Last week in San Jose, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I had lunch with Lightroom’s father, Mark Hamburg, and three others from the LR engineering team: Kevin Tieskoetter, Donna Powell, and Bill Stotzner. LR marketing manager Jennifer Stern was there as well. Any technical question I had was quickly answered by irrefutable sources.
When I lamented that I couldn’t create an invert or solarize- effect tone curve in the Develop module Mark encouraged me to open my laptop then and there, on the lunch table. Within minutes he manually coded in x,y curve coordinates for the effects, and created a LR Develop preset which anyone can use. Watching him make the custom curves made me realize that it wasn’t that hard. Shortly I’ll show you how to do it yourself.
Before I do, however, let me repeat what I’ve said many times: I love LR Tone Curves. I’ve never been a big fan of Photoshop curves. I’m a Levels guy. I always get into trouble with curves. Maybe it’s because I am hyperkinetic and my wrist isn’t steady enough and my curves tend to go all over the place. But the LR Develop Module Tone Curve keeps me from getting into too much trouble. If you look at this screen shot, you’ll see what I mean.
See the bubble surrounding the graph? You physically can’t drag the graph over or under the perimeter
of the bubble, which would, if you could, result in highlight or shadow clipping. This is great until you want to invert the curve or create a curve that replicates a solarizing effect.
So, this is the work around Mark showed me:
1. Open the Presets Folder on your desktop. (You can find the Presets Folder by searching for “Tone Curve-Medium Contrast, or, with Lightroom open, in the Develop module, right click on any of the Presets and select “Show in Finder” from the pop-up menu.)
2. Make a duplicate of one of the presets Tone Curve - Medium Contrast.lrtemplate works fine.
Open the duplicate in a text editor. On a Mac I use TextEdit. Here is what it will look like open.
3. Look at the ToneCurve x,y coordinates in the following screen shot. If you duplicate what you see here in your open duplicate file you’ll end with an “inverted” graph which will produce the effect shown below.
4. If you duplicate what you see here, you’ll end with a graph that produces a solarize effect like the one shown below.
5. Now go back and name your preset, I suggest calling them LR Adventure Invert and LR Adventure Solarize. (That way you’ll remember where you got ‘em!) Next time you fire up Lightroom the new presets will appear in the Develop Presets pane.
I’d offer the presets for download, but we are still trying to figure out to do this from the site. In the meanwhile, if you don’t want to do the coding yourself, just send me an email and I’ll send you the presets for free–with no obligation to buy my Lightroom Adventure book… firstname.lastname@example.org