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Adding special effects in Lightroom Classic

In this sample chapter from The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic Book, Scott Kelby shows you how to apply special effects to your photography using Adobe Lightroom Classic. Choose from presets, add vignettes, sun flares, and spotlights, or create a panorama or HDR with your color or black-and-white images.

This chapter is from the book

When you think of the phrase “special effects,” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Hollywood movies, right? No? That’s not what popped into your head? Well, that’s odd. May I ask, and I’m trying not to sound judgemental here, what did pop into your head when I said “special effects?” It’s okay, you can share—this is a safe space and you’re among friends. A chili dog? Seriously? That’s what popped into your head when I said “special effects?” Really? Okay, now I am being judgemental because...come on...a chili dog? I just don’t know what to say (and that totally took the wheels off my entire train of thought for this chapter opener). By the way, since you brought up chili dogs (and I consider myself somewhat of a chili dog connoisseur), did you know that on a “real,” proper, honest-to-goodness chili dog, the chili on top does not have beans? That’s right—if you go to a serious hot dog hut and ask for a chili dog, if the place is legit, there will be no beans in that chili. Also, I’ll never forget a sign I saw at a famous hot dog stand in Indianapolis (I think it was Portillo’s Hot Dogs), which read something to the effect of: “Once you’re over 18, you don’t put ketchup on your hot dog anymore.” I knew right then that this place spoke to me. Okay, back to our special effects thing. I have to admit, your “chili dog” answer, when I set you up to answer “Hollywood,” kind of threw me (I was not expecting that), so let’s try another angle. Instead, can you tell me which movies you have seen? Transformers? Okay, this is great—now we’re getting somewhere. Now, remember how in the movie those cars transformed into giant robots and battled the Decepticons, and they flew and they shot rockets? That was all Hollywood special effects. Wait, you don’t recall there being any cars or robots? Okay, you beat me. I’m done. You win. You can skip this chapter.

Applying “Looks” Using Creative Profiles

Back in Chapter 5, we looked at applying profiles to your RAW images. Well, besides those, there are a bunch of nice special effect “looks” you can apply with just one click, and they’re not just limited to RAW photos—you can add them to JPEGs, TIFFs, whatever. Plus you can control the amount of the effect, as well. These creative profiles have a big advantage over standard presets because presets just move your Develop module sliders to a “pre-set” amount (like somebody processed the photo for you). However, creative profiles don’t move your sliders—they’re totally separate—so after you apply a creative profile, you can still edit your image any way you want.

Step One:

Here’s our original image (remember, creative profiles don’t need a RAW image—you can apply them to JPEGs, TIFFs, and PSDs, as well). In the Develop module, at the top of the Basic panel, to the far right of Profile, click on the button whose icon looks like four little rectangles (shown circled here in the inset) to bring up the Profile Browser (seen in the next step). You can also just choose Browse from the bottom of the Profile pop-up menu.

Step Two:

Clicking that icon brings up the Profile Browser with rows of thumbnails that show a preview of each look applied to your image, so you can quickly see what looks good without even having to click on one. You can also preview these profiles on your full-size image by just hovering your cursor over any thumbnail. There are four sets of creative profiles here: Artistic, B&W (which I cover in this chapter on page 231), Modern, and Vintage. To apply a profile, just click on one. Here, I clicked on the very first one in the Artistic set called “Artistic 01,” and it adds a purple/reddish tone to the image and increases the contrast. If you don’t like a profile you’ve clicked on, press Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to undo it or click on a different profile.

Step Three:

Let’s try another set: Scroll down to the Modern profiles, and click on one you like (here, I chose Modern 05, which has kind of a nice desaturated look). Once you apply a creative profile, an Amount slider appears at the top of the browser so you can increase the intensity of the look or back it off if it’s too much. Here, I lowered the Amount to 78 (the default is 100), so it’s not quite so desaturated. (Note: The Amount slider only appears for Creative Profiles. RAW profiles don’t have an Amount slider.) If there’s a profile you really like, you can save it as a favorite and it will appear at the top of the browser (so you don’t have to go digging for it). You do that by clicking on the star icon in the top-right corner of the profile you have selected (it doesn’t appear until you move your cursor over or click on a particular profile).

Step Four:

Let’s try one more. Scroll down to the B&W set and find one that looks good to you. Here, I went for a B&W profile (B&W 02) that adds a tone of highlights and contrast and her skin gets nearly blown out, so all her features stand out against it. It’s not a traditional black-and-white look, but I dunno, maybe that’s why I like it. (I pressed the Y key to get this side-by-side before and after.) When you’re done choosing profiles, click the Close button at the top of the Profile Browser (you can see it in the previous step) to return to the Basic panel. If you apply a profile and later change your mind about it, just choose Color from the Profile pop-up menu to return to the default color profile.

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