How to do Powerful RAW Conversions with Luminar 2018

How to do Powerful RAW Conversions with Luminar 2018

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One of the most powerful new filters in Luminar 2018 is the RAW Develop Filter. RAW files, straight out of the camera, appear flat and boring, but with capable RAW conversion software like Luminar 2018, you can transform the RAW data into a detailed and vibrant photograph.

Luminar 2018’s RAW handling has seen significant improvements over previous versions. It performs faster and the tools in the RAW Develop Filter reveal additional details in the highlights and shadows, display more accurate color, and reduce noise.

Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Filter

LUMINAR 2018’S RAW DEVELOP FILTER

The RAW Develop filter is organized into three categories:

  • Adjust – Essential Color and Tone Adjustments.
  • Lens – Remove Image flaws caused by the lens.
  • Transform – Correct perspective issues caused by the camera’s physical position.

These three tool sets form a powerful triad for correcting many of the problems encountered with unprocessed RAW image files.

QUICK TIP: JPG Shooters get access to the same tools in the Develop Filter.

Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Filter Tabs

ADJUST

The Adjust tab inside the RAW Develop filter contains fundamental color and tone adjustments. Settings include:

  • White Balance – Choose from white balance presets that are similar to the settings in your camera.
  • Temperature – Warm up (yellow) or cool down (blue) the color temperature of the photo.
  • Tint – Correct color casts by adding magenta or green.
  • Exposure – Adjust the overall luminance of the photograph.
  • Contrast – Adjust the overall contrast of the photo.
  • Highlights – Adjust the brightness of the brightest areas of the photo.
  • Shadows – Adjust the brightness of the darkest areas of the photo.
  • Whites – Adjust the white point of the histogram and white tones in the photo.
  • Black – Adjust the black point of the histogram and black tones in the photo.
  • Clarity – Adjust mid-tone contrast.

LENS

The Lens tab in the RAW Develop filter allows you to fix flaws caused by the lens. Settings include:

  • Distortion – Correct barrel or pincushion distortion.
  • Chromatic Aberration Fix – Correct for color fringing along high contrast areas.
  • Devignette – Remove darkened edges caused by lens vignetting.

TRANSFORM

The Transform tab in the RAW Develop filter allows you to compensate for perspective problems caused by the position of the lens at the time of capture. Settings include:

  • Vertical – Tilt the image forward or backward on the X-axis (helpful with key-stoning).
  • Horizontal – Tilt the image right or left on the Y-axis (helpful when shooting at an angle from the subject).
  • Rotate – Useful for straightening a photo.
  • Aspect – Expand the height or width while contracting the opposite direction.
  • Scale – Use to hide the edge gaps after transforming a photo.
  • X Offset – Shifts the image left or right.
  • Y Offset – Shifts the image up or down.

HOW TO PROCESS RAW IMAGES IN LUMINAR 2018

Open your photograph in Luminar, navigate to the Add Filter button and click on RAW Develop in the ESSENTIAL category. The interface is intuitively designed, suggesting the order in which to make your adjustments:

  • Step 1 – Adjust
  • Step 2 – Lens
  • Step 3 – Transform

EXAMPLE 1

Cappuccino Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

Straight out of the camera, the photo above was somewhat flat and slightly underexposed.

Cappuccino After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens (© Angela Andrieux)

In the Adjust tab of the RAW Develop filter, small adjustments to the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Clarity make subtle, but noticeable, improvements to the photograph.

Cappuccino Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Adjust

In the Lens tab of the RAW Develop filter, a small adjustment was made to remove the lens vignette from the corners.

Cappuccino Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

EXAMPLE 2

Balboa Park Corridor Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

The photo above, in its unprocessed state, has blown out highlights, an unpleasant pink color cast, barrel distortion, and a slightly awkward perspective.

Balboa Park Corridor After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens + Transform (© Angela Andrieux)

With the help of the Adjust panel in the RAW Develop Filter, the color cast was removed, the highlights were toned down with some detail recovered, and architectural details were enhanced.

The Lens panel in the RAW Develop filter fixed a slight lens distortion and removed chromatic aberrations.

This photograph had significant chromatic aberrations in the high contrast areas. Notice the patches of sunlight in the “Before” image below – each sunlit spot has a greenish fringe around the top and a magenta fringe at the bottom. The Chromatic Aberration Fix sliders did a great job of minimizing the unwanted color fringe.

QUICK TIP: Zoom in to 200-300% to check for chromatic aberrations in high contrast areas.

Balboa Park Corridor Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction

Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction (zoomed to 200%) (© Angela Andrieux)

Balboa Park Corridor After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Lens Correction (zoomed to 200%) (© Angela Andrieux)

Balboa Park Corridor Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

The Transform panel in the RAW Develop filter corrected for a slight upward tilt of the camera when the photo was captured and straightened the vertical lines.

Balboa Park Corridor Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Transform

EXAMPLE 3

Avila Beach Pier Before Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

RAW/Unprocessed (© Angela Andrieux)

The unprocessed RAW photo above has a color cast, is underexposed, lacks detail and contrast, and has both lens distortion and perspective issues caused by a wide-angle lens. The tools in Luminar 2018’s RAW Develop filter corrected each of these issues.

Avila Beach Pier After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop

After Luminar 2018 RAW Develop: Adjust + Lens + Transform (© Angela Andrieux)

The Adjust tab of the RAW Develop filter corrected the color cast and white balance issues, increased the exposure, added contrast and brought out detail in the shadows under the pier and movement in the water.

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Adjust

The Lens tab of the RAW Develop filter made easy work of correcting the substantial lens vignetting, removing some barrel distortion, and cleaning up the chromatic aberrations around the pier pilings (high contrast areas).

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Lens

The Transform tab of the RAW Develop filter straightened the horizon and the legs of the pier, correcting for both the position of the camera and the distorting effect of a wide-angle lens.

Avila Beach Pier Luminar 2018 RAW Develop Settings Transform

Conclusion

Each example above shows the power of the RAW Develop Filter in Luminar 2018. A RAW image file contains an abundance of data, but it takes a skilled photographer and a high-quality RAW conversion tool like Luminar 2018, to turn those files into beautiful photographs.

LUMINAR 2018 HOLIDAY SPECIAL OFFER

Ready to transform your RAW files into amazing photos? Visit Luminar 2018 until December 31 to take advantage of the holiday offer!

Get Luminar with an awesome pack of bonuses, plus get an extra $10 OFF with the coupon code: DIGITALPHOTOGRAPHYSCHOOL. 

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to by Skylum, is a paid partner of dPS.

Read more from our Post Production category

Angela Andrieux is a photographer, blogger, and photography coach living in Chesapeake, VA with her US Navy husband, and their cat, Pumpkin. She will photograph just about anything but her love of travel tops it all. Angela also enjoys helping other photographic artists find their creative voice. Whether through her blog, group workshops, or one-on-one coaching, her students’ excitement to learn keeps her inspired.

  • drdroad

    Honestly, I have trouble seeing the difference between the originals and the processed ones. I have to keep moving the page up and down. Wish this article had been set up with the photos side by side.

  • Angela Andrieux

    I can see how side-by-side would be easier to view in this layout. I’ll keep that in mind for future articles. As for the differences in the photos, they are meant to be somewhat subtle. Converting RAW isn’t (for me) about stylizing the image, rather it is where I correct for any camera/lens issues to prepare the image for the creative enhancements I’ll add later in my workflow. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave feedback!

  • Litill Alfur

    You can also right click on each photo and open it in a new tab (Chrome, but i think you can do the same with other browsers). Then just navigate the 2 tabs, and you’ll see the differences ! Hope it helps 🙂

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