I have some BIG NEWS today, folks.
I'm a bit sad to say that this particular Lightroom innovation didn't come from me, but it's SO. STINKING. COOL. I just had to show you all anyway. I've been asked about half a billion times by customers and prospective customers, "Is there a way to fade the opacity of a preset, so I just get SOME of the effect?" Well, until recently, the short answer has been "No." Sure, there are other ways to adjust your presets (the Adjustment Kits are AWESOME for that, especially if you want to adjust specific aspects of the effect instead of globally reducing the preset.) But especially for those of you coming to Lightroom from Photoshop and actions, the ability to use a preset at 50% or 75% instead of full-strength is Pretty. Darn. Useful.
Recently, Reina (of Simply Actions) sent me a link to this plugin called the Fader (which I'd never heard of, but apparently it's been around about 3 years!) by a company called CaptureMonkey. I was immediately intrigued and downloaded the plugin to try. After seeing it worked, I happily paid the $10 to register the full version. Playing with it some more, I soon uncovered many possibilities with it that I hadn't even considered at first glance. Today I am going to show you how you can use this fabulous plugin to:
1. Fade the opacity of a preset (or make it stronger!)
2. MIX aspects of multiple presets (they don't stack precisely like actions, but you CAN blend aspects of multiple presets! More on that later)
3. Fade your Special FX presets! That's right, you can use the Fader to get softer bokeh, sun bursts, more subtle texture, you name it!
FADE PRESET OPACITY
For this first example I'm using a SOOC image from Reina, and I've opened up the Fader menu (File > Plugin Extras > The Fader) and applied LittleLamb at 100%. This preset, as you can probably tell, was made for very underexposed images, so for this it's obviously going to be too bright.
But we can see possibilities and potential here, right? So now, I just move the slider down until I find my "happy place", in this case 49%. We keep the warmth and some of that brightening and shadow lifting (and all that beautiful skin-perfecting that Soft is all about!) but now it's just the right amount.
It honestly could not be easier! Now for something a tiny bit more complicated....
REMIX / BLEND / COMBINE PRESETS!
Let's start with this image from Joy of Life Photography. I want to warm it up and brighten it some, so I try Turmeric from Spice (and I have many more brightening warming presets that are more subtle, but for the sake of showing off the Fader I picked this so you could really see the change.) Here it is at 100%:
Obviously it's a bit much for this image. So we just move that slider down to a happy 32%. Much better.
I like this better, but I want to tame the greens a bit with some split toning and maybe add some drama with a vignette. I think, I could use just a hint of Galoshes (from the Spring Collection.)
So I open the Fader back up and you'll notice when I select Galoshes and move the slider down to 0%, my base image is our 32% Turmeric edit we just did. (Which is why it looks exactly like what I just showed you :P) So whatever I'm fading into this image now is averaging with THAT edit, not the original. Cool, right?
And here is Galoshes added at 100% (also obviously too much)
So then I settle on 49%, which maintains some of the warmth and contrast of the Turmeric, while adding a nice vignette and some split toning from Galoshes:
And see all those check boxes? In this case I decided I preferred a less matte edit so I unchecked the Tone Curve box to revert to the clean tone curve from Turmeric.
As you can probably imagine, the possibilities are pretty much endless with this! Last but definitely not least, I wanted to show you how you can use the Fader to lower the opacity of your SpecialFX presets, too!
FADE SPECIAL FX
Here I'm using an image from Devin of C&D Photography, I've added a bokeh style sun flare from Special FX 2: Nature Effects, but it's a little overpowering in full strength.
So, I soften it to 46% for a more subtle and natural effect that suits the softer lighting.
Voila! That's it!
Bottom line, this is a fantastic and fun tool that works seamlessly with Lightroom and the Silky line of products, and while I'm not getting anything out of recommending it to you, I still think you ALL owe it to yourselves to go get a copy of this plugin! I want you to get the absolute most out of your presets that you can, and this will give you another way to control and fine-tune your edits.
It's free to try, and only $10 to register, so go download The FADER now!
PS-- please join us in the VIP group on Facebook for more discussion about this (plus other kinds of fun and learning!)
Cheers and happy SPRING from Liberty at Silky Presets!