NEW LightZone user: What now?


Posting rules: It shouldn't need saying, but... play nice. Please keep your discussions civil. You can disagree, just don't be disagreeable. And, of course, all of the usual stuff like no spamming. Tex adds: I'll be rigorously enforcing this as we go along. We're probably going to be a small community in a little lifeboat, so we can't have members at each others' throats. This is for the sake of the project as a whole. So when you post, pretend you're speaking in person with your very wealthy auntie who has always treated you wonderfully and currently lists you prominently in her will. I won't be tossing anyone out of the forums because we are all in this together (except spammers: immediate membership cancelation), but I'll delete suspect posts right away.


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MoCoUnitedWay_2016
NEW LightZone user: What now?

Hello.  I am very much an amateur but truly love taking photos and editing them.  Up to this point I've only used very generic onlline tools (picmonkey, ipiccy), with the hopes of advancing my skills.  I discovered LightZone only a few days ago and am very excited!!! I decided to play around with the editing tools then suddenly realized this stuff is a bit over my head.  So here is my "newbie question": if you could offer one piece of input - what is one skill / technique that I can start with in LightZone photo editing?  What technique is the easiest and most basic to use just to get me started and comfortable with this type of editing tool?  Thanks in advance for your help.

 

tex
Hello, and welcome to the LightZone community

Glad you found us.  Hope you enjoy the program.  My advice, and this goes back to the beginning of the program, is to put aside a little time and just dive in.  LZ was designed to be intuitive in operation back in the day of its first appearance, 2005-6.  Today it is a bit more complex.

There are 2 go-to tools in LightZone: the Relight Tool, and the Zonemapper/Zonefinder.  Both of these tools enhance/change tonality and contrast.  So, work with them first.  Because LZ is non-destructive always, you needn't worry about damaging your original.

That said, we have now a decent group of tutorial videos to watch.  There remain a few missing that I still must do, but there are plenty to get you started and thinking.  Probably best that you watch some of those, you'll see the link to them on the top left sidebar box.  Others have also made some very helpful videos.  Ours are more specific to individual functions, the independent ones usually a bit more general  We also have some still images here on the site that explain some keys functions, in the menu tab Program Screenshots.

I must dash for work now, but will try to offer more later, or answer any questions.  There's a lot to learn for you---but the good thing is that with LZ that learning process will be a lot more fun than with many other programs---good programs, but often much less intuitive.

valvelifter
LightZone Youtube tutorials

Hi Tex
Many thanks for the excellent and very explicit Youtube tutorials. LightZone is now my first tool of choice when processing my raw files.
I very much appreciate you time spent in making them.

tex
And I very much appreciate your feedback

I am thrilled how you have seen LightZone's amazing potential as an editor.

And also, as someone with deep skills spanning both film and digital, I'd like to chat with you some more privately about some of the tutorials that still need to be done.  Let's please do that at your convenience

valvelifter
"I very much appreciate your feedback "

I would be glad to help in any way I can. I hope to make some video tutorials myself when I get more  familiar with Lightzone. I am happy to chat privately. By email perhaps?

tex
Yes, that would be great

I'll use the one you registered with, so if that's an alternate email please check it later today or tomorrow.  Looking forward to it.

Tex

valvelifter
NEW LightZone user: What now?

Hi MoCoUnitedWay_2016, I too am a fairly new user of lightzone. If I may give you my background. I have been interested in photography for 50 years and have had my own darkroom. I abandoned chemical printing and went digital when digital camera technology began to overtake traditional 35mm and medium format film cameras. For many years I used Adobe Photoshop and tought it at my local college for a few years. I also dabbled with some HDR (High Dynamic Range) software but I was never really happy with the results and I could get better, more "realistic" images with Photoshop. Many of the HDR images that I see look very heavy handed and surreal. (If that's what floats your boat, good luck to you).
Lightzone was an absolute eye opener and immediately, I could see the potential for HDR images without over doing it. I think I have watched all of the LIghtzone Project Youtube tutorials and inetend to watch many of them again.
I have studied Ansel Adams's zone system and I would encourage any student of photography to do the same. He invented it decades before digital but it remains as relevant today. Lightzone's tools closely mimic the Adams zone system.
If you are not sure where to begin, may I suggest looking at the sampler in Edit mode with a contrasty raw file. Place your cursor over the brightest spots and the darkest spots in the image and note the luminosity values. Bright areas close to 254 or dark areas close to 0 will indicate possible areas of "clipping" or loss of detail. You can then adjust the exposure value up or down and note the value change of these extreme areas. After a little experimentation with this you will be able to choose a setting on which to base further adjustments. I was struggling to make sense of the raw tone curve tool until I realised that the highlights in my image were overexposed and "blown out".
 I think it's important to get these first steps correct before moving on to use other tools.
Even with my long experience, I'm very excited about Lightzone and it has given my renewed interest in my favourite subject,  landscape photographs. I hope to be able to produce interesting images even in rather flat lighting conditions. I hope you will persevere with it and make use of the Lightzone Project Youtube tutorials.

Davyboy
editing

Can i edit jpegs using light zone ? i just registered don't know know how to acsess the editing screen thanks