Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2

January 03

7 min. to read

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Here is the image that Robert Vanelli selected and the image makeover.

The Challenge

Followers of our Skylum Photography  Facebook group page were asked to post an image of a Portrait that they would like to have as an “Image Makeover” using LUTs with Luminar 2018. Here is the image that Robert Vanelli selected and how he did the image makeover. Thank you to everyone that participated!

The Image

Jenny Schumacher  is the photographer who captured this image of an adorable little girl with a beautiful bokeh background.

The Image Makeover Process

Starting From the Beginning.  I like to begin with the Accent AI filter as a starting point to adjust an image. For this image, I added contrast to the background and more detail to the overall image.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image1Original Image by Jenny Schumacher

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image2Image with Accent AI filter

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment Layers are a great way to let you add filters or presets on separate layers so you can easily control advanced options for filters such as their application order, opacity, or blending modes. Each of the remaining steps for this makeover were created on it's own Adjustment Layer. You can add an Adjustment Layer by clicking on the + button at the top of the Filters section and then choose Add New Adjustment Layer.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image3Choose the + button

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image4Select Add New Adjustment Layer...

Remove Color Cast

The photo has a color cast from the ambient light in the room. Adding a new Adjustment Layer and selecting the Remove Color Cast filter with the amount set to 7 quickly fixed the problem.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image5After using the Remove Color Cast filter

Develop Filter

To increase the bokeh effect, I toned down the highlights, increased the purity of the whites and deepened the blacks. The subject still looked a little dark so I slightly increased the shadows then added a little structure to the image by increasing Clarity.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image6Using the Develop filter to adjust the whites and blacks

Selectively adjust Exposure

This image needed a little more fill light on the subject's face. Adding the Exposure filter to two Adjustment Layers - one for the face and the other for the eyes, solved this problem. Starting with the face first, Exposure was increased to affect the entire image. Since we used an Adjustment Layer, we can select the Adjustment Layer masking brush and selectively paint in the correct exposure on the face. We can do the same for the eyes on a separate layer.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image7Exposure was selectively applied to the face

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image8The eyes were also lightened a bit

Smoothing Skin Tone

Although the child's skin is smooth, we want to even out the skin tone. This was accomplished by using the Structure filter set at a negative value of -52 on a new Layer. From here, you can use the layer's masking brush to selectivity paint in or out the effect. The filter amount slider gives more control for the overall image.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image9Using the Structure filter with a negative value helped to soften the skin

Drawing in the Viewer

Instead of using the traditional vignette effect to darken the edges of a photo, sometimes it is nice to "Burn" or darken the edges manually. This can be accomplished by using the Dodge and Burn filter and painting the areas that you want to darken.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image10The Dodge and Burn tool can help you create a custom vignette

Ready to Apply LUT Mapping

Now that the image is cleaned up, we can experiment by changing the appearance of the image using Lookup Tables (also known as LUTs). LUTs enable us to have endless possibilities to transform the color and tone in our images. Skylum provides a few LUTs that are built into Luminar 2018 as well as on the Get More page. 

On this image, I created a new Adjustment Layer and added a LUT that comes with Luminar 2018 called Candlelight. Lowering the filter amount slider to 57 gave me the soft natural look I was going for.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image11Using the Candlelight LUT filter

If you want to experiment with different LUTs, hide the current layer by clicking on the layer's visibility icon next to the brush and then add a new Adjustment Layer. I did this for the next image using the Wooden filter that comes with Luminar 2018 at full strength.

Creative Image Makeover Using LUTs #2 Image12Using the Wooden LUT filter

The Conclusion

Adding LUTs on Adjustment Layers makes it easy to quickly change the look and feel of an image with out affecting the previous edits. Try using LUTs on your own images and share them with us on the Skylum Photography Facebook page. We'd love to see your results!

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Written by

Robert Vanelli

Photographer, Educator and Author

Vanelli is a working sports and portrait photographer, educator, and author living in Florida. After a successful career as a three-time, Triple Crown Karate champion, Vanelli turned his attention to teaching the visual arts. As an experienced educator, Vanelli has created videos for LinkedIn Learn, has written hundreds of articles, taught at major photography conferences and has developed many photography and digital workflow programs including Click for Kids. Currently, he is the Director of Education at Skylum Software, teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for the Vanelli and Friends series.

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