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Car Light Trails

Silverfox

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Joined
Dec 16, 2018
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Hi, Ive taken a stack of photos from a bridge and now want to layer them all together to get the full effect in one "blended" image to then refine. I cannot find a suitable explanation in the book, and by looking on YouTube it seems Lightroom Classic CC cannot do this and I must export to Photoshop. Is this correct or have I missed something that Lightroom can do ? Any help gratefully received as I am a complete newbie at Lightroom but I'm a fast learner :)
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
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Houston, TX USA
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Yes this is a job for Photoshop. Lightroom can only work with and produce a single layer. Photoshop can work with multiple layers and merge them into a single composite layer. Once the single composite layer is back in LR it is just like any other LR image.

I'm curious about your Subject line and how it relates to multiple layers. Car light trails are usually generated in a single photo using a very slow shutter speed to "smear" the tail lights while providing a proper exposure to turn the night scene into a scene with more the light dots on a black background.
 
Joined
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London
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It would be a job for Photoshop and relatively easy there.

One would use different methods depending on if the frames are well aligned - eg on a tripod. Assuming so, you could start from LR's grid and choose Edit With > Open As Layers In Photoshop. Then in PS's Layers palette, select the layers except for the Background layer and change the blending mode to Lighten.

That's what I did here. There are two raw files (DNGs) and the final TIF, and the Layers palette. You can also see I masked the top layer to prevent other stray bits of light from appearing in the final result.

If the images aren't well aligned, open them all in PS and then run File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack, and there's alignment and stack mode options I don't remember everything (!) so I'd have to work out the exact steps if this method is needed, but I know this was the technique for more difficult cases.

John
 

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Silverfox

New Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
4
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
Yes this is a job for Photoshop. Lightroom can only work with and produce a single layer. Photoshop can work with multiple layers and merge them into a single composite layer. Once the single composite layer is back in LR it is just like any other LR image.

I'm curious about your Subject line and how it relates to multiple layers. Car light trails are usually generated in a single photo using a very slow shutter speed to "smear" the tail lights while providing a proper exposure to turn the night scene into a scene with more the light dots on a black background.
Many thanks Clee for your rapid & helpful reply - I thought i would eventually have to go for Photoshop CC to accompany Lightroom.
Regarding subject matter - the road was not very busy so each image I took only had a few trails exposed. After taking perhaps 15 different images I will probably have enough that when put together there will be a good blend of red, white and indeed blue streaks as police cars came along. My camera settings gave a fine background of the bridge with no car shapes exposed as they travelled too fast, but their light trails give a "steady" focused image.
 

Silverfox

New Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
4
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
It would be a job for Photoshop and relatively easy there.

One would use different methods depending on if the frames are well aligned - eg on a tripod. Assuming so, you could start from LR's grid and choose Edit With > Open As Layers In Photoshop. Then in PS's Layers palette, select the layers except for the Background layer and change the blending mode to Lighten.

That's what I did here. There are two raw files (DNGs) and the final TIF, and the Layers palette. You can also see I masked the top layer to prevent other stray bits of light from appearing in the final result.

If the images aren't well aligned, open them all in PS and then run File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack, and there's alignment and stack mode options I don't remember everything (!) so I'd have to work out the exact steps if this method is needed, but I know this was the technique for more difficult cases.

John
Just excellent - thank you so much for your time and understanding. MUCH appreciated.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,694
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
Just excellent - thank you so much for your time and understanding. MUCH appreciated.
Silverfox,

As you (and other newcomers to Lightroom and this forum) gain experience with Lightroom, I would encourage you to contribute your knowledge to the next beginner who comes along. Sometimes you take out from the pot, and other times you put into the pot.

Phil Burton
 
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