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Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

20 Feb

Focusing on color can help you communicate style and emotion. This approach is often referred to as color grading.

Color grading versus color correction

You may have wondered how this differs from color correction, which is more of a technical adjustment. A tungsten bulb, for example, will produce a color shift in your images that’s warmer than what you’re accustomed to seeing with your eyes. Often you want to adjust that hue, cooling it off a bit so that it appears more natural. That’s a correction.

Color grading, on the other hand, leans toward the artistic. You may want to add or enhance orange tones and teals to create a mood similar to what one would experience in the movies. Exact reality isn’t the goal. It’s more about a creative look that elicits a feeling.

Here’s a simple example. Compare these two portraits. The first picture seems perfectly fine. The rendered colors are similar to what we would perceive if standing there during capture.

Color Corrected Portrait - color grading in Luminar 2018

A reasonably color correct portrait.

The second image is color graded to communicate a style, a look. And even though it isn’t natural by everyday lighting standards, it’s interesting – and probably more engaging than the “correct” color version.

Color Graded Portrait - color grading using LUTs

This version was color graded in Luminar 2018 using Chrono-Steel LUT by Lutify.me.

All image editors are equipped to correct color. But some are better than others at providing the means to manipulate it stylistically. Luminar 2018 is one of those creative applications.

The Power of LUTs

Lookup Tables (LUTs) sound like a technical adjustment. And indeed there is plenty of color science at work under the hood. They are used to precisely shift colors from one spot to another. But those shifts can be stored in a container, such as a “.cube” file, that can be used to color grade an image.

So even though LUTs are precise color science, their recipes can be wonderfully artistic.

Las vegas comparison - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

A side by side comparison of this Las Vegas scene shows how color grading can breathe life into an image.

The original version of this Las Vegas scene was serviceable, but certainly not exciting. Nor did it convey the majesty of the building. By color grading with a teal and orange LUT, suddenly the scene comes to life.

Does it look exactly like that in reality? No. But does the image feel like Las Vegas? Definitely more than the original.

Applying LUTs in Luminar 2018

Your gateway to this type of color grading in Luminar 2018 is via the LUT Mapping Filter. You can add this adjustment to your workspace by clicking on the Filters button, and by choosing LUT Mapping from the Professional category.

Adding LUT Mapping - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

LUT Mapping is available via the Filters menu in Luminar 2018.

Once the filter has been added to the workspace, click on the popup menu inside the panel to reveal the built-in LUTs (such as Tritone and Kodack chrome 3), or to access LUT files that you may have already added to your computer via Load Custom LUT File.

Before After Color Grading

LUT Mapping Filter - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

Luminar comes with built-in LUTs, or you can add your own.

Once you select a LUT, the image is color graded via the LUT’s recipe. You can fine-tune the recipe using the Amount, Contrast, and Saturation sliders. Also, a good companion filter for this color grading with LUTs is HSL, which provides color adjustments for hue, saturation, and luminance.

HSL Filter - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

Tips for Effective Color Grading with LUTs

Creating a separate adjustment layer for your color grading provides lots of flexibility. The base layer is used for basic adjustments via the Develop filter and the other tools that you need to establish a good range of tones. The adjustment layer (Layers > Add New Adjustment Layer) contains the LUT Mapping, HSL, and other creative filters. You can then use the blend modes and the opacity slider for precise control over the grading.

Custom Preset - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

Saving your LUT as a custom preset provides you with a preview thumbnail as well.

Another handy technique is to save your LUT color grading as a custom preset. Luminar makes this easy. Once you achieve a look that you want to use again, save it as a custom preset. Use the “Save Filters Preset” button in the lower right corner of Luminar. This provides the added benefit of a preview thumbnail for the LUT and its accompanying adjustments. You can create custom presets for all of your favorite LUTs. That’s a real time saver.

LUTs are also terrific for film emulation. There are LUTs for Kodachrome, Polaroid, and B&W film looks. This is a high-quality way to build your own Instagram-like filters, with a pinch of your own creativity added.

Downloading and Organizing More LUT Files

Skylum maintains a LUT downloads page that you can access through Luminar. Click on “Download New LUT Files” in the LUT Mapping popup menu. This will take you to the Skylum LUT catalog.

Download New LUTs - Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018

Once you download a new collection of LUTs, store them in a place that you will remember, such as a LUTs folder in Pictures or Documents. You’ll have to navigate there when you use the “Load Custom LUT File” command in Luminar. The application doesn’t store LUTs for you, so you have to remember where you are.

Bonus tip! Store your custom LUTs in Dropbox so you can access them from any computer.

Save Your Work

If you’re using Luminar 2018 as a standalone app (as opposed to a plug-in or editing extension), then save your favorite color gradings as a Luminar file. This allows you to return to the image and its settings at a future date to continue your work, or to change the color grading to another style.

Make it Look Easy

Your viewers may not realize the techniques that you used to create the enticing color schemes in your images. What they will notice are your style and creativity. Using LUTs can contribute greatly to that pursuit.

Disclaimer: Skylum (formerly Macphun) is a paid partner of dPS.

The post Easy Color Grading With LUTs and Luminar 2018 by Derrick Story appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

13 Feb

Over the past few months, I’ve been testing out the features of Luminar. I’ve looked at the time-saving features that can help reduce your editing headaches. I’ve also played around with the AI filter to see how it holds up in quickly editing holiday photos and now it’s time to check Luminar’s capabilities when it comes to creating a retro look for your photos.

I wanted to know if Luminar would be quick, easy to use and create a look that tastefully gave my photos the look and feel of shooting with film.

Retro Look #1

To embark on this experiment, I studied some famous older photographs. My goal was to shoot a few images that paid tribute to the look and feel of old-school Hollywood. I saw this first image of Sophia Loren from the 1960’s and knew it was perfect. I love the style of dress from past eras and thought this would be a suitable project.

Sophia Loren Image

The goal was to create an image with a similar look and feel. I borrowed my friend Nahleen, she has some similar features to Sophia Loren. Once she agreed we set out to capture an image and then process for that 1960’s film look. Here’s the original image we took.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

This is the original unedited photo.

It was shot outdoors on a cold and frosty December afternoon. Nahleen has some similar features to Sophia Loren but is by no means a carbon copy. Instead, I was more interested in attaining a photo in which the fur hood framed her face.

So now that we had captured the image, it was time to bring it into Luminar. I tried to make to make the conversion as simple and quick to complete as possible. I will admit that I tried several times with different settings, etc. until I found a look that I felt was similar to the Sophia Loren image.

The AI Filter was used to bring out some contrast in the image. The photo of Sophia Loren was quite sharp and also had a fairly contrasty look, so my first goal was to pull out the dark tones and brighten my lighter tones to match more closely.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

The Accent slider made adjustments quickly and easily.

The B&W Workspace

I then used the B&W Workspace to guide my editing of the photo. I adjusted several sliders. The intention was to increase the contrast and create some fairly strong blacks.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

The B&W Workspace comes equipped with a variety of filters all designed to help with black and white conversions.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here are the settings I used.

Adding Film Grain

My final step was to add film grain. At first, I cranked up the amount of film grain. In this screenshot, you can see how strongly I adjusted it. I always like to adjust a setting by purposely using too much. Then I back off the amount until I find a nice balance.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here you can see that I’ve adjusted the grain to a fairly heavy amount. For the final image, I backed off a bit.

The whole process was pretty quick. Once I found the right settings it didn’t take too long to recreate this retro look. The final photograph is dark and contrasty but also a little different from the original Sophia Loren shot.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

The final image is cropped in closer. My use of film grain is also heavier than in the original Sophia Loren shot.

Retro Look #2

In this second shot, I used a photo from a recent photo shoot in which I was working with a young lady to create a portfolio of modeling images. The 10-hour photo session was created using a very basic budget, but we made sure to utilize a retro outfit for this article.

The bell bottoms and the fur jacket were both found at the thrift store, as was the backdrop. We were working a tight space with limited materials.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here’s the original unedited file. It was shot in my living room. We used a very basic DIY type of set up.

Free Presets

For this shot, I decided to take advantage of Luminar’s free presets. There are lots of free presets available for download, and I was lucky enough to find a set of free analog-film looks.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here’s a look at all the free presets available on the Luminar website.

Quick Clicks and Some Cloning

The look of this image was very easy to create with just a few simple adjustments. I chose a cross-processing look and then tweaked it to my liking. The accompanying texture was applied pretty heavily. I found that it was overwhelming the image. So I chose to back off the strength of the texture.

I also cropped the image slightly and applied the Orton Effect filter. It quickly smoothed the model’s skin, and I didn’t need to go in and do any retouching on her face. This saved me quite a lot of time.

Finally, I took the image into Photoshop, where I cloned and added a layer to fill in the areas around the outside where you could see my living room in the original shot.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

The preset applied without any adjustments to the original settings.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

I started to make some minor adjustment to the original settings found in the preset which included adjusting the saturation in cross-processing.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here’s the split screen of the before and after views. I completed some cropping and clone stamping.

Plug in for Photoshop

Luminar also has the capability to clone and add layers, but I’ll be honest there’s a part of me that will forever remain loyal to Photoshop for completing these parts of the editing process. This is partly why I really like Luminar  – it works as a plug-in for Photoshop as well. I can move back and forth between the two programs pretty seamlessly.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here’s the final edited image.

Retro look #3

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

This is the original unedited file.

For this final shot, I decided to edit the image fully in Luminar. I started from scratch with a RAW file. The goal was to experiment with the full editing capabilities of Luminar. The intention was to create a sepia look image that felt like an older faded photograph.

To start, I opened the B&W Workspace. It contains all the tools I needed for this conversion. That means I didn’t have to search through the list of filters to find anything.

Next, I applied the orange filter, cropped the image and adjusted contrast. I also adjusted the black and white sliders and played around with the strength of this first filter. I did consider creating a color image with a faded look but decided to go with full black and white.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Here’s a look at the faded film style.

Split Toning

After making these adjustments, I started to experiment with the Split Toning sliders. I gave the image a more brownish tone. This step took some experimentation with saturation and various colors.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

These are the sliders and colors I experimented with during editing.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

After adding the split toning, it was time to add a vignette and film grain. Again I adjusted the grain so it was very heavy and then backed it off to a more suitable amount. The longest part of this whole process was finding a texture that I liked which I felt fit with the feel of the image I wanted to create. I tried several. Luminar comes with lots of free textures you can download. They all seemed to work quite nicely.

In the end, I chose a weathered-looking texture and used the brush tool to apply it to the image in varying amounts. I didn’t want a lot of heavy texture over her face. Here are the final results of my editing and experimentation. The image has a heavier texture application along with film grain and a stronger vignette. The B&W Workspace worked perfectly. It placed all the necessary tools right at my fingertips.

Experimenting with Different Textures

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

I tend to adjust the image quite strongly then slowly back off the effect until I find the treatment I like.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

I played around with several different textures to create the old damaged photograph type of look.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Overlay option number two.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Overlay option number three.

The Finished Image

The final image includes the texture you see in the image above, but I backed it off quite a bit. Here are the results of the experiment. The application of the texture was reduced down to about 14. I didn’t want the effect to be as heavy-handed as in the image above.

In this final finished image, you can see the texture is most obvious around the edges. It’s a subtle texture called tattered that was available in the free downloads section of the Luminar webpage.

How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar

Your turn

Luminar comes equipped with a full array of filters that can help you to create a retro look for your images in both black and white and color. Give it a try, they have a 14-day free trial.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Create a Retro Look for Your Images with Luminar by Erin Fitzgibbon appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

07 Feb

Luminar’s powerful, customizable approach to image editing is wrapped in a cloak of simplicity which is great for photographers who tend to feel intimidated by the hundreds of buttons, menu options, and sliders available in other post-processing programs. The more you use it the more you will likely realize that there is far more to Luminar 2018 than a handful of presets and filters. You will probably stumble across some neat hidden features that can do a lot to improve your editing and workflow.

Here are 10 of my favorite features, in no particular order, that I found just by poking around and going about my usual business of editing photos with Luminar. Not all of these will change your life, but several might make you react like I did, by thinking “Hey now, that’s really useful!”

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

Luminar has a host of small but useful features up its sleeve to help novices and professionals alike.

#1 – Before/after preview slider

As a longtime user of Lightroom, the idea of having a before/after preview is nothing new. With one click you can see your image split in two, with one half as the original and the other half showing the edits. Luminar has this feature as well but it kicks things up one notch by allowing you to move the preview slider back and forth.

This lets you see your edits applied to any part of the image you want, and it updates instantaneously as you move the slider. It’s an incredibly useful feature that you might not notice at first, but once you do could seriously improve your editing.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#2 – Lasso tool for erasing

Sometimes you need the Spot Healing tool to remove unwanted blemishes and imperfections from an image, but sometimes that very same tool can drive you crazy due to its imprecise nature and circular application brush. When I first started using Luminar I was well aware of its healing tool that functioned much like similar tools in other applications, but I didn’t realize that it was also possible to use the same technology with a lasso-style implementation.

To erase oddly-shaped portions of an image select Tools>Erase, then select the lasso tool, and then click to outline the spot that you want to erase. When you are finished, click “done” and Luminar will eliminate it like it was never even there.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

I liked this image but was not happy with the orange banner in the background.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

The Lasso Erase tool let me select just the banner and then remove it from the photo with one click.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

The final image is much improved, and it took very little effort to do so.

#3 – Single View Mode

As you add filters to an image it can get a little cumbersome having to deal with an ever-expanding vertical list of image adjustments. Thankfully there is an easy way to tame your filters. Just click on the Filters label at the top of the list and choose Single View Mode.

This collapses all of your filters and allows you to work with just one at a time, dynamically collapsing it when you click on another one. This single tip has saved me countless headaches as I scroll up and down my filters workspace to find the one I need, and I don’t think I could ever go back to any other way of editing.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#4 – Edit multiple images at one time

This one requires a bit of legwork but it can really come in handy depending on your editing needs. If you want to work with multiple images at one time, each on its own layer and with its own set of filters, click the + button in the Layers panel and add a new Image Layer. This new layer is added on top of your existing layer and can be combined with another layer with tools like masking and by changing the opacity.

However, you can also work on both images side-by-side by using the Free Transform option in the Tools menu. First select one of the layers, then click Tools > Free Transform, and re-size the image so it’s on one side of your screen. Do the same for the other layer, and you now have a workspace that allows you to edit multiple images at the same time.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#5 – Crop to Facebook cover

If you have ever uploaded a picture to your Facebook page as a Cover Photo you may have been disappointed to see your painstakingly-edited picture re-cropped and re-sized so the final result is a shadow of what you intended.

Luminar’s crop tool has a way to mitigate this issue entirely by including a Crop to Facebook Cover option in the crop tool. This will ensure that your resulting image will be just the right dimensions to fit perfectly on top of your Facebook profile page without any annoying automated edits from Mark Zuckerberg and his company.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#6 – Click the histogram to show color channels

It’s no secret that Luminar has a histogram view, and in fact, it would be kind of surprising if any image editor worth its salt didn’t have this tool. But what’s a little different here is that you can click the histogram to show individual color channels one by one.

This might not be something you use every single day but can really come in handy if you want to see the exposure level of the reds, blues, and greens.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#7 – Apply user presets during batch processing

Luminar’s workflow generally revolves around the idea of applying filters. You can also instantly apply many filters at once using a preset. What I find more useful, though, is that you can combine different filters to make your own presets, such as one that I use quite often called “Clarignette” that applies a bit of clarity while also adding a vignette.

It’s a simple but effective preset that I tend to use on many images, and Luminar’s batch processing tool makes this even easier. When you load a series of images for batch processing you can apply any of Luminar’s existing presets in addition to any custom presets you create yourself. This can dramatically speed up your editing if you find yourself doing the same types of editing operations on many of your photos.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#8 – Drag-and-drop layer reordering

Luminar’s layer-based workflow functions much like Photoshop and other editing applications. While this particular tip might not be especially groundbreaking it is something I found to be very handy. You can, of course, rename layers by double-clicking on their name and use blend modes by right-clicking on them (or control-clicking on a Mac).

But one thing I didn’t realize at first was how easy it was to reorder the layers in Luminar 2018. A simple drag-and-drop can be used to adjust which layer comes first. Since your edits are applied in a top-down fashion this can have a big impact on your overall image.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#9 – Change editing background color with one click

As a longtime user of Lightroom I have developed a pretty consistent set of editing preferences, and I have found that a light gray background helps me focus on editing my images without straining my eyes too much. However, sometimes I want to change the background color.

Luminar handles this with one click, which makes it a lot easier and more practical. Simply right-click (or control-click on a Mac) anywhere in the background area of your editing workspace to change the color.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

#10 – One-Click Preset Updates

It’s not uncommon for me to create a preset and then change it over time as my editing evolves, but for a while I used a cumbersome process to do this. It involved clicking on a preset, changing its parameters, saving it as a new preset. Then I’d navigate to the Preset folder on my computer to delete the original preset and finally change the name of the revised preset.

It was a chore and often resulted in a Preset folder littered with old versions that I didn’t use anymore, but thankfully there is a much easier way to do this. Simply click the name of one of your Custom Presets in the tray at the bottom of the screen and choose “Update with current settings” and your preset will be updated without any other work on your part.

Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident

More to discover

While some of these tips might not be new to you at all, each was something I stumbled across by accident while using Luminar 2018. They served as a reminder to me of how I appreciate this program’s ability to surprise and delight.

I enjoy finding useful tips and tools by accident, and Luminar is full of these sorts of hidden, helpful features. What sorts of things have you come across while using Luminar? Do you have a favorite tip or trick to share? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post Top 10 Luminar 2018 Features That I Discovered by Accident by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar

23 Jan

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it’s that time of year again. It’s cold, windy, snowy and very, very white. Winter wonderlands are the ideal things to shoot this time of year. When everything around you is frosted with snow and ice, even everyday things take on a magical feel.

When you step outdoors to shoot this winter, however, an icy fairytale landscape might not be exactly what you get. Here in Chicago if it’s not white, it’s pretty darn grey. That doesn’t make for very pretty pictures. Grey weather days look really blah in 2-D. Actually, even an amazing landscape filled with sparkling snow can make a surprisingly flat image. Let’s break down a few ways that you can process your winter images in Luminar to really make them pop.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Running horses

My final version of wild horses running through a white-out snowstorm in northern Nevada. I adjusted the black point to -20 by dragging the slider until the histogram just touched the left side. I also made a few more adjustments in Luminar, including boosting the Shadows, reducing the Highlights and enhancing Vibrance. Canon 7DII with 100-400mm II plus 1.4x III extender @ 560mm, f/8, 1/1000th, ISO 400.

Adjust Your Whites and Blacks

In Luminar, you adjust the White and Black points in the RAW Develop Filter (if you’re adjusting a JPG it’s just called “Develop”), or in the dedicated Whites/Blacks Filter. These adjustments are an important first step for images with snow. By shifting the Blacks and Whites, you maximize the range of light and dark tones in your image. That helps give white snow texture and depth.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - running horses raw image

The unprocessed RAW file of the above image. Compare it to the lead image and look at the difference just a few adjustments made.

Adjust your Whites so that your snow isn’t “blown out” (which means it won’t show any detail). Usually, you’ll need to drag the Whites slider to the left. The histogram should just be touching the right side. Now grab your Blacks and drag it so that the histogram just touches the left side.

Fine-Tune Your White Balance

The White Balance setting is also in the Develop Filter. To help add pop to your winter images, adjust the Temperature of your image to be either warmer (more yellow) or cooler (more blue). You can also make a separate adjustment to the Tint, adjusting it to reflect more green or magenta. Be forewarned though, Temperature and Tint adjustments get tricky when dealing with white snow.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Paint Pots

In this image of one of the paint pots at Yellowstone National Park, just after a light snow, I’ve adjusted the White Balance to a cooler/more blue Temperature of -5, and a more magenta Tint of +2. These very slight shifts, along with Contrast, Clarity and Vibrance adjustments make a big difference in this image’s feel. Canon 5DIV with 24-105mm II lens @ 24mm, f/10, 1/320th, ISO 1250.

Often, if you look at your favorite landscape and wildlife images, they have a warm, yellow glow to them. Warm colors tend to make us happy so we gravitate to them when we post-process. However, snow that is too yellow often looks wrong because we rarely have a full-on snowy landscape in bright, golden sun.

Be careful adjusting Tint too. Pink snow isn’t any more appealing or realistic than yellow snow. Ultimately though, these adjustments are up to you. Experiment to find a wintery look that’s right for your photography style.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar

Here’s the original RAW file of that same paint pot at Yellowstone National Park. You can see the original White Balance and the huge difference that simple change made to make the image above feel colder.

Boost Saturation for Eye-Catching Color

One exception to having vibrantly-colored snow is when an image has colored light reflecting from the sky. In the paint pots image above, you can see that the snow has a bit of a grey-blue cast. That looks natural to me because the snow would reflect the cast of the grey-blue sky.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Old Faithful

Old Faithful steaming away at dawn one very cold morning. In this final image, I’ve boosted the colors quite a bit. Saturation +30, Vibrance +20 and Contrast +20. Canon 5DIV with 24-105mm II lens @ 56mm, f/13, 1/125th, ISO 800.

Sometimes, cold wintery images aren’t as much about the snow, either. In this Old Faithful landscape, the story is the drama of the winter sky. My instinct was to amp up the blues in this image, and also the golden grass, to create a striking, complementary color scheme.

When you try this, play around with the color sliders a bit (Vibrance and Saturation are great starting points) and see what works best. Strong color can be gorgeous but doesn’t work for every winter image.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Old Faithful

Here’s the RAW, unprocessed file of Old Faithful. The original image is composed well and exposed properly, but very flat. Luminar does an excellent job bringing it to life.

Convert to Monochrome for Stark Drama

Sometimes winter scenes don’t lend themselves well to color images at all. This wild horse running on the snowy ridge in front of the mountain was spectacular in real life. The RAW file wasn’t much to look at though. See for yourself.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Wild Stallion

Wild horse running along the snowy ridge in northern Nevada. Canon 5DIII with 100-400mm II lens @ 255mm, f/5.6, 1/1000th, ISO 1000.

What is nice about the image is that the bay-colored horse makes an incredible silhouette against all that white snow. Monochrome tends to work well with silhouettes, especially when you boost the contrast.

With their cool grey and white tones, monochrome images can make bland winter images spectacular. Remember to give it a try if experimenting with the color options we discussed above doesn’t work for your image.

How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar - Stallion Silhouette

Isn’t that an amazing change for the better? Look how that silhouette just pops out of the snowy mountain backdrop now.

Share your Winter Image Post-Processing Tips

These are my four favorite ways to make my winter images pop using Luminar. Bundle up, head on out to the great wintry outdoors, shoot a few frames and give them a try yourself.

And hey, share with the dPS community too. What are your favorite post-processing tips for editing gorgeous winter images?

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar by Lara Joy Brynildssen appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

16 Jan

Grunge. It’s a great look for gritty, edgy, photos, and you couldn’t have it simpler than doing it in Luminar 2018. In this article, you’ll see how to examine Presets and use elements from those Presets to create your own custom Grunge look. Presets are fantastic, but the best way to improve your processing is through your own creative process. So let’s get started.

Grunge look.

Find the right image for a grunge look

Open the photo you want to process. I have a winter woods scene here. It’s already moody, and you’ll find that using a photo that will benefit from a grunge look is a good place to start. No point starting with happy sunny day shots as it really doesn’t fit the style.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Presets

As Luminar has a huge number of Presets, you should begin there. If you don’t see the Presets at the bottom, click the Presets panel icon, it’s the third one in from the right on the top toolbar. From the Categories, choose Dramatic. Two of these look appealing for a grunge look; Dramatic Grungy and Dramatic Look.

Dramatic Grungy opens a custom Workspace with three filters: Dramatic, Clarity and Structure.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

You’ll notice that Dramatic Look also uses three Filters. Dramatic is there, but the others are Raw Develop and Vignette.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The Dramatic Filter is common to both presets, and there are other filters that are in one and not the other, so perhaps a good start is to combine the five filters from both presets into your own custom workspace.

Custom Workspace

You can reset the image by going to Filters panel, clicking on “Custom Workspace” and choosing “Clear Workspace”. This gives you a fresh start to create your own grunge workspace.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Click Add Filters. You can find some of the filters immediately. Raw Develop, Structure and Vignette are in the Essentials section, Clarity is in Issue Fixers and Dramatic is in Creative. If you don’t see a filter immediately, just type a few letters in the Search box at the top of Filters Catalog to restrict the view to match.

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a Clarity slider in Raw Develop, so you could choose to leave out the Clarity filter. But you might want even more Clarity and this allows you to double up the effect, and mask it to only apply to certain parts of the image.

Finally, add one more filter to this set; Cross Processing. This will allow you to color tone the final look.

Raw Develop

The Raw Develop filter is where you use Luminar’s processing to bring out the most from your Raw file. This Raw file (as per most) is a bit flat to start, so needs some tweaking. Reducing Highlights and increasing Shadows will open up the photo a bit more, while decreasing Blacks and increasing Whites will add to the contrast of your photo. At some point, you may want to decrease the saturation of the photo, but for now, use Raw Develop to get the most out of your photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The Photo is still a little cool toned so a bump in Temperature to 6000k will fix that and sit better with the tones in the photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

You can leave Clarity at zero here and come back later if you want to add more.

Structure

What makes a photo grungy? Think of the things and feelings grunge evokes; dark, moody, edgy, and gritty. The Structure filter can definitely do the Edgy bit. Your Amount slider can go from really soft at -100, to really nasty at +100. 60 seems to look good for this photo.

Softness changes your internal contrast in the photo. A setting of 30 keeps the skin from getting too blown out. Of course, if you want more of the effect in the background you could erase the effect a little on the subject using the masking tools.

The final slider is Boost, which does indeed boost the effect. 60 looks great here. We’re already well on the way to making a grungy photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Vignette

Vignette darkens or lightens the corners of the photo via the Amount slider. To draw attention to the center of your photo, you should darken the edges. Your first step should do is click Place Center, then click on your subject. That will target the area for the middle of the vignette to keep lighter.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

To see your Vignette edge easier, set the Feather to 0, with Amount turned way down.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Using Size and Place Center, get the best position and radius for your vignette. Use Roundness to get the best shape; to the left, it’s more rectangular, to the right it’s rounder.

Don’t worry if it looks too obvious, this is just for getting the placement and size right as it’s easier to see this way.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Finally, set the Feather to soften the edge of the vignette, and set Amount to the final darkness you want.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Edge vignette applied.

Clarity

Contrast darkens shadows and lightens highlights. Clarity tends to work away from these areas and work more in the mid tones. It’s a grit filter, so add your grit here. 100 is way too much, and 40 looks better here.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Dramatic

You’ve already gotten quite a bit of drama to the image, so only a hint of this contrast-based filter is needed. The Dramatic Filter is one to play with for this.

If you want to retain color, set Saturation up to full. Adding Contrast and Local Contrast will increase both the darker and lighter aspects of the photo, so Brightness is there to compensate for whichever is stronger. In this photo, you’ll find reducing it is necessary.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Cross Processing

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

While this was originally a way of changing colors by processing film in the wrong chemicals, Cross Processing is now more associated with color toning a photo. Luminar uses city names to define their various toning options.

You should try each one with the Amount slider up high to find one you like. After looking at all the cities, I came back to Tokyo, which I’d found pleasing immediately. Then you can dial the effect back using the Amount slider until you find the look you want.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Reprocess

The image is now suitably dark and gritty, but probably a little too dark. A quick trip back to Raw Develop to bump the Exposure slider will fix this.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Saving Presets or Workspaces

Now is the time to save what you’ve set up. If you like your work, you should consider creating either a Preset to repeat the exact look you have here or set up a Workspace to have all the filters open for you to begin working from scratch (or both).

To save your Preset, click Save Filters Preset at the very bottom right corner of the screen. A dialog appears allowing you to name and create your new preset. This will allow you to apply all the same filters and settings to any image with one click. Of course, you can always adjust any of them to suit the image or dial it back using the amount slider on the preset.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

To save your new Workspace, go to the top of Filters, then click on Custom Workspace. From the drop-down menu and choose “Save as New Workspace”.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Name the Workspace and create it.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The new Workspace will now appear in the Workspaces list and will be selected (check mark next to it). Now it is available for you to use with any image. Clicking it will open those same five filters but not apply any of the settings.

Other options

Here is the before and after to show the full grunge effect.

Before.

Grunge look.

With the look solidified, you could potentially add a texture to add even more grit to your photo. So, check out how to do this in our article How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar.

As you’ve seen, Luminar 2018 has great tools that you can use to achieve your processing goals quickly and repeatedly. Now, go out and grunge!

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018 by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Your Guide to Understanding the Luminar 2018 Dashboard

10 Jan

With Macphun (soon to be Skylum) keen to promote Luminar 2018 as a replacement for Lightroom, there’s no doubt that there are many photographers who are interested in trying it. Unfortunately, that’s where the confusion may start as the Luminar interface is completely different from both Lightroom and Photoshop.

If you’re new to Macphun software then it can take time to find your way around the new interface. But if you’ve already used some of their other programs you’ll find that Luminar is very familiar, as Macphun tends to use the same layout in most of its software.

Note: The screenshots in this article are taken from the Mac version of Luminar 2018.

Luminar Dashboard Layout

When you open a photo in the program for the first time, you see something like this.

Luminar dashboard

The photo you’re working on is displayed in the center. Presets are shown along the bottom (red). The side panel on the right is where you apply filters and create workspaces (green). There are more tools along the top (yellow). See the image below.

Luminar dashboard

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Luminar Presets

One of the benefits of using Luminar is that it comes with lots of presets that you can use. If you don’t like presets, that’s okay – presets are optional and you can ignore them, or hide the panel if you do not use them.

Luminar presets are intelligent and each one comes with an amount slider. If you like a preset but the effect is too strong you can reduce the intensity. That means Luminar presets are adaptable and you can use them in a subtle way if that’s what you prefer.

Click on any preset to apply it to your photo (marked below). In this example, I selected a preset called Center of Attention. Afterwards, you’ll see an amount slider which you can set anywhere on a scale from zero to 100. You can also click on the star icon to add the preset to your list of favorites so you can find the ones you like quickly.

Luminar dashboard

Click on the Categories button (marked below with the big red arrow) to reveal a list of preset categories available in your version of Luminar. Click on any of the categories to display the presets underneath.

Luminar displays Basic presets by default, but you can choose from categories such as Street, Dramatic and Portrait. You can also click on Favorites to show any presets you have marked as a favorite. Clicking on “Get More Presets” takes you to a page on the website where you can get additional sets of preset (some which are paid, and some that are free).

Luminar dashboard

Workspaces, Layers, and Filters

If you’re a Lightroom user then Luminar’s right-hand panel will look familiar as they are similar to the panels in Lightroom’s Develop module. There’s a histogram at the top, layers underneath that (yes, Luminar has layers!) and then filters below.

Luminar dashboard

This area might look a little bare at first, but that’s only because the workspace is clear. In Luminar, a workspace is a selection of filters displayed which are ready for you to use.

Filters are Luminar’s equivalent of the right-hand panels in Lightroom, or the various Layer adjustments available in Photoshop. The reason Luminar doesn’t display all the available filters is that there are so many of them (50 in total). Instead of showing all the filters, Luminar arranges them into workspaces. You can use one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces or you can create your own.

Click on the Clear workspace button (below) to choose one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces. Here, I chose the Portrait workspace. It has nine filters which, as you might expect, are useful for developing portraits.

Luminar dashboard

Click on the gray arrow (marked below) to open up a filter and reveal its settings and sliders. The screenshot below shows the Develop filter, which is similar to Lightroom’s Basic panel.

Note: When working with RAW files this filter is called RAW Develop, and when working with JPGs is simply called Develop.

Luminar dashboard

Another benefit of using workspaces is that you can customize them to display only the filters that you want to use. You can start by removing and adding filters to one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces.

To remove a filter click on the white arrow next to the filter name (marked below) and select Delete from the pull-down menu.

Luminar dashboard

To add a filter, click the Add filters button (marked below). Luminar opens the Filters Catalog to the left, and they are displayed in helpful categories as you can see below like; Issue Fixers, Creative, etc. Here, you can select a filter to add it to your workspace.

Luminar dashboard

When you hover over the name of a filter in the filters Catalog Luminar displays an information panel to tell you what the filter does.

Luminar dashboard

To save the workspace, click on Custom workspace (marked below) and select Save As New Workspace. Now, your new workspace will appear in the list and you can select it any time you want.

Luminar dashboard

The Luminar Toolbar

Finally, the Toolbar at the top of Luminar contains some extra commands and tools that you will find useful. Most of these are self-explanatory. When you hover the mouse over an icon Luminar displays a strip of text to explain what it does. In the screenshot below, you can see that the mouse pointer is over the Compare icon.

Luminar dashboard

As you can see, the Luminar interface is simple and easy to use. The biggest obstacle to using Luminar is understanding how presets, workspaces, and filters work. Once you understand how to use these tools then you can start exploring the potential of Luminar to create beautiful photos.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

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Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

02 Jan

One of the main strengths of Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is how it makes a suite of professional-style editing tools available to even the most casual of photographers. It does it all with a user interface that is clean, simple, and easy to understand. In contrast to some other editing programs on the market, Luminar’s full suite of powerful tools is available through a simple approach based on applying Filters and Presets, along with more advanced options such as layers and masking.

Instead of hiding these under myriad menus and obscure tiny buttons, Luminar presents you with easy-to-understand options when choosing your edits and includes real-time previews of what your edits will look like. And much of this starts with the simple act of selecting a Preset.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Presets versus Filters

Before getting too deep into how to use and share one-click Presets, it’s important to understand some basic terminology related to Luminar’s use of Presets and Filters.

When you load an image into Luminar’s editing interface you are presented with two main options to edit your images: Add Filter or Apply Preset.

Filters

Filters are individual editing tools that let you perform basic adjustments such as color temperature, exposure, and white/black levels. Luminar also contains more advanced filters like color balance, texture overlay, HSL, and the Accent AI filter that uses artificial intelligence to adjust a range of parameters all with a single slider. Filters can be applied across an entire image, brushed in selectively, and used in combination with layers in a manner similar to Adobe Photoshop’s editing workflow.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Click Add Filters, then select a filter such as Saturation / Vibrance, and you will be shown a description of the Filter as well as a preview of how it would look applied to a sample image.

Presets

Due to the sheer number of filters available the options can seem overwhelming even to seasoned editors. This is where Presets come in handy, and where the brilliant simplicity of Luminar really starts to shine.

A Preset is a collection of filters specifically chosen by the developers of Luminar to produce a certain type of effect on the whole image when combined. At the bottom of the Luminar interface, you will see a row of Presets with names like Soft & Airy, Sky Enhancer, and Vivid which are good starting points when editing a variety of image types. Click the Categories button to see the filters organized as specific collections that can be useful depending on the specific types of images you are editing.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Presets are organized into specific categories, and you can also access your favorites and any custom Presets with the click of a button.

If all this talk of Presets has you feeling overwhelmed before you even start, just take a breath and know that it’s a lot simpler than it might seem especially when you actually open Luminar and start to use it. You don’t even have to use Presets at all but I have found them to be a great starting point when editing my images. It’s a nice compromise between me performing all manner of meticulous edits by hand and having Luminar do all the work for me.

Presets occupy a comfortable middle ground that allows you to have one-click access to a set of edits that will enhance your images in a heartbeat. At the same time, they still allow you to retain as much control over the individual editing parameters as you would like.

Preset walkthrough

To show how Presets work I’m going to walk you through an example step by step beginning with this image of some autumn leaves. This is the RAW file straight out of my camera with no edits applied.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Original boring unedited image. Cue sad trombone sound effect…wop wop woooop.

When you load an image into Luminar you will see it take up most of the screen except for a portion at the bottom and the right. The former is where you can select a Preset and the latter is used for applying and editing Filters.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Add Filters on the right, Presets are at the bottom.

Forget about Filters for now and just focus on the Preset options at the bottom of the screen. Each one has a name that describes the type of effect it will have on your photo. Best of all, each Preset has a mini preview of what it will actually do if you apply it to your image.

Preset previews rock!

This is one of my favorite features of Luminar, and it’s almost worth the price of the program all by itself because you can quickly scan through the many options available and choose one to instantly transform your photo with the click of a button.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

The Preset panel gives you real-time previews of what each one will look like when applied to your image.

As an added bonus you can even adjust the degree to which Luminar applies a Preset by clicking on one and then dragging the slider to the left. That way if you like the effect that a Preset has on your image but find it to be a bit overdone, just lower the value a bit with the slider. You also have the option of clicking the star icon in the corner of any Preset which saves it to a list of favorites.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

Use the slider to adjust the degree to which a Preset is applied.

The following image is an example of what one click on the “Warm Sunset” Preset did to transform the original picture of some dull green and yellow leaves.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

The finished version, all done with a couple of clicks thanks to the Presets in Luminar.

Not too shabby, right? As a comparison, I loaded the same RAW file into Lightroom and was able to get similar results but it took a lot more time and required changing values on a dozen different sliders.

Such is the beauty of Luminar’s approach. The developers have done much of the heavy lifting so that you don’t have to, while still giving you full access to all the editing options within each of the Presets. So if you really want to do a dive deep and adjust your images on a granular level, you can.

Note: You can also add a texture overlay and save that in a custom preset as well.

Editing the Presets

If all the screenshots and arrows in this article have your head spinning, here’s a refresher of the basic Luminar workflow:

  • Step 1: Import an image into Luminar
  • Step 2: Click on a Preset
  • Step 3: You’re done. There is no Step Three.

However, if you would like to dive into some of the finer details of using Presets, Luminar lets you see exactly what each one does and also tweak the parameters to your liking. You can save your edits as new Presets, and even create your own Presets from scratch.

For example, the Warm Sunset Preset that I applied to the image of the leaves is really just a collection of Filters with specific adjustment values already applied. The following screenshot shows the specific filters that Warm Sunset uses, as well as the numerical values that have been dialed in by the Luminar developers.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

The Warm Sunset Preset consists of three Filters, each with pre-determined values dialed in that you can change at any time if you like.

When you click on a Preset you will see all of its Filters show up on the right side of your screen, and you are free to change any of the values you want or even add new Filters to the mix. It’s an endlessly customizable editing solution that can go a long way towards giving you the professional results you have always wanted without the hassle and steep learning curve inherent in some other photo editing programs.

Creating and Sharing Presets

Even though there are dozens of Presets already built-in to Luminar, you can create your own by choosing any combination of filters, editing them to the values you want, and choosing “Save Filter Preset…” from the Filters menu.

I often find myself adding a little clarity along with some post-crop vignetting to my images (and for nature shots a bit of vividness too) so I pulled those Filters, dialed in the values for each one, and then saved it as a Preset called “Clarignette” (my attempt at making a new word).

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

A custom Preset I created called Clarignette, which uses the Clarity, Brilliance/Warmth, and Vignette Filters.

Custom Presets can be accessed by clicking the Categories button just above the row of Presets and choosing “User Presets.” Any Presets that you create or customize can also be shared with other users which makes this a great way to use custom Presets on multiple computers or in any type of collaborative editing environment. Choose “File > Show Presets Folder…” to see the folder on your computer where your custom Presets reside. Each one is saved as an “.lmp” file that you can copy to the Custom Preset folder on another computer or send to a friend.

Stacking Presets with Layers

One final ace up Luminar’s sleeve is its ability to let you combine filters using layers, in precisely the same way Photoshop and other image editing programs handle a layer-based non-destructive workflow.

Instead of applying a Preset directly to the image you are working with, you can click the “+ Overlay Preset” button in the lower-right corner of the Luminar workspace which adds a layer onto which your Preset edits are applied. This is exactly the same as an Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. Your Preset edits can now be applied, controlled, and adjusted independently of the image itself. Masking tools can then be used on each layer to control which parts of the image are affected by the Preset.

Note: You can also apply a mask to any of the Filters applied directly to your image as well.

Mastering and Sharing One-Click Presets in Luminar

I started with an image of some leaves, and created an Overlay with the Vivid Preset. Then I added a second Overlay with the B&W Preset and applied that with a radial mask so it is only affecting the outer edges of the image leaving all the color in the center.

This layer-based Preset implementation is another illustration of how Luminar takes a powerful-but-simple approach to editing. It’s not that Luminar is quantifiably better or worse than other editing programs because such an evaluation depends greatly on the individual needs, workflow, and style of the photographer. However, for users who are relatively new to photo editing and want a program that offers a simple, clean, intuitive approach with a feature-set deep enough to grow with them over time, it’s hard to beat Luminar.

Anyone who has used Instagram or other social media apps to apply image edits with the click of a Filter or Preset button will feel right at home with Luminar. As those individuals demand greater control and flexibility as they improve their skills, Luminar is right there beside them ready to meet the challenge. I really do like Luminar’s approach to editing with Presets and Filters and I think it’s a nice way to bridge the gap between amateur and professional photo editing. It’s simple enough for casual users but has a deep feature-set to cater to more demanding photographers too.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

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How to do Powerful RAW Conversions with Luminar 2018

19 Dec

One of the most powerful new filters in Luminar 2018 is the RAW Develop Filter. RAW files, straight out of the camera, appear flat and boring, but with capable RAW conversion software like Luminar 2018, you can transform the RAW data into a detailed and vibrant photograph.

Luminar 2018’s RAW handling has seen significant improvements over previous versions. It performs faster and the tools in the RAW Develop Filter reveal additional details in the highlights and shadows, display more accurate color, and reduce noise.

Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Filter

LUMINAR 2018’S RAW DEVELOP FILTER

The RAW Develop filter is organized into three categories:

  • Adjust – Essential Color and Tone Adjustments.
  • Lens – Remove Image flaws caused by the lens.
  • Transform – Correct perspective issues caused by the camera’s physical position.

These three tool sets form a powerful triad for correcting many of the problems encountered with unprocessed RAW image files.

QUICK TIP: JPG Shooters get access to the same tools in the Develop Filter.

Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Filter Tabs

ADJUST

The Adjust tab inside the RAW Develop filter contains fundamental color and tone adjustments. Settings include:

  • White Balance – Choose from white balance presets that are similar to the settings in your camera.
  • Temperature – Warm up (yellow) or cool down (blue) the color temperature of the photo.
  • Tint – Correct color casts by adding magenta or green.
  • Exposure – Adjust the overall luminance of the photograph.
  • Contrast – Adjust the overall contrast of the photo.
  • Highlights – Adjust the brightness of the brightest areas of the photo.
  • Shadows – Adjust the brightness of the darkest areas of the photo.
  • Whites – Adjust the white point of the histogram and white tones in the photo.
  • Black – Adjust the black point of the histogram and black tones in the photo.
  • Clarity – Adjust mid-tone contrast.

LENS

The Lens tab in the RAW Develop filter allows you to fix flaws caused by the lens. Settings include:

  • Distortion – Correct barrel or pincushion distortion.
  • Chromatic Aberration Fix – Correct for color fringing along high contrast areas.
  • Devignette – Remove darkened edges caused by lens vignetting.

TRANSFORM

The Transform tab in the RAW Develop filter allows you to compensate for perspective problems caused by the position of the lens at the time of capture. Settings include:

  • Vertical – Tilt the image forward or backward on the X-axis (helpful with key-stoning).
  • Horizontal – Tilt the image right or left on the Y-axis (helpful when shooting at an angle from the subject).
  • Rotate – Useful for straightening a photo.
  • Aspect – Expand the height or width while contracting the opposite direction.
  • Scale – Use to hide the edge gaps after transforming a photo.
  • X Offset – Shifts the image left or right.
  • Y Offset – Shifts the image up or down.

HOW TO PROCESS RAW IMAGES IN LUMINAR 2018

Open your photograph in Luminar, navigate to the Add Filter button and click on RAW Develop in the ESSENTIAL category. The interface is intuitively designed, suggesting the order in which to make your adjustments:

  • Step 1 – Adjust
  • Step 2 – Lens
  • Step 3 – Transform

EXAMPLE 1

Cappuccino Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

Straight out of the camera, the photo above was somewhat flat and slightly underexposed.

Cappuccino After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens (© Angela Andrieux)

In the Adjust tab of the RAW Develop filter, small adjustments to the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Clarity make subtle, but noticeable, improvements to the photograph.

Cappuccino Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Adjust

In the Lens tab of the RAW Develop filter, a small adjustment was made to remove the lens vignette from the corners.

Cappuccino Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

EXAMPLE 2

Balboa Park Corridor Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

The photo above, in its unprocessed state, has blown out highlights, an unpleasant pink color cast, barrel distortion, and a slightly awkward perspective.

Balboa Park Corridor After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens + Transform (© Angela Andrieux)

With the help of the Adjust panel in the RAW Develop Filter, the color cast was removed, the highlights were toned down with some detail recovered, and architectural details were enhanced.

The Lens panel in the RAW Develop filter fixed a slight lens distortion and removed chromatic aberrations.

This photograph had significant chromatic aberrations in the high contrast areas. Notice the patches of sunlight in the “Before” image below – each sunlit spot has a greenish fringe around the top and a magenta fringe at the bottom. The Chromatic Aberration Fix sliders did a great job of minimizing the unwanted color fringe.

QUICK TIP: Zoom in to 200-300% to check for chromatic aberrations in high contrast areas.

Balboa Park Corridor Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction

Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction (zoomed to 200%) (© Angela Andrieux)

Balboa Park Corridor After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction (zoomed to 200%) (© Angela Andrieux)

Balboa Park Corridor Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

The Transform panel in the RAW Develop filter corrected for a slight upward tilt of the camera when the photo was captured and straightened the vertical lines.

Balboa Park Corridor Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Transform

EXAMPLE 3

Avila Beach Pier Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

The unprocessed RAW photo above has a color cast, is underexposed, lacks detail and contrast, and has both lens distortion and perspective issues caused by a wide-angle lens. The tools in Luminar 2018’s RAW Develop filter corrected each of these issues.

Avila Beach Pier After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens + Transform (© Angela Andrieux)

The Adjust tab of the RAW Develop filter corrected the color cast and white balance issues, increased the exposure, added contrast and brought out detail in the shadows under the pier and movement in the water.

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Adjust

The Lens tab of the RAW Develop filter made easy work of correcting the substantial lens vignetting, removing some barrel distortion, and cleaning up the chromatic aberrations around the pier pilings (high contrast areas).

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

The Transform tab of the RAW Develop filter straightened the horizon and the legs of the pier, correcting for both the position of the camera and the distorting effect of a wide-angle lens.

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Transform

Conclusion

Each example above shows the power of the RAW Develop Filter in Luminar 2018. A RAW image file contains an abundance of data, but it takes a skilled photographer and a high-quality RAW conversion tool like Luminar 2018, to turn those files into beautiful photographs.

LUMINAR 2018 HOLIDAY SPECIAL OFFER

Ready to transform your RAW files into amazing photos? Visit Luminar 2018 until December 31 to take advantage of the holiday offer!

Get Luminar with an awesome pack of bonuses, plus get an extra $ 10 OFF with the coupon code: DIGITALPHOTOGRAPHYSCHOOL. 

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to by Skylum, is a paid partner of dPS.

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How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

05 Dec

When it comes to food photography, photo editing is at least half of the battle. Sure, there’s an art to styling and shooting food so that it looks yummy right out of the camera. But more often than not, it pays to spend a little time sprucing up that photo in post-production. There are lots of popular photo editing tools out there, but lately, I’ve been preferring Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum.

Simple and straightforward to use, you can enhance any food photo in Luminar right out of the box. Here’s how to get started. I should be clear that this is my personal food photography editing workflow. Feel free to make adjustments and edits to your own taste (pun intended) and preferences.

How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

The final image, edited in Luminar.

Get Started

First, open a photo in Luminar. You can open an image three ways; by clicking the blue Open Image button on the welcome screen, by going to File > Open, or by dragging and dropping an image on the welcome screen.After your image is open, take a look around at the software’s interface.

The top bar contains a variety of useful tools such as crop, transform, and undo, plus unique features like clone and stamp, erase, and a handy history menu which lets you scroll back through every edit you’ve made to an image. There’s also a button to give a quick preview of changes made to your image, and even a compare slider showing the image before and after editing.

1. Apply a Luminar Preset

On the bottom row of Luminar, you’ll find a menu of presets, which are essentially filters, with predetermined settings. (Note: if the presets are not showing click the icon third from the right in the top toolbar.) There are dozens of presets to choose from and they’re sorted by category. In the default version of the software, there’s not a specific category for food photos, but the Basic presets will do just fine (and as you go, you can create your own custom presets).

Selecting a preset automatically applies the edits intended by the designer of the preset. In the sandwich image below, the Fix Dark Photos preset has been applied. Directly over the preset is a slider that allows you to adjust the intensity of that preset. On the right side, a panel opens up showing what aspects of the photo have been edited. You can go in and fine-tune the adjustments to taste using the sliders.

Luminar Apply Preset - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

2. Open up the Filters Catalog

Applying a preset will get your photo off to a great start, but you’ll often need to make a few micro adjustments to your image.

To do this, click on the Add Filters button in the right-hand corner. This will open up the Filters Catalog, offering you tons more editing tools. Hovering your mouse over a filter will result in a pop-up window that explains the filter’s effect and shows an example thumbnail image (as seen below).

Luminar Add Filters - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Here I’m adding the Dodge & Burn Filter.

Finding and Sorting Filters

There several tools in the catalog that will help you find the filters you need. First is the search bar where you can type in a filter name. Below that is a drop-down menu that lets you see filters according to their usage, such as Issue Fixers, Essential, and Creative. Finally, you can star or favorite your most-used filters to make them easier to find. For food photos, I stick to pretty basic filters that add minor adjustments.

Below, I’ve applied a Dodge and Burn filter to darken (burn) some of the sandwich bread. I also added a Denoise filter to reduce some of the grain in the black background.

Luminar Dodge and Burn - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

3. Crop the Image

After applying a preset and fine-tuning with filters, I’m feeling pretty good about the color and lighting of my image. All that remains is cropping the image. To do this, click on the Tools menu in the top bar and select Crop. This will reveal a cropping interface with guidelines, a collection of crop preset,s and the ability to rotate the image if you like.

In this case, I cropped in just a bit to put more emphasis on the sandwich and remove the bit of food on the right.

Luminar Crop - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

The Crop tool in Luminar.

4. Clone and Stamp

Almost there! Now that I’ve cropped the image to my liking, there are a few messy spots that I want to erase. Time to clone and stamp! This feature is also in the Tools drop-down menu where you found Crop.

In this workspace, Clone & Stamp works very similarly to other image editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom. Simply hold down the Option key and click on an area you want to copy pixels from. Then click (paint) over the object you want to remove or replace. In the photo below, a few messy spots on the bread have been clone stamped, as well as part of the black shirt background.

Luminar Clone Stamp food editing - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Clone tool for fixing a few messy bits.

5. Save, Export, Share, or Open Image in another platform

When you’re done editing your food photos in Luminar, you have several options for saving and sharing images.

One option is to go to File –> Save As. Just note that this will save your image in a Luminar 2018 native format (.lmnr) so that you can continue to fully edit and adjust the same image later. If you choose you can save all the layers and the history for this image in the .lmnr file.

Luminar Save As - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Saving as a .lmnr file.

If you want to save in another file format such as a JPG, you’ll have to Export. This brings up a dialogue box where you can specify file size, format, quality, and the location of the saved image.

Luminar Save - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

Your final option for saving images is to share them directly to online platforms such as Facebook or 500px. It’s necessary to sign into your individual accounts to connect them to Luminar, but once you do so, sharing them directly to other websites is a snap.

You can also open the image in another image editing platform such as one of Macphun’s many other programs (i.e. Aurora HDR).

Luminar Social Media - How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar

In Conclusion

Whether you’re trying to fix or spruce up a food photo, Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a great photo editing platform. Not only does it have a wide range of adjustable presets, but it also has basic and advanced tools that both amateur and pro photographers will appreciate.

Download a free trial of Luminar and give it a go! Post your food photo results in the comments below.

Luminar Food Photo Editing - edited

Final, edited photo.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Make Food Photos Look Tastier with Luminar by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

28 Nov

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Layers of fun

One advantage that Luminar has over the average Raw processor is the ability to work with Layers. “What is a layer?” I hear you ask.

Well, your basic image is a single layer, like a sheet of paper on a table. Adding another layer is akin to adding another sheet of paper on top. With layers, you get the benefit of being able to control the layer opacity (the transparency effectively) as well as what parts of the layer are shown – a bit like choosing tracing paper or cutting holes out of the paper.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Think of layers like a stack of paper. By cutting out parts of the sheet you can see the one below, or like with tracing paper, you can see through to the layer before.

Originally you’d need to erase the bits of the layer you didn’t want showing, which could be messy if you made a mistake erasing. These days you’d use a layer mask instead. A layer mask is a greyscale map running from white, where everything is visible, to black, where everything on the layer is hidden. Varying shades of gray indicate how visible a part of the layer is or the mask opacity. Lighter is more visible.

There’s a mantra I learned many years ago that helps you remember. “White reveals, and black conceals”.

The beauty of Luminar (by Macphun, soon to be Skylum) is that it hides some of the mechanics of this because rather than painting in black or white, you have a brush that either paints in, or erases the mask. It’s really great!

When you have a few layers together, the combined set of layers is called the layer stack. Working in layers allows you to apply effects to only certain parts of your photo, or to combine more than one photo into a more interesting composition.

Beginning

Let’s open Luminar and choose a photo. Click Open Image to begin.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Luminar opening screen.

Navigate to your photo and select it. This process will be easier when the new DAM (Digital Asset Management) module for Luminar 2018 comes next year. I’m going to work with this shot of an old cottage.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Original image.

Making a Layer

Luminar provides a few options for creating new layers. In the right panel, you have the Layers panel. To make a new layer, click the + icon in the panel header and select one of the following options:

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Layers: click the plus symbol to make a new layer.

  • New Adjustment layer; which creates a layer that contains only the filters that you add.
  • Create Stamped Visible Layer; which copies the results of all the underlying layers (combining them) to a new flattened layer.
  • New Original Layer; which copies the base layer on top of the currently selected layer.
  • Add New Image Layer; which allows you to add any other image to the layer stack. This is the one that allows you to add texture and other files!

Add a texture file

Luminar doesn’t store textures, but you can use any texture file you like. Personally, I keep my favorite textures in a folder on Dropbox for easy access from anywhere, but you can use any cloud service you like for this.

From the Layer options, choose Add New Image Layer and navigate to your textures folder. Choose the texture you want to add to the current photo. Viola. It’s loaded.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Texture image.

Now obviously the texture file will load over your original image. This is fine, you’ll fix this shortly. But first, you should check that the file fits how you like. By default, Luminar will make it fit over the layer below, but you’re not stuck with it.

You have three options in the Layers menu for this. Right-click on the layer and from the Image Mapping option in the menu, choose from Fill, Scale to Fit, or Fit (as seen below). If you don’t like how these look, you have another option:  the Transform tool.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

You can pull and drag your textures file into shape as required. It doesn’t have to retain its original aspect ratio as it’s adding to your original image and isn’t the actual focus of the final composition. In my case, the texture looks fine for now in regards to size.

Blending Modes

The next step is to go through the different blending modes to find one that suits the images best. Different ones work for different images, so it’s best to experiment. Overlay and Soft Light tend to get used a lot, but often Multiply or Screen can work too. Even Hard Light can be perfect sometimes.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Overlay Blend Mode.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Soft Light Blend Mode.

Whichever one you use, you’ll probably find that the effect is really strong. That’s fine because you’re working with layers, you can just reduce the opacity until the texture looks good.

For this image, I thought both Multiply and Color Burn looked great. I loved the saturation that Color Burn gave to the photo, but reducing the opacity to bring back some shadow detail removed too much of that. For that reason, I went with Multiply.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Multiply Blend Mode.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Color Burn Blend Mode.

Masking

You may not want the texture to appear on all parts of the photo. So you’ve got two options. Paint in the texture, or just paint out where you don’t want it. To access the masking functions, click on the brush icon on your texture layer. This opens a menu allowing you to choose the type of local adjustment you want to apply. Your options are Brush, Radial Mask, or Gradient Mask. You can also go with a Luminosity mask. For this image, the brush is the best option.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Access the masking tools.

Once the brush is selected, the options appear at the top. I’m going to remove the texture from the house. If you want to remove (hide) part of a layer, click the Erase option on the Brush settings menu. Set Size, Softness and Opacity to taste as you paint.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

You will see this menu at the top of your screen when you active the Brush tool. Choose Erase to paint away effects, choose Paint to add it in. This allows you to make corrections if you go too far with your painting as well.

Once you’re finished, click Done on the end of the brush options bar.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Adjusting the Texture

One good thing about Add Image is that the layer you’ve created has full access to all the Filters in Luminar. Let’s say you’re using either the Overlay or Soft Light blend mode. Any part of the image that’s mid-grey will be unaffected by the texture.

If your texture is dark, or light, the image will reflect this. You can easily change this by adding a Tone filter and adjusting the exposure. If the color from the texture is too strong, you can use Saturation to reduce this or use Hue Shift to change it.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Apply filters to the texture layer to fine tune it.

Finishing the image

Of course, you can also apply filters to the original image. Being a landscape, this would be a good time for you to try the Landscape workspace. When you click on the original image, layer Luminar hides the layers above it. To get to the workspaces, click on Clear Workspace and choose Landscape from the menu.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Landscape workspace.

Using the suggested filters in the workspace, it’s easy to add back the saturation I saw when I used Color Burn blending mode on the texture.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

To activate the texture again, simply click on the texture layer.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Saving the file

Once you’re done, you’ve got a few options for saving your image. Using Save will create a .lmnr file, which is Luminar’s native editing file format – this will retain all layers and filters you’ve applied (similar to a PSD file in Photoshop).

By using Export instead, you can choose a range of other options, like JPEG, PSD or TIFF.

How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar

Export options.

Using Filters to add Texture

You’re not forced to use a layer to add textures with Luminar though. They also have a handy new filter called Texture Overlay. Pretty much everything you can do on a layer can be done with this filter. The only thing you can’t really do is rotate the texture at a random angle via Transform, but it’s very rare that you’d ever need to do this.

Start with the image you want the texture on again. Click the blue Add Filter button. Use the Search Bar in the Filters Catalog menu that appears to find the “Texture Overlay” filter. Click to add it.

The Texture Overlay filter added. These are the options and sliders for this filter.

To add your texture file, click “Load Texture…” This will open your file on top of the background photo. The default amount of 50, means you can see the mix of the original image and the texture at 50% opacity; it’s also in Normal blend mode.

The texture added at the defaults – 50% and Normal blend mode.

The Amount control can also run to negative figures, so you can add an inverse version of the texture, which is a cool feature. Here’s how -20 on the Amount slider looks.

If your texture is a different aspect ratio to your original image, you can use Keep Aspect Ratio to force it to fit the image. The two buttons below this allow you to flip the texture file horizontally, or vertically, or both (they appear blue when applied so you know if it’s been flipped).

Zoom will let you scale the texture file to fit the features of your underlying photo. Below Zoom is the Blend mode menu. From here choose the blend mode that suits in the same way as with our first method. Again Color Burn looks great at 100 Amount.

The effect is still a little strong, so you could pull it back by reducing the Filters Amount slider. Here 67 looks great.

Amount = 100, Filters amount = 67

Masking the Filter

Filter masking is really straightforward with this method too. You simply hover over the panel header to reveal the brush icon. Click on this to choose the mask type: Brush, Radial or Gradient. Choose Brush to apply your mask in a specific area.

Filter masks are useful and are applied the same way as a layer mask.

If you’re only looking to remove a small area of texture, switch to the Erase Brush in the brush toolbar that appears above the photo.

In this photo, I’ve brushed the texture away from the cottage.

You can add as many texture overlay filters as you like, just remember that the Filters Amount affects the whole filter set.

Getting Texture files

You can get plenty of commercial texture packs to get you started, but there are free ones out there too. When you’re out and about, consider capturing any textures you find interesting to try out yourself!

Please share your finished textured masterpieces created with Luminar in the comments below. We’d love to see what you make.

Disclaimer: Macphun is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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