printing, the type of mount will make a difference. This is just one way of applying an edge burn, there are others ways as well, i.e. Radial filter or if using Photoshop by creating a mask, or using the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop to apply a radial or Post Crop Vignette.
In the following example, there isn’t a great deal of darkness in the edges, there is however  a lot of break up revealing areas of brightness in between the tree branches. In this case there is a danger that the viewers eye will be drawn to the edges. The main subject is the temple, but there is a risk that the speed of the roof will throw the viewer out of the scene.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 14.27.12
To balance the image, the exposure, shadows, highlights and contrast are corrected, as well as the white black points to add more contrast. An edge burn of -20 has been added that will add darkness to the edges. Exploring the scene, in my opinion, the viewers eye will be drawn the roof at the top (due to the brighter areas), then the viewers eye will follow the roof lines, downward. Due to the edge burn, the viewers eye should then naturally pick up the branch of the tree and the viewer should naturally come back to the top of the roof and create a continuous circular flow of movement in the scene.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.20.03
Additional – Using bright areas as part of the scene
In the scene below, the lights are limbic and distracting, however, i feel that in the following example the lights work and are being used as a frame to focus the viewer in to the main part of the image.
 Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 19.38.06
The edge burn combined with the contents and flow of the elements of the image, is a great technique that can significantly improve the look and presence of your final image. This technique is suited to both print and presentation on the digital screen (slide show, a photography portfolio, Facebook or other social networks). It might require a little bit of wrangling to get exactly right and so that the viewer is not able to see it, but in my opinion is defiantly worth the additional effort.

I would like to wish all readers a very Happy Easter and hope that you are able to get out and shoot some frames.