What exactly does that Lightroom preset do?

A couple of weeks ago, I was messing around with some presets I’d downloaded from the ‘net for Adobe Lightroom.  I quite liked the effect but I wanted to know what they were doing.  The version of Lightroom that I’m using (2.6) doesn’t let me edit an existing preset so I turned to the ‘net to find out how to work out what settings were being applied.  After asking my question on Quora it was less than 24 hours before Rob Sylvan responded and explained it’s as simple as exporting the preset as a .lrtemplate file and viewing it with a text editor.

Unlike Adobe’s extensible metadata platfrom (.XMP) files, Lightroom presets do not use XML but the format is pretty easy to follow (Mike Sweeney has written about Lightroom 3 presets and they look pretty similar in Lightroom 2.x to me). By examining the contents it should be possible to work out the changes that the preset makes.

Here’s an example I picked up from the ‘net that emulates Ilford HP4+ black and white film:

s = {
id = “D6783909-3334-45C7-A277-10FF62F8D9CE”,
internalName = “Ilford FP4+”,
title = “Ilford FP4+”,
type = “Develop”,
value = {
settings = {
AutoBrightness = false,
AutoContrast = false,
AutoExposure = false,
AutoShadows = false,
Brightness = 50,
ChromaticAberrationB = 0,
ChromaticAberrationR = 0,
Clarity = 30,
Contrast = 25,
ConvertToGrayscale = true,
Defringe = 0,
EnableColorAdjustments = true,
EnableDetail = true,
EnableGrayscaleMix = true,
EnableSplitToning = true,
EnableVignettes = true,
Exposure = 0,
FillLight = 0,
GrayMixerAqua = 36,
GrayMixerBlue = 10,
GrayMixerGreen = 36,
GrayMixerMagenta = -14,
GrayMixerOrange = 10,
GrayMixerPurple = -20,
GrayMixerRed = -25,
GrayMixerYellow = 38,
HighlightRecovery = 0,
LuminanceSmoothing = 0,
ParametricDarks = -6,
ParametricHighlightSplit = 75,
ParametricHighlights = 0,
ParametricLights = 5,
ParametricMidtoneSplit = 50,
ParametricShadowSplit = 25,
ParametricShadows = 0,
PostCropVignetteAmount = 0,
PostCropVignetteFeather = 50,
PostCropVignetteMidpoint = 50,
PostCropVignetteRoundness = 0,
Shadows = 5,
SharpenDetail = 25,
SharpenEdgeMasking = 0,
SharpenRadius = 1,
Sharpness = 25,
SplitToningBalance = 0,
SplitToningHighlightHue = 0,
SplitToningHighlightSaturation = 0,
SplitToningShadowHue = 0,
SplitToningShadowSaturation = 0,
ToneCurve = {
0,
0,
32,
22,
64,
56,
128,
128,
192,
196,
255,
255,
},
ToneCurveName = “Medium Contrast”,
VignetteAmount = 0,
VignetteMidpoint = 50,
},
uuid = “92CAD954-CC15-49BE-89C1-46F88058904E”,
},
version = 0,
}

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