A Glimpse into RAW Processing | Transcription

In the last video, we talked about in-camera processing. In-camera processing is absolutely wonderful, especially for achieving, getting closer to your final vision in camera. That’s something that I’d always recommend. Get as close as possible, get your images right in camera and then use raw processing and additional editing to finalize your vision.

In this video here, we are going to give you a demonstration of RAW processing and how powerful it is and what you can do essentially to achieve a final vision and the flexibility you have in a RAW file in doing all these things. Now, of course, RAW processing, and in this example we are going to be using Lightroom. This is really beyond the scope of Photography 101.

RAW processing, in and of itself, we have a 20-hour, 3-DVD video course in the Lightroom Workshop Collection that teaches essentially the entire process. Everything from importing and managing your files in a Lightroom all the way over to organization and workflow, all the way through to advanced artistic effects and how to develop images for HDR looks, for high contrast color, for low contrast fades, for filmic fades, for black and white and amazing editorial looks. All that stuff is covered in that workshop collection.

I would say that if this is a topic that interests you, then be sure to check it out because post-processing or RAW processing is really as big a part of the artistry in photography as any other step along the way.

Let’s go ahead and get started. I’m going to work on this image that we shot for Keith and Christine’s little shoot right here. What we are going to do is, I’m going to go ahead and just show first. We are going to go through and process this just normally. Really you don’t need to follow on guys, we are going to be going superfast. In the actual workshop collection, we explained everything in complete detail. I don’t want to spent hours here, I just want to show you a quick glimpse of what can be done, so just follow on and watch what we are doing and it will make complete sense. Once we process this manually, we are going to go through and show the power in having a preset system along with it because it speeds up the workflow tremendously.

Let’s go ahead and start this off, we are going to start with the biggest adjustments first and for this image, its exposure. We are going to adjust the exposure and temperature. Now I’m going to go ahead and add a little tone curve. Tone curves are these little mathematical looking things that look crazy, but in reality they’re not. We cover this in a lot of detail in the workshop so that you guys can have complete control over your images. They are actually quite fantastic.

I’m also going to pull down the clarity just a little bit just to reduce midtone contrast, and let’s grab a little bit of shadows in blacks and add those in as well. I’m also going to reduce the reds and the oranges just a bit because their skin tones are a little bit on the orange and red side. I’m just going to pull those out in the saturation just a little bit. Let’s go ahead and we are going to zoom in. This was shot on a prime lens, it was shot on a 35mm at F2, so you’ll notice that it’s a bit soft. What we are going to do is just add a bit more sharpening to this image. Let’s go ahead and increase the radius as well, add a little bit of detail, and that’s pretty solid.

I might do a tiny bit of noise reduction, just to decrease some of that fine, fine noise grain that’s being added by some of the sharpening. Doing too much noise reduction when you’re sharpening is actually going to counteract the sharpening effect. This is a good basic look at what this image would look like processed. If I hit backslash (/), which is the before button on Lightroom, you’ll see this is the before and this is the after. We come quite a long way just making a few adjustments here.

Now if I wanted to say adjust the curve, maybe I want to go for a little more of a matte finish, I can do that. I can pull up the curve and create more of a subtle matte finish to this image by pulling down the highlights, pulling down the shadows. We just pulled down the highlights on this side, we pulled up the shadows on this side, we get more that matte filmic look. I’m going to drop the contrast a bit, and then I might just adjust a little bit of that exposure. Oh sorry, not exposure, temperature a little bit.

Again, here is another completely different look just by adjusting a little bit like tone curve. Now this is great. Processing image like this, it’s taken years for me to get this quick as far as processing. I can process an image like this in 30 seconds to a minute very, very efficiently, but presets is what’s going to make it that much more powerful in essence, because what we can do with presets is we have more control over the vision and we can get there much quicker.

Let me go ahead and give you a demonstration. What I’m going to do is let’s go ahead and create a virtual copy of this image. I do that by hitting Control + ‘ (Apostrophe), Command + ‘ (Apostrophe) if you’re on a Mac. I’m going to reset this out and then what we are going to do is just click through. I don’t know why I’m telling you all the buttons because there is too many buttons to talk through. Let’s just go through and do this.

What I’m going to do now is I’m just going to do a Foundation Preset, which is basically going to apply everything that we just did in one single click. All I got to do now, apply the skin desaturation, our sharpening, our color affects, everything. All I’m going to do is basically just brighten this up. Then I can choose my temperature. I can just bring up the temperature a little bit, and we get to that first basic look.

Now let’s say from here I’m going to create another virtual copy. Now let’s say that I want go ahead and I want to actually darken down the image. What we have based on adjustments here, we can actually just crush the blacks a bit, get more contrast there. Fantastic. Let’s create another virtual copy.

Now for me I’d say, what if I want to add a filmic look to it? I can go up to our stylization and add a Neutral Matte to it, which again adds that matte finish in one single click. All that adjustment in the tone curve is all done. Let’s say I want to do a black-and-white, I’m going to go ahead and just click Black and White, and fantastic. I’m just going to add a little black to that. Great, maybe adjust my exposure by 0.5 then pull the blacks down just a little bit more. Let’s bring the blacks down. Great, we have this nice high contrast black-and-white look.

Now what if I want a black-and-white with more of a matte finish. Again, I’m going to choose a matte, I can go with a Neutral Matte, I can go with a Filmic for more film grain and so forth. I’m going to go with the Filmic, I’m going to adjust my exposure down just a bit and I’m just going to pull back my blacks just a little bit. Then we can make, if you need to make fine-tuning adjustments, you can do that just by going to the sliders.

Again, what if I want to go back to a color. Let’s say I go back to a color, I’m going to do, this time, let’s go see what a skin desat looks like. That looks nice, but I want to kick up the blues and greens, so let’s do that. Let’s kick up the blues and greens. Now let’s basically pull down the blacks, so now we have a nice crush look to be image again. This is how the presets work in making so many effects very simple, very quick and easy to access. You are not having to go through tons of sliders.

Let’s do one last one. I’m going to get a little more advanced with this one. I’m going to go with, let’s go with a color skin desat, and then we are going to go with a bright wash. Then for this, I’m going to do is bring down the black just a little bit. Then what we can do here is I can go and change the colorization via several different ways. First what I’m going to do is adjust the curve. I’m going to into my, let’s do a warming curve. Rather than just a standard bright wash, I’m going to add amber toning into that bright wash, or I can choose apricot toning if I want to be a little bit more orange. I even have warm cross processing, but let’s go with amber.

We’ll stick with that, and I’m going to say I’m going to add one more level of color effects over that with a little bit of yellow violet toning. Now we have a vintage, like a stylized color look to the image, again with just a couple of clicks. This would take five minutes for me to dial in all these adjustments to get to this point, but we have in just a couple of seconds. All those different looks, we just created several different looks to the image. It hasn’t updated these previous, let’s just click on it and see if it updates it. There we go.

In just a quick matter of seconds, we got to each one of these. Again, the presets also include things for retouching. Let’s go and try one more image. I have this image over here. Let’s go ahead and do the basics where I’m just going to go up and I’m going to go with a black-and-white for this image, and I dig that. The black-and-white has – let me show you this real quick. This is really cool. I’m going to hit Control Shift R, Command Shift R just to reset this out. This is the standard black-and-white conversion that Legroom gives you. This is the preset black-and-white conversion.

You see how we get to pretty much a finished image just with one single click. Now from here I’m going to put a matte finish on it. Then I can soften the skin if I need to, but really the skin is where I want to be. If I want to soften it up, I might soften it to that point and then brighten the image, but I like it with that little more contrasting look, so I’m just going to pull it down just a bit.

From here let’s go and show you just a little of the retouching stuff. In retouching, if we bring up our local adjustment brushes, we have all these options here. If want to do a little bit of detail enhancements, let’s say that, I want her hair just to have a little more kick to it, I can just go and paint this in just to her hair. Gives the hair just a little more richness, a little more detail. It makes it pompous a little bit more. Cool, that looks nice.

Let’s say now I’m going to hit new and now I’m going to just do a little bit work on the eyes. I can go to the eye brightener, I’m going to zoom in and we are just going to bring this right over the eyes. This image is a little bit soft too. Let’s see. That’s all right though. It works for the purpose of our tutorial.

When you’re shooting on these primes, it’s really, really important to take a lot of shots. I think I’m pretty sure I have some sharper images of this, but this one just happened to get selected here, so that’s not a big deal. When you brighten the eyes, one of my favorite tests to see if you’ve gone too far with it is to go back to grid view or go with thumbnail view and then just enlarge the size of it. If the eyes look like they’re popping out like alien form, like they are right now, then you’ve gotten a little bit too far. What I’m going to do is go back in, I’m going to click on that little pin for her eyes, I’m just going to pull it back a little bit, so I’m just clicking and dragging to the left to tone it down a little bit.

I’m going to add another one. We are going to go this time into our Iris Enhancer, and we are going to zoom in, and we are just going to go right over those irises, just to make those irises pop just a little bit. Again, we can adjust that down just by clicking the pin and just pulling it back a little bit and getting it down. Nice natural look. Let’s again, go back a little bit and see, still has a little bit too much pop to it, so what I’m going to do is just adjust the brightening down because the actual, the other pin is actually over the top. Actually, let’s delete that one, just leave the iris. All we are going to do is just leave it over the iris and that looks fantastic like that.

Perfect. We also have enhancers, we’ve gotten black and white in this, so it’s not going to do too much, but there was also a lip enhancer, which is going to boost colors. We have teeth whitening and so forth, catch light enhancing for the eyes and just tons of really cool stuff. We can even add a flare. Actually I want to show you what that looks like, it’s cool.

Let’s take a look at this. I’m going to go ahead and just hit backslash. Here is the before image and here is the after, get two really nice beautiful looks. If we want to do any retouching with the skin, we can. We have these line diminishers in here as well, if you go right here we have a line diminisher, but that’s why we’ve brighten up the image quite a bit, so that these lines on the forehead really don’t appear. If you want to diminish them further, you can actually use the line diminish if needed.

This looks fantastic. Let’s go back here just for one quick click. I want to show you one nifty little thing. In the newest version we added a lovely little sun flare thing to the presets, so watch. I’m going to switch this to a neutral matte, so it has a soft fade going onto, just I feel like it fits with that flare look. I’m going to go down to our sun flare and what I’m going to do is just increase the size of this brush now.

All right, so after I get to our appropriate size, I’m just going to drag and drop this in right where I feel like it would fit. Typically to get the best effect you are going to drop the flare over the area where the light is coming from. In this scene, it looks like the light is directly behind them or directly above them. What I’m going to do is just place it right here, and we get this lovely little flare coming in through the trees. Very simple, very quick, and we have a very convincing flare.

Here is that before and here is our lovely flare. We can actually paint in more of this if we want to go across. We can then hold down ALT or options and we can shape it however we like. Let’s hold down ALT, let’s bring that over, there we go. Just a nice soft flare coming in from the top, very nice, very convincing, all within Lightroom.

That’s it. As far as post-processing goes, so hopefully this gives you a glimpse into what can be done, how much artistry goes into the raw processing portion.

CHAPTER 1: BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY CONCEPTS

CHAPTER 2: UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE

CHAPTER 3: FROM AUTO MODES TO MANUAL

CHAPTER 4: SHARP IMAGES AND FOCUSING TECHNIQUES

Chapter 5: COMPOSITION, ARTISTRY, AND CREATING GREAT IMAGES

Chapter 6: LEARNING MORE ABOUT YOUR CAMERA

Chapter 7: BONUS

Total Course Run Time: 6H 30M 21S