April 4, 2007
Over on the Pro Imaging forum, Chris Terry asks if it is possible to integrate using the Pixel Genius Photokit Capture Sharpener with Lightroom, or does he have to Develop, Export as a PSD or TIFF, apply PhotoKit Sharpener and then re-import the image back into Lightroom again? Or is there an easier method?
Well, in Lightroom version 1.0 you can ‘almost’ completely automate this process, but there are a number of gotchas that might limit the ease with which you can do this, as things stand in Lightroom 1.0 right now. But here is a brief outline of how you could go about automating the process for single images only. The following steps will assume that you already have PhotoKit Sharpener installed in your current version of Photoshop. Although what you will learn from this tutorial can equally be applied to running other types of Photoshop action routines in conjunction with Lightroom exports.
Step 1. Launch Photoshop and record an action in which you simply apply the desired PhotoKit Capture Sharpening setting.
Step 2. Now save this action as a droplet, using the settings shown above. In the Destination section, just choose to Save and Close. Initially I chose to save this droplet out to the desktop.
Step 3. I then needed to place this Photoshop droplet in the Lightroom Export Actions folder. On a Mac, go to the Users/Library/Application support/Adobe/Lightroom folder and place the droplet inside the Export Actions folder. On a PC, you will need to go to the Local Disk (C:)/Username/Application Data/Adobe/Lightroom folder and save there to the Export Actions folder.
Step 4. In Lightroom, now go to the File Menu, choose Auto Import > Enable Auto Import and then choose Auto Import > Auto Import Settings… In the dialog shown here, you will need to establish a watched folder (such as a folder called ‘Watched Folder’ that is situated in an easy to find location, such as on the Desktop). For the Copy To section, I normally have this set to import to a folder called ‘Auto Imported Photos’, located in the Pictures folder. All the other Auto Import settings must be neutral. The File Naming should say ‘Filename’ (unless you wish to rename the files as you export them). And the Develop Settings must be set to None. This is because if you were to set the Develop settings to anything else, you will end up producing an exported image that looks different to the original. In Lightroom you will now be ready to export and then immediately auto import with PhotoKit Capture Sharpening applied to the exported image.
Step 5. We are now ready to run a Lightroom export. Select an image and run a brief check in the Develop module to make sure that the sharpness setting in the Detail panel is set to zero. Now go to the Lightroom File menu and choose ‘Export…’ This will open the Export dialog shown above. For the Destination Folder select ‘Watched Folder’. Leave the File Naming as ‘Filename’ (unless you want to rename). Now choose a PSD or TIFF export file format and configure the Image Settings, choosing a color space and bit-depth etc. In the Post-Processing section, mouse down on the menu there to select the droplet that you had previously copied over to the Export Actions folder. Once you have done all this, now would be a good time to save these customized settings as a new preset. In this example, I saved the settings as ‘Reimport PK Sharpen’.
All I needed to do now was click ‘Export’ and Lightroom would export the image that had been selected in Lightroom as a PSD (or TIFF), apply the PhotoKit capture sharpening routine in Photoshop and save the file to the Watched folder. This in turn would then auto import the image, physically moving it to the auto import destination folder which would appear in the Lightroom Library module Folders panel. From there I was able to select the auto imported image from the Auto Imported Images folder in Lightroom and move it across to the original folder and store it alongside the library masters as a PSD rendered version that had been PhotoKit sharpened.
For most of the above steps you set these up once and you are then all set. But of course, if you are using the Auto Import feature in other ways (such as for tethered shooting) you will be tinkering with these settings and the pain point here is that you would have to reset the auto settings to neutral each time. So yes, up to a point, it can be done in Version 1.0. By the way, John Beardsworth has pointed out to me you can also place an alias of Lightroom in the Export Actions folder so that if you export an image (or a selection of images) from a folder in Lightroom, this action will automatically pop the Lightroom Import dialog, allowing you to import these images straight back into Lightroom again as rendered files such as TIFFs or PSDs, ready for you to carry out work on them in Photoshop .
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