Posts tagged with Photoshop

CS4 File Info panels

One annoyance of Photoshop/Bridge CS4 is that it won't read any existing custom File Info panels. These let File Info display XMP metadata from other applications such as iView or Expression Media, and they were written in a text file format which was reasonably easy to create and edit. In CS4 though, the panels are Flash-based and at first glance it looks like you would need to buy Flex Builder for the job. Uh-oh, not another solution for developers who need paying, rather than users who know what they need and might hack their way there?

I don't really have the energy or interest to learn Flex, certainly not ahead of current efforts to learn ActionScript 3 for my Flash site, Lua for some Lightroom ideas, or ahead of getting my beauty sleep (I don't need too much of that). But look at Gunar Penikis's last paragraph here:

Hey guys relax. more…

Percentage shares

Tom Hogarty updates the what pros use for raw file conversion comparison. Both Lightroom and Aperture increase their share, Lightroom leaping 50% on 2007 and Aperture a respectable 36%. Among Mac users only, Aperture’s share is static though, indicating the overall increase is due to people shifting to the Mac.

Of course, using one of the newer generation tools doesn’t mean you don’t use Photoshop as well, and there’s only a small drop there. These stats, though don’t reflect how much people are using each application, and wouldn’t it be interesting if one could gather similar stats which reflected time spent working with each program, or even the numbers or proportion of images? You’d have to expect Photoshop usage would be impacted much more. So, just after the release of CS4, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering CS4: What’s in it for Photographers?.

One CS4 feature I really like is more…

Metadata from Lightroom to InDesign

I recently saw a wedding book some friends had created using Photobox. They wouldn't claim to be computer-savvy, but they'd done a great job and were able to give copies to close family. It should be just that easy, shouldn't it, and I am more than a little frustrated that Lightroom still doesn't have a book layout tool. No doubt it will come, even if only via an Export plug-in.

Anyway, putting together a book of my Sealed Knot pictures earlier this year in InDesign, one big irritant was displaying text next to the pictures. I couldn't bring myself to retype or cut and paste the captions, knowing the images contained the metadata added in iView, Lightroom or Photoshop, and I don't think it was my inexperience with InDesign. As it was, I got distracted, but next time I have a crack at it, here's an InDesign script which pulls more…

A couple of Lightroom pointers

Lightroom 2 lets you send a panorama's component frames directly to Photoshop, but they're sent full size. Unless you really want a massive full size stitch, that slows down Photoshop's panorama processing. Instead, Martin Evening has done a video showing a method which gets round this. Initially Lightroom sends the files to Photoshop as layers of a single document. You resize this document to the size you want, and then run the panorama stitching on the smaller file.

While Martin emphasizes its value for matching processing time to your intended output size, the technique should be most valuable when you're simply proofing a panorama. After all, sometimes you need to test with a different panorama rendering method, or in other cases the panorama just doesn't turn out as well as you had hoped. This technique means you can simply reduce the image size, maybe even the bit depth, and can more…

Mileage varies

Ben Long reviews Silver Efex Pro and correctly points out one of its best features

The Black and White adjustment in Photoshop is very good because it allows you to make changes to specific color values in your image. The problem is that if you tell it to darken the blue tones in an image, every blue tone will be altered. Silver Efex scores over Photoshop?s built-in Black and White [JB: or Lightroom or Aperture] because it can alter tone and contrast of specific areas, based on color, but constrain the alteration using an automatically created mask.

You could achieve the same effects in Photoshop using multiple Black and White adjustment layers, each configured differently and constrained using hand-built masks.

That’s what I do, and I don’t find it too troublesome.

At the moment Silver Efex Pro’s probably the best b&w conversion and grain utility around, though its film & grain recipes don’t take more…

Lightroom web galleries from the ground up

One reason why I still use iView rather than switching completely to Lightroom is because I prefer its HTML web gallery templates. iView takes about a third of Lightroom's time to output a big contact sheet style web gallery of say 100-300 pictures because it uses my DNG files' embedded previews, while Lightroom seems to insist on re-rendering the raw files when you're previewing the gallery in Web, again each time you change an output setting, and then again when it actually starts generating them.

A second reason is because I can edit iView's HTML-based templates much more easily. Going back to Lightroom 1.0, the original XML and XSLT templates appealed to the geek in me, but I always felt they were misguided, a developer's solution which demanded a far higher level of skill than even the IT-minded photographer was likely to possess. While you can inch up the HTML more…

Plug-ins (Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy)

It's easy to see real positives in Aperture's announcement of plug-in architecture. Taking advantage of existing third party tools can quickly flesh out its features, while positioning it at the centre of a viable “ecosystem”. Meanwhile third party developers can be working on fully-integrated solutions.

On the other hand, it's a long way short of the original concept of the one ring to rule them all, and might even be seen as defining limits on what's going to appear in the core product.

In any case, even if that fear's untrue, it seems pretty obvious that people don't really want to pay for a range of plug-ins for essential tasks like noise reduction or lens distortion - they will do so, but reluctantly, as a distress purchase. Then there's the hassle each time the host or the plug-in upgrades, or the palaver of tracking down licence numbers when you get a new more…

My not quite famous enough 5 – #2

Another change I particularly like in Lightroom 2 is being able to add multiple external editors (via Preferences). OK, not everyone likes to have multiple versions of Photoshop installed, but it's incredibly handy to have other external editors just a click away - here for example you see that Noiseware's standalone application, my preferred noise reduction program, and PT Lens are just a right click away.

I never really used Noiseware standalone very often before Lightroom 2 - the Photoshop plug-in was a better fit for me. But I can now do most dodging and burning work in Lightroom, so it's no coincidence that I've found I am now using the Noiseware standalone more frequently and the plug-in correspondingly less. That may change back as I play with Imagenomic's new droplets for Lightroom (they also include ones for their Portraiture plug-in which I don't have). You place this set of more…

AutoSync, Gradient Presets, and wet haddock

Yes, I do throw up my hands in despair every time I read some Lightroom user saying he has hundreds of Develop Presets. It’s the same personality type who will trumpet the hundreds of Velvia-effect Photoshop actions he’s collected, who’ll leap for his wallet every time another newly-released plug-in promises black and white conversion just like Ansel Adams, and who worst of all has an unshakeable belief in the accuracy of his digital HP5+ effect despite never having touched the real stuff or seen the warm orange light of a darkroom. These religiously-gullible folk need a firm slap around the jaws with the proverbial wet haddock.

That’s not to say I don’t use any Lightroom Develop Presets (currently 20), Photoshop plug-ins (just NoiseWare), or that I have never touted my own Photoshop actions to mimic albumen or palladium prints (after spending days in the V&A print room, I should add). But more…

Aperture versus Lightroom

Ian Wood ( here too) has written an interesting and lengthy Aperture versus Lightroom 2 beta comparison.

He admits “Obviously I'm pretty biased towards Aperture (contributing to an Aperture blog, writing Aperture-related software, top-rated poster on the Apple discussion forum, posting on pretty well every Aperture-related forum on the net etc.), but I like to think I can put together a reasonably balanced list of pros and cons. The comments on those pros and cons, on the other hand, will be strictly personal… ;-)”

Fair enough - both in terms of sufficient knowledge and admitting up front to being an Aperture enthusiast. It's therefore hardly surprising that the choice of language supposedly describes the opposition's strengths yet carries a barb (it all reminds me of hearing Bill O'Reilly on Fox commend Kerry not for being more eloquent than Bush but as “more glib”). So I don't think I would have spun more…


It's not a secret that I find Lightroom the best application for reviewing, adjusting and applying initial metadata - I'd pretty well finished processing last weekend's 2,100+ raw files by Wednesday morning. Equally obviously, it's not the only program that aspires to manage and process large numbers of pictures. I'm immediately referring to the Mac-limited Aperture, but it's interesting to see others moving into this database+processing arena. There are hints of a SmartFlow from Microsoft, and Robert Edwards pointed out some of the features that are going to be in Bibble 5. Click one screen grab and you'll see the cataloguing system, click the other and there's local adjustment within the application (ie not via some pixel rendering plugin or Photoshop).

I can't shake off the feeling that right now there's no Manchester United that wins the DAM+P market with style - man, yesterday was so tense - but just a more…

What’s going on?

Mary Jo Foley speculates about Lightroom designer Mark Hamburg's departure to Microsoft:

What?s Microsoft want with Adobe Photoshop guru Mark Hamburg, who recently joined the Redmond juggernaut?

Hamburg a programmer who has been part of the Adobe Photoshop team since version 2.0 and helped lead the Photoshop Lightroom one, is now a Softie, as Stephen Shankland reported on April 28.

The official word from Microsoft is Hamburg will be working on unnamed ?user experience? efforts. My bet is Hamburg will be instrumental in helping Microsoft bring to market its Photoshop Lightroom competitor, which is codenamed ?SmartFlow.?

Aperture to Lightroom (update)

Last year I posted a note on how to move master pictures from Aperture to Lightroom and transfer any metadata that you had entered. Essentially you used the Export Masters command and told Aperture to put the metadata in XMP sidecars. This worked fine for raw files, but not for originals whose file formats were publicly documented such as DNGs, TIFs or JPEGs. Adobe (rightly) expects metadata to be embedded in the file and not in a sidecar, so Lightroom or Photoshop wouldn't read any Aperture captions or keywords in those files. There was a workaround, but it required you to keep your head screwed on.


Take a look at Jeff Schewe's teasing post in a thread about Aperture 2.1 and its dodge and burn utility:

what are you gonna be doing next Wed, April 2nd? (I actually already know what you'll be doing but I can't really tell ya)

Rendering out the raw file to run a Photoshop type plug-in on the gamma encoded file (making a tiff) is NOT the way I want to be dealing with raw files. Dodge/Burn, and optimal output sharpening can/should/will all be done right in the raw workflow. That would be the Lightroom way…

Search trends

I never claim to be an early adopter, and only recently discovered the value of Google Alerts. Now Matthew Campagna shows me the use of Google Trends by charting searches for Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture:

One thing to consider, however, is that Aperture remains exclusive [JB: in the sense of “limited”] to Apple computers, while Lightroom enjoys searches from users of both Mac and Windows platforms. Clearly, Lightroom holds an advantage in this regard, but the disparity is nonetheless impressively in favor of Lightroom.

I'm unconvinced that one needs to be so kind to Apple - it's not as if the results are skewed by including all photographers - but it's also interesting to see how searches for both applications compare to those including Photoshop:

A month of lakes

Got back from the Lake District last night. I was staying in the village of Rosthwaite where my brother and his wife have bought a holiday house and it’s great to report that this little country still has places with no internet, no mobile phone coverage, and almost no radio reception. So nothing else to do except go walking and snapping – this is Derwentwater from Friars Crag, Keswick and is stitched in Photoshop CS3 from 9 originals. But before I disappear to Lausanne for a couple of weeks, another rant….

Improved stitching is one of the top reasons I offer when people ask about upgrading to CS3 (the other is the black and white adjustment) and I’ve certainly been doing many more panoramas in the last year. But managing all these component images is going to need some work. One way is to use Lightroom’s stacking feature – I’d put more…

Lightroom v Aperture

John Nack reports a comparison of Lightroom and Aperture pro market shares:

InfoTrends recently surveyed 1,026 professional photographers in North America to determine which software they used for raw file processing. Here's what folks reported:

66.5% using the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in
23.6% using Lightroom
5.5% using Aperture

To be fair to Aperture, it might be helpful to remove Windows users from the equation for a moment. Even after doing so, Lightroom's usage among Mac-based pros is still nearly double that of Aperture (26.6% vs. 14.3%).

Hold on, to be fair - include Windows users. To skew the story, then exclude them.

A Lightroom upres preset (updated)

The original post caused a bit of confusion because I didn't mention it affected dimensions like 8.5″which are not whole numbers. I've italicised my extra text.

In London it's the rule that you wait ages for your bus, and just as the rain stops they come along in pairs, or threes, one after the other. Well, three times this week I'm been asked how to do an upres in Lightroom so I thought I'd post a quick explanation and a preset.

All you need to do is exploit the Constrain Size settings in the Export dialog. Tick Constrain Size, and set both limits to the size you want - setting both is to allow for a mixed export of portrait or landscape orientation images.

Unfortunately because of (what must be) a bug you can't directly specify the physical size in inches or centimetres if it isn't a whole number - you have to more…

Lightroom and multiple frame techniques

One of the best things about Photoshop CS3 is the improvements in stitching, and Lightroom's product manager Tom Hogarty is one of those who is shooting more panoramas. Asked in this interview what he'd most like to see in 2.0, he says:

That's a good question. Let me think about that for a minute. For my own work, I'd like to see it go beyond the 10,000 pixel limit per side because I have been using Photoshop CS3 quite a bit lately and using the auto align and auto blend features to make ridiculously good panoramic images on the fly. I want to bring those back into Lightroom so I can print them and I think the hundred million pixel limit we have for image files is frustrating for a lot of people. With the new panoramic tools in CS3, that limitation is getting a bit more pressure now. more…

Lightroom 1.1 and the Collection method of creating virtual copies….

When you write a book on version 1.0 of a program, things are very much in flux. Apart from your publisher's deadline. Features change subtly and others are pulled at the last minute, or later, and you're never going to anticipate what might will appear in a dot release just a few months later - days after your book hits the streets. So while I'm not going to list the detailed changes (I recommend reading through this list of changes), this is the first of a few notes on how to take advantage of what's in Lightroom 1.1.

Given my interest in DAM, one of the most welcome changes is the how Lightroom now handles virtual copies, alternative versions of your pictures. 1.0 had no smart way of selecting virtual copies unless you marked them immediately after they were created (eg adding them to a collection, adding a keyword, or amending more…