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LR Question: are the presets additive, or do they replace?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by WT21, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Quick LR question -- if you click on one preset image, it applies it. If you click on the second, does to layer the adjustment on top of the first one? Or does it completely replace it? (setting sliders back to zero, and applying the new one)?
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Replace. If it were cumulative what would happen to an image that you say picked a B&W treatment and then did a saw an aged photo effect? There would be no color to return?

    One of the beauties of LR. I often do a few finished images through the use of virtual copies for different looks. Since the virtual copies are just another set of instruction and not really duplicate files the space is a couple k maybe.
  3. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I believe some are additive, no?

    Say you wanted to add the punch preset, it wouldn't change your colors, no?
  4. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    No LR doesnt to my knowledge layer one effect over the other in terms of individual presets.

    One thing that I've been meaning to experiment with for a long time but haven't really got around to it is to explore the power of combining Photoshop and LR. Quite often I really like the look of a particular preset but find it a little too over the top or feel it doesn't work on a specific portion of the image....exporting it as a layer over the original into Photoshop and then tweaking the opacity of these as layers could solve that. But like I said, I still haven't gotten around to experimenting with this.
  5. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I'm not sure additive is the correct description. They just adjust different sliders. So the presets only adjust the ones needed for that one.

    Like Sharpen - Faces and almost any other standard preset. They don't adjust the same sliders. But it's not cumulative. Try hitting the same preset multiple times, does the image change?

    Punch in specific change clarity, vibrance, and saturation so that in it's self changes colors.
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  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Depends on the presets what happens. Basically each preset tells LR to change a specified list of adjustments to particular values.

    So basic answer: they're additive if they're changing different things, and they replace if they change something which was previously changed. Since you can change more than one thing with a preset your final result may end up being partially additive, partially replacement.
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  7. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Remember Ctrl-Z is "undo." Very handy, especially when trying different presets, to make sure you're starting fresh. There's also a "Zero" preset that takes you back to the virgin file.

    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
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  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    OK, a few replies got posted while I was typing.

    Let's try and break it down. You have an unmodified image. You apply a preset that changes exposure and contrast. Exposure and contrast settings are set to values specified in the preset. Now you apply a second preset which changes contrast and clarity. You end up with an image with the exposure setting applied in the first preset and the contrast and clarity settings applied in the second preset. The contrast setting in the first preset is replaced by the contrast setting in the second preset but the second preset doesn't affect exposure so that change from the first preset remains, and the clarity adjustment from the second preset is added as well.

    Now with applying a black and white preset then a colour change preset, what you're going to end up with depends on how the black and white preset worked. The reason is as follows:

    The black and white preset will work in one of 2 ways. It either creates a black and white image by moving saturation sliders to 0 while leaving the image flagged as a colour image, or it flags the image as black and white in either the Basic panel or in the HSL/Color/B&W panel. If the black and white preset merely desaturated the image, it's technically still a colour image as far as Lightroom is concerned and we're just adding another set of colour instructions on top. If there's a different saturation setting included in the colour preset, colour is going to end up back in the image because the saturation settings are going to increase because the only change you can make to zeroed saturation settings is to increase them and that will add colour back into the image.

    On the other hand, if the preset worked by selecting the black and white option in either the Basic panel or the HSL/Color/B&W panel, one of the things that is included in any preset affecting colour is an instruction that says that colour rather than B&W will be the setting in those panels so the image gets moved back into colour.

    To confirm this as a simple experiment, apply one of the black and white presets that Lightroom comes with to an image, then apply one of the colour presets. You will end up with a colour image but some of the changes made by the black and white preset, contrast for example, will still be set to the value set by the black and white preset if contrast is not altered by the colour preset.

    A simple way to visualise what's happening:

    Every time you make an adjustment to an image, an instruction is added to a processing list. If you go back and change a previously made adjustment, the new value becomes the final value in the list for that adjustment. As you make adjustments to the image you either add new instructions concerning things which have not previously been changed, or you change the final value for the instruction relating to a previously made adjustment.

    One final point, and it is important. When you create a preset you're presented with a window which has tick boxes for all of the possible adjustments that can be made and you have to specify which adjustments are affected by the preset. Say you only want to change Clarity. You should untick every box except Clarity in that window. If you don't, the current value for every other adjustment that is ticked will be included in your preset so if you leave Exposure ticked as well as Clarity, then the current value for exposure will be added to the preset. If the current value is 0, then when you apply the preset not only will Clarity be adjusted but exposure will be zeroed. If your exposure setting had been adjusted when you saved the preset, that value will be applied to an image when you apply the preset. Good presets only change the things intended to be changed. Bad presets can change anything and everything in an image. The presets that come with Lightroom are good, they only change specific things as needed, If you're making your own presets be very careful at the time of saving them to ensure that they only change the things you want them to change.
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  9. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    It would be nice if the presets had a little description file that outlined what they did.
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