Enhancing Images with Luminar
I’ve talked about MacPhun’s Luminar here before. Specifically I discussed it in the context of the software being a new RAW converter, and I talked about the possibilities it offers. However, there’s another way to use the application, which also works really well, and that’s as a plug-in. You can use it as a plug-in for either Photoshop or Lightroom, and it offers a lot of functionality. Recently I was using it on an actual project, and so I thought that I’d discuss what I did and how I used the software.
A while ago I was doing some photography in a forest park here in Ireland, and while I was there I took some photos of wild shamrocks. Shamrocks always make for good stock photography especially coming up to St. Patricks Day. The images I shot were ok, but they weren’t very dramatic, and I wanted to do some creative editing with them.
To start the process, I made my selections in Lightroom, and did some initial editing. I made sure that the exposure and overall brightness levels were right and set things like sharpening, noise reduction and so on in Lightroom. Once I had the base levels for each, for more advanced editing I sent the images to Photoshop. The reason that I wanted to use Photoshop was that there were some blemishes on the leaves that I wanted to remove, and the easiest way to do that was to use the smart healing brush in Photoshop.
Once in Photoshop, the first thing I did was use the smart healing brush to remove anything that was distracting. This was mostly mould spots, or some other gunk. I didn’t clean up everything as I wanted it to still look natural. Once I did that, I made a new layer, so that I’d have this base work as a starting point if I needed to start over. From there I sent the image to Luminar by using the plug in from the filter menu. I did most of the rest of the work in Luminar.
Luminar has it’s own layer system, with masking options, and it’s pretty powerful. The look I was going for was to create some deep rich greens and a focussed area of light. To do this I started with a base layer. For this I tweaked a lot of the standard settings and added some additional filters to the stack in Luminar. I actually had a preset that I was using before and I used this as my base level.
Once I was happy with this, I wanted to darken and soften the edges, so that the focus of the image would be in the right area. To do this I created a new adjustment layer in Luminar, and applied some more filters. I used the soft focus filter and also an exposure adjustment to darken it down. I then used the masking tools to paint out the centre part, so that the mask was only applied to the edges where I wanted it to be.
Once I was happy with the image in Luminar, I clicked the apply button to send it back to Photoshop. There I did some final tweaking before sending it back to Lightroom. I repeated this process more or less on the rest of the images. It took a while but I was happy with the results, and I have used the final images on my stock site, and they’re now available in plenty of time for this year’s St. Patricks day.
Some examples of the finished results
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