Lightroom CC Released


Yesterday Adobe released the latest version of Lightroom, called Lightroom CC for the subscription version or Lightroom 6 for the boxed version. Click on the image below to read about the new features.

LR6 Box

I will being exploring the new features and sharing  my thoughts in upcoming posts.

I also noticed that my Photoshop Elements 13 was automatically updated to the newest version of Adobe Camera RAW, ACR 9. However I did not see any differences, no new tools etc.

If you are a Lightroom user, let me know in the comments below what you think about its new capabilities.

Avalon Harbor PhotoSynth


Last week I went to Catalina Island for the day. As expected I took a lot of photos. Among them was a seven-image sequence that I first stitched it into a panorama using Photoshop. The resulting file was 19524×4178 pixels or about a 81.5 megapixel image. If I were to print it at 300 dpi, it would be about 65 in. wide and13 in. high.

2015-04-13_17-28-26

So instead I used Microsoft’s free Image Composite Editor to stitch the seven images together and then their free Photosynth service to publish the image for exploring using your web browser.

Click on the link below, using the buttons at the bottom of the display to zoom in all of the way. Then drag your mouse around to explore the image.

The program ICE and Photosynth can do much more than my simple panorama. Click on the above links, open a free Photosynth account, download the ICE program, and make your own huge resolution image. There is even a Photosynth app for your  iPhone/iPad or other mobile device.

Share the link to your results in the comments below.

https://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=bdac58b0-4d54-44e5-8bb2-cada7a24521c&delayLoad=true&slideShowPlaying=false

My Photo Workflow Continues to Evolve


 

Your post production workflow – the steps you take after uploading your photos to your computer – is always a topic that is worth reviewing from time to time. As the technology, software,  and your knowledge change, you will probably find that your workflow also evolves.

A few weeks ago, I posted an article that described how and why I retired from active service the Photoshop Elements Catalog I have been using for well over ten ears. To se that article, CLICK HERE. In this post, I describe what the basic steps are after I have uploaded my images to Photoshop Elements 13. Yes, I still use PSE 13 for managing my 50K images. Since I teach beginning Lightroom classes, I have been exploring it more thoroughly as of late. In fact I even “upgraded” (Adobe’s term, not mine) my prime photos catalog to LR5. I have a few initial thoughts on the success of this, but that is the subject of another article.

PSE 13 Welcome

Here is my current workflow that uses both the PSE 13 Organizer and its Photo Editor, with Photoshop CC added to the mix when needed. The description begins as soon as the photos and videos have been imported to the PSE 13 Organizer.

1. The first thing I do is tag my photos. If the subject matter is pretty fixed, this step takes only seconds. For example, on a typical weekend of watching my granddaughters’ softball and soccer games, I may find that come Sunday evening I have 500 images and several videos on my memory card. I already have the tag structure and tags defined. It’s just a matter of selecting the right images and dragging them over to the appropriate tags.
A. If the input batch is from a trip or similar event or photo shoot, I will at least tag the images at the Category level,
and then come back later to sub-divide them into Sub-Categories, and Keyword Tags.

B. Since PSE 11, I have made use of the Events, People, and to a lesser extent Places tags.

Org Grid

2. I next screen the images using the Full Screen View option (F11) in the Organizer. I will also make use of the side-by-side display option (F12) as needed.
A. I skip over any videos I have imported at this point
B. To cull out the best photos I use the Organizer’s Star Rating feature:

1 = Delete

2 = Needs work, provides a good class example, or is member of a burst, HDR, or panorama sequence.

3 = Will most likely be included in a slide show, or DVD I plan to make at some point. Often these are not the best photos in the world from a technical standpoint, but are needed to better tell the story. I will also give the best photo of a sequence 3 stars.

4 = These are pretty good for me, and probably are the ones that I will most likely end up printing.

5 = Hardly ever awarded at this stage

After Step 2, I still have many images that have not been rated. They will remain in my Catalog.

3. I now screen the video clips that were uploaded in the grid view. I double-click on the video file and play the video in the enlarged window that appears, rather than in the full screen mode.

PSE Video Preview

4. More recently, if I have essentially completed the keyword tagging of my images, I will write them and other metadata to the image files – File > Save Metadata to Files. If I do not do this, only those images that I have at least opened in the Editor will have the tagging and other metadata written to the file itself.

5. I then delete all of the 1 star images/videos from the Catalog, as well as the hard drive. Typically from a weekend of shooting soccer and softball games, I’ll end up with in the order of a couple of hundred images. This is far too many, and I’m working on raising my standards. The percentage of keepers is roughly the same when the images are of general subjects, such as scenery.

6. Next comes editing those photos and videos that are either in a sequence (2 Stars) and those that have 3 or 4 Stars.
A. Since I almost Always shoot RAW, I will naturally do my initial editing using the ACR.
B. Normally, that is all the editing I need to do. I fact, that is my goal, for individual photos.
C. If I can do that, I do not need to save an edited version. My changes are recorded in a small .xmp file.

7. To print the photo or make editing changes requiring, for example selections or layers, I will open the image in Elements’ Photo Editor.

Alternately, I will on occasion, send the RAW image directly to Photoshop’s ACR to take advantage of its added tools and/or Photoshop itself. However, this will require that a dupe (actually a Version Set) of the RAW file to be generated, which will take up additional disk drive space.

8. The final step of my basic workflow is to periodically do either a Full Backup or Incremental Backup of my Catalog and all of the media it contains (File > Backup Catalog).

This pretty much summarizes my basic workflow. Somewhere between Steps 7 and 8, I put together my photo projects, whatever they may be.

I would love to hear your thoughts and workflow steps that you use or in PSE or other programs.

Convert Lightroom Presets to ACR Presets


As part of the recent Lightroom class I recently taught, we covered using the Develop module presets that came with Lightroom 5, and couple of the hundreds of Lightroom presets that are available online, many for free. I have found several that I like to use, at least for starting points for my own photo editing.

However, I use Photoshop and Photoshop Elements more than Lightroom, so I would like to easily convert a Lightroom preset into an Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) preset that I could use in Photoshop. In a video from www.photoshopcafe.com, Colin Smith describes how to do this. Here are the basic steps.

  • Open a photo in the Lightroom Develop module.
  • Apply the desired preset.

Convert 1

  • Open the image in Photoshop as a Smart Object, via Photo > Edit In > Open as a Smart Object in Photoshop.
  • In Photoshop, double click on the Smart Object icon in the Layers pallet.

convert 2

This opens the photo in the ACR, where you can see the positions of the sliders that were applied in the preset.

Convert 3

  •  Now click on the small parallel lines icon to the right of Basic in the ACR, and select Save Settings.

Convert 4

  1. Name the preset setting as desired.

Convert 5

  • Now when you open an image in ACR that you would like to apply the preset to, click on the Presets icon, and select that preset to apply it.

Convert 6

The preset effect will vary from photo to photo, but at least it gets you in the ball park for the look you wanted. You can tweak the sliders from that point. True, you need both Lightroom and Photoshop to do the above, so why would you bother with the conversion? Personally, I like using ACR better than the Develop module of Lightroom for most things.

Maybe you do too? Let me know what you think of this technique, Ok?

Photoshop CC Classes Coming to PVNET


PVNET-1 post 2-1-14

A few weeks ago I wrote that PVNET had acquired the complete Adobe Creative Cloud suite. This includes Photoshop CC (2014) and Lightroom 5.

I will be teaching two Photoshop CC classes, Level 1 and Level 2 beginning April 3rd. To find out more about the classes, and how to register for them, CLICK HERE.

Remember, you can get a subscription for Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 for $10 a month from Adobe. Your subscription allows you to install both programs on two separate machines.

Currently, PVNET is the only adult oriented educational facility that has Photoshop CC on their computers. However, you need to register early, because each of the two classes can only accommodate eleven students.

 

 

Why & How I Retired My Photoshop Elements Catalog


This is the first installment of a multi-part post where I will describe my current workflow. This post explains why I made a brand new Photoshop Elements 13 Catalog and how I went about doing it. Future posts will cover the steps I take to manage my photos once they have been imported into the Organizer.

I have been using Photoshop Elements since Version 1, and managing my photo images using the Organizer since it was introduced in PSE 3 in 2004. I’m now using PSE 13 and PRE 13, Adobe’s consumer video editing program. During these ten-plus years, my workflow has changed as technology and the program have improved.

When I first started using PSE 1 in 2001, I was shooting JPEG images taken with an Olympus C2000, 2-megapixel camera. For the past few years, I have been shooting RAW images. My new Canon 7D Mk II produces 20.2 megapixel images that consume over 25 Mb of disk space. A lot has changed over the years.

A Brand New Catalog

The most recent and major change I have made affecting my workflow is I started a brand new Catalog this year, essentially retiring the one I begin with PSE 3. My PSE 3 Catalog had undergone many internal software changes by Adobe, as well as photo organization approaches I incorporated over the years. It currently has about 47K items.

FS Orig Cat

Don’t get me wrong. I did not scrap it. I just will not be adding new images to it moving forward. It and the memories it allows me to quickly access remain extremely important to me.

About a year or so ago, it developed some internal problem or abnormality. When I select a RAW image in the Organizer and then edit it in Adobe Camera RAW, upon returning, it takes over 30 seconds before the Organizer will respond to any mouse clicks or commands. A similar delay occurs when I return from editing a video in PRE 13. The problem surfaced during PSE 12 at some point. Over the months I tried several things to correct the problem, and have worked with Adobe as well during PSE beta testing. The Organizer works fine in all other respects. Due to its size, it does take about three hours and consumes almost 600 Gb of disk space when I do a full backup (File > Backup Catalog…).

There was another reason that drove me to creating a brand new Catalog. The second internal drive that contains all of my photos is running out of space. True, I could simply begin storing new images on a second drive, but this would complicate my physical storage organization – more than it is now.

The final factor that convinced me to create a brand new Catalog is that generally I work with pictures that I have taken relatively recently. If I want to work on a photo within my previous Catalog, I simply open it and do my work there (File > Manage Catalogs…). For those occasions when I need photos from both Catalogs, I’ll use either the Export or Move commands to bring my photos together, if need be.

When I created my new Catalog, I wanted to retain my existing Keyword tag structure. The Organizer includes a couple of commands that facilitate this.

Creating My New Catalog

To make my new Catalog took basically three steps, write my existing Tag structure to a text file, create a new empty Catalog, and then import the text file into my new Catalog. These basic steps are illustrated below.

  1. To the right of the green + sign opposite Keywords, click on the down arrow.
  2.  Select Save Keyword Tags to File and follow the screen prompts from there.

Save Tags

3. Create a new catalog by clicking on File > Manage Catalogs > New. Again follow the screen prompts.

New Cat

4. From within the new empty Catalog, import the Keywords structure from the old Catalog by clicking on that same down arrow referred to in Step 1, and then selecting Import Keyword Tags From File.

Import Tags

Setting Up an Organized File Structure

One of the benefits of creating a new Catalog was to clean up my physical folder structure. True, the Organizer could care less just how disorganized the folders are, but I still wanted take this opportunity to start right, since I was going to be storing my photos on a brand new external drive. In my case, I chose a portable, 2 Tb, USB 3.0 drive. Originally, I had started out with a reasonable folder structure for my old Catalog, but again over the years it had gotten less so as I migrated from PC to PC and versions of PSE.

The figure below shows the basic layout of my folders. All of the items in my new Catalog (pictures, videos, and music) will be in the 2015 Prime Photos folder. Its two main sub-folders are Originals, where uploads from my camera reside, and Original Scans, where my scanned images from negatives and slides are imported. There is very little data stored elsewhere on this drive, so its 2 Tb capacity gives me plenty of room for growth – at least for now.

 Folders

Now I was ready to begin populating my new Catalog. I did have to change my Organizer preferences to automatically store the images from my camera to the appropriate folder, using Edit > Preferences as shown below.

Edit Prefs

Well that pretty much concludes this installment. Next time, I will describe my workflow using this new Catalog. I more than welcome any comments, suggestions or questions you have. Until next time.

Microsoft’s ICE 2.0 Released


Microsoft recently released Version 2 of their Image Composite Editor produced by their Research Labs. It free and fun to play with.

Here is my first attempt at using this new version, which I uploaded to their Photosynth site for viewing. The file started with six photos I shot with my iPhone.

2015-02-17_8-21-45

Use the controls to zoom around the composite image.

Having fun with digital photography.

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