Yesterday I finished off my post with a couple of HDR images. Today I want to run down exactly what I did to one of those images, post-tonemapping. The image was tonemapped using Photomatix Pro 3.0. For those that aren’t familiar with tonemapping, it is a process that is used to take a 32-bit High Dynamic Range image (which is not viewable on a standard monitor) and map the tones and colors back to a viewable 8 or 16-bit space. Don’t worry, that’s about as technical as I am going to get here. So just to refresh you memory, let’s take a look at the original image, straight out of the camera.
Now let’s have a look at the HDR tonemapped version.
As you can see, the tonemapped version is not ready for prime time viewing by any account. Normally I would take the image into Photoshop and start my burning and color adjustments and other tweaks to get my final image. This time I thought I would do all of my post-tonemapped processing in the new Lightroom 2.0 Beta. There are some great new tools in the beta that really eliminate the need to take the image into Photoshop, most of the time.
So the first thing I did after importing was to move over to the Develop module. From there I made overall adjustments to the image using the Basic panel. The only adjustments I made were to the Exposure, Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation (see panel below)
Then I moved down the panels to the Tone Curve panel. I adjusted my Highlights, Lights and Darks to give me the level of contrast that I wanted.
These features are all available in the 1.x version of Lightroom but coming up are some tools that are only in the beta version. First, I used the Retouching tool to do some localized dodging and burning. This is how dodging and burning should work in Photoshop. This tool just flat out ROCKS! Not only can you paint in the amount of dodging and burning that you want while changing the brush size, you can also increase or decrease the effect using the Amount sliders. You can also add new dodging and burning points that are individually adjustable. And just like everything else in Lightroom, you aren’t really applying the effect to the image, just a representation of your image so it’s never final until you export it. Oh, and you can also see your painted on mask by hovering your mouse over each paint point. So here is a look at my Dodge mask.
And here is my Burn mask.
After dodging and burning, I cropped the image. The Crop tool is still unchanged but why mess with perfection?
Finally I added a vignette in the Vignettes panel. Notice that it’s plural as in more than one. This is another great change that has been added to 2.0. One of my frustrations in working with the old version was the inability to add vignettes to images after they had been cropped. Unless the crop was exactly in the middle of the image, the vignette was always off in one or more corners. But not any longer. Now you can vignette using the using the standard Lens Correction sliders found in ver. 1.x, or you can use the Post-Crop sliders which actually apply an even vignette to your cropped image. WooHoo! It’s the little things, you know?
And there you have it. All of the steps that it took for me to go from clowny to cool and it took a heck of a lot less time to do than it did for me to write about it. Here is the final image that was posted yesterday.
If you have been thinking about downloading the beta but haven’t quite gotten around to pulling the trigger, do yourself a favor and head on over to Adobe Labs and grab yourself a copy while you can. I believe that the 2.0 Beta will run through the end of August of this year which will give you plenty of time to explore all of the great new features. Rumor has it that they might even sneak in a few more goodies into the finished product. I’m just covered in photogeek goosebumps.