Retouching Tools in the Develop Module: Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure

by Mikkel Aaland

This excerpt is from Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure. Completely up-to-date for Lightroom 2, this beautifully illustrated and eminently practical book offers a complete tour of Adobe's integrated digital photography workflow application. Augmented by photos and case studies from a demanding road test in Tasmania, award-winning photographer Mikkel Aaland explains how Lightroom allows you to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images.

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The Develop module retouching tools are located in the tool strip below the histogram (circled in Figure 4-39). These tools can also be selected from the View menu.

Figure 4-39

Using the Red-Eye Correction Tool

Let's start with the red-eye correction tool, which is very easy to use:

  1. Select the tool from the tool strip by clicking on the eye icon. The dark pupil icon becomes red when you have it selected.
  2. Place the pattern over the red eye, with the crosshair positioned in the pupil, as shown in Figure 4-40. If the pattern is too large or too small, click and drag from the center of the eye until it is slightly larger than the eye. Release your cursor, and the red should disappear.

    Figure 4-40

  3. Fine-tune the red-eye removal with the Pupil Size and Darken sliders in the tool drawer, shown in Figure 4-41. The Pupil Size slider increases or decreases the size of the pupil (left). The Darken slider affects the opacity of the pupil (right).

    Figure 4-41

  4. Repeat this process as many times as necessary on other eyes. Select Reset from the tool drawer to start over. Once you are finished with the red-eye correction tool, select Close or select another tool. The red eye icon now returns to black.

Using the Spot Removal Tools

A common problem with digital cameras is sensor dust, which can appear in the same spot on all images. Often the resulting spot is not noticeable unless it appears in an area like the sky. This is what occurred with one of my adventure shots. As you can see in Figure 4-42, the spot is very conspicuous, and detracts from an otherwise beautiful image. Here is what to do to remove spots like this.

Figure 4-42

  1. Select the spot removal tool from the tool strip. Click on the word Heal in the tool drawer. The healing tool works in a similar fashion as its Photoshop counterpart: it blends the target and source. (Lightroom's clone tool, on the other hand, takes a copy of the source area and pastes it over the target area and blends the edges.)
  2. Place your cursor over the sensor dust spot. Adjust the spot size with the slider until it is about 25 percent larger than the dust spot, as shown in Figure 4-43. Other ways to enlarge or shrink the spot size are by Control/Ctrl-dragging or by using the bracket keys or the mouse wheel.

    Figure 4-43

  3. Click, and Lightroom automatically chooses an adjacent blending source, as shown in Figure 4-44. If you're not satisfied with the results, drag the source circle around until a satisfactory degree of healing occurs in the target area. If you move the source circle from its default location, it becomes fixed when copied and pasted to another image. The default source becomes relative when applied to another image.

    Figure 4-44

The entire procedure can be repeated as many times as necessary on the same image until all the spots are removed. At any time, you can go back and relocate either the target or source, as shown in Figure 4-45. Toggling the H key hides and reveals your selections. Delete unwanted selections by placing your cursor over the circle, clicking, and using the delete key. Use the Reset button in the tool drawer to remove all the selections. Click on the clone/heal icon when you are done, or press the N key. You can go back to the image at any time and resume using the tool.

Figure 4-45

Figure 4-46 is an example using the clone tool, and as you can see, the effect is quite different from that of the healing tool. Even so, everything I said about using the healing tool applies to the clone tool.

Figure 4-46

Apply clone/heal tools to multiple images

You can create a copy of your settings from one image and then apply them to multiple images. Repeat what we did earlier, and use the clone or heal tool to get rid of an offending spot. If possible, use Lighroom's default selection and don't move the source circle. Now, in the left panel, click Copy. This brings up the dialog box shown in Figure 4-47. Deselect all and select only Spot Removal. In the filmstrip, select as many of the images you wish to fix. Now click Paste from the panel. Done. If you didn't move the source circle, Lightroom will pick an appropriate new source. If you moved it, the source is fixed, which may or may not give good results.

Figure 4-47

If you enjoyed this excerpt, buy a copy of Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure.