An In-Depth Look At The New Lightroom 4 Tonal Adjustments

May 29th, 2012

Back in February of this year when Lightroom 4 was still in beta I did a post on using the Highlight/Shadow slider in Lightroom 4 to pull in more detail in windows. It’s turning out as more people look at and understand Lightroom 4’s new approach to tonal adjustments known as “Process 2012” appears to be a major photo-editing break through.

Charles Cramer has a wonderful in depth look over at on the  Highlight/Shadow slider along with the Clarity and other related sliders in the new LR4.

Cramer says:

In Photoshop, my primary tonal adjustment tool has been the Curves Adjustment layer. I would wildly guess that 85% of the adjustment layers in my Photoshop files are curves. With them I can add or subtract contrast, lighten or darken, change color balance, even do what I call “tonal selections” (see my article here). Lightroom also has a global free-form curve, the Point Curve that is very powerful. But, curves do have their limits. I liken global curve adjustments to a slinky toy—when you expand the tones in one area, another area gets compressed. Open up the shadows, and the highlights get compressed. For these global adjustments, I often say “there is no free lunch”. Well—Lightroom 4 is footing the bill for a catered banquet, as the new Process 2012 raises the bar on image adjustments! The new Shadows and Highlights sliders can do things curves can only dream about.

While Cramer is more of a fine art shooter and maybe fussier about tonal adjustment than many real estate shooters, I think this detailed discussion on how to go about tonal adjustment is valuable.

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6 Responses to “An In-Depth Look At The New Lightroom 4 Tonal Adjustments”

  • and Lightroom 4.1 update is out with the ability to handle HDR Tiff files and a host of bug fixes and lens profiles added.

  • The more I use LR 4, the more I am blown away with it. A definite step forward and Photoshop is being used less and less. Check out Otley Chevin Sunrise
    I took these yesterday an processed them in LR4 from single RAW files in about 30 seconds each… Sooo easy!

  • I upgraded Photoshop CS6, which has the same RAW converter as LR4. I’ve found the highlight recovery and shadow noise control are both improved with this new version. My 5D2/5D cameras have in a sense ‘gained’ dynamic range with less noise with this new converter. The RAW improvements alone were worth the upgrade.

  • The one click lens corrections introduced in LR3 are just unbelievable. Now they just added corrections for high contrast purple fringing and it actually works (well, it worked on the Pentax K5, but not the Q at least).

    Highlight and shadow correction are like the examples, and I haven’t even tried the spot WB yet. You have to download the trial and give it a go.

  • J have lr4 but have Barely gotten into it
    Can anyone recommend easy to understand books or videos on how a Newbie can learn

  • Steph try this one. I will be going down this path and upgrading LR3 to 4…shortly. Just working out the best workflow with lightroom and not Bridge and ACR.

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