In this article we will see how to create different types of preset in Adobe Lightroom.
So, what is a Lightroom preset anyway? A set of instructions or a instruction stored as a separate file – so that, at a later point, all the instructions can be applied in one single click. The no. of instructions you can create in Lightroom is almost infinite, and similar instructions can be clubbed and together saved as a preset. It means the no. of presets you can create is also infinite.
In Lightroom, presets can be created in Library module, for Import window, for local correction tools in develop module, presets for filters in Library module and etc., But in general, many presets are being created and used in develop module only. In this post, we will see how to create develop module presets and how it can be applied on an individual photograph.
Screenshot of left side panel in Develop module
In develop module the presets panel is located on your left side panel along with other tools Navigator, Snapshots, History, Collections (Refer the screenshot above). The box marked in red colour is the presets panel, another box in pale green colour is the presets folder where you can store similar presets in it or the way you classify your presets in that folder. The other box in blue colour is the actual preset, if you hover the cursor over any preset, the image on the Navigator will show you the preview of the photograph as if the preset was applied, thus enabling you to see the effects of that particular preset before you even apply the preset on the photograph.
Now, how to create a preset in Adobe Lightroom?
Look at the screenshot again, you have to click the “+” symbol next to the presets panel (marked in red colour on the screenshot). Once you click the “+” symbol a separate window will open up on the display with an indirect question – What are all the settings you want to save as part of the preset.
Note: If you want to save a preset there is an underlying meaning that you have made some corrections to the photograph and you want the very same settings as part of the preset for future use.
Tip: To create a preset click Shift + Cmd + N in a Mac, for Windows user click Shift + Ctrl + N
Screenshot of preset creating toolbox from a colour photograph
The preset name box is for the name of the preset, you can name the preset here, generally an easy word/words to co-relate the effect the preset might bring to the photo. Next one is the presets folder, where you would want to save the preset into. So that later it is easy to find out one particular preset in a easily relatively named folder. If you click the dropdown menu from the folder box, you will be able to see the other presets folder. From there you can create a new one or you can choose any existing one. If you choose new folder, a separate pop up window will ask you to name the folder.
Screenshot showing the New folder creating pop-up box
Next is Auto settings, if you click any one of auto settings and if you used this preset on your photograph it means that you are instructing Lightroom to apply Auto tone on to the photograph. Auto tone will apply corrections from the Basic panel on your right side. Auto tone is nothing but let lightroom to decide what is the best White, Black points, adjusting the contrast and exposure.
Now if you look at the settings tab and all the settings in it, every single tick box thing represents one/more slider/s from the right side panel in develop module. White Balance represents – white balance slider and tint slider together from the right side panel. Basic tone represents the complete tonal sliders from the right side panel (all 6 sliders).
Tone curve checkbox represents the complete tone curve from the right side panel, any corrections to the curve, regions, splits everything from the Tone Curve. Clarity directly represents the clarity slider. Sharpening also represents the four sharpness sliders from the Detail panel.
Treatment (Color) check box represents the treatment from Basic panel, if you notice at the top of the Basic panel on the right side, there is an option to choose whether Color or Black & White.
Note : If you are making a preset from a Black & White photograph there will be a small difference in the pop-up window. Refer below screenshot.
Screenshot of preset creating toolbox from a Black & White photograph
Color check box represents the Vibration & Saturation sliders from the Basic panel and HSL/Color/B&W panel. Whereas Vibration & Saturation consists of only two sliders but the HSL/Color/B&W panel consists of twenty four sliders. Any small correction to one single slider will come under “Color Adjustments” check box.
Note: The twenty four sliders are classified into Hue, Saturation & Luminance in “HSL” tab and the very same sliders are classified based on colours in the next tab “Color”.
Split toning check box is a straightforward one, it represents the Split Toning panel’s all the five sliders values.
Graduated Filters & Radial Filters are direct one too, but the use of this is limited unless and otherwise you have similar shots. This check box copy the adjustments made using this tool from the Local correction tool bar below Histogram on the right side.
Note : The position, angle, adjustment values all are copied and the same applied if you use this preset on a new photograph. If you have cropped a photograph and using this preset, the position will be assumed from the uncropped one.
Noise Reduction checkbox will take the values from the six sliders under Noise reduction from the Detail panel, Luminance and Color respectively.
Lens corrections check box will be having values from the Lens Corrections panel directly, all the sub check box as well is direct.
The Effects check box divided further into Post-crop vignetting and Grain, both are representing five and three sliders respectively from Effects panel on the right side.
The Process version and Calibration represents the values from Camera Calibration panel where process version comes with three different versions and the Calibration comes with six different profiles to apply.
Now that we have seen all the checkboxes and how does it takes up the value while creating the preset, lets see one example on creating a preset. Once the pop up window shows up, you have to decide what are the values from the photographs needs to be part of the Lightroom preset. For instance if one wants to save only the Split Toning and nothing else, you have to click first the “Check None” on the bottom of the window. So that the other check boxes if any got checked will be unchecked. Once all the checkbox gets unclicked you need to click the checkbox next to “Split Toning” alone.
Screenshot of preset creating toolbox with the exclamatory sign when you don’t keep the Process version check box unchecked.
Kindly note the Process Version will show you a warning if you do not check that, this is because all the sliders will change the way it works if this is not checked and clicking check none will keep all the check boxes unchecked except Process version check box. The current process version is 2012 and if you had selected earlier one, switching to the latest ones may give you different results than the earlier. Once you clicked ‘create’ the preset will be created and instantly you can see it in the respective folder.
Another aspect to mention is the clever usage of work spaces in Adobe LR and you can find more information about that in the article written here on that topic.