Lightroom Tip of the Week (7): fading a Lightroom Preset

This is a video remake of an older tip I did when the blog was still in Dutch. I get asked this question quite a lot during the workshops: ‘Is there a way to ‘fade’ the effect of a preset?’.
Well, there is no real ‘fade’ slider in Lightroom, so you’re left with one of two options: you try to figure out what it is the preset does (and what sliders it changes by how much) and then fiddle with those sliders. This is however a cumbersome method, as some presets can be fairly complex, change dozens of sliders and even use localised edits such as graduated filters.
You could also open the preset in a text editor, to try to find out the settings used, but this is not for the faint-hearted!
An easier and highly controllable, albeit more storage-hungry way of doing things is presented in the following movie. If you know of other ways, please share them in the comments.
P.S. Those of you who are new to the blog might also be interested in the ‘Look ma, only Lightroom’ video I did a while back, on how to make a print layout in Lightroom.

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26 Responses to Lightroom Tip of the Week (7): fading a Lightroom Preset

  1. Joop Snijder says:

    I was wondering if Smart Objects can help you with non-destructive fading of the effect. You can open the original and the virtual copy with the preset as Smart Objects in PS. Now you need an extra step to copy one Smart Object to the other.

    Now you can do the same trick, but after opening the TIF file you can readjust the Camera Raw settings. The only disadvantage is the fact that you need a XMP settings of your presets if you want to apply a new preset to your virtual copy.

    But this is a non-destructive way of fading your preset.

    Let me know what you think about this technique.

  2. Jerome says:

    Very handy trick indeed! Thanks, was looking for such a ‘fading’ for ages :)

  3. John says:

    This is great info…thanks.

  4. Dariela says:

    Great tip! Thanks so much. I will definitely try it!

  5. Terra says:

    Wow! This is SO quick!!!! Thank you for saving me so much time and more creativity options!!!!!

  6. Thanks for this awesome tip! Very helpful!

  7. Jim Lewis says:

    Another advantage to this method is that you have the control to paint in the effect through a layer mask. Great tip!

  8. @ Jim, thanks for adding that… I forgot to do so in the video.

  9. Thomas says:

    XLnt tip.. thank you!

  10. Phill says:

    Hey – the Lightroom Fan page just posted the YouTube video directly so you’re probably getting a lot of love there! I didn’t think about doing this – thank you. Although looking at the filename -edit-edit-edit2.tif I guess you have a lot of diskspace for so many .tifs lol!

  11. @ Phil: I guess I had to do a couple of takes of the video and forgot to delete the previous versions :-) But it’s right: it is a disk-space consuming method. However it is fast, and I like to think that time is more precious than disk space :-)

  12. Pingback: Twitted by sherri_meyer

  13. Thanks… very helpful! : )

  14. Jason Joseph says:

    I do this all the time. However… I add layer masks for further control. Giving me a true nondestructive file I can tweak and re-tweak

  15. @ Jason: another thing you can do is, after you’ve set the right ‘mix’ between the two using the opacity slider and layer masking, turn those two layers into a Smart Object, and work from there with smart filters :-)

  16. Modesto says:

    Muchas Gracias Amigo,

    Great tip !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Patrick says:

    great tip, but for some reason i don’t get the option to choose “open as layers in photoshop”

    Any help wellcome


  18. @ Patrick: do you use CS3 or CS4? It might have something to do with not running the latest version of Photoshop. If you do run CS4, then try updating your Camera Raw to the latest version (via Update in the Photoshop Help menu…)

  19. Patrick says:

    I run the CS3, might there be the problem ?
    Thanks for your reaction

  20. @ Patrick:
    Normally, it should also work with CS3. Try first of all to download the latest available Camera Raw Version for Photoshop CS3 (run Photoshops update feature). If that does not work, it might be because your camera is more recent than supported by Camera Raw. You might want to try to convert – just for testing at first – a couple of files to DNG when you import them to Lightroom, or try the ‘Open as Layers’ command on two JPG’s or PSD’s (so any non-camera-specific raw file).
    If that still doesn’t work, you might want to try downloading the trial version of CS4… That should work…

  21. Patrick says:

    i have a Canon 5D, not exactly the newest… but i’ll try the tips you gave.

  22. @ Patrick: the 5D is still a pretty good camera, even in these days… Only too bad about the somewhat older AF system…

  23. Patrick says:

    i love my 5D, dont worry

  24. Pingback: Lightroom Tip of the Week: the many uses of a Virtual Copy —

  25. jarnoh says:

    or, you could try my Lightroom 3 plugin which does this simpy with a slider inside Lightroom,

  26. Pingback: Fading a Lightroom preset, revisited. —

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