Solutions: Lightroom 4 Tone Controls

Text And Photography By Michael Frye
Michael Frye used the new Tone controls in Lightroom 4 to fine-tune this image of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
With Lightroom 4, Adobe has made the most significant change to its RAW image-processing engine since Adobe Camera Raw was first introduced in 2003. These changes have brought some big improvements, especially in handling high-contrast scenes, but the new tools behave very differently than the old ones. Here’s a concise guide to the new process in Lightroom 4.

Automatic Highlight Recovery And Black Point
There’s no more Recovery tool in the new process (what Adobe calls the 2012 process), because if overexposed highlights are recoverable, that will be done automatically before you even touch any sliders. On the other end of the scale, if an image contains large regions of pure black, the black point is now moved automatically to improve shadow detail.

The New Tone Controls
A lot has changed in the Basic panel. Recovery, Fill Light and Brightness are gone, replaced by three new sliders:
Highlights, Shadows and Whites. And although the names of the other three tools

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