LUTs to Lightroom

I tend to use LUT-based profiles mainly for special effects

A few months ago Adobe added the ability to integrate colour lookup tables or “LUTs” into Camera Raw profiles, where they can be used in Lightroom.

Now you can quickly produce looks and styling that previously required you to spend a little time working in Photoshop, and I tend to take advantage of this interesting new capability mainly for special effects like the picture on the right, for instance. I don’t do this kind of thing much, but it’s nice to have.

While the snake oil preset vendors will gladly sell you “artistic” profiles, I always wonder why any creative person wouldn’t want to create their own.

Making these LUT-based profiles is documented in the Profiles SDK, which is well-written but is a little obscure. The method involves using the Camera Raw dialog box and is fiddly and perilous, so I don’t think Adobe intend humans to use it! But it is possible.

This is a quick recording that takes you through

  1. creating a simple LUT in Photoshop
  2. creating a new LUT-based profile
  3. defining that it should appear in a group
  4. giving it flexible options for applying it
  5. seeing it back in Lightroom
  6. applying it to a whole shoot

It’s only a quickie, so there are minor jumps where I’ve edited out little bits of me “faffing around”, and I’ve not gone over the text annotations – so forgive any typos. It’s best watched full screen – and it’s meant to be silent!

 

If you want the LUT-based profile I created in the video, here it is – B&W posterize.

To get it into Lightroom and other Camera Raw environments, unzip the file to somewhere like the desktop, then use Lightroom’s Profile Browser where there’s an import command. It should be shown in the listing, and you can then delete the copy on the desktop.

Lightroom 8.0

Adobe have just released Lightroom 8. They announce the new features on this page after hyping the cloud-dependent “Lightroom CC”, which I don’t use, so scroll half way down the page to see the new features:

  • Combined HDR-Panorama – I don’t do this
  • Faster and More Reliable Tethered Capture for Canon Cameras – I use Nikon and Fuji
  • Depth Range Masking – my iPhone is one version too old
  • New process version 5 has slightly better noise reduction (less purple in high ISO images)

I don’t see anything interesting in the features and while I’m sure there must be a reason for skipping 7.6 and calling it 8.0, please don’t imagine that I know or care what it may be! The 8 in 2018?

Anyway, I don’t really consider it a full version upgrade in the way we’ve understood them in the past, but that understanding has never really caught up with how new features now come out between full version releases. In fact 8.0 replaces the 7.5 installation exactly as if it had been called 7.6, and you can open your 7.5 catalogue in 8.0 without any catalogue upgrade, then re-open the same catalogue file again in 7.5 without any impact. That means switching to 8.0 is harmless enough – Adobe have just rounded up the numbers.

Update:

I’m much more interested in the new stuff in Photoshop, particularly the changes to content-aware fill and the ability to preview blend modes – that’s one I’ve wanted for years and years!

 

Lightroom and cloud storage

On a forum I answered a question about how Lightroom uses Adobe’s cloud storage, and then thought I’d cut and paste the reply here. An hour later….

With the Adobe subscription you get a certain amount of cloud storage space. Depending on what you pay, this might be terabytes and you might not care about how much you’re using, but it’s more relevant with the standard 20gb.

So, your 20gb consists of two main elements.

  • The first is originals that you synced from any Lightroom app. This doesn’t mean Lightroom Classic which syncs photos as “smart previews”, not as originals, and therefore lets you sync as many photos as you want. The limit only applies to the so-called “Lightroom CC” and the other various Lightroom Mobile apps which you might use to take pictures on your phone or to import files directly from a flash card onto your tablet.
  • The CC storage space also includes things like Libraries which let you use things like custom brushes or logos on different computers. These usually don’t use much space,

    The second group is anything that you have stored in the Creative Cloud folders.People often forget that they have these Dropbox-like folders, syncing to and from their hard drives, and they usually don’t notice that their 20gb also contains files that they deleted.

While one might not want deleted files to use up one’s cloud space, as a Lightroom user with a couple of computers I find it quite valuable. I’ll often come home, import files onto the Mac laptop into the CC folders and edit them during the evening, maybe watching TV or having a glass of wine. I’ll use Cmd S or Ctrl S to save my metadata back to the folders too, and the next day I’ll import everything from the CC folders into my desktop PC and move the photos to their permanent locations.

So if that’s my ultimate aim, why haven’t I got “Lightroom CC” on my laptop and just import the new photos into it? Wouldn’t the photos then automatically appear in Lightroom Classic on my PC? OK, let’s ignore “Lightroom CC”‘s editing and metadata features, which are too weak for me. Just imagine that I make a mistake and delete a photo or two, or just change my mind about what I should keep. Adobe stores photos from “Lightroom CC” safely in its cloud, but if the user deletes them Adobe does the same and provides no way to get them back. So if the original is only in the Lightroom part of Adobe’s cloud, deletion means deletion.

But Adobe handle CC folders differently. If you delete something, it’s kept in its deleted files – and it never hurts to have another layer of backup! So I just leave stuff there until I feel like permanently deleting it – and I try to remember that it’s using my cloud storage allowance. In fact, it’s the biggest chunk of cloud storage that I use.

So what uses your total cloud storage usage is:

  • Files in your Creative Cloud folders on your hard drive
  • Files which were in your Creative Cloud folders on your hard drive but haven’t been permanently deleted
  • Originals uploaded from LRCC Mac or PC
  • Originals taken with the LRiOS or LrAndroid camera
  • Pictures imported into LRiOS or LrAndroi
  • Nothing synced from Lightroom Classic as it only syncs smart previews

Lightroom Web sharing grows up

You can now group photos and add subheadings and explanatory text to collections shared from Lightroom Web

I’ve always liked Lightroom Web, the browser-based way to access photos synced to Lightroom Mobile.

One thing I use it for is to tweak adjustments or add captions to photos when I’m on my laptop. Nothing sophisticated, it’s all about the convenience of making quick changes wherever I happen to be, just like with LrM on my iPad, and knowing those edits will be synced into my catalogue.

A second, less-frequent way that I use LrW is to upload originals, dragging them from Finder/Explorer and dropping them into LrWeb in the browser window. This is handy when I’ve done some editing in Photoshop on the laptop and want that file in Lightroom back on my desktop. This drag and drop means I don’t have to think any more – the file automatically appears in my catalogue.

But what I most is to use LrWeb as an easy way to show or “share” pictures with people, and I do this pretty often:

  • In Lightroom, you just set a collection of photos to sync, set that collection to “public” and email someone the URL – it’s very little effort.
  • If you subsequently easily add new photos, remove some or adjust others, those changes are automatically synced – unlike conventional web sites, you don’t have to export or republish and upload again.

The LrW shared page has always had a plain and simple layout, and that’s fine most of the time. Sometimes though, I might want to break up a longer set of photos into sections and maybe add some explanatory text.

You’ve been able to produce this kind of “story” layout in Adobe’s Spark, which is really good for certain purposes and is very customisable. If you’ve not tried Spark, it’s worth investigating – it comes with your Adobe subscription. But much as I like Spark, it is a bit more like a conventional web site in the sense that when you change photos in Lightroom, you have to re-upload them to your Spark page. I like this kind of task to be automated.

A week ago, without any fanfare, Adobe sneaked out an update for LrW that takes it into that middle ground between its simplicity/automation and Spark-style “story-telling”.

It was announced – in LrW go to the Dashboard and see the News and Updates section. Incidentally, it’s always worth checking this as it sometimes highlights details that you may not have noticed, but the post on September 27 entitled “Album Display Updates” is one of the more interesting ones:

What this means in practice is that in the web browser LrW now lets you :

  • Group a collection of photos into sections
  • Add subheadings and explanatory text for each section
  • Choose a light or dark colour scheme
  • Use the cover photo as a background

It’s pretty simple and is all done on the new Display tab: 

It’s great that Adobe have now extended this capability so you can present any collection much more flexibly. It’s not as fancy as Spark, and it’s not a full web site like Portfolio which also comes with your Adobe subscription, but for speed and automation it’s hard to beat.

 

Lightroom 7.5

Finally you can freely move photos around page and even make them overlap

Lightroom 7.5 is out. See Adobe’s announcement here.

The big changes are in the Book module with more newer Blurb book formats like trade and magazine, layflat paper. I’ve not tried any of these before, but magazine seems interesting.

For me the best thing is much-greater flexibility to move and resize photos around a page. You can now move the cells around naturally and without screwing about with “cell padding”, and photos can be made to overlap as you see in this quick example.

With Apple discontinuing its Photo Books services in September 2018, it’s an ideal time to switch your book making to Blurb and Lightroom.

 

 

Facebook recovery script

Facebook recently changed their API to stop desktop applications like Lightroom from uploading photos. While this aspect of Lightroom’s Facebook publish service would no longer work, in my view Adobe over-reacted by completely disabling the plugin. Fair enough to prevent people publishing new photos, but why prevent you checking which pictures you had previously uploaded to Facebook?

A few people complained, and maybe Adobe can be persuaded to re-enable the plugin. Let’s see….

But for now I wrote a small script which recovers any collection sets or collections (Facebook albums) and converts them into a collection set called Facebook Collections. The script’s called Copy Facebook collections, is free, and should work in any version of Lightroom. Setup instructions are at the start of the file.

UPDATE 17 August – Adobe have re-enabled the plugin “for a temporary period”. Even with it re-enabled, the script should still be useful.

 

Lightroom 7.4 released

See the new feature summary here. Not a very exciting release, the best thing is that you can hide the inane built-in presets and all the near-useless minor variations on profiles. Right click either panel and you can manage them in a popup dialog box. From now on you need never again see B&W 01, B&W 02……

The Folders panel now builds much more quickly, and its filter box now works properly and doesn’t prevent you (well, certainly me) from doing anything.

Lightroom 7.3 released

Look out for Lightroom 7.3 today – the official announcement is here.

Profiles

There’s a very big change in the profiles area. Profiles have moved from the Camera Calibration tab up into the Basic panel and they are greatly extended in scope:

  • New Adobe looks
  • New “creative” looks
  • Profiles can now include LUTs.

The extension of profiles offers excellent creative choices, though I have two big fears about what Adobe have done.

One is that profiles are creeping into the same mental territory as presets, and that while the difference can be explained technically, from a user viewpoint there is no meaningful difference. People will be confused.

Secondly, I think this new emphasis on profiles will delight the snake oil sellers. As always, I do not recommend paying for third party presets or profiles. Save your money!

One very welcome change is that the whole image is now previewed when you move the mouse over a preset or profile (there’s a profile browser in Basic panel).

Face Recognition

Face Recognition has a new engine and on my system it is much, much faster and more reliable at identifying faces. They have also added the ability to rescan a folder.

Dehaze

Also, Adobe have the moved the Dehaze slider up into the Basic panel.

I think this is a bad move, unnecessarily bloating the already-packed Basic panel. But it does make sense in one way – Dehaze readily screws up the other adjustments that are set in the Basic panel. So if you really must use Dehaze on the whole image, at least now you can make the compensating adjustments in the same place as the slider that did the damage.

But I’d always recommend avoiding this global Dehaze slider and using Dehaze as a local adjustment in the brush/radial/grad filters.

iOS

There’s some good stuff in LrMobile iOS too:

  • There is now has a left handed mode. I’m not one, but always wondered how left handers used the app when their fingers would cover the photos.
  • Upright adjustments – it’s quite remarkable that we can straighten up raw photos using a phone, don’t you think?

Lightroom 7.2

The new filter box in Folders lets you hide or display folders. Here I only want to see 2018 folders, or I could have entered -02- and seen February over multiple years.

Lightroom Classic 7.2 has been released. The features I like most are:

  • More performance tuning
    • Most noticeable in Import grid, importing, building previews, stepping through in Loupe view, displaying adjustments in Develop, panorama/HDR merges, export
    • Should benefit everyone
    • Biggest benefits for those with more than 12gb RAM and more CPU cores
  • Folder filter
  • Mark folders as favourites
    • Integrated with the Favorite Sources in the filmstrip
  • Create a Collection Hierarchy from a Folder Hierarchy
7.2’s improvements over 7.1 do indicate that it’s a continuing effort, but in my view you can best gauge Adobe’s work on LR performance by comparing 7.2 against how things were when it began – ie against the last version of 6.14 or 2015.14. With an older 4 core PC but with 48Gb RAM, what I am seeing is:
  • 68% faster generating 1:1 Previews
  • 58% faster generating Standard Previews
  • 28% faster in Export speed
  • 26% faster merging 8 frame panorama
  • 12% faster merging 3 frame HDR

In the press

Adobe have “reached out” (I hate that expression!) to a number of photography sites and let them try Lightroom’s upcoming 7.2 release and its performance tuning. According to Tom Hogarty:

I’ve always preferred to demonstrate Adobe’s product direction with product rather than promises of what’s to come. However it’s become clear to the team and my execs that Adobe needs to be more proactive in our communication with customers when it comes to Lightroom.

No kidding!

The main thrust of the 7.2 release is clearly performance, but there is also going to be a way to filter your folders panel by name. Hopefully it will be similar to the ones in Keywording List and in Collections, and it’s going to be great to get something I have been campaigning for – for at least 5 years.

One warning is that the articles focus on export and import speed. That’s not for any reason other than these tasks are specific and measurable. You can’t easily or objectively measure the time you can save from 7.0’s embedded & sidecar workflow or from 7.1’s new Auto treatment.

A second comment is that the articles measure 7.2 against 7.1, and you should really measure Adobe’s efforts against 6.14 if you want to assess their efforts.

So here are the sites in no particular order

 

Lightroom 7.1

Lightroom 7.1 came out overnight with updates to all parts of the “Lightroom world” – to Lightroom itself (ie the so-called “Classic”) and also to the cloud-dependent iOS, Android and PC/Mac apps. It’s mainly about new camera support, bug fixes, and performance tuning, but I recommend that you check out the one feature that is new – a completely-rewritten Auto button.

The old Auto was always a crude “lucky dip”, wrong at least as often as it was right, but the underlying calculation has been totally changed after a lot of empirical research:

Auto has been completely reworked to create better results, every time. Using an advanced neural network powered by Adobe Sensei, our artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platform, the new Auto Settings creates a better photo by analyzing your photo and comparing to tens of thousands of professionally edited photos to create a beautiful, pleasing image.  The new Auto is available ecosystem wide, including in Lightroom CC, Lightroom CC for iOS, Lightroom CC for Android, Lightroom CC on the web, Lightroom Classic, and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).

I certainly think Auto’s results are very much better. Maybe the Whites and Blacks are set a bit too aggressively, and bright images such as snow scenes appear to be rendered a little too dark for my taste. One surprise is that Auto now sets the Vibrance and Saturation sliders, and while I don’t completely like this happening (I live in a drab country) I feel I can live with it. If I don’t like how these sliders pump up the colour, I quickly double click the Presence label to reset them to zero. But in general, I feel the new Auto almost always produces a substantially better starting point for editing.

Some other details:

  • New Auto is based on the cropped area, not the full image
  • It reads the WB settings when calculating slider values
  • You can set the Auto values for individual sliders by Shift + double click

The other highlight of the 7.1 release is in LRMobile with the iOS app gaining a long-overdue watermarking feature. For what it’s worth, a couple more missing features have also been added to the new PC/Mac app LRCC Desktop.

In this case the new Auto is much more active, producing a result closer to what I would have done myself. I’m not sure I like it changing Vibrance and Saturation, though here I would accept it.

More about the new Auto

Jeff Schewe says:

[“Get me Closer Quickly”] is the aim of the design of the new AI based Auto. Also, it should be noted that I personally had a bit to do with training the new AI based Auto. I adjusted over 1K of my images from all sorts of situations and conditions including under/over exposures, high ISO, studio and artificial lighting as well as landscape day and nite shots. I was charged with making those adjustments I personally would do for my images (because, well, they were my images).

Yes, the new Auto is a bit conservative with extreme highlights with a tendency of texture and detail being important. Also, the shadows tend to be fairly open…

The goal here is to be consistent in “improving” an image’s global based setting and trying to improve the workflow for selection editing. Some images may need little or no further adjustments…most will need tweaking either globally or locally.

The old Auto was really and old crude and primitive attempt to generally adjust black and whitepoints with little other finesse to other settings. It sucked…it was just about as likely to screw an image up as make an improvement…but the new Auto has made great strides as a first pass adjustment.

“Best photos”

What are the criteria for “best photos” in Lightroom web‘s technology preview?

The precise details aren’t published anywhere, and Adobe haven’t said much apart from saying that their Sensei artificial intelligence tool analyses images uploaded to LrMobile (see the FAQ if you want to opt out). But there’s plenty we can work out for ourselves!

What I think one can see is that it groups photos shot at roughly the same time, and then looks for the best of each group using a range of criteria. User-entered data seems to rank highly, so I have series of almost-identical photos where Sensei always selected the photo which I had starred or flagged. After that we’re just guessing. Maybe it measures qualities like sharpness, and the algorithm could be flexed for any faces identified in a picture. I think I can also show that it includes conformity to composition concepts like the rule of thirds.

Interesting though it is to make educated guesses, maybe we’d be better off asking how well it works? Does it automatically identify your best photos, and would that save you time? I don’t yet know for sure, but it’s certainly interesting as a preview.

In this case Adobe’s Sensei artificial intelligence preferred the photo on the left. Apart from the car’s position everything else is the same in the two pictures and I hadn’t flagged or rated either one, so presumably Sensei chose the one closest to the rule of thirds or some other principle.

Re-editable Silver Efex files

How do you keep Silver Efex-saved files in re-editable form?

Although my starting point is LR, I always launch Silver Efex (SFX) this way, via Photoshop as Smart Object (SO). The flexibility is a big advantage.

Starting from LR, just open an image in Photoshop and convert the Background layer to a smart object (via the right click). If you want to edit the image in Photoshop before going to SFX, eg adding adjustment layers or cloning, you can select multiple layers and convert them into a single smart object.

Still in PS, launch SFX, do whatever you want, and save. Whereas normally you would expect SFX to add a pixel layer, running SFX on the smart object applies its edits as a “smart filter” – a sub item in the Layers panel that you can hide or show, even mask. To change the SFX edits, you just double click the smart filter and SFX launches again with all your control points and other settings available. Fundamentally, that’s it.

The method was slightly fancier in the paragraph you quoted. Instead of just opening in PS, from LR you use Edit > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. The advantage here is that the SO remains raw and you can change its ACR adjustments by double clicking it. There’s no difference for the SFX part of the workflow.

The smart object/filter technique works with all filters, not just SFX. It’s also a neat way to copy SFX effects between images – you drag the smart filter from a SO in one image and drop it on a SO in the other.

And wasn’t this good news?

I was very pleased to see that Google are letting someone else develop the Nik programs, Silver Efex in particular. See DXO’s announcement :

“The Nik Collection gives photographers tools to create photos they absolutely love,” said Aravind Krishnaswamy, an Engineering Director with Google. “We’re thrilled to have DxO, a company dedicated to high-quality photography solutions, acquire and continue to develop it.”

“We are very excited to welcome the Nik Collection to the DxO family,” said Jérôme Ménière, CEO and founder of DxO. “DxO revolutionized the image processing market many times over the years with its innovative solutions, and we will continue to do so with Nik’s tools, which offer new creative opportunities to millions of photographers. The new version of our flagship software DxO OpticsPro, which is available as of now under its new name DxO PhotoLab, is the first embodiment of this thrilling acquisition with built-in U Point technology.”

The Nik Collection is now available for free through the DxO website – provide your email address and they will send you the download links for all 7 Nik plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom. There will be a new version in 2018.

Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop

If you only look at what Adobe have just done to Lightroom, you might miss that a bit of Lightroom has been added directly to Photoshop 2018. A bit like having your Lightroom Web account available directly inside Photoshop, the Welcome page now lets you directly access photos you’ve synced in Lightroom.

It’s very easy to use. On the left of the Welcome screen there’s a small link to Lr Photos. Clicking it makes Photoshop connect to Lightroom Web and display your collections. You can then go into a collection, or even search for images,select one or more, and open them directly in Photoshop.

So in this example Photoshop is accessing a number of collections that I have synced:

What happens next

If the photo is a raw original or a smart preview, it is opened in Adobe Camera Raw  where you can tweak your adjustments.

When you’ve finished working on the photo, you can save the version back up to Adobe’s Lightroom server via the new Quick Share button.

(NB This works on Mac but on Windows 10 an update is needed  )

As you see here, you can access other services, in this case on my Mac, but the Add to Lightroom Photo sends the finished photo up to the cloud.

The edited photo will be available in Lightroom Mobile, and assuming you are using Lightroom “Classic”, it will sync down to your hard drive.

Pretty elegant!

Embedded & Sidecar

This option was there before, but now it does something

Lightroom’s 7th incarnation – the so-called Lightroom Classic – introduces a new Embedded & Sidecar workflow which is designed to let you review, compare, and cull reject photos much faster than before. The key points are:

  • It’s for anyone with too many photos, too little time
  • You must select Embedded & Sidecar in the Import dialog
  • Lightroom imports the photos and builds its previews from the embedded previews or….
  • If the embedded preview is less than 50% of the raw file’s resolution, Lightroom will try to use a sidecar JPEG
  • It’ll look like the image from camera’s LCD
  • This lets you zoom in on photos or move from one to the next much quicker

What are “embedded previews”?

You may already know that every raw photo contains one or more JPEGs that the camera has written inside the raw file.

These “embedded previews” are what you see on the camera’s LCD or in the electronic viewfinder, if you are using a mirrorless camera. You briefly see these embedded previews in Lightroom’s Import dialog too, until Adobe’s own raw conversion takes over.

But since Lightroom’s early days, many photographers have wanted Lightroom to display these embedded previews in Library. That’s because embedded previews:

  • Are usually good enough for you to decide if a picture is a keeper, or is destined for the bin
  • Can be reviewed much faster than converting and displaying the raw data

What these people have been wanting is “PhotoMechanic speed”. PhotoMechanic is an image browser that takes full advantage of the embedded previews. It does only a few jobs, but it does them very well and very quickly, and this speed has earned it a loyal following among press photographers and others with lots of pictures and little time. The frustration has been that everyone has always known that should be possible in Lightroom. Finally Adobe have responded.

So how do you take advantage of this change?

  1. Decide if you should switch to shooting Raw + JPEG
  2. Import photos with the Embedded & Sidecar option
  3. Try to avoid making adjustments until you’re done reviewing and culling photos

Should you shoot Raw + JPEG?

I strongly recommend you review your camera(s) to see if changing to shooting Raw + JPEG would make the most of this new Embedded / Sidecar Preview (ESP) workflow.

On my Fuji camera I have switched to using Raw + JPEG. On my Nikons I haven’t because their embedded previews are full resolution.

In the past I never liked shooting Raw + JPEG, but this has now changed – at least with one of my cameras. The key issue is the size of the embedded preview

To explain, my newest camera produces raw files with a resolution of 6000×4000 pixels but with an embedded preview of only 1920×1280 pixels. The problem is if I want to zoom in to 1:1 in Lightroom, to check the focus or fine detail for example. Because the embedded preview isn’t full resolution, Lightroom then has to load the raw file and I lose the speed benefit of using the ESP.

Lightroom anticipates this possibility. If the ESP is less than 50% of the raw file’s full resolution, Import will look for a full resolution “sidecar” JPEG. So this camera – a one year old Fuji X-T2 – is now set up to shoot Raw + JPEG.

I still don’t like having two files for every photo, and it would be great if Fuji did a firmware upgrade to allow full size embedded previews, but it’s worthwhile for the faster ESP workflow.

What you need to find out is if your camera writes an embedded preview that is full resolution. In general:

  • If you use a recent DSLR from Nikon, Canon etc, there’s probably no point changing to Raw + JPEG. To the best of my knowledge, raw files from these cameras do contain full resolution embedded previews.
  • If you use a mirrorless camera such as Fuji or Olympus, the embedded previews are generally not full resolution and you may want to start shooting Raw + JPEG.
  • When you see a “Loading” message when zooming in, it could be because the embedded preview is less than full size.

When you import, choose the option Embedded & Sidecar

Once your camera is set up to take advantage of the ESP workflow, the key step is when you import new photos.

Make sure you go the Import’s File Handling section at the top right of Import and choose Embedded & Sidecar from the Build Previews drop down box.

If you forget to choose Embedded & Sidecar, Lightroom will import the files as in the past. You just won’t get the ESP workflow unless you remove the photos from the catalogue and reimport them with the correct Build Previews choice.

To help ensure you always choose Embedded & Sidecar, one tip is save your Import settings as a preset. This is done at the bottom of the Import dialog, and you can save other standard settings like a copyright metadata template or renaming options.

What should you see?

You should see “Fetching Initial Previews”, not standard or 1:1

Initially you should see a message about Fetching Initial Previews (rather than standard previews). One important thing to know is that extraction of the first embedded previews should begin immediately, so you can zoom in and examine earlier pictures while the rest of the import is proceeding.

As thumbnails appear, look for a new badge which should be on every thumbnail. If it’s not there:

  • one possibility is that you forgot to set the Embedded & Sidecar option in the Import dialog
  • Another is a bug in what’s a new, fragile feature
  • If you really want your ESP workflow, removing and re-importing is your only option

I don’t like the Raw + JPEG workflow but have adopted it for this camera because the embedded previews are low resolution.

In Loupe view, you will also see a bezel “Embedded Preview”. If not, see the above suggestions.

If you see “Loading” messages

This usually means:

  • You didn’t set the Embedded & Sidecar option in the Import dialog
  • The embedded preview is lower resolution than the raw file, so you may want to shoot Raw + JPEG
  • You have adjusted the image….

What if you adjust the image?

I welcome this ESP feature and find it very helpful reviewing and culling new photos, but it has an obvious weakness when you need to adjust an image before you can decide whether to keep or bin it.

The current ESP workflow is great for normally-exposed pictures (eg sports in daylight) but not when your work involves less-flat light (eg stage performance, sunsets) when you just can’t judge an underexposed image properly because it’s too dark, or you need to pull back the highlights or open the shadows to see if any worthwhile detail is present. Speed’s no use if you can’t see well enough.

Quick Develop was designed for this comparison and culling process, letting you bump a few key characteristics so you could choose between images or see if one may be a keeper. But using it with ESPs comes at the price of loading the raw data. We really need to be able to apply some QD adjustments to the ESP-derived thumbnail/preview so that the user can properly compare and cull images at speed. Just Exposure, Highlights and Shadows would be enough.

I hope Adobe will implement this idea, but I am not holding my breath….

Other tweaks

As part of the new version’s performance tweaks, there is a new item in Preferences – “Replace embedded previews with standard previews during idle time”.

The option does exactly what it says. When you aren’t doing anything in LR, it will quietly replace the embedded previews with standard previews. In other words, the embedded previews are only replaced with standard previews. It doesn’t build the 1:1 previews which are so useful when you zoom in.

So while this option may have its uses, it’s not too helpful for a hardcore ESP workflow. I recommend disabling this option.

Incidentally, I also recommend unchecking the option “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos”.

Conclusion

Lightroom 7 or “Classic” is all about performance improvements. The need for the mother of all bug fixes crept up on us, a bit like the tale of how to boil a frog where you only heat the water slowly so it has gone to sleep before it’s too late to escape the danger. Many of us didn’t experience the performance problems that caused others so much pain. In my case, I had no sense of slowdowns until finding that processing the Fuji X-T2’s 24mp raw files was much slower than my Nikon D800’s 38mp NEFs.

Performance fine tuning is likely to be a continuing effort, and I see remarkable speed benefits generating standard previews – 4 times as fast as Lightroom 6.  The Embedded & Standard Previews workflow is a big element of that effort, targeting performance at a time when you need it most. I hope you found this useful.

 

Make sure this is enabled – it can have a dramatic effect on preview generation speed.

Sign into Adobe with Google or Facebook IDs

When someone logs into a collection you’ve shared with them, they can now use Facebook or Google IDs.

I’ve not seen any announcement yet, but from today people can use a Google or Facebook account to log into Adobe.

So what? Well, for Lightroom CC users it opens up a great opportunity to squeeze more value out of your subscription, because this little change makes it so much easier to get feedback on your work via your page at https://lightroom.adobe.com, the web browser part of Lightroom Mobile which is also known as Lightroom on the Web (more here).

Since Mobile was introduced, you’ve been able to share sets of pictures with clients or friends. In theory at least, they could “like” photos they wanted and could exchange comments with you. Just because there’s a social media angle it doesn’t mean you’re limited to “OMG” or “LOL”. Imagine a client could annotate photos with “Please send me this full res” or “Crop on the right”, or recently I used it for a family history project and got an older relative to enter comments like “I recognise this young man – he is definitely your great grandfather on the promenade at Ramsey on the Isle of Man”.

The trouble was, liking and commenting was limited to people with Adobe IDs.

That’s OK if they do have one, but most humans don’t – and just try getting someone to sign up for a free account they have never needed.

Much more of humanity has a Google or Facebook account though. So from now on people can log in yo view your pictures using a login they may already use.

Lightroom on the Web has always seemed a lost opportunity for Adobe to offer a light client proofing workflow to Lightroom users. It’s not quite there yet – I’d like to see watermarks and filtering likes and comments in LrD – but this is a big step forward.

 

How to share collections

If you’ve not shared a collection before, here’s how:

  1. In LrD you sync a collection to Lightroom Mobile
  2. In LrM / LrD / LrW you make the synced collection “shared”
  3. As before, you send people the shared collection’s URL
  4. In their web browser they should click the login icon
  5. They can now sign in with Google or FB using the above panel
  6. They can now identify their favourites and add comments
  7. Favourites and comments are automatically synced to LrM / LrD / LrW

 

CC 2015.12 and Mobile 2.8 updates

Adobe have released a bunch of updates:

  • Lightroom CC 2015.12

    • New camera support
    • Fixed the serious “map offline” problem in Map caused by Google changing the underlying web service.
  • Lightroom Mobile
    • Brush tool added
      • I must admit, I hardly use the brush tool any longer – the radius is my go to
    • Details (sharpening and noise) for iOS
      • Is a phone or iPad a great place to sharpen?
    • New iPad interface
      • It’s generally much more elegant
      • Unfortunately they have removed the elegant speed rating which lets you swipe the image to apply ratings or flags
    • New interface for Android

Also notice that Adobe are looking closely at performance issues for a coming version. This is not a recent thing, and most LR6 versions have included performance tweaks such as GPU acceleration or the option to use smart previews. Whether these have been successful is another matter, and external factors such as 4-5k screens and larger raw files must play a role, but clearly Adobe has been aware of performance problems for some time. So one can hope or anticipate something exciting for the next version of Lightroom.

How to remove photos from “All Synced Photographs”

All Synced Photographs means all photos on Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile server

After removing pictures from a synced collection or after stopping a collection from syncing, the images remain on Lightroom Mobile and in “All Synced Photographs”. How do I find these photos so I can remove them from Adobe’s server?

When Lightroom Mobile began, photos were automatically cleared from Adobe’s server whenever you removed them from a synced collection or when you stopped syncing the collection. I liked that clarity. If a photo was in a synced collection, it was on Lightroom Mobile. If it wasn’t, it wasn’t.

Sadly, sometime last year Adobe changed things. I’m not sure why, but photos now remain on Adobe’s server unless you remove them from “All Synced Photographs”. In one sense this doesn’t matter. This web space is unlimited, and it doesn’t really make it any harder to find pictures on mobile devices or in Lightroom on the Web. Still, many of us don’t like to clutter up our online library with photos that we no longer want on Adobe’s server.

The way to remove them from Lightroom Mobile is to remove them from “All Synced Photographs”. Easy enough? Unfortunately it’s not so easy to identify which pictures are in synced collections, and which aren’t. So how can we find them?

The solution isn’t automatic, but it is surprisingly easy and logical:

  • Create a smart collection
    • Add a single criterion Collection Name / Contains / a e i o u (or whole alphabet).
    • Let’s call it “Photos in All Collections”
  • Select all the photos in “Photos in All Collections”
  • In the Catalog panel, click “All Synced Photographs”
    • Be careful not to change the selection which now consists of those photos that are in collections and which are also in “All Synced Photographs” – so just the photos we want on Adobe’s server
  • Use the menu Edit > Invert Selection
    • so our selection is now those photos that we don’t want to sync
  • Press Remove
    • Job done!
    • If you get a dialog box about removing photos from collections, you’ve done something wrong. Cancel and repeat the above steps more carefully.

 

 

 

X-LR is released

My plugin X-LR, which automatically applies Fuji film simulations in Lightroom, went through a great 60 day preview period. A lot of people tested it, especially after it was featured on Fujilove, FujiRumors and the Lightroom Blog YouTube channel.

  • People found very few bugs – but I had overlooked the sepia film simulation
  • People asked about ratings – I added that feature
  • People asked about DR and other camera settings – I added Expert Mode
  • People wanted to run it without the dialog box – I added an option
  • People who use Olympus asked “what about us?” – I may have something brewing….
  • People asked me to release it….

So it’s now released!

 

Lightroom 6.9 / 2015.9

Lightroom 6.9 / 2015.9 came out yesterday. There’s no headline new feature and my interpretation is that it’s mainly to support a number of new cameras.

Fuji in particular have released a bunch of X bodies and a week ago launched their 50 megapixel GFX. After some mixed messages, it had slowly become clear that Lightroom’s main competitor, CaptureOne, was not willing to support the GFX because of its threat to PhaseOne’s core business (spot the conflict of interest!). So Adobe’s speedy support is welcome for owners of this camera, and no doubt for Fuji themselves.

Also included is belated support for PhaseOne’s IQ100 16 bit raw format. This won’t affect many people, but I’ve been keeping a close eye on it (and whispering in a few ears) because I happen to know a couple of IQ100 users who wanted to use Lightroom as an alternative to CaptureOne. It turns out that support was delayed for such an unusually-long time because Adobe was waiting for certain documentation on the proprietary format from Phase One. Let’s not say any more – often the fault lies on both sides or somewhere in between. Anyway, Lightroom’s default colour rendering isn’t as good as one would hope, and it initially produced ugly results with a blown-out sunset photo, but a couple of tweaks in the Camera Calibration tab produced results comparable to CaptureOne. So for the few users of this camera, they now have the option of continuing to manage IQ100 files in Lightroom’s much-superior DAM, and processing in either Lightroom or CaptureOne.