May 30, 2015

Putting Enlight's Urban Through Its Paces -- A Tutorial by David Hayes

UPDATE: (Geri's Note) Before purchasing Enlight, be sure to use this link, or search the App Store using Enlight Lightricks Ltd. There is a "fake" Enlight on the App Store that has copied the icon (with slight variation) and uses all of the photos from the Enlight App. I'm not sure how Apple let this happen, but wanted you to be forewarned, so you don't waste your money on the phony app. Currently the authentic Enlight app is only usable on the iPhone, but when it is made ready for the iPad, you will be able to use your current download on the iPad.


Tucked into Enlight’s bag of tricks is a great set of presets and tools that will bring out the creativity in you. I’m talking about Artistic > Urban. It’s like this...Urban makes you think about where you want to go with your image. This is a good thing...really. Sure...you could slap a Preset onto your image and publish but that’s not what you want to do when using Urban. You want to ponder the possibilities and, as I found out while using it, show some restraint. Let me show you what I mean!




Here’s my source image. I shot this several years ago while up in Michigan...the Traverse City area. It was midday and we were heading home...and looking for a gas station. Turning a corner...there it was. A burned out store and mechanic’s shop just down the street from a gas station. While my wife put gas into our car, I ran back and grabbed a couple of quick shots. I used the images of the mechanic’s shop and forgot about the store front. Until now…



As the source image was already cropped square, I didn’t have to do anything in Canvas. So...it was straight to Artistic.



In the Artistic menu, I tapped Urban. Artistic>Urban.



Okay. Here’s where things start getting fun. You see, when you tap Urban your image comes up with the default Preset which happens to be Neutral. In Neutral the colors in the image are converted into two colors...black and white. Low levels = black, High levels = white. Keep this in mind as I go forward. (This conversion happens in all the Presets but you don’t necessarily notice this with everything else going on.)

I didn’t want to use one of the other Presets so I could show you the real power of Urban. So...instead I tapped on Tools.



The first thing I want to do is to change the color of my high levels from black to one that’s more in keeping for what I have in mind for my image. To do that I tapped on Colors.



Color 2 is default to white...or the high levels. To change this, tap on it to activate. Then swipe back and forth on the color scroll to find one you like. I picked this one as I felt it would give my image more of a burned out feel. The Brush controls help you fine tune the low and high levels. I didn’t use Brush 2 this time as I liked it just the way it was!



With my Colors set, it was Urban > Tools > Basic.



Here’s another great place to fine tune your image to give it that special something! A bit of explanation first…


The Threshold control sets the brightness level for which colors will be transformed to white. The lower the level the more blacks, the higher the level, the more whites. With that in mind, I adjusted Threshold to 38 to bring out more of my image’s blacks.


Smooth will “smooth out” or “rough out” the boundaries between the image’s whites and blacks. The best way to understand this is to give this control a try, going both ways. I didn’t feel my image needed any adjustment here so I left it alone.


Finally, Restore brings back the source image with 100 being fully restored. Sometimes you don’t need to do this...and sometimes you might. I wanted to make sure the “CLOSED” in the sign was clear so I had to Restore to 83. Again, this control is something you have to play with to fully understand.



So far so good? Okay! Time to move on the next fun part...adding a Backdrop. But wait...the arrow in the screenshot is pointing to Blending?
Not a problem...just want to show you something I like to do before going to Backdrop.



In Blending mode, Enlight...like many other apps...defaults to Normal at 100. The problem with this is that the Backdrops don’t show up in Normal...or at least most of them don’t. So I like to “preset” to Overlay at 100 before I starting checking out the Backdrops. Maybe it’s just me….



Alright! Now it’s time to play with the Backdrops!



Enlight gives you a whole bunch of nifty Backdrops...some of these are used in the Presets...and some aren’t, which is why I like to do all of this work myself!! After trying all the Backdrops, I picked the first one for its grunge look.



Guess what? Time to go back to Blending to fine tune.



And you know what? After giving each blending mode a try, I came back to Overlay at 100! (I’m usually a Hard Light or Multiply type of guy…)


So...all done in Urban. I tapped on the Check icon in the top right corner to put all of this into place. But...I’m not done so stay with me!!!



While I like the image the way it is now, I wanted to do a bit of adjusting to give it a bit of “pop”...so I tapped on Image.



Then Adjust.



Then...Presets >Miso at 100! Looking better at this point...but I just couldn’t leave it without a bit more…



Now it’s Image > Clarity



Presets > Details at 100.



Yeah...I’m still not happy. Back to Image….



No Presets this time! I’ll do it myself! Tools….





Basic to get at the Contrast and Exposure controls.





I adjusted Contrast to 26...Exposure to -6. Now I was done. Saved to Camera Roll!




Here’s the “Before” and “After” shots of this image. I like how I was able to maintain the integrity of the image’s narrative yet add to it using Enlight’s Urban and Image tools!


About David Hayes

Find David:  Website / Flickr / Instagram / Facebook 

David has done many things in his life...some of which he considers more significant than others. Yet, he feels all have made him the artist he is today. He’s been a cook at a truck stop, a janitor at a military base, worked in advertising, been a banker managing other people’s money, and an elementary school teacher. Trained as a photographer as an undergrad, he’s recently returned to these roots and now considers himself foremost a photographer and secondly a mixed media artist.

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