Posts tagged with SlideShowPro

Flashing (getting it out in public)

I noticed the other day that in the darkest corners of my hard drive are some Flash files dating back to 1999. That I've been dabbling with Flash for ten years was a surprise, but these were Precambrian era fumblings and very primitive life forms indeed. As the second Christian Millennium stumbled onwards, every so often I'd come down from my tree and have another go - I remember being quite interested by generating content on the fly from PHP - but working with Flash never ignited my interest, and I fully shared the distaste that many people have for it.

Certainly one thing I always had against it, apart from its use for ads and crappy music, was that I do have this innate bolshiness about photographers having to use Macs, switch to Canon, or have Flash sites. You can have great-looking sites, and have protection against image misuse, without more…

LR3-beta – Publish Services

Like many of the features in LR3-beta, Publish Services seems a small step forward. Its obvious use is for those who use services like Flickr, Smugmug etc, and before long I hope SlideShowPro’s Director can also be included. But it isn’t just about the web – there’s also the Hard Drive option.

This lets you maintain folders of images on your own computer, and opens up a number of interesting workflows.

I found it came in very handily for a Blurb book I was preparing in InDesign. The images were all raw files, which InDesign itself cannot use, so ordinarily I would have needed to output a large number of TIFs of certain dimensions. If I then saw that an image on the page needed further adjustment, I’d need to go back to the raw file in Lightroom and generate the TIF again. Equally, if the caption needed changing, it would be more…

SlideShowPro 1.96

SlideShowPro's latest update is a bit more significant than most - it introduces a “Ken Burns” pan and zoom effect - so I'm downloading it right now. A Lightroom version of this is here now.

SSP Director 1.3

I'd been holding off upgrading SlideShowPro Director until I had enough time to do so properly, but I was itching to try the smart albums included in version 1.3.

Here I've set my new photos section so it's now calculated automatically. I always find that any “latest photos” section soon becomes static, or involves some duplication of effort. So this section now shows photos since a certain date, but excluding those in a couple of albums which are reserved for this blog. As I already use Director's Lightroom export plug-in, which makes adding new pictures a moment's work, and smart albums mean I could update a number of albums in a single export. They're not terribly sophisticated yet, and target far fewer fields than in Lightroom, but are a great start.

So you think Flash is safe?

Just as a lot of photographers think they have to go Mac, a lot think their web site has to be Flash-based because it stops people stealing their pictures. “Stops”, of course, has always been an exaggeration - someone could always do a screenshot or scavenge through the browser's cache folder. Flash only makes saving pictures less obvious and perhaps more time-consuming than it's worth.

But here's a handy Mac tip for you - try Apple's Safari browser, go to any photographer's Flash-based web site, and choose Safari's Window > Activity menu item. You get a nice little list of all the files which make up the current web page, including JPEGs called up by the Flash movie. Double click one and it opens in a separate browser window, ready to save to your hard drive. It's not much harder than saving pictures off an HTML gallery, is it? I've yet more…


Launching a Flash site has always been a background project - it's not as if I'm unhappy with the current site - and it's pretty easy to find a reason to keep it in the garage and keep tinkering away. Learning ActionScript3 was the latest reason for such delay, but I've convinced myself it was probably the right move. Just like that Iraqi reporter didn't target Dumbo Bush with old sandals but chose his latest genuine Timberlands, it would feel a shame to launch an ActionScript 2 version. Even now, when I feel I've cracked ActionScript 3, I'm sure I'll find other reasons for delay - that light at the end of the tunnel could always be a fast-approaching train.

Still, intense beavering-away does sometimes deliver fruits ready for public display. I already had some Flash-based galleries on this site, all based on SlideShowPro and ActionScript 2. They were all powered more…

Why iView, still?

I was asked recently for a few reasons why I still use Expression Media (I still call it iView) rather than depending entirely on Lightroom, so in descending order, here goes:

By far the biggest reason is to manage in a single place all files related to photographic projects. For me, like very many photographers, that isn't just photos, but might easily include sound clips from wedding shoots, PDF contact sheets, the odd ProShow presentation, as well as any correspondence. Ideally Lightroom should control all these file types, but it doesn't, yet.
iView's very much faster generating large numbers of JPEGs for emailing or for making a web gallery of a whole shoot. This is because it uses the Lightroom-adjusted preview in the DNG, while Lightroom needlessly reprocesses the raw data.
I depend on custom fields for recording who's featured in my re-enactment pictures and finding them quickly, and for grouping frames shot more…

Borrowdale Fell Run

Although Sunday’s annual Borrowdale Shepherd’s Meet had been cancelled, I knew the fell run was still happening. A book I’d been given last Christmas contained Patrick Ward‘s great wide-angle photo of the nearby Wasdale fell run, and I wanted to exploit the combination of the D700 and my 17-35mm f2.8 lens in a similar way. Wide angle shooting is the D700’s biggest plus for me so far (funny how easily you can forget what wide really means).

These blokes, some young and others in their 70s, race up to the top of Borrowdale‘s 750m / 2500ft Dale Head fell and the fastest ones are back in Rosthwaite village in just about 45 minutes. A “fell”, if you’re wondering is the Lake District word for the hills, and is of Norwegian Viking origin. So, like the word “dale” for a valley or “thwaite” for a clearing, the names reveal the region’s settlement 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…

SlideShowPro Director and Lightroom – update

OK, I tried it out. After my little joke about Ahmedinejad and his centrifuges, I should say that this little toy didn't work 100% properly first time…. The Lightroom side of it worked perfectly, and the plug-in also created a new album (a grouping of pictures) on my server, but it didn't send the payload - no pictures were uploaded. OK, so I hadn't bothered updating Director 1.20 beforehand, but it should still have worked.

Once I'd updated Director to the latest 1.22, the process was as slick as can be. You select your images, begin an Export using the SSP export plug-in, and press Export. A few minutes later and it uploads your files to the server and takes you to Director's control panel in your default browser. You're ready to go. Very neat.

The one thing I don't like is not having control over the sizes of file that are more…

SlideShowPro Director and Lightroom

While the existing SlideShowPro for Lightroom generates individual web galleries, when your site consists of multiple galleries you have to do some manual editing of xml files which (a) not everyone can do (b) is still manual work for those who can do it. It's much more efficient to power a site with an online database.

That's where SlideShowPro Director comes in - it's a database which supplies the data to SlideShowPro. Previously Director let you import Lightroom's SlideShowPro web galleries, which worked but was still a bit of an effort, but now SlideShowPro has released a Lightroom export plug-in for SlideShowPro Director. This is an export plugin that allows you to upload pictures directly from your Lightroom library to an existing or new album inside SlideShowPro Director. It works with both the self-install version of Director 1.2, as well as their hosted subscription accounts (more here).

Just like President more…

New stuff

Just refreshed the site with a few new pictures - the new gallery is again all new stuff, as it should be, while the wedding gallery includes newer work as well as some old favourites.

Both galleries are Flash-based and use the excellent SlideShowPro. I'm using the SSP for Lightroom web engine purely to generate the content, the jpegs and the xml file with all the filenames and captions. But they're displayed via my own Flash movie which is based on an SSP for Flash component. This approach means I can quickly create new galleries to add to existing pages, while the power of ActionScript lets me show extra information like the gallery's name and description. As my long-threatened Flash-based site uses the same SSP galleries, the transition - if it ever happens - should be painless….

SlideShowPro for Lightroom, Dreamweaver menus, and a quick hack

I recently added some Flash-based galleries which are powered by the SlideShowPro for Lightroom engine, but I found that they had truncated my site's DHTML menus when the galleries were viewed in Firefox (my preferred browser on PC and Mac). These menus were “Spry” objects added in Dreamweaver CS3, though I suspect other similar menu systems would also be affected, but I already knew you had to take care with Flash and DHTML layers, so it only took a little Googling before I had a solution. This was to edit the swfobject.js script, which adds the SlideShowPro Flash object to the page. After the embed tag, add wmode=”transparent”. I am not 100% certain that this is the right solution - but seems to work.

So I spotted the same problem straight away when I read Michael Clark's post on SSP and followed a link to his web site. But something else more…

New gallery

Getting my Flash-based site up and running is taking me more time than I'd hoped. Now there's a surprise. Actually, that's not quite fair - within about 3 or 4 days I had written something decent, but I am being a bit ambitious and would like to integrate this site's text-based content into the new Flash site. While Flash will read and display external HTML files, format them with CSS, and read the database powering this blog, its text rendering could be a lot better and scrolling text could also be more elegant. So I've been proceeding at a slower pace, and picking up more Flash skills on the way. There's no rush, and there have been other things to do.

The new site will display images via a SlideShowPro component and in the last month SSP for Lightroom has been launched and is a real snip at $25, or just more…

SlideShowPro for Lightroom

News that the excellent SlideShowPro Flash gallery is coming to Lightroom:

With that, there will be two versions of the plugin - a “complete” version that ships with everything a new customer (without Flash or SlideShowPro) needs, and an “incomplete” version designed for existing users of SlideShowPro. For the “incomplete” version, you simply publish a SWF containing the component and add it to the SlideShowPro for Lightroom's plugin folder. Your “incomplete” version will then be “complete,” and ready to go.

Both versions will be purchasable, with “incomplete” obviously costing less than “complete,” but we haven't figured out exact pricing yet. Expect more information on that, including screenshots, in the near future!

It'll be interesting to see how well it's done and how much the “incomplete” version costs. Such a gallery engine can already be written by any SSP owner who has the right knowledge. As I've adapted SSP for iView, I'm rather surprised more…