Hey, everyone! Howard Pinsky here from IceflowStudios with a cross-application tutorial. Today,
I’m going to show you guys how Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 and Adobe Photoshop CS6 can
work hand-in-hand to produce stunning HDR images. In the past, I would use one or the other.
Lightroom with a plugin, or directly merge the photos to Photoshop’s HDR Pro. So if
I could use only one application in the past, why the heck would I want to use two? Well
there’s a very good reason. 32-bit editing. With Lightroom 4.1, we now have the ability
to edit 32-bit HDR images, which eliminates the need for an external plugin, and you’92re
more likely to end up with a more natural result. Let’92s take a look.
So here in Lightroom, I have three images
which I took at Oxford University. As you can see, each image has been taken at a different
exposure, to capture the shadows, midtones, and highlights, which a single image simply
cannot do. I’92m only working with 3 images, but if you want an even higher dynamic range,
you can easily use 5 brackets, if your camera supports it.
So, with all three images selected, I’92m
going to right-click on any of them, go to Edit In, and then select Merge to HDR Pro
in Photoshop, which has been available to you for quite sometime. At this point, Photoshop
will spring into action and start the process of not only combining the 3 exposures, but
it will also attempt to line up the images. Sometimes, especially if you’92re like me
and don’92t use a tripod…don’92t tell anyone, your photos may be slightly misaligned.
Lining them up will give you a much cleaner result.
And here’92s the HDR Pro window, which many
of you may be familiar with, but instead of going through all of these sliders to create
a 16-bit HDR image, we’92re actually going to switch over to 32-bit here at the top.
This will simply merge all three images and their data, allowing us to bring it back into
Lightroom and use all the wonderful adjustments that Camera Raw has to offer, which again,
should give you a more natural result than HDR toning would.
Now don’92t worry too much about the white
point slider at the top. It’92s simply there for preview purposes. I’92ll click OK to
finalize the merge, which could take a few minutes, depending on your computer, and the
amount of exposures you’92re working with.
And once the merge is complete, all you need to do is save. A simple Command/Ctrl + S will
pop your new 32-bit image in the same location that the other images are in. Let’92s hop
back over to Lightroom, where our new image should be waiting for us.
And there it is! From here, you can use the
same adjustments that you’92ve been using previously, but because we have a 32-bit image,
made up of three exposures, there is a TON a data to work with. Take a look as I increase
and decrease the exposure. Obviously you wouldn’92t need to go this extreme, but it gives you
an idea as to what’92s actually available to you. I’92ll leave the Exposure increased
ever so slightly, dump the Highlights to get rid of the unnecessary bright areas, and then
increase the Shadows to allow us to see into some of the more shaded areas of this photo.
Of course, what’92s an edit without increasing
the Clarity? This will increase the contrast of your midtones, which will look great on
texture such as bricks and stone. Finally, the overall color of this image is a little
bit dull, so increasing the Vibrance a touch should do the trick. I’92m not going to touch
the Saturation slider, as the stones have a lot of yellow in them. Increasing the Saturation
on images that contain a lot of yellow or skin tones, can result in some funky results.
Sliding down the Develop module, the selective
adjustment tool is also available to us. I love this tool. You’92re able to selectively
adjust the Hue, Saturation and Luminance of any part of your image. For example, if I
wanted a slightly darker sky, under Luminance, I can activate the selective adjustment tool,
and then click and drag on the color I want effected, in this case, the blue of the sky.
Dragging up will brighten it, while dragging it down will darken it.
The same goes for Hue/Saturation. Let’92s
say I wanted to slightly decrease the yellow tint in the stones. Selecting Saturation will
allow me to use the same tool to increase or decrease the saturation of the stones and
even the grass if I wish.
Finally, let’92s slide down the LensCorrections to deal with some of the Chromatic Aberrations
that I see in the trees. Also new in Lightroom 4.1, I can use the Fringe Color Selector to
sample any purple or green fringes that may be present, and then adjust the sliders if
And that should complete the edit! Let’92s take a look at the final result, in comparison
to the original images. We started with an over-exposed image to capture the shaded areas
of the scene, an under-exposed image to capture the lighter areas like the roof of this building,
and a neutral image to capture everything in between, and after merging all three images
into a 32-bit HDR file, and performing some pretty basic edits, we’92re left with a beautiful
photo that captures a range that is more true to what the human eye might see.
So even though if may seem more convenient
to use only one application, utilizing all your resources can leave you with much more
If you want to catch more tutorials just like this, check me out at IceflowStudios.com.