View Full Version : Art and Design Adobe Lightroom

14th September 2007, 13:23
I tried out Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 for the first time today and I have to say that I'm very impressed.

If you don't know what it is, the closest program to compare it to is the Apple program Aperture. So if you know that you will know what Lightroom does.

For those that don't, it is a photographic workflow tool, which supports a very wide range of camera import profiles (many more than Aperture does). You basically use it as an image library, importing your images, adjusting them (colour, contrast, brightness etc), printing them, creating slideshows etc...

Adobe have done a great job with the interface, making it easy to navigate and work with, and it is fast. Importing images into Lightroom is very quick and you can instantly start working with imported images, even while it is still importing more (if you are importing a lot of images at once). The import window allows you to create profiles, where you can add copyright and other general information about the pictures you are importing, which is very useful, and you can assign keywords to your imported images allowing you to quickly search through your image library for specific images.

When importing you also have different options on how the images get imported. They can be copied to a lightroom area on your HD which could be useful for those importing directly from their camera or memory card, or you can import the images but leave them where they are on your HD, so lightroom is just referencing them and not moving them, which is good for those who like to arrange their files how they wish, as I do.

Once you have your images in Lightroom they are very easy to navigate and work with. Everything is fast and easy to use, with nothing leaving you puzzled about how it should work. You can arrange images in folders or categories which aids navigation and you can view them in groups, or individually.

There are a lot of settings to adjust an image to make it look its best, and this is great for images imported from a camera as normally you do just want to alter the contrast, brightness, colour balance, curves etc... and so don't actually need to load the images into a full editing package like Photoshop as Lightroom can do all of these adjustments for you. It has a very handy histogram too. And because it is all so easy to use it allows you to experiment.

I was also very impressed with the other areas of the application. The slideshow feature allows you to quickly build up a slideshow of selected images, with transitions, which is ideal for presentations, or to just display the best of your holiday snaps. But more impressive is the printing section. This is the easiest printing setup I've seen in a program to date. It automatically gets the printer page dimensions from your printer driver, and then has sliders to change how the image will be printed on the page. You can move them around to make the image larger or smaller, and it won't let you go beyond the limits of the printer. Also if you have selected more than one image it automatically sets the number of pages needed to print them all, and you can adjust the row and column sliders to create pages with multiple images on, which is great for contact pages, or if you just need small prints of each image.

If you have a digital camera and take lots of pictures then Lightroom is definitely worth looking at. It isn't cheap at 125, but it is worth the price. You could also try it for free if you get my drift ;)

17th September 2008, 10:26
I've just updated to Adobe Lightroom 2 and with this latest release Adobe have definitely improved the application a lot.

For starters it is faster. Importing images is much faster and the generation of the preview copies is too. The layout of the application and how it looks remains the same, but some tools have been moved around a bit to declutter the interface and place tools in more logical positions within their tool sets so you don't have to hunt for them.

It also now directly supports a 2 monitor setup with a little icon for each monitor in the bottom left corner of the interface. These icons allow you to select what you want each monitor to display. You could for example have the applications main interface spread across both displays. Or you could set the main interface to be in the left-hand monitor, while a larger version of the current image displayed on the second monitor. This setup for me is very good as you can then adjust an image's settings and be able to instantly see a large detailed view of the results. And whilst the second monitor is showing this view you can switch it between a few modes. These include the library view that displays the thumbnails from the current album you are working in, and also the very useful compare view which lets you compare two images side by side, or a before and after of a single image so you can compare it before you made adjustments and after, to see if your changes have really improved the image.

Other major updates are in the Develop section. The tools from the first version are all still present, but have been updated with more options and features. In addition the tools that were originally located under the image preview window have now been relocated to the top of the Develop tool panel. These include the crop and rotate tool, the spot removal tool (similar to the clone or heal brush in photoshop), and the red eye removal tool. In addition 2 new tools have joined these. The graduated filter tool and the adjustment brush. Both of these tools work with masks, making it quite easy to mask out areas of an image to perform alterations and adjustments just to the area you mask, or to add graduated filters which can be great for landscape images or to change tonal ranges.

There are still some areas where things could still be improved. For example, the new masking features are a great addition, but can be a bit fiddly and hard to get the exact results you want. I would also like to see some additional abilities added to the spot removal tool. As it stands this tool is perfectly good at removing single problems within an image such as a spot on someone's face, but it is no good for dealing with larger areas that need fixing. For this you have to revert to loading the image up in Photoshop and working on it properly. I suppose this isn't really a failing of lightroom as it is designed to be a quick fix solution for photographers, and more advanced image editing will always be left to Photoshop.

So, as I said for the original version, if you take a lot of digital photographs then I highly recommend Adobe Lightroom 2. It is well worth the money in my view.

One thing I did fail to mention is that everything you do in Lightroom is completely none destructive. Lightroom uses a database where it stores all changes, adjustments and alterations you make to your images. The original images on your HD are not altered in any way, so are treated a bit like your negatives. Once you have completed all of the changes and adjustments to your images in lightroom you can then export a copy of your chosen images into a new directory to burn them to disc for printing, you can print them directly from within Lightroom, create a slideshow of your images with transitions and titles, and once complete you can play it, or export it for viewing on other computers. And you can also create a web gallery quickly and easily, with it even able to upload the resulting gallary directly to the webspace.

I also just found this website http://www.lightroomgalleries.com/ which contains some additional web gallary templates. The Flash ones are especially useful for that added jazz and interactivity that can lift a gallary and make it more interesting to view.

burns flipper
17th September 2008, 11:19
If you don't know what it is, the closest program to compare it to is the Apple program Aperture. So if you know that you will know what Lightroom does.Have you been taking "cryptic conversation" lessons from my wife??

Another favourite is getting told off for not having e-mailed "thingy" and the "doodah" yet.

17th September 2008, 11:31
Another favourite is getting told off for not having e-mailed "thingy" and the "doodah" yet.

Is she related to my mother? All her side of the family are constantly going on about "doodahs", "whatchmacallit's", "youknows" and "oojamaflips". It's really interesting at family get togethers with "whosit" talking to "whatserface" about "youknowhertheonewhoskidsgotowheresit". And as the senility sets in it'll happen to me. Bloody genetics.:lol:

burns flipper
18th September 2008, 11:22
Let me check...

No, there's no "Bruce"s in her family.

18th September 2008, 11:37
Let me check...

No, there's no "Bruce"s in her family.

:lol: Thats a good cross over from another thread.