New Lightroom tools

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jdemott
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New Lightroom tools

Post by jdemott » April 24th, 2015, 9:07 am

Those who shoot and edit their photos in RAW mode may be interested to know that Adobe has just updated their Lightroom software ( with identical changes in the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for Adobe Photoshop). The biggest change is to allow combining multiple exposures in RAW mode; previously files had to be processed in RAW mode and then the resulting processed files had to be combined in Photoshop. If you discovered that the combined file should have had more RAW adjustments (to color balance for example) you had to start over again.

This new process can be really useful for outdoor landscape photography. RAW files can now be combined either to create an HDR (high dynamic range) file from multiple exposures of one scene, or to create a panorama from shots of adjacent scenes, both of which are pretty common techniques for outdoor photographers. The resulting combined file is still a RAW file, so the process is very simple and flexible--a couple clicks to combine the files and then you start editing the combined RAW file in the normal fashion to adjust color and contrast, etc. Very simple and seems to work really well.

Here is an example using two exposures I took some years ago at Twister Falls on Eagle Creek. I had originally tried combining the shots in Photoshop, but the process was laborious and the results were never completely satisfactory. Here is the shot exposed for the foreground, and with the brightly lit areas in the background completely over-exposed:
Image

Here is the shot exposed for the background with all the foreground so under-exposed that most detail is lost:
Image

And here is the combined HDR file, after a few RAW adjustments:
Image

Obviously, it would be possible to make further refinements to individual taste. One very cool thing is that Lightroom automatically aligns the two exposures and will automatically eliminate any "ghost" artifacts. In the shots above, the breeze from the falls had all the vegetation in the foreground moving, so the stalks of grass seen in front of the falls were in different positions in the two shots. The software automatically eliminated one of the ghost images so the grasses appear in only one position. Cool.

I tried a couple examples with panorama files and found those to be equally easy.

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weathercrazy
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by weathercrazy » April 24th, 2015, 7:03 pm

Is it a free upgrade or do you have to pay? I just DL lightroom in February.

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jdemott
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by jdemott » April 25th, 2015, 8:00 am

If you have the Adobe subscription package, Creative Cloud, ($10/mo for both Photoshop and Lightroom), then the upgrade is included. If you bought Lightroom 5 rather than subscribed, then there is an upgrade charge to get the new version 6. I know software companies often reduce or waive the upgrade charge for recent purchasers, but I don't know whether Adobe does that. LR5 has been out for a couple years so if someone had been using for over a year, then the upgrade fee would be reasonable but it doesn't seem fair to ask you to pay after you just purchased in Feb.

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rainrunner
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by rainrunner » April 25th, 2015, 9:37 pm

I just tried the pano adjustment on some pictures taken a few weeks back and it seemed to work pretty good. It took me a while to figure out where it had put the photo, but I soon figured it out. I like it more than the photo stitch since that seems to leave seams in the pictures when I am working with large file sizes.
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jdemott
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by jdemott » April 26th, 2015, 7:34 am

Nice looking shot!

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forestkeeper
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by forestkeeper » April 26th, 2015, 11:12 am

:) Thanks John! That will be helpful. I try to shoot HDR for waterfalls, trees, and water on sunny days but it's such a chore trying to combine each layer. Also when shooting in dynamic range too. Proper layering skills is one of my biggest challenges.
16378996801_b20e371baf_z (1).jpg
15758272484_1382b13229_z.jpg
So, sometimes it takes a great deal of time to edit each photo. Where can we get the upgrade?

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jdemott
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by jdemott » April 26th, 2015, 2:19 pm

So, sometimes it takes a great deal of time to edit each photo. Where can we get the upgrade?
Sometimes the results are worth the effort...those are both beautiful shots, nicely done. Is that near Bandon?

How you get the upgrade depends on what you currently have. If you don't already have Lightroom, you can search on Adobe Lightroom and go to the Adobe website to download a 30 day free trial, and then pay for a license when and if you want. If you have a purchased copy of Lightroom 5, you can click on Help > Check for Updates. If you have the Creative Cloud subscription, you just click on the updater and it will do the update (I found I also had to log out and back into my Adobe account before the new software was properly activated).

I find that blending two different exposure layers is a pain...there is always some part of the scene that won't blend properly and then you get some weird looking edges. Using the Photoshop HDR tools does a decent job blending but I find that the HDR adjustments tend to give unrealistic looking effects. This latest tool seems to give a nice blend and gives you the tools for nice looking adjustments.

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mjuliana
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by mjuliana » May 6th, 2015, 12:13 pm

If you are willing to go beyond Lightroom to process HDR sets, I would recommend HDRSoft's Photomatix.
You probably have also checked out Trey Ratcliff's HDR tutorial but this might be useful for others...
Thanks,
Mike J

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mdvaden
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Re: New Lightroom tools

Post by mdvaden » May 7th, 2015, 5:29 pm

In the OP, some parts still have an unnatural look, like the background trees in the third final image. That's one drawback with some HDR stuff sometimes.

Some parts looks brighter and some less faded with is okay. But when everything looks well-lit. sometimes it feels like there were 1000 Alien Bees strobes placed all around the scene like a giant photo studio.

Its sort of funny sometimes wanting to improve images in some fashion but having to give up something natural elsewhere.

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