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how to use image editing tools


  • most image editors have common editing tools and mastery of a tool in one editor is generally transferable to other image editors

Opening or importing images into the editor

  • some editors allow you to directly open an image from the computer's folder system
  • some, like Lightroom, require the image to be “imported” into the image editors database before it can be edited.

Basic RAW development controls

  • there are various controls which most editors provide to allow you to set the base image tonal and color adjustments which include:
    • “camera or picture profile”
      • these may be able to mimic the picture profiles of your camera
    • color balance - color temperature (blue - yellow) and tint (green-magenta)
    • exposure
    • contrast
    • highlights
    • whites
    • shadows
    • blacks
    • saturation
    • clarity
    • vibrance
    • lens correction tools:
      • chromatic aberration
      • distortion

geometric adjustments

  • horizontal and/or vertical leveling
  • rotation
  • keystone correction
  • cropping tool

The tone curve

B&W conversion tools

  • black and white conversion can be achieved by a number of techniques including:
    • setting saturation to zero
    • channel mixer which allows for a range of contrast options by applying a “color filter” effect to the conversion (eg. is you choose red filter as with a red filter on a film camera lens using a B&W film, red objects are made lighter and blue objects such as sky is made darker)
    • LUTS
  • many prefer to use layers to provide finer control and set the blending mode of the desaturated “filter” layer to “Color”

healing and clone tools

  • CLONE mode will just COPY a part of an image to another part of the image
  • HEALING mode will attempt to apply the textures and colors of a part of an image to another part of the image
  • you need to select:
    • size of the “brush”
    • amount of feathering
    • the area you want changed
    • the area to use as a source for the change

frequency separation for skin retouching

adjustment brushes

  • this allows you to “paint in” an effect to wherever you wish on the image
  • this allows the traditional film print process of dodging“ or “burning” to create contrast and emphasis in your image, which is particularly important with B&W imagery.
  • depending upon your image editor, you will have various effects that can be applied in this manner and you can usually select a “brush” for a paint in style and a feather and intensity (opacity or transparency) as well as flow rate

masking tools

  • a mask allows you to select parts of an image where you will later apply an effect to (if it is a white or light grey mask) or not apply a global effect (if it is a black mask)
  • the skill is in being able to select the regions accurately
  • some software have AI tools to take some of this often time consuming selection process away

gradient tools

  • this allows an effect to be applied to the image in a graded manner from zero to maximum effect
  • you can change the position of the gradient, the rotation and narrow the gradient to create a more dramatic change in the effect (you may want the width to be zero if applying it to a straight horizon)
  • this can be used to:
    • bring out over-exposed clouds
    • add a diffuse sun haze or fog effect
    • add a less obvious vignette effect by applying it to only select areas of the image

split toning tools

  • these allow you to add a color tone to the highlights &/or shadow areas
  • each area can have a different color tone and saturation
  • where these merge in the tonal scale can be adjusted


  • this may be applied to the original image or to the post-cropped image


digital noise reduction

film grain addition

  • adding film grain can be used to great effect to create a retro style or to disguise skin blemish issues

using layers

blend modes

  • lighten mode:
    • only adds in pixels from a 2nd image which are LIGHTER than in the 1st image
    • great for adding lights at night such as car trails, city lights to a sunset shot, creating star trails, etc.
    • NB. this can be done automatically in-camera using the unique Olympus Live Composite mode without resorting to Photoshop
  • overlay and soft light modes:
    • can add imagery such as clouds or colour to a region
    • example, create a new layer and paint in some warm colours then blend this into your sunset image
  • darken mode:
    • only adds in pixels from a 2nd image which are DARKER than in the 1st image
    • great for adding dark subjects such as black birds to the sky but may need to brighten the background of the 2nd image so it does not display
  • difference mode:
    • mainly to assist in manually aligning layers of the same scene
  • luminosity mode:
    • useful in changing contrast without altering colours

combining images

  • this can be done to achieve:

export or save tool

  • usually this step gives the option of selecting:
    • final sharpening (eg. sharpen for web or for print)
    • addition of a watermark
    • output image size
    • output image format (eg. jpeg with compression setting, TIFF for maximum quality but also largest size)
    • output destination
photo/editing_tools.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/14 10:15 by gary1

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