The Lightroom 4 beta was released just over a week ago. Are you getting used to the changes?
The new Develop controls undoubtedly take a little getting used to, particularly if you’ve used ACR or Lightroom for some years.
There are some great tutorials on the new Develop sliders, so we won’t reinvent the wheel here, but how about a quick summary to help you remember?
- Forget everything you know and treat it like a new program – it basically is.
- All of the sliders now work the same way – moving to the left darkens, moving to the right lightens.
- Try working from the top down in the Basic panel, even if you’ve always used another slider order. They’re in that order for a reason. You might go back and tweak slightly, but because the sliders are image-adaptive and some base their range on earlier sliders, you’ll find yourself bouncing all over the place if you insist on a different order.
- Whereas in the past you’d use Exposure to set the white point, now you use it to set the midtones, and don’t worry if that blows out highlights. That’s the hardest change to get used to, for me, at least!
- Once you’ve got the overall midtone brightness about right, tweak Contrast, again focusing on midtones. You’ll fix the highlights and shadows separately. Even if you never used to use Contrast on the old sliders, you’ll probably need it now.
- From that point, Highlights does upper tones, Shadows does lower tones. If you go too far (50+), it can start to get a tone mapped HDR type look, which is why you need to get Exposure slider right (or close) first. If you get that right, the others fall in nicely.
- Finally, the Whites and Blacks sliders affect the clipping point. In many cases you may not even need to touch those sliders.
That’s the basic overview. A few other odd tips that may come in handy…
- There isn’t a separate Recovery slider anymore, but you don’t need it as it’s automatically integrated into the Exposure slider, so it rolls off like film. It works much much better than it did before. If you want to do the opposite and clip the highlights, use the Whites slider.
- To get a Fill Light type effect, bump Exposure a bit and then pull down Highlights to compensate.
- In many cases, the nicest results come from fairly symmetrical Highlights and Shadows values. If one slider is wildly higher than the other, check to see whether you need to adjust Exposure.
- Clarity is also completely different. The halos are gone, but you’ll need much lower values than you used previously because the range of the slider is greater.
If you’d like more detail, I’ve included examples and diagrams in my Lightroom 4 book, which is available now.
If you haven’t seen the videos yet, here are my favorites:
Lynda.com free introduction by Chris Orwig
Adobe’s own introduction by Julianne Kost
And feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments.