Lightroom 5 beta is available – and Jack the Ripper

I just had a quick look at the upcoming Lightroom 5 and some of the new features listed and I’m already very excited! I work a lot with Lightroom 4 and I’m amazed at what I can achieve with it, but there are some tasks, that always requires that I start up Photoshop. One thing I do not like about starting Photoshop up, is that Lightroom then generates a TIFF file, and TIFF files take up space on my hard drive. And even though hard drives are fairly cheap, it is becoming a problem to make back ups, carrying them around etc.

One thing I really love about Lightroom is, that everything I do to a photo in Lightroom is applied on top of my RAW file. If I make multiple virtual copies, to which I can make other adjustments, so that I have got several different photos, based on the same RAW file, but most important I still only have one photo on my hard drive. A great bonus from this feature is, that I can always dial back and press Reset.

But there are some features missing in Lightroom, which really pushes me into Photoshop. I use a wide angled lens a lot. 80% of my photos are shot at a wide angle lens, and quite often I have to shift the camera upwards or downwards, and when I do that, perspective gets distorted. That is a side effect from using a wide angled lens and some times it can be used as a feature, at other times it ruins the photo, if not straighten up. In Photoshop I use the “Perspective crop” tool to solve these problems. It does a decent job, but sometimes it squashes the the photo too much, like making the Empire State Building look like a small fat 20 story skyscraper.

In Lightroom 5 there is going to be a new Upright feature, aimed specifically at this task. This I’m really looking forward to. It can both save me from having a TIFF file around, and maybe even doing a better job than Perspective crop in Photoshop?

Another thing that pushes me into Photoshop, is when I want to do content aware removal of things. I can only remove round things in Lightroom 4, with the clone stamp, which is fine for removing sensor dust spots, but not satisfactory, when I clean up my photos by removing lamp posts and other stuff from my photos, to make a more clean photo. But in Lightroom 5, there will be an advanced Healing Brush.

Then there are some new features:

  • The Radial ND filter, can be a cool thing too. The Gradual Neutral Density filter I already use a a lot to make adjustments to a sky, by lowering the exposure on a very bright sky, increasing the contrast etc. to get the details and texture more clear. This gives a more balanced photo. The new Radial ND filter I guess can be used for some fun stuff on round objects, like the sun, faces etc. You can probably achieve similar things with the existing brush tool.
  • Smart reviews. I don’t think this feature will be usable for me, with my current workflow. The idea is if you are using your laptop is your primary machine to handle your photos, then you got a problem, when you are on the road. You can’t bring all of your photos along, because they take up way too many gigabytes to fit on your small laptop hard drive. What this new feature allows you to do, is to work “off-line” of your primary storage (like a NAS), on low resolution versions of your photos. You can do meta tagging and adjustments. I figure adjustments are post-processing. Though this is quite cool for some, I do have a much more powerful desktop computer, to do my primary post-processing on. For some this might be cool.
  • Photo book creation – I think not. I stick to to make my family albums. They offer excellent quality and excellent flexibility. But of cause I will look at it, when Lightroom 5 is a available.

Adobe Lightroom 5 will also include a number of minor features and enhancements. More information is available here.

To create todays photo I have used the clone healing brush and the perspective crop in Photoshop.  It is a 7 shot HDR photo, and I used Photomatix pro, to create both a single tone mapped image and a double tone mapped image, which I mixed with the original ones.

The original photo is not a bad one, but neither perfect.

Jack the ripper is around - before v2

#1: I removed the branches. When I straighten the church, some disappeared, but I ended up removing them completely. When I took the shot, made sure, that they were included and did not cover the church. I used the brush healing tool in Photoshop.

#2 The sky I worked with, to emphasize the light in the mist. That is an important part of the mood. I increased the contrast and saturation a bit.

#3 The church I straighten to a certain level. I can’t straighten it completely, because it makes a small fat church, which is not the reality. The compromise is somewhere in between completely straightened and this. Ideally I would have gone further away, but that was not possible.

#4 The acid color of the light from these lamp posts I didn’t like, so I worked with the colors, and mixed that into my final photo. I did that, by making a new layer in Photoshop, opened the Hue/Saturation dialog (CTRL+U) and dialed back some of the yellow and green. I then mixed the lamps into my image.

#5 These lamps are blown out, but because I shot it in HDR I can achieve the moody great look from the lamps, in stead of just a white blob. There is not a lot of dynamic light in this photo otherwise, but the lamps I save.

#6 I then used more healing brush to remove the snow. I used a clone stamp after wards to get a better result on the cobble stones.

#7 The cobble stones is the double tone mapped image. What I get from the double tone mapped image, is the lovely reflections from the lamps and the many details and textures in the cobble stones.

This is one of the photos, where you might ask “Why HDR it?” – well I got more details within the windows of the church and on the lamps. I also got more shots, so that I could remove people and the car coming around the corner. And then it added some of the magic, mysterious Jack the Ripper mood.

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