The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book 1.1 update:
The new look Library module menu
In the General menus feature story we looked at the new look menus that are common to all the modules in Lightroom 1.1 such as the File, Edit and Help menus. In this next feature story I am going to focus on what has changed in the Library module menus in the Lightroom 1.1 update. This is a part one feature story about the Library module and part two will be published as the next feature story in this series.
As I mentioned before, the Filter items highlighted here are simply a duplicate of the File > Filters submenu and the Filters section found in the Filmstrip.
So for example, I could filter a folder of images by choosing Library > Filter by Flag > Picks to filter the images so that only those photos marked as being flagged are visible. But you know, as I pointed out in the General menus overview, the Filters section of the Filmstrip is still a pretty handy way to go about doing the same thing. In this case, I could simply click on the Flag icon circled here in order to make only the flagged photos visible.
The Include Photos from Subitems filter is also new. This let’s you determine whether to include or exclude the photos contained in any sub folders, therefore allowing you to hide photos that are in any sub folders.
In the Folders panel shown here, I have selected a folder called ‘Model Castings’ that contains 159 photos of which there are 147 photos contained in the two sub folders, This means there are 12 photos floating around in the Model castings folder that are not assigned to either of these two sub folder items. If I were to deselect ‘Include Photos from Subitems’ in the Library menu, any filtered searches I carry out will apply just to these 12 photos and exclude the other 147.
Towards the bottom of the Library menu we have Synchronize Folder… which is really an update of the previous ‘Check for Missing Photos and Folders’ option which you could only access via the contextual menu (i.e. you had to know to right mouse-click on a folder to access this option). Now it is up there in the Library menu where it will be far more discoverable (as well as remaining part of the contextual menu). But the new Synchronize Folder command is now a lot more effective because it allows you to really keep your folders updated with any changes that may have been made outside Lightroom. What this means is that should you happen to change the contents of a folder that has already been imported into Lightroom, the Synchronize Folder command will get Lightroom to update all the information about the folder contents such as look for images that may have been added or removed from that folder and the Synchronize Folder command can also include scanning to see if the metadata has been updated externally.
Let me give you an example of how this would work. Suppose you import a folder of images into Lightroom either by copying them to the Lightroom catalog folder or by choosing ‘import by reference to a current disk location’. And now let’s suppose that you were to add some new images to that folder at the system level. If you did this when using Lightroom 1.0 or one of the earlier betas, there would be no easy way to tell Lightroom to automatically check to add these new additions to the catalog. But in Lightroom 1.1, if you were to select this particular folder and choose Library > Synchronize Folder, Lightroom 1.1 will check for new photos and allow you the option to Import these and update the catalog information about what is in that folder.
If you check the Import New Photos option in the Synchronize Folder dialog, you can choose to simply import and update the catalog, or you can choose Show import dialog before importing, which will open up the Import Photos dialog shown here. The default setting for ‘Synchronize Folder…’ will auto import the files to the same folder they are in currently without showing the Import dialog and without modifying the filename, develop settings, metadata or keywords. Perhaps the only reason for choosing to show the Import Photos dialog when synchronizing a folder would be if you wish to adjust any of these settings as you import and update the Lightroom catalog. Note that if you have removed any photos from the folder outside Lightroom, Synchronize Folder will also remove those files from the catalog, thereby keeping the Lightroom catalog completely updated for all new additions as well as any photos that are no longer located in the original folder.
Scan for Metadata updates works identically to the Read metadata from files option in the Library module Metadata menu (see below). So for example, if you edit the metadata in any photos outside Lightroom, such as in Bridge or some other program where the metadata edits you make are saved back to the file’s XMP header space or saved to an XMP sidecar file, you can use Synchronize Folder to sync any metadata changes to the Lightroom catalog.
The Library > Previews submenu commands will now apply to all currently filtered images regardless of any selection that you have in place. So for example, if you had 37 photos filtered in the content area, but only one photo was selected, and you chose Library > Previews > Discard 1:1 Previews, the following warning dialog will appear:
Previously, Lightroom would have asked if you wanted to discard the previews for the selected images only. The same also applies when choosing to generate standard sized or 1:1 previews. Lightroom will now check the status of all currently filtered photos and ignore any photo selections.
The new Go to Folder in Library menu item will always take you to the Folder in the folder panel for whichever photo is currently the ‘most selected’ in the Library module. For example, if you have photos in the content area that are based on a Collection or a Keyword selection, the photos you are looking at could have originated from any number of separate folder. By using ‘Go to Folder in Library’ you can quickly jump to the folders for any particular photo.
The Create Virtual Copy command is one that you should probably want to use a lot of the time. Creating virtual copies of photos is a great way to experiment with creating different versions of photographs such as black and white versions or different croppings. So it is not before time that it should be given it’s own keyboard shortcut which is: Command + ‘ (Mac), Control + ‘ (PC). And once you have created one or more virtual copies you can then choose the new Set Copy as Master command to make any virtual copy version of an image become the new master version (and make the old master version a virtual copy).
Removing and deleting photos
The photo deletion process did cause a certain amount of confusion in Lightroom 1.0 because some people were unclear about the distinction between deleting a photo to remove it from the Lightroom catalog and deleting a photo to remove it from the catalog and also remove it from the disk as well by sending it to the trash.
Now if you hit the delete key you will be faced with a slightly changed dialog that offers (as before) the option to simply remove the current photo(s) from the catalog, or the option to delete completely from the disk. Note here that selecting Delete from Disk… will remove the photos from the catalog and then send them to the system trash/recycle bin. There is also a handy shortcut at this stage: Command–D (Mac) or D key (PC) will select the Delete from Disk… option. Although the warning message says that this process cannot be undone, it is not in fact a complete deletion. The photos you delete can still be accessed via the trash/recycle bin. It will only be when you choose to empty the trash/recycle bin that the images will truly be deleted forever.
So if you are aware of this difference and wish to avoid having to go through the above dialog each time you hit delete to remove photos from the catalog, you can instead now use the Photo > Remove Photos from Catalog command, or the Option + Delete (Mac), Alt + Delete (PC) shortcut.
The new Painter tool
In the Library module toolbar you will see how you can access the new Painter tool by choosing Enable Painting (or, you can use the Command+Option–K (Mac), Control+Alt–K (PC) shortcut). The Painter tool now replaces the previous Keyword Stamper tool. The Painter tool can be used the same way as the Keyword Stamper: you can use it as an easy way to repeat applying a keyword to images in the content area, except the Painter tool now allows you to do much more than stamp single keywords.
Step 1. I have highlighted the painter tool here in yellow, as seen in the Library module toolbar. To work with the painter tool, just click on this icon to activate using it. The spray can will undock itself from the toolbar and replace the normal cursor icon as you move the cursor about the content area.
Step 2. Once the painter tool has been made active you can mouse down on the painter tool options to choose what kind of setting you want to apply with it. For example, in the list here you can see that is currently set to work with Settings and when this is selected, another list next to this will let you choose from a list of saved Develop presets. If you select Rotation, the menu will change to allow you to select a specific rotation or to flip an image. If Metadata is selected, the menu list will let you choose from pre-saved metadata templates. And likewise, if Rating, Pick or Label are selected, you are also offered a choice of settings to work with. But here you will notice that I selected Keywords.
Step 3. When Keywords is selected you can enter a keyword to apply in the empty field next to the painter tool menu. And as you enter a keyword Lightroom should auto-complete the text as you type from previous or recently used keywords. In this step I wanted to apply the keyword ‘Details’. We are now ready to put the painter tool to use. In the screen shot shown here I have deliberately made the painter tool bigger than it appears normally in order to make it stand out more. Basically, you can just drag with the painter tool anywhere in the content area, and dragging with the tool over any photo will apply the currently active setting to. In this example I used the painter tool to paint the ‘Details’ keyword to specific photos. When you have finished using the painter tool, click in the empty area of the toolbar where the painter tool normally lives, to exit working with the painter tool.
Note that you can still use mouse clicks to apply settings with the painter tool, but dragging is a more effective way to work with it when applying settings across multiple images in the library content area. The painter tool also has two modes of operation. When you first use it to apply a setting you will see the painter tool in ‘spray can’ mode using the icon shown on the left. But when you hover over an image that has just had the painter tool treatment you will note that the icon changes to show an eraser. If you click or drag in this mode you can apply an undo to any settings that have just been applied using the painter tool.
Metadata editing and target photos
Prior to the 1.1 update, if you had a bunch of images selected in the content area and went to the Metadata panel, the metadata information would have displayed <mixed> values whenever the file attributes all varied. Only those values that remained constant would display information, such as the copyright information.
When Show Metadata for Target Photo Only is selected in the Metadata menu the Metadata panel display will look like the version shown on the right where it will now be possible to read the individual metadata information for whichever is the ‘most selected’ or ‘target photo’.
In the example shown here, I have selected all of the photos from a recent model casting and the Metadata panel is displaying the information for the photo that is the most highlighted of all the selected images (the target photo). By using the Command + arrow keys (Mac) or Control + arrow keys (PC), one can navigate from one image to the next without losing the active photo selection and read the metadata information for each image as you do so.
When you are in ‘Show Metadata for Target Photo Only’ mode, the one thing you do need to be aware of is that you are only able to edit the metadata on a per-image basis as well. This is in one way a good thing because it means that you can keep an image selection active and edit the metadata of individual images. But a lot of people will be accustomed to making image selections and then using the Metadata panel to edit settings globally across the selection. So just beware that although this menu item can prove useful (for the reasons I have described), you probably won’t want to have this enabled all the time.
Saving and reading metadata
Another pain point for newcomers to Lightroom has been the question of ‘how do you save images?’ In our very first computer lesson we all learnt how important it is to always save your work before you close down a program. Lightroom 1.0 confused a lot of people because there was no ‘save’ menu item and they were left wondering if they would lose all their work after they quit Lightroom. Of course you get to realise soon after using the program that the work you do is saved automatically. Even if Lightroom suffers a crash or there is a power failure, you shouldn’t necessarily lose all your work.
But Lightroom 1.1 does now have a Save Metadata to Files command in the Library module Metadata menu. What this does is to force an export of the metadata information from the Lightroom internal catalog to the actual image file.
It is important to remember here that as you carry out any kind of work in Lightroom, whether you are adjusting the develop settings, applying a color label or star rating, or editing keywords or other metadata, these edits are all stored in a central Lightroom catalog on your hard disk and for simplicity’s sake we can summarize these by grouping them under the term ‘metadata edits’. So when you do anything to an image in Lightroom you are not normally doing anything to change the fundamental structure of the image. The whole concept of Lightroom is built around the idea that the imported images are the master negatives and Lightroom records the changes made as metadata information that is always stored separately to the image data. The Lightroom catalog is the central location where all metadata edits are stored, but the metadata edits can also be stored with the photo file itself. In the case of JPEG, TIFF, PSD or DNG images, there is a dedicated space within the file’s header that can be used to store the metadata. With proprietary raw files, this has to be stored separately in what is known as an XMP sidecar file.
When discussing the Metadata Settings in the File > Catalog Settings dialog previously, (see: Lightroom 1.1: General-menus) I mentioned how the ‘Automatically write changes into XMP’ option would automatically write any metadata changes to the file as well as to the Lightroom catalog, and I explained why it was best to leave this unchecked. Of course, it sounds like a good idea to have the metadata edits backup to the file as well as to the central catalog, but doing so can really slow you down in Lightroom; so that’s why it is best to leave this switched off. Previously in Lightroom 1.0, we had the Metadata > XMP > Export Metadata to XMP menu item. This has now been replaced by the simpler ‘Save Metadata to Files’ command with the easy to remember Command-S (Mac), Control-S (PC) keyboard shortcut.
In practice you would be recommended to leave the ‘Automatically write changes into XMP’ Catalog setting switched off, and when you are working in the Library or Develop module, use the Command-S (Mac), Control-S (PC) shortcut every time you wish to export and update the metadata to a photo or a group of selected photos. In the long run this will allow you to work much quicker than having the auto update option running in the background.
Also in the Metadata menu is The Read Metadata from Files menu option. This replaces the previous ‘Metadata > XMP > Import XMP Metadata from File’ menu item which basically means you can use the ‘Read Metadata from Files’ menu command to ask Lightroom to explicitly read in the metadata from a particular photo or group of selected photos.
To summarize, Save Metadata to Files and Read Metadata to Files allow you to update the metadata to and from the photo files while working in Lightroom. These provide manual controls for updating the metadata in the files. But remember that the new ‘Synchronize Folder’ command discussed earlier, will also allow you to achieve the same thing.
Updating DNG files
The DNG file format has been around for several years now and widely adopted as a preferred format for archiving raw camera files. For all its benefits, one problem has been the inability to update the JPEG preview. This was not necessarily a problem if you were using DNG in Bridge or Lightroom, since the preview was referenced by the file preview cache and rebuilt when transferring a DNG file from one Lightroom/Bridge setup to another. But this approach was less convenient when working with other DNG aware programs such as iView Media Pro.
The Update DNG Previews & Metadata command in the Metadata menu does two things: it updates the metadata the same way as the Save Metadata to Files command does. But in addition to this it will also rebuild the JPEG preview contained within the DNG file. Check out the Lightroom 1.1 Preferences feature story that is going to be coming soon on Lightroom-news. There you will be able to read about the new JPEG preview options for DNG files that are exported from Lightroom.
If you have found this extract useful and would like to read more then you will be pleased to know that Martin Evening, author of The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book, has also written a free Lightroom 1.1 PDF supplement update for readers of his book. The PDF is a compilation of all the Lightroom 1.1 update Lightroom-news stories, is 177 pages long and will soon be available for download via the Peachpit website (registration required). This is not a book revision, but a supplement to the original book in which Martin Evening desribes in detail all of the new features found in Lightroom 1.1. Martin writes: “I wanted to provide a free update for Lightroom 1.1 that would satisfy readers who had already bought the book as well as all those who hadn’t bought it yet but wanted to make sure they were up to speed on all the new program features”.
How to download the PDF supplement
The PDF update supplement will soon be available free for everyone to download. All you will have to do is visit the peachpit website at: www.peachpit.com/register. There you will need to create a new account by providing your email address, full name and a password to access the site. Once you have confirmed your account details proceed to the register page and enter the 10-digit ISBN number of the book. Please note that this PDF is not limited to those who are buying the book. Everyone will be welcome to register and download the PDF. Just copy and paste the following ISBN number: 0321385438 as shown below.
You will then be ready to download the PDF supplement after it is published. Watch out for further announcements on Lightroom-news for when the PDF is ready to download.
Martin Evening has worked on the development of Adobe Photoshop as an alpha tester from the program’s earliest beginnings. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book describes all of Lightroom’s features in detail, with photographers in mind. Photographers who routinely work with raw (and even jpg & tiff) images will find Lightroom–and The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book–an indispensable tool in their digital darkroom.
Lightroom-news has a free PDF download of Chapter 1. (click here to download-4.6MB PDF).