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Creating Basic Presets

Lesson 2 from: How To Develop and Sell Your Own Lightroom Editing Presets

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

2. Creating Basic Presets

Learn the ins and outs of preset creation and develop an organization system that makes your presets easy to use. See how to produce modular presets that can be applied one after the other to build up sophisticated effects.

Lesson Info

Creating Basic Presets

(dramatic music) Let's take a look at what's involved in creating presets in Lightroom. Now I'm gonna use Lightroom Classic in my case to create my presets, but this could also be done using Adobe Camera Raw or using Lightroom desktop, the version that ends up storing your images on the cloud. The kind of presets you make work for all three of those programs, but I'll be using Lightroom Classic. So let's dive in and see what's needed. I'll start off here with an image open in the Develop module. I have both the right and the left panels expanded. And if yours are not, there's simply a little triangle on the edge of each panel to expand or collapse them. And in this case, what I want to do is get highlight detail, but at the moment we have next to none. So I'll take my highlight slider and I'm gonna bring it down. In fact, I'll bring it all the way down. And even with it turned all the way down, I still can't see enough detail in this highlight. So I'm gonna end up lowering the exposu...

re. Even though I really would only like to darken the brightest part of the image, I've already maxed it out. And so this I'll use, even though it affects the entire image. And once I get the highlights to be as dark as I want, the dark portion of the image became too dark. So I'll adjust my shadows to bring back detail there. And it looks like in the end, I'll end up cranking it all the way out. Then let's put on a little bit of detail by bringing up clarity. That'll make things pop a little bit more and maybe make things a little bit more colorful. All right, I wanna save that as a preset in case I run into another image that is really lacking highlight detail. So on the left side of my screen, here I find presets. I'm gonna hit the little plus button and choose Create Preset. The first thing I need to do is at the top, choose a name for my preset, and I'm just gonna call it. There we go. And here for a group, I need to choose where it should be stored in this list. If you notice there's little expandable choices here known as groups, or you can think of them as folders and right here is where I can choose an existing one or at the very top, create a new one. I'm gonna create one here. I'm just gonna call it LR presets. And that's where I'll put a lot of the presets that we end up creating. We can always change the name later. So I'll just choose Create. Then below that, this is telling it what specifically will be saved in the preset. And if I leave all these check boxes turned on, this will work just fine for this image. But if I apply it to another picture, if that particular picture has some settings already applied to it, this is gonna wipe out all the settings and start from scratch before applying my preset. And I would rather have this applicable, even if I've already adjusted a picture. So at the bottom left, we have Check All and Check None. I usually choose Check None, which simply turns off all the check boxes. Then I look in here to say, which sliders did I adjust that were essential to getting this look? And I think the sliders that were essential were highlights, shadows and exposure. And then if I want to I could also do clarity and then there was also vibrance. But none of the other sliders were messed with and so now if I save it this way, then when I apply this to a different picture, if there were any settings changed in the default tail section of that image or transform or effects, they will not be wiped out. They will be retained and only the ones that are checked off here are gonna be changed. Then down here, we have a checkbox called Support Amount Slider. That's a relatively new feature in Lightroom and it's found right above the presets area in Lightroom in the left side of your Develop module. And if I turn this check box on, then this slider will be available. And if I turn it off, it won't. So let's create a preset and then we'll see how the amount slider works. Now, I created a new section here that I called LR preset. So I gotta scroll down a little bit and let's reset this image. I'll hit the reset button lower right of my screen. That gets us to default settings. Then I'm gonna just hover over this and you can already tell it's gonna work just fine. And it's only after I click on it that you see all the sliders move on the right side of my screen to reflect those settings. And because I allowed the amount slider to be available, now we can tune down those settings or even bring them up higher. And so I can decide exactly how strong I want that to be on this particular image. So let's create some more presets and think about how we might want to name these groups that they're organized within and what kind of presets we might wanna make. A few examples. On this next image, I'll head over to the Develop module and oftentimes I don't like how greens are rendered in images, at least on my Sony camera. So in order to fix that, what I'm gonna do is scroll down here to a section called HSL. And if I expand that, here is where we can tweak the colors individually in our picture. What I'm gonna do is start with luminance. That's just a fancy word for brightness, and I'm gonna grab this little donut shaped thing, and I'm gonna go on top of my image and I'm gonna click on the color I don't like, which is green. And I think it needs to be a little bit darker. So I'm gonna click on something that's green and drag straight down. If I were to drag up, it would brighten. But if I drag down, it will darken. Then once we darken, it's gonna feel too colorful most of the time. So I'm gonna head to this heading called saturation. I'll move my mouse again onto something that's green within the image. And I'll drag down to lessen the saturation to make it look a little bit, in my view, to be a little bit more natural. Finally, I'm gonna head over to hue and I find that green things are usually rendered a bit too yellowish. So I'm going to again, have that little donut symbol, which just stayed active and I'm gonna click on a green area. And this time I'm gonna drag up because if you look at this little slider we're about to adjust, the greener colors are towards the right. So I'll click on a green object, drag straight up until it feels more of a pure green in that area. And probably somewhere around there. And if you wanna see before and after, there's a light switch right here. I can turn it off to turn off this entire section. There you can see how the greens used to be much more yellowish. And when I turn this back on, now to my eye, they're more pleasing. But that only involved this area called HSL. So now let's save it as a preset. Over here, I'll hit the plus button, Create Preset. It remembered what group we last saved into. So I just give it a name and I'll just call it better greens. Then down here, I'm gonna check None once again so it clears out all these check boxes. And I'm gonna look in here for where do I find the features I was using? Well, this is called HSL/color and I see a checkbox of exactly that name. Then I could support the amount slider in case I want to be able to tone it down a little bit after applying it without having to move, what would it be? Six sliders total. Instead, will have it just with a single amount slider. So that should work out nice. Let's hit the Create button. Then I could, if I want to test it and just see how it works, I could come down here to my history and the history will list what I've done to the image. In this case, I'm gonna find a choice called Reset Settings, which is what I did before starting this recording. But otherwise you might find a choice that just says Import, 'cause if that's the first thing you did before making your preset in those adjustments, that's where we're gonna go. Then let's come in here and find our preset. Right there, better greens. We'll click on it. And here's our amount slider. Let's end up lowering it and you can see the original colors in the image and then we'll end up bringing it up. And I don't want to go to 200. That's a little too far, but I could fine tune it. 'Cause each image will depend as far as how much it needs, depending on how sunlit it was and how much it was in the shade. So now we have our second preset. Let's take a look at other types of things we might consider doing. This next image I've already adjusted and I gave it kind of a vintage look. Let's look at a few of the things that I did to create that. The first thing that I did is I went here to the section called Basic and I did adjust the image, but that was kind of a generic adjustment that I might use on any image. But in order to get this particular look, I came up here to an area called Profile and over on the right side, there are four squares. I clicked on that so I got to what's known as the profile browser. And in there was a section called Vintage 'cause I wanted to create kind of a vintage look. I hovered over each one of these until I found the one that I liked the most. And I believe I ended up down here with Vintage 7. So that's the first step that I did. There is an amount slider. And so I could dial that in to decide exactly how strong I want the effect to be. And then I'll click Close. But that's not all I did. If I come down here a little further, I might have gone to that HSL section. It looks to me like I made the blue sky less colorful and let's see if I did anything. And actually that's hue. I shifted the color of the blue sky from more of a blue blue to a cyanish blue. If I go to Saturation, I also made blues and reds a little bit less colorful. And so that probably took skin tones and the blue sky, made it less colorful. And with luminance, I didn't change a thing. If you want to see what it looked like before, I'll turn off this light switch so you can see the blue sky difference. That's the main change in the image. Another thing that I commonly do to create a vintage look is to come down here to an area called Color Grading. And in Color Grading this is where I can shift the color of the bright areas, known as the highlights, the dark areas, known as the shadows, and everything in between known as the midtones. And if I hadn't made a change to this image, these little circles that are here would be centered on this little center dot, but instead, in this case, the midtones have been shifted towards this color, which is a yellowish orange. The shadows, which is the dark portion of the image, have been also shifted towards that yellowish orange. And then the highlights have been shifted only a little bit towards blue. I know it's a little bit because the circle is almost centered over the center. Whereas the others been moved further. If you wanna see what it looked like without the color grading, I'll turn the little light switch here off, and then I'll turn it back on. And it's a subtle change, but it adds a little bit more of that vintage feel. Assuming that those are most of the settings needed to get this vintage look, let's come over here and make a preset. So again, Create Preset. Again, click Check None. And then I have to carefully look at which one of these settings do I think really would affect this. Well, the first was the profile. Remember I had that one called Vintage 7. Then I used HSL/color to tweak the colors a bit. And then I used color grading. And I don't know that the other ones were really essential to this. Although I noticed the corners of the image look darker and that's what's known as post crop vignetting. And we didn't talk about that, but I'm assuming I may have used that. So I'm gonna turn that on as well. Then I'm gonna choose Create, but first I have to name it. I'll call mine Vintage 1 and we'll hit Create. Now, first, let's see if I did the post crop vignetting. That would be found under here under Effects. And yes I did. Under Effects, what I usually do when I vignette a picture, which is darkening the corners, is I change the style here to a choice called color priority. That's what's gonna make the colors usually look their best. Then I end up bringing the amount down, just a small amount because these other sliders will be grayed out otherwise. Only after you've brightened or darkened with the amount slider do they become available. Then when adjusting these sliders, I usually hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt in Windows. And what that'll do is when I move one of these sliders, it'll act as if the amount slider was turned all the way to its extreme. And therefore you can more easily tell exactly what that slider is doing and I can fine tune it. And then I would finally fine tune the amount until I got the exact darkening effect I wanted. So I did end up using post crop vignetting to add more of that vintage feeling. But we have that now saved as a preset and we can always apply it. And if that was the last thing I applied, I'll choose Vintage 1. Then remember we have our amount slider. We can turn it down to make it look less vintage, turn it up to make it look even more extreme. So I would usually create a lot of variations on this. So I might end up having one that has this general appearance and then I have another one where I tweaked the color sliders under HSL, a different amount. And I might have gone into that color grading and shifted them towards different colors and call that one Vintage 2. And then do a little bit more variation and call it Vintage 3. And what's nice is when you work with the presets, as you hover over them, you get a preview right up here and therefore I could preview multiple vintage effects and only click on the one that I actually liked. Now let's take a look at how you name the presets. If you look at my preset list, notice that the first letter in all my little groups that are here is actually a number and that's because this list is always sorted alphabetically. So if I want to control the sorting order, I might wanna start the beginning of my group with a number or letter. And in my case the number zero is gonna make sure it appears near the top of the list and then I start with 1, 2, 3, and 4 to control their order. If I come down to one of these and expand it, you'll see my naming often will involve numbers. And so in this case, it's telling me the settings that are used for various vignetting settings, that I can hover over these to just very quickly see what it would look like with various vignetting settings. And notice on the right side of a lot of my presets in parentheses, I list the section of adjustments that were used to complete that effect. So this one here, I know only used the choices that were found on the right side of my screen under this section called Basic. And therefore, if I apply it to any other picture, it's gonna reset all these sliders that are found under Basic. But if I had already applied one of these presets to my picture, then I know if I go down further in my list, away from the ones that say Basic next to it, if I come down and apply something from here or below, these will not reset what's already been done with this preset because the ones that end with the word Basic are only using the sliders found in this section called Basic and the ones that are below those, this applies the tone curve and these apply HSL. And therefore, since it's a different section and I was careful with those little check boxes when I was creating the presets, these would not override anything that happened in our Basic section. And so that's one thing you could consider if you want to make an advanced set of presets. You could call these presets modular because I can apply one from this section of my presets and then afterwards, apply one from this section, knowing that the second section would not override the first. Whereas, if you're using all the sliders, then you're gonna end up resetting what was done in one section when you apply another. And that's what I have down here, where it's called Ben's specialty. And you see, it says everything. Or I usually have a section just called I'm feeling lucky, and that's where it would end up giving me something that uses all the sliders. And therefore, I know it would reset everything. But that's an optional naming convention that's there. Now let's talk about what I call counterbalanced adjustments. So I'll just switch to another image and go to the Develop module. There are certain adjustments in here that I find to be useful when moved in opposite directions from each other. An example for that would be vibrance and saturation. Both of these sliders make your image look more colorful when you move it up and less colorful when you move it down. But I often find that I want to move vibrance up and saturation down. And that's something that's difficult to do at the same time 'cause here you'd manually have to do this and then manually do that. And you can't preview the end result until you complete both. And therefore it's hard to figure out exactly how far you'd like to move them. But if we make a preset, let's say I made a preset that just maxed these out to the, well saturation don't wanna turn all the way down, 'cause that means black and white, but we maxed out vibrance and then we brought saturation until it looks somewhat appropriate. Well now if we save this as a preset, then we have that amount slider on the left side of our screen and it will in essence, lower these two settings, bringing them closer and closer to the middle. And so let's see how that would work. In this case, I'm just gonna create a new preset and I'm gonna call it plus vibrance minus saturation. And in here I'll check None. And then just vibrance and saturation is all I'm gonna save into it and hit Create. So now if we apply that, vibrance plus saturation, now right here, having this slider allows me to very quickly counterbalance those two sliders. Just watch them over here on the right side of my screen to see what I might like as far as moving them in the opposite directions. But sometimes I want to do the opposite of that. Instead of increasing vibrance and lowering saturation, I wanna lower vibrance. Bring it all the way down and then let's bring up saturation until the colors start looking somewhat appropriate. Let's say about there. And let's save that also as a preset. So I'll come over here, hit the plus sign, Create Preset. And I'll say minus vibrance plus saturation. If I get rid of that space. And now I have the opposite version of it as well. And so there we have our two and we can click on either one, depending on what we want to do with the overall color within the image. Now, if you're not used to thinking about those two sliders, the difference between them is vibrance thinks about mellow colors, areas that are not all that colorful to begin with. And so if you're increasing vibrance, you're saying make the mellow colors more prominent in the picture. If on the other hand, you're reducing vibrance, you're saying make the mellow colors less prominent within the image. And then the saturation being moved the opposite direction just tries to make the colors look at a normal level in somewhat. And so anyway, those are two that I would often save. And before we had this slider available here, I would have a whole bunch of those. So if you look in my presets over here, you're gonna find that one particular section of them, it's right here called vibrance and saturation. And it used to be I'd have a bunch of them so I can just hover over and now I don't need that quite as much. These sections over in here are ones that I would replace with that amount slider. Let's look at another set of sliders that I often counterbalance. Let's go look at a black and white picture where I think I've already done it. In this image, notice that the setting for contrast is turned down and the setting for dehaze is turned up. Those are two settings that oftentimes are best worked in concert with each other and moved in opposite directions. I'll double click on Dehaze to reset its slider to the default of zero. And I'll do the same thing for contrast. And if I were to come in here and just adjust dehaze, it becomes too much, really fast. And in order to counteract that I can bring down contrast until it doesn't look like it's quite as extreme and I'll still get an interesting look in the image. So in this case, let's say I get it so it still looks somewhat realistic, maybe in this case my contrast doesn't need to be quite that low, maybe about here, but I've moved these in opposite directions. And now I'm gonna save that as a preset because then I can use that amount slider to vary how strong it is. So I'll just call this minus contrast plus dehaze. And I'll just say for B and W because it looks best in black and white. When it's in color, it ends up being too much, very quickly. So then I'll check None and in here I'll figure out which settings are really essential. Well, let's see. It would be in here and it would be dehaze and contrast. And the fact that I mentioned black and white up in here would remind me to only apply it to black and white pictures. I don't know if I want to turn on this black and white mix because that would end up moving all the sliders found under black and white, and it would change the overall rendering of that black and white image. So I'm not gonna do that. I'm gonna hit Create. And then when we apply it, we can have that amount slider to fine tune it. But with black and white, that's another area where I create a lot of presets and I could create a different mix of these. In this area called black and white, this controls areas that used to be these various colors in the image and by moving them towards the left, I can darken areas that used to be red. Although in this image, I don't think there were many that were, or I can do it with blues, darkening it or brightening it up. And it really depends on what the original image looked like. In this image by chance, let's see, I'd have to reset it to get it back to the original, to see what colors we had. It looks like we primarily have yellowish oranges and blues. So we choose Undo. And therefore in here I could grab that little donut and it'll look at what color this area used to be, and I could darken it or brighten it. And then I could go to this area, which was the other color in the image and darken or bright that. And if I liked that I could end up saving it as a preset. If I ended up saving about a dozen different mixes for black and white, then very quickly hovering over the preset over in here would allow me to see all sorts of different versions of my black and white picture and more easily choose the best one. Another thing with black and white is I usually apply color grading afterwards to add a little hint of color to it. This image has a slight cool feeling because in the shadows, or dark portions of the image, I shifted it the littlest bit towards blue. That's another thing I would end up choosing a preset for, but that preset would be separate from the black and white preset and separate from the one that had contrast and dehaze going in opposite directions. Therefore I could build one on top of the other. So anytime I got a good looking black and white picture, then I could go to my presets for color grading and apply color to them. And I've done that with some of my presets over here. If I come in here, I will find ones here, black and white cool tones. And here it says it uses split toning. It's actually now called color grading. They've renamed it. And I just haven't updated my presets 'cause these particular presets are ones that I don't sell. These are ones that I just use internally. But here I could hover over these and see the various different kinds of coloring. And those are cool tones. Here I also have a section for warm tones, different shades of brown in here. Then medium and strong application of the color. And so that's another area might consider is some black and white presets, both for the mixing and then color grading to put on top of it. I don't just use color grading with black and white pictures. Here's a color photograph. And if I bring it into the Develop module and I head over here to color grading, you can see that I have shifted the bright portion of the image towards yellow and the dark portion of the image towards blue. If I turn on this little, turn off this check box, you'll see what it looked like before doing that. And you can see less color here in the highlights. And when I turn it back on, you can see that now we have more yellowish in here and there's a little more hint of a kind of purplish feeling down there. And so I also use this for color images, and sunrises and sunsets are one instance where I might want to do that. So you could create some presets for sunrise and sunset that boost the color in the bright areas and maybe in the dark. You could also come over here to HSL in addition to that and maybe amp up the oranges in the image a bit. And in this case, that's luminance though, I might want to go for saturation and amp up that orange color a little bit. And the combination of that HSL with the color grading, you can create some very nice presets for sunset. Another thing that I'll frequently do is I'll make presets again over here in my HSL/color area. And what I can do is make it so we have selective color because sometimes you have one particular color, like an orange car or something like that and you want all other colors to be mellowed out. So here under Saturation, what I'll do is lower every single slider that is in here all the way to the left, which will make them black and white, or maybe just leave them a little bit shy of all the way down so you still have a hint of color and then take a single color and bring it up like that. Save a preset. Then therefore you can call it only oranges. Bring it down and then bring up yellows. And then you can save a separate preset. And then bring up greens and save a separate preset. And therefore you can have those as some color effects. If you've done this and messed up your image, just come over here to History and it should list everything you've done to your image. And you could come down here to right before you started experimenting and reset to what you had previous to that. So now you should be getting a feeling for how to make a good number of presets because I've talked about kind of the variety of adjustments I would do. Vintage looks. I would do black and white adjustments. Tinting them, our black and whites. Think about common subject matter, like sunrise and sunset or portraits. What kind of look you want to create for those situations. And then if, once you get a wide variety of them, you might want to push it even further because we can make adjustments that are not possible in Lightroom. And that's what I can show you in the next video.

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