The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book 1.1 update:
The Lightroom 1.1 preferences
So much has been changed in the way that the Lightroom preferences have been laid out and added to, that it seemed best to offer a complete guide to configuring the preference options, including those items that are new to Lightroom 1.1.
Let’s begin with the startup options. If you deselect Show splash screen during startup, you can disable the Lightroom screen from showing.
And now let’s look at the startup options. If you deselect Show splash screen during startup, you can disable the Lightroom screen from showing. This is just a cosmetic thing really and it depends on whether you want to see the above screen shown or not.
Incidentally, there is a splash screen Easter egg in Lightroom. If you go to the Lightroom menu and choose About Adobe Photoshop Lightroom… you will be shown the startup splash screen as usual. If you then hit the R key you will see the alternate splash screen shown here (that’s R as in “Arrr”). There are also a few extra variations of the screen you can access. Try using Command+Option-R (Mac), Control+Alt-R (PC) and also Command+Shift-R (Mac), Control+Shift-R (PC) and see what happens!
Once you let the pirates on board, be warned that some things in Lightroom may never be the same again! Here is how the Rename photo dialog will look after switching to pirate mode. And take a close look at the Library module toolbar, do you see anything different? Hint: check out the Filmstrip options screen shot towards the end of this chapter.
When you first installed Lightroom you would have had the option to choose whether to be notified automatically of any updates to the program. In case you missed checking this, you can check the Automatically check for updates option.
In the Default Catalog section you can select which catalog should be used each time you launch Lightroom (such as ‘Load the most recent’). Note that the ‘Choose’ button is gone. This is because what used to be known as a library file is now defined in Lightroom as being a ‘catalog file’. If you check the Lightroom 1.1 General menus feature story, you can read about how you can create new catalogs via the File menu in Lightroom 1.1.
Also missing from here is the ‘Automatically back up library’ option, which has now been moved to the Catalog Settings. These are located separately in the File menu, but you can also jump directly to the Catalog Settings by clicking on the Go to Catalog Settings button at the bottom of the General preferences dialog. And from there you can use the backup section to decide at which times you wish to backup the Lightroom catalog. For more information about the Catalog Settings and working with catalogs in Lightroom, please refer to Chapter 1 on the General Menus items.
Completion sounds and prompts
Next are the Completion Sound options where you can select to have an alert play after completing an import or export from Lightroom. You will often see warning dialogs with a “Don’t show again” check box at the bottom of the dialog. If you click the “Reset all warning dialogs” button, you restore all the default warning alerts.
Default Develop Settings
If you are familiar with the controls found in Develop and Quick Develop then you will know there is an Auto Tone button that can be used to apply a quick auto adjustment to a photo, automatically adjusting the Exposure, Blacks, Brightness and Contrast to produce what Lightroom thinks would be the best combination. Checking Apply auto tone adjustments will turn this feature on as a default setting.
Auto tone can often produce quite decent auto adjustments and may at least provide an OK starting point for newly imported photos. But on the other hand, it may produce uglier looking results. Experience seems to suggest that photographs shot of general subjects – such as landscapes, portraits and most photographs shot using the camera auto exposure settings – will often look improved when using auto tone. Subjects shot under controlled lighting conditions, such as still lifes and studio portraits, can often look worse when using auto tone. It really depends on the type of photography that you do as to whether selecting Apply auto tone adjustments would be a useful setting to have checked or not. I suggest leaving it unchecked.
After this we have Apply auto grayscale mix when converting to grayscale. I reckon you might as well leave this on because Lightroom auto grayscale conversions usually offer a good starting point. Auto grayscale is linked to the Temp and Tint slider settings in the Basic panel White Balance section. If you adjust these and then click on the Grayscale button, you will see how the Grayscale Mix settings adjust automatically.
The next two items in the Default Develop Settings section are linked to a new feature found in the Develop module Develop menu called ‘Set Default Settings…’ I shall be discussing this separately in a feature story on the new Develop menu options. But basically, if you check Make defaults specific to cameras serial number and Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting, you can use these preference checkboxes to determine whether certain default settings can be made camera-specific and/or ISO –specific.
And the Reset all default Develop settings button will allow you to revert all the develop settings to their original settings defaults.
At the bottom in the Presets section we have reset buttons that can be used to restore various Lightroom settings. Restore Export presets will restore the preset list used in the File > Export dialog
Reset Keyword Set Presets
Over in the Library module Keywording panel, you will notice that Lightroom provides a few Keyword Set templates that can be used for keywording photos. The default sets include: Outdoor Photography, Portrait Photography and Wedding Photography.
Each set contains nine custom keywords and if you mouse down on the Keyword Set menu in the Keywording panel (or choose Metadata ➯ Keyword Set ➯ Edit…) you can customize these default keyword sets. In the Lightroom Presets preferences click on Restore Keyword Set Presets to restore the keyword sets in their original form.
Restore Filename Templates
The Restore Filename Templates button reverts the default file rename templates used in the Filename Template Editor. This will not affect any of the custom templates you have added here, it will merely reset the settings for the default templates that you have edited.
Restore Text templates
The same thing applies with the Restore Text Templates button that restores the default settings in the text Template Editor, as used in the Slideshow and Web modules.
Now that we have the ability to export photos as a catalog, you can check the Store presets with catalog option if you would like Lightroom to export the custom presets you created and used as part of an exported catalog. This is useful if you are migrating library images from one computer to another because it will save you having to transfer your custom settings separately (such as your develop settings)or if you wish to share your custom settings with other users. But then again, maybe you would prefer not to give away your own custom settings. This preference item gives you that choice.
The top two items were previously in the File Management preferences section. There is now a simple checkbox for Show Import dialog when a memory card is detected. When this item is checked, this will force the Import dialog to appear automatically whenever you insert a camera card into the computer. The Ignore camera-generated folder names when naming folders option can help fast track the import process if you wish to import everything directly from a camera card into a single Lightroom folder. For example, maybe you have a camera card with photos that were shot using more than one camera and they have ended up in several different folders. When this option is checked, all the card folder contents will get grouped into one folder.
Some photographers like using their camera’s ability to capture and store JPEG file versions alongside the raw capture files. However, prior to the Lightroom 1.1 update, Lightroom would treat the JPEG captured versions as if they were sidecar files. But if the Treat JPEG files next to raw file as separate photos option is left checked, Lightroom will now respect these as being separate files that must be imported into the Lightroom catalog along with the raw versions. In addition to this, Lightroom 1.1 should no longer treat any non-JPEG files that can be imported as being sidecar files.
At last, we have DNG file options! So many photographers who archive their images using the DNG file format have been asking for this. In the Import DNG Creation section you can now configure the DNG settings for when you import photos as DNG. But note that the settings shown in the above Import preferences dialog will only apply to the ‘importing’ of files as DNG.
If you choose Library ➯ Convert Photo to DNG you will see the exact same options as are found in the Lightroom Import preferences. And if you choose the DNG file format in the Export dialog, you will again be given access to these DNG file options. So let’s now take a look at these in more detail.
We first have the File Extension, which can use lowercase ‘dng’ or uppercase ‘DNG’, whichever you prefer. Next, the JPEG Preview that can be: None, Medium Size or Full Size. If you really want to trim the file size down then you could choose not to embed a preview, knowing that a new preview will always be generated later when the DNG file is managed elsewhere. You might select this option if you figure there is no value in including the current preview. A medium size preview will economize on the file size and this would be suitable for standard library browsing. After all, most of the photos in your catalog will probably only have medium sized previews. But if you want the embedded previews (and remember these are the previews embedded in the file and not the Lightroom catalog previews) to always be accessible at full resolution and you don’t consider the resulting increased file size to be a burden, then choose the Full Size preview option. This will have the added benefit that should you want to view these DNGs in other applications such as iView Media Pro, you will be able to preview the DNGs at full resolution using a preview that was generated by Lightroom. This means that photos processed in Lightroom as DNGs should then preview exactly the same when they are viewed in other applications.
For the Image Conversion Method you have two options. You can choose Preserve Raw Image, which will preserve the raw capture data in its original ‘mosaic’ format, or you can choose Convert to Linear image, which will carry out a raw conversion to demosaic (convert) the original raw data to a linear image – what Lightroom is doing anyway when converting the raw image data to its internal RGB space. Except if you do this as part of a DNG conversion you will end up with huge DNG file sizes. This is also a one-way process. If you convert a raw file to a linear image DNG, you won’t be able to take the raw data back to its original mosaic state again and you won’t be able to reconvert the raw data a second time. So why bother? In nearly every case you will want to preserve the raw image. But there are a few known instances where DNG compatible programs are unable to read anything but a linear DNG file from certain cameras. Even so, I would be wary of converting to linear for the reasons I have just mentioned.
The Compressed (lossless) option is checked by default. This is because the compression method the DNG file format uses compresses the file size without incurring any data loss. And by this I mean there will be no loss of image data, no loss of metadata or any other secret source data embedded in the original proprietary raw file. DNG compression may result in a file that is slightly smaller than the original. That’s because the DNG compression method is often better than that used by the camera manufacturers. You can also reverse this process quite easily (and without incurring any loss) by re-saving a DNG file with this compressed option turned off.
Embed Original Raw File embeds a copy of the original proprietary raw file inside the DNG file. This option allows you to preserve the original raw file data within the DNG file format but with the possibility to reverse the process in order to access the original raw file format. The penalty is increased file size, since you will be storing two versions of the raw file data in a single file. One argument in favor of doing this is that by preserving the raw file in its original file format, you can access the original file format and process it in the proprietary raw processing program. For example, the new Canon 400D camera allows the proprietary CR2 rawfiles it produces to store dust-spotting data that can only be written or read using Canon software. If you don’t embed the original raw file, you lose the means to process your photos using the camera manufacturer’s software.
Personally I have no trouble converting everything I shoot to DNG and never bother to embed the original raw data with my DNGs. I do however sometimes keep backup copies of the original raw files as an extra insurance policy. But in practice I have never had cause to use these.
Generating full size previews in a DNG file can also allow you to make high quality prints via other programs outside of Lightroom using the Lightroom rendered settings.
External Editing preferences
This is the one set of preference controls where there hasn’t been much change. The Lightroom External Editing preferences will let you customize the pixel image editing settings for Photoshop plus one other external, pixel editing program (such as Adobe Photoshop Elements or Corel Paint Shop Pro). Here you can establish the File Format, Color Space, Bit Depth and where applicable, Compression settings that are used whenever you ask Lightroom to create an Edit copy of a library image to work on in an external pixel editing program. You can use the Edit in Photoshop section to establish the default file editing settings when choosing Command-E (Mac), Control-E (PC) to edit a selected photo in Photoshop. In this example The TIFF format is used with a ProPhoto RGB color space, 16-bits per channel bit depth and ZIP compression. And below this you can specify the default settings to use when editing photos in an Additional External Editing application. For example, if you had Photoshop Elements installed on your computer you might want to use the settings shown here to create edit versions as TIFF files in 8-bit per channel using the sRGB color space.
And at the bottom we have the new Edit Externally File Naming section. Previously, Lightroom would always append each externally edited image with –Edit at the end of the filename. And as you created further edit copies, Lightroom would serialize these: –Edit1, –Edit2 etc. In Lightroom 1.1 you can customize the file naming.
In the above example, you could create a custom template that would add a date stamp after the original filename to the externally edited files.
File Handling preferences
If only there could be agreement on common standards for the way metadata information is handled between different programs. Adobe’s open-source XMP specification has certainly gone a long way to providing the industry with a versatile common standard format for storing metadata information, but there are still a few gotchas that can prevent the smooth integration of informational data from one program to another. The Reading Metadata section in the File Handling preferences is there to help try and solve such inconsistencies. If you check Treat ‘.’ As a keyword separator and Treat ‘/’ as a keyword separator, this can enable Lightroom to better interpret the keyword hierarchy conventions that have been entered using other programs.
File names that contain illegal characters can also cause hiccups when you import such files into Lightroom. The Treat the following characters as illegal characters item can be set to recognise ‘/:’ as an illegal character, or alternatively, you can select the extended list of characters (the one selected in the above screen shot) to encompass more potential bad characters that would need to be replaced. In the Replace illegal file name characters with section you can then choose a suitable replacement character to use such as a dash (-), an underscore (_) or similar characters. Some database and FTP systems may prefer spaces to be removed from file names. For example, when I upload files to my publisher, the FTP server they use will not allow such files to be uploaded. This is where the When a file name has a space item can come in useful, because you can choose to substitute a space, with a dash (-) or an underscore (_) character.
Panel end marks
Where there were once just two panel end marks we now have a total of 13 to choose from.
You can select a panel end mark via the Lightroom Interface Panels preferences, or you can use the contextual menu in the Library module to access them quickly. Just right-mouse down on the end of the panels list and navigate to the Panel End Mark submenu and select the desired panel end mark.
I have compiled here a visual reference guide that shows all the different panel marks you can now choose from and of course you can also choose ‘None’ if you don’t want to see any kind of panel mark appearing in the Lightroom modules.
Custom panel end marks
Do you fancy creating your own panel end mark design? Well, it’s quite easy to do. Take a screen shot of one of the current panel end marks to get an idea of the scale of the design and how it will look against the panel background color. Create a new custom design in Photoshop scaled to the correct size and on a transparent layer. Save this graphic using the PNG file format (which can support transparency). Now go to the Panel End Mark menu and select: Go to Panel End Marks Folder. This will reveal the folder in the system finder. Place the PNG file you have just created in there and then reopen the Lightroom preferences. You will now see your custom design listed in the Panel End Mark menu!
If you want to change the panel font size, go to the Panel Font Size section and select Small or Large Size. This change will not take effect though until after you have relaunched Lightroom.
With the Lightroom Interface preferences you can customize the appearance of the interface when using the Lights Out and Lights Dim mode. And bear in mind here that these preference settings will also allow you to create a ‘Lights up’ setting. So instead of using black as the Lights Out color, you could try setting this to light gray or white even.
The Background section will let you customize the background appearance when viewing an image in Loupe mode. You can adjust the fill color or choose to add a pinstripes texture pattern.
New Filmstrip preference options
In the Filmstrip section you have, as before, the Show ratings and picks in filmstrip option, but in addition to this you can now also choose Show badges in filmstrip and Show tooltips in filmstrip. Examples of all these are shown in the above screen shot. And then there is the new Show photos in navigator on mouse-over option. All of these combine to make information about the catalog and catalog navigation a lot more flexible. With all these items checked you will have fuller access to Library module functions while working in other modules. For example, let’s say you are working in Develop. You can use the Filmstrip to see at a glance all the current filtered images, with their labels, ratings and pick status. You can use the mouse to hover over individual images to see a slightly larger preview in the Navigator panel and the tooltip floating window can be used to quickly reveal the filename, time of capture and pixel dimensions. The badge icons indicate whether keyword metadata has been added or the Develop settings have been edited. And if you click on a Metadata badge this action will immediately take you to the Keywording panel in the Library module, highlighting the keywords making them ready to edit. If you then click on the Develop edit badge, this will take you back to the Develop module again where you can resume editing the develop settings. SO all in, these filmstrip options will extend the usefulness of the filmstrip as a way to manage the Lightroom catalog photos.
These last two items were also in the previous Interface preferences dialog. When Zoom clicked point to center is checked, the loupe view will magnify a photo from the standard view to the zoomed in view centered around wherever you click. To understand how this works, try clicking on the corner of a photo in the standard loupe view. If ‘Zoom clicked point to center’ is checked, the corner will zoom in to become centered on the screen. And when this option is unchecked the photo will zoom in with the corner point positioned beneath the mouse cursor. Personally, I find that deselecting this option will offer a more logical and useful zoom behavior.
The Use typographic fractions option offers a fine-tuning tweak to the Lightroom interface and the way the shutter speeds are presented within the Metadata panel in the Library module. In the example shown here you can see a before version on the left, where the option was left unchecked and on the right you can see how the shutter speed is represented when typographic fractions are used.
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 published 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 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 is available free for everyone to download. All you 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 is welcome to register and download the PDF. Just copy and paste the following ISBN number: 0321385438 as shown below.
You will now be ready to download the PDF supplement.
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).