Dec 19, 2008

Odds & Ends… LR2.2 Growing Pains

Software release is both an exciting and problematic process. Engineers work long and hard to 'dot every I and cross every T...'. But, they're human. On release date, somebody writes a summary of the progress notifying the public. Then everybody downloads and starts to use the software. Soon, this blog and that forum begin to have questions about new problems.

Today's entry deals with some solutions for a couple of those aspects. Victoria Bampton is one of Lightroom Forum's gurus. As a moderator for Lightroom, she gets early warning about things that don't quite work right. Her website Lightroom Queen contains quick posts as a heads up. She also has an e-book for Lightroom 2.
Matt Kloskowski gave a video description of Adobe Camera Raw 5.2 (ACR) at PhotoshopUser TV. Matt describes tools which originated in Lightroom 2 and are migrating to ACR and CS4. This video will be available free to NAPP and public users through next Sunday. After that, only NAPP can access it. ACR 5.2 currently works with CS4; ACR 4.6 works with CS3.
A troublesome aspect of 2.2 is repetition of beta and new camera profiles. Matt also gives us a technique for removing beta’s so we only access new camera profiles under Camera Calibration.

As you might suspect, there's continuing development on the v. 5 ACR's whereas v. 4.6 has reached a standstill. So, you ask, "What do I do to have these new features if I use CS3?"
As you noted from a prior post, Lightroom 2.2 contains ACR 5.2 (doubling its size). So, if you're using LR2.2 in conjunction with CS3, you can continue upward mobility through the Lightroom series as new tools are added to Camera Raw.

Dec 17, 2008

What's Under Your Lightroom Hood?

Lightroom 2.2

Another download round is ahead - Adobe released Lightroom 2.2 Monday. The next day, many blogs reported availability. I scanned through those blogs, looking for major differences. Not a lot was apparent at first glance...
In Tom Hogarty's list of bug fixes, about 40% of Adobe's effort went into separating and strengthening graduated filter and adjustment brush. I also find it interesting to read the comments written to Hogarty from the Lightroom community. In his chatty way, Matt Kloskowski made a preliminary comment about his delight with the revised adjustment brush. Matt also made a suggestion about cleaning up your camera calibration presets. Other than that, few other bloggers had much new to say.
After installing 2.2, I asked Lightroom an under-the-hood question, "Okay, what about Camera Raw?" Rather quickly, I learned Lightroom is now based on Camera Raw 5.2. And our new 5.2 contains…
Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT) for on-image adjustments (i.e. click and drag on a certain color or tonal range to adjust the corresponding values) [#3 behind Grad filter and Adj brush]
"Snapshots" for saving multiple sets of settings per file
Camera Profiles for enhanced raw file interpretation now available in the Calibration panel
In early CS3 time (was it only 18 months ago?), Adobe began releasing Camera Raw as version 4.0. What a neat release - now, I could begin quickly modifying a range of variables in my raw images before I finally dealt with CS3. With this October's release of CS4, Adobe upgraded Camera Raw to version 5.1. Suddenly, it was twice as large. And just before that release, Lightroom 2 was released. A month later, 5.2 was available - oops; it's now five times larger. And, Lightroom 2.2 is now twice as large as Lightroom 2.
So I went back and reviewed Adobe's release policy. Turned out to be a useful step - during Lightroom 1 time, a couple of things got released ~ then had to be re-released. To me, that means always keep a working backup.
I suspect much of Adobe’s effort to fix and separate brushes we love to use in Lightroom 2.2 actually takes place in Camera Raw. I know Hogarty said in the recently noted podcast - it takes time between release of Camera Raw and inclusion of appropriate hooks in Lightroom. Perhaps they're using Adobe Camera Raw to simplify differences between Bridge and Lightroom. I could be wrong; but, software enhancements do take time...
Beyond speed enhancements, I suspect you're going to find Lightroom 2.2 a smoother way to make your nondestructive raw image preprocessing a much more productive and subtly enjoyable series of steps.
Merry Christmas...

Dec 12, 2008

Rave - 100 $2 Bills Become $19K

2 Dollar Bill

Normally a lurker (reads but rarely comments), I read another inspiring marketing piece yesterday. I've been following David Ziser's blog for some time. David writes about photography and chooses marketing as a topic every Thursday. David's Business Day blog for December 11, 2008, says it all, illustrating a highly innovative photographer's approach...
Kevin Newsome, mentioned in PPA magazine, found a great photographic way to advertise out-of-the-box! With 100 $2 bills and a thoughtful letter, Kevin approached former clients, suggesting they bring in their $2 bills and family, check the serial number, get a bonus gift certificate, then let Kevin take family portraits. And, of the hundred families, 19 responded and Kevin saw a handsome profit.
There are more details at both Ziser's blog and Kevin's site.
I just thought I'd rant a little bit… I think this is one of the most creative ideas I've read in some time. Naturally, in today's financial climate, innovative ideas such as Kevin's may make that major difference between survival and...
Thanks, David and Kevin...

Dec 11, 2008

A Hogarty Lightroom Podcast Interview

What, no picture?  I know; you're all digital photographers and you like to see marvelous landscapes.  But podcasts are audio, not visual!  So I'm going to revert from audio to storytelling.

Tom Hogarty, Adobe Product Manager for Lightroom, Camera Raw, and DNG, gave an interesting interview in a recent podcast.  Three photography experts at discussed various aspects of Lightroom with Tom for over an hour.  In that hour, Hogarty expressed many viewpoints concerning Lightroom.  Among the questioner’s highlights:
Why did you guys design Lightroom? 
Lightroom represents the best parts of a digital photographer’s environment.  We added catalogs, we store previews, and we let you work on the catalog even when full images are not on that particular computer.
Are there advantages to DNG files?
DNG (Digital Negative) files have two advantages.  Near-term - lossless compression can make the file smaller.  You don't need sidecar files; metadata is saved in the DNG.  You can update the preview in the DNG to show processing changes.  You may also prevent proprietary formats from dying.
What's the purpose of the DNG Editor?
Many photographers see the cameras LCD image and like it.  Raw files can initially look flat.  The LCD image is JPEG.  So we developed camera calibration profiles to let you modify DNG images.  The LR 2.2 release this month contains the final release of these camera profiles.
In podcast E163 (120808), the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) guys, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, and Dave Cross recently discussed noise reduction.  Essentially, they suggest external plug-ins are more powerful than noise reduction in Photoshop products.  BTW, NAPP provides a two week window for free video download of tips and tricks for Photoshop users.
Now, back to Hogarty; What are plans for better noise reduction in Lightroom?
While Tom won't speculate on future releases, he did indicate noise reduction  has been strongly requested and Adobe listens carefully.

While I list some highlights, your interests may vary.  I suggest you download and listen to the podcast; I'm sure that during the hour interview, you'll find many things which interest you.  If you right-click on the Audio MP3 download button, choosing Save Target lets you download an MP3 file which you can hear via iTunes at your leisure.

Dec 10, 2008

Rave – Quick Workflow and Support

TheLightroomLab - Quick Flags

I’ve begun reading Scott Rouse of TheLightroomLab regularly. Scott’s with Rock Mountain School of Photography, writes a great blog, and likes to create clear, visual tutorials directly related to easing Lightgroom workflows. Best of all, Scott will respond directly to email, offer suggestions, and add to your learning curve.
So, what’s this particular rave about?
As you see from this picture Scott created, there is a simple way to quickly flag and process digital images in Lightroom. I suggest you download this workflow, then study it. Scott shows you some really neat tricks.

But, beyond that, Troy Gaul (Adobe) also chimed in with additional comments about shortcuts which help you move around in Lightroom. Here’s what Troy said,
“One other keyboard shortcut worth knowing: in Lightroom 2, we changed the “tilde” key (in the top-left corner of US keyboards) to toggle the pick flag on or off.
The benefit is that this key is easier to reach than the P and U keys in the middle of the keyboard, and it can go both ways. When refining photos from a shoot, you can quickly use it to toggle the flag on to make your picks, and then go through the picks (with a filter) and toggle the flag back off for the ones that you decide you don’t want to keep, all using the same key.
To mark something as a Reject, you still have to use the X key (X, for what it’s worth, was selected because rejecting a photo is similar to “crossing it out”). On QWERTY keyboards it also falls near the left side of the keyboard.
Troy Gaul - Adobe engineer - Dec 9 - TheLightroomLab Comments”

Way to go, Scott! Thanks for both doing the heavy work and getting this extra tip from Troy. Troy, thanks for really getting involved!
Moving around in Lightroom with shortcuts is an important part of developing quick workflow…

Dec 1, 2008

Books on My Mind, Again...

Photoshop Insider - Lightroom Video for Books

Seems like there's always something I don't know!
I'm amidst the final edit for some Christmas books for my Grand Girls.  Oops, good thing I'm editing; forgot an entire page and photograph.  But that's just my travail at good writing.
This morning, I'm looking at Photoshop Insider by Scott Kelby.  Scott's recent vacation blog has created a lot of excited response.  So he decided to put up videos for Aperture, Lightroom 2, and CS4 and show photographers how to make books.  Sure enough, Scott came up with a whole new way to make a fine art book from Lightroom using Mpix.  Take a look!

You can get to a big version from Lightroom on YouTube (the one above is to show you what Scott did – not download).