Which Develop module adjustments survive through to your final HDRs and Panos?
Edited 3-17-2016 to include changed information from the release of 6.5/CC2015.5:
In the last article, I discussed strategies for how many and how far apart individual exposures need to be, optimally, for the Photo Merge>HDR… function in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.x/CC2015.x. Today, we are going to expand into the realm of the panorama stitch as well as talk about HDR exposure blending.
A brief trip onto any of the support forums for Lightroom will shake out a few individuals who are chagrined to find that their careful Develop module adjustments are being discarded by the Photo Merge functions. I thought it might be a good idea to reveal which adjustments survive in a Photo Merge to HDR or Panorama and which are lost.
First, let’s talk about those settings which survive and their few exceptions.
- Basic Panel (except primary tone adjustments for HDR)
- Tone Curves (HDR – no, Panorama – yes)
- Split Toning
- Lens Correction (HDR – yes, Panorama – only Defringe)
- Effects Panel
- Camera Calibration (except Process Version, which must always be the latest version for HDR blends)
- Spot Healing (effective with LR 6.5/CC2015.5)
Now, let’s list the settings which are wiped clean by the Photo Merge.
- Red Eye
- Local Corrections (including the Adjustment Brush, Radial, & Graduated filters)
Put another way, for HDR, the merge tool is expanding tonal range, so existing primary tone settings (such as Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks) are not copied over. For a Panorama, the merge tool is changing geometric attributes, and will therefore not copy over existing geometric settings such as Lens Corrections/Upright (with the exception of the Defringe settings).
If you are planning on doing an HDR Blend or a Panorama, or even an HDR/Panorama amalgamation, you want to avoid the items in the second list. The won’t harm your final output but they will be taking up time as you are performing the work for nothing. Build a workflow around waiting to crop, spot heal, and performing local adjustments until after the merge. It will save you time, effort and make for a happier Photo Merge experience.
Rikk Flohr © 2015