Posts tagged with Photoshop

Grayscale mode and droplets

How to export pictures in Grayscale Mode from LR. You can use a Photoshop droplet for this, and many other tasks.

Should I save as PSD or TIF?

Should I save as PSD or TIF?

TIF. There are no quality differences, and there’s almost nothing that a PSD can do that a TIF can’t do just as well, just obscure things like saving Duotone mode images (hat tip Victoria Bampton). In the long run it’s important to save your Photoshop work in a non-proprietary file format like TIF that’s much more likely to be readable in other programs, because over the years you will try or even switch to other programs.

Coincidentally, a good example of this need for long term thinking has just popped up. Capture One 7 has been released and is now a bit more like Lightroom with cataloguing features. But while you can import TIF files, you can’t bring in PSD’s. Maybe that will be rectified in 7.1 but I’ll bet the PSD’s will still need to have been saved with Maximise Compatibility switched on. Sure, more…

Photoshop smart objects

How do I update a Photoshop smart object with changes Lightroom has made to the raw file?

In Lightroom, go to the original raw file and make the adjustments. Then either:

Edit as Smart Object, sending a new file to PS with the raw edits. Open your existing TIF file  in PS, and drag this new file’s smart object layer into the TIF document and delete the old smart object layer. You can now discard the new file.
Ctrl S / Cmd S to save the edits back to the original raw file. Open your existing TIF file  in PS, right click the smart object layer, choose Replace, and point to the original raw file.

There’s little to choose between the two options. I prefer the first, but the second works too.

The Royal Navy passes a giant poster of Britain’s hereditary head of state (printed in black and white with a horrid colour more…

“Edit in” or “Open as Smart Object” in Photoshop?

Unless you’ve a good reason, I would always choose Open as Smart Object. Good reasons might be you’re running out of hard drive space, or you have an earlier version of Photoshop than your version of Lightroom.

OK, now why? I tend to assume there’s a fair chance you’ll want to fine tune the raw conversion at some stage in the future. For example, a new version of Camera Raw may have better noise reduction and you may want to rework the picture. Alternatively, you may have overlooked some dust spots and prefer to correct them at the raw level rather than with a retouching layer, or you might notice a lens aberration of some kind. Smart Objects let you do this.

Secondly smart objects allow you to adopt some very effective ways to work. For example, filters are applied as smart filters which unlike regular filters are non-destructive, so you can more…

Silver Efex Pro 2

I’ve never been one who photographs in colour and occasionally dabbles with black and white. It’s very much the other way round, and I often look at pictures I’ve left in colour and think they’re rather monochrome anyway. But I’ve never seen doing a lot of b&w work as a reason why I would want to buy Nik’s Silver Efex Pro (SEP) or any of the other dedicated black and white plug-ins that it has now overshadowed. It’s not that I felt SEP1 deficient in any way – quite the contrary. SEP1 was a very polished piece of software, produced good results quickly (even if I doubted the film simulations), and I could certainly see why people liked it so much. I simply felt its price was steep, and I’ve not feel any real need for it.

Nonetheless, I was looking forward to seeing Silver Efex Pro 2 and these seem more…

B&W from different angles

There’s an interesting comparison of doing black and white in Capture One 6, Silver Efex 1, and Lightroom 3 by Mike at The Intuitive Lens. It’s a two parter with Capture One vs Silver Efex and then both vs Lightroom.

I’m not sure it proves much, if anything, other than one if one tries to do so one can produce similar results in different products!

Leaving settings at default is a little odd, and there’s no real attempt to use the b&w conversion process to separate neighbouring colours into distinct tones – eg those in the left woman’s blouse or between the brown briefcase in the foreground and the middle person’s red sweater.

Why didn’t he use Lightroom’s targeted adjustment tool, for example? I’d argue that it alone produces better b&w images because you’re keeping your eyes on the image. But it is an interesting exercise.


See discussion here and here.

My view is that more…

Lightroom, Photoshop and timelapses

There’s an excellent couple of movies by Julianne Kost on using Lightroom and particularly Photoshop for timelapse movies .

Part 1 is the relatively obvious Lightroom work, but the much more interesting part 2 shows Photoshop (Extended) assembling the movie, adding lens blurs in a batch, and – the bit I didn’t know – including sound.

Maybe it’s not deliberate, but an odd detail is that she’s not using an Apple monitor but an HP instead. I wonder if Adobe no longer want to give  Apple free advertising? That would be welcome. The HP is pretty ugly though, so maybe they could have just covered up the illuminated Apple with their own, or just the Flash logo?


What has Aperture done to my x@%king metadata?

I'll be posting some of my own thoughts on Aperture 3 soon, maybe tomorrow. But I just noticed David Riecks has some issues with how Apple Aperture 3 writes metadata and I recommend you read his article very carefully indeed:

Apple has made some significant changes to how Aperture handles metadata with this latest release. However, the ways in which this has been done should be of great concern to professional photographers that work with other programs, or hand off their metadata-rich files to others who need to be able to access the full range of that information.

You shouldn't be concerned if you use Aperture 3 on your own Mac, don't typically use embedded metadata, and don't share your images with others, or work with other programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Even if you do use metadata to describe your images, and only need to find them on your local computer, more…

Tough love…

If you've ever used iView or Extensis Portfolio, or countless other non-Adobe programs, you will have learnt long ago that Photoshop's Maximize Compatibility dialog box did what it said on the tin - it maximised the PSD or TIF file's compatibility with other programs. Or rather, what you would probably have learnt is that if you unticked this setting, you would be saving disc space at the cost of making other programs struggle to display the PSD or TIF file. Short term gain, long term pain?

This is as true of Lightroom as it is of third party programs - after all, Adobe engineers have far better things to do than cater for self-inflicted pain. The remedy is to resave those files compatibly - see Laura Shoe's post for an efficient way to do this.

DPi and an announcement

Last week's DPI show was fun. Only doing one platform session a day, it was a lot less arduous than the three daily sessions I did at Focus, and it meant I spent my time doing Q&A on Lightroom and Photoshop. Working one to one, or with small groups, you're able to establish their needs and explain in real detail, and you feel they go away knowing exactly what they're going to do next. In many cases, that was to buy Lightroom or to use my favourite features - Auto Sync above all.

Anyway, I didn't get much time to go round the other stands, but I did have a closer look at Blurb's books than I'd managed at Focus. I've still not got round to finishing the Civil War book, other things getting in the way, but I was again very impressed with the quality and have got to more…

Blur with Clarity

Maybe I’m unable to appreciate the subtleties he’s trying to express, but I was somewhat underwhelmed with both of Alain Briot’s essays on in-camera blurred landscapes (part 1 and part 2). Such images “need to rely both on color, placement of elements and use of shapes and lines to be successful”, “the type of light you use is very important”, “good processing is crucial”, and “setting the black, white and the grey points precisely is crucial to the success, or failure, of these images”. Well, I never. But then at last there is something specific to camera-blurred images:

I found that using a [Photoshop] high pass contrast filter on top of the image, after all the adjustment layers are completed, helps a lot in defining the detail level of the image.

Because these images are by nature less detailed, sometimes increasing the level of detail is necessary. This helps bring up the more…

Thoughts on learning Lua

No, I’m not going to write any tutorials, but Sean suggested writing some thoughts on learning Lua for Lightroom….

Getting this far with Lua has been a real struggle. I am not a trained programmer like Jeffrey Friedl. I know no C, C++, Cocoa etc, so I don’t know if Lua is easy for people with such a background (though it heartened me when he described Lua as “horrid”). But I do have a lot of experience of the various flavours of Microsoft VB and VBA, and of JavaScript, PHP, AppleScript, ActionScript 2 and 3, and other useful technologies like XML, SQL etc, all self taught. That brings a confidence that things should be possible, but it barely overcomes the why the bloody hell should I add features that should have been there in the first place? So over the last year the effort has been pretty sporadic, learning a certain more…

The bleeding war book

So often it takes a fresh pair of eyes to notice something. As I wrote here, I'm designing my Blurb book in InDesign rather than following BookSmart's canned layouts, meaning the recommended workflow is InDesign > PDF > Photoshop > PNGs > BookSmart. While I could set up a Configurator app to automate saving multiple PNG files, these Photoshop batch processing things always break or involve an inordinate - if for some enjoyable - amount of tinkering (hence Lightroom).

But there's an easier way… InDesign > PDF > Acrobat > PNGs > BookSmart. So you create the book layout in InDesign, then export the PDF and choose the option to open in Acrobat. Once in Acrobat, it's File > Save As, and PNG is one option. You get one PNG per page, and they're numbered sequentially so you just import them into BookSmart, check they're sorted by filename, and then use more…

Pandora’s box – or InDesign to Blurb

There's never one way to do something, and whether it's climbing a hill or putting together a book, it usually makes sense to have a good look around before setting out. Initially I'm going to do a test book with the minimum number of pages and trying out things like colour images (eek) or double page spreads which the final book probably won't contain. So I've been reading through forum posts (RSS feed) or the Blurberati blog, and playing around with Blurb's BookSmart - pretty well confirming my feeling that it's a bit too limited for how I like to work.

What I mean here is that once I see an image in a layout, there's a pretty good chance I will want to adjust it again. This expectation may be a personal thing, always wanting to fine tune and never saying something's finished. Or perhaps it's more in the very more…

Derrick Story podcast

Derrick Story's latest podcast is Adobe Engineer Pops the Hood on CS4:

Meet Winston Hendrickson, Sr. Director, Engineering, Digital Media, for Adobe.

During this chat in a conference room at Adobe headquarters, Winston and I talk about what's happening under the hood for Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop. He explains lots of goodies such as, the difference between the Lightroom and Bridge “databases,” the similarities between the Develop module in Lightroom and the sliders in ACR, improvements in Photoshop, and some great lesser-known features such as Camera Profiles. Terrific, informative interview.

It’s damp Up (Pacific) North West

Before the credit crunch washed away O'Reilly's Inside Lightroom blog, its content had only just benefited from a new wave of writers including Seattle-based Laura Shoe.

Her Digital Daily Dose is a not quite daily blog on digital photography with some well-written posts on Lightroom such as snapshots and virtual copies, and on on my favourite Photoshop CS4 feature, content-aware scaling (they should have called it “smart transform”).

This image is from her Photo Illustrations section.

3000 roundabouts in Birmingham, Warwickshire

Really enjoyed Focus on Imaging. Presenting was nerve-wracking, of course, and I really felt out of practice, but the most fun was being on the stand answering all sorts of questions, most common being what's new in CS4, should I upgrade to CS4 or get Lightroom, how's Lightroom different from Photoshop, why won't CS3 read my 5DMkII files, and should I switch to Mac for Lightroom (answer: yes if you want to, but don't feel you need to do so - look at the Dell XPS Studio 64 bit Vista with 12Gb of RAM). Hardly any time to look around, and less time to do shopping for myself, but I did get a chance to examine some Blurb photo books and was very impressed with the image quality, both colour and black and white.

It was particularly good to put faces to names I've known online - such as Chris Bishop, more…

Lightroom’s library

Managing Photos in the Library Module of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is an entire chapter from Martin Evening's Lightroom 2 book, introducing Library's features and how to use them.

If you’re looking for reasons to use Bridge….

Let's say you have a bunch of raw files adjusted with Adobe Camera Raw, and you want to make a load of JPEGs. It's not a novel nor a difficult task - Lightroom's export function is designed for the job, or if you're using Bridge you might reach for the Image Processor which runs the files through Photoshop. Another Bridge-based solution would be to open all the raw files in Adobe Camera Raw, select them all and hit the Save button.

In each case, your poor computer is having to create the JPEGs by processing all that raw image data. But because it is doing so, you can at least be sure that the JPEG output does reflect all your Camera Raw adjustments.

But it is not quick, and it is a pain when Lightroom or Bridge has already done the hard work of updating thumbnails and previews (particularly when you more…

Trojan horses

Not long ago I almost linked to Micah Walter's Inside Aperture article Seeing RED. He's now doing more video and is having problems managing the new file types:

What would save my day would be Aperture. If only Aperture supported AVCHD (and many of the other tapeless formats) I could import my AVCHD card just like I do with my DSLR. It could import any stills from my HD camera, as well as all of my native clips. It could allow me to preview my clips, maybe even set in and out markers and I could select a batch of clips and still frames to send off to Final Cut Pro for production. Final Cut could be responsible for converting the clips to QuickTime format (or not) and everything would just be in one place in an Aperture project.

Can't recall why I didn't more…