Sandwiched between the histogram display and Basic panel are a series of useful tools. From left to right you have Crop, Spot Removal, Red Eye Correct, Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush. In this post, I’ll take a brief look at each of these. Once Lightroom 3 is completed and fully released, I’ll take a more detailed look at them with any and all of the new features included.
If you press the “R” key (from any Lightroom module), you’ll bring up the crop overlay. It can also be chosen from within the Develop module simply by clicking on it. The first thing that you notice is that a crop bounding box appears around the entire image. The easiest cropping is done by dragging one of the edges or corners to the desired new position. You can reposition the crop within the overall frame by dragging the photo, cycle through different grid overlays by pressing the “O” key, use the ruler tool to straighten the image (hold Option/Alt for additional grid guidelines), and crop to a predefined aspect ratio (make sure the padlock is unlocked) by choosing from a drop down menu.
The spot removal tool (N) is most useful for cleaning bits of sensor dust that appear in the image. These are particularly evident is photos with lots of sky and stopped down apertures but can show up anywhere. Select the spot removal tool, and choose the Heal option. Place your cursor over the dust spot (use the mouse wheel, the [ and ] keys to adjust the size) so that it covers about 25-30% more area than the offending spot. Click and Lightroom with automatically blend it with an adjacent source to remove the blemish. You can repeat this as many times as necessary, but if you find you’re doing it all the time, you might want to give your camera’s sensor a good clean.
Red Eye Correction
Red eye is a common phenomena that can largely be avoided with good camera technique. However, if you do need to use it, you can (I’ve been using Lightroom since it first appeared and have never actually needed this tool). Choose the eye icon on the toolbar and place the cursor over the eyeball. The size can be adjusted in the same manner as with the spot removal tool. Position the crosshair over the pupil, click, release and the red should disappear. You can finetune with the Pupil Size and Darken sliders if need be.
Hit the “M” key or select the graduated filter from the toolbar to activate this one. This filter gives you a series of options designed to replicate the effects of using grad filters in the field. These are often used to darken the sky while leaving the foreground unaltered for example. The drop down offers Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity and Sharpness, as well as a fly-out Color swatch.
Choose the effect that you want and place your cursor (a cross shape) over the image to choose your selection point. Click where you want it inserted and three lines will appear. Click and drag to apply the filter across the area of the image you wish to adjust. A pin will show up at the center of the affected area. You can reposition the filter by dragging on either side of the line to expand or contract the filter, or move the whole thing by dragging the pin.
After you’ve correctly positioned the filter and release the mouse, you’ll be able to edit the various effect options to taste in the panel on the right by adjusting the sliders. Pressing “H” lets you hide the pin and lines in the display area.
The adjustment brush was probably the most praised addition to Lightroom 2. It allows non-destructive adjustments to be made to specific areas of the image, it’s tones and color. The adjustment brush enables photographers to apply dodge and burn techniques within Lightroom.
Choose an area of the image that needs to be brightened or darkened and select the Adjustment Brush (K). To dodge or burn, increase or decrease (respectively) the exposure and/or brightness sliders. Make your brush the required size, adjust the feather and flow (for example medium feather and low flow), select auto mask and simply paint over the image areas that you want to adjust.
You can also use this for things such as whitening eyes and teeth or reddening lips, softening skin (use negative clarity), selective desaturation and more.
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