Thursday, May 31, 2007
Lightroom Lights Up
After a lengthy public beta and considerable time and thought in development, Adobe Lightroom arrives. Will the application become your ultimate workflow tool?
The Vanity (er), Identity Plate
There's one other area where users can exert a major control over Lightroom's appearance: the Identity Plate Editor. Here, you can override Lightroom's top panel to place your own name and control both the font and the size of the font that displays the modules. Early in the development process, this was called the “Vanity Plate” (which is why there's still an Adobe license plate from Minnesota in the upper-right corner).
Above, Lightroom is customized by my favorite font (Copperplate Gothic Bold), with the font sizes set to optimal display for my main 30-inch Cinema display (Lightroom looks really nice on a 30-inch display).
The Right Panel
While the left panel basically deals with lots of images, the right-side panel is for drilling down on specific single or multiples of images.
At the top is a Histogram (which can be hidden to save space) that in combination with the Quick Develop function can handle rough adjustments to single or multiple images at once. You can choose to apply a Develop Preset if you've already created one or just start clicking on the “chevron buttons” to make adjustments. Each adjustment's single and double chevron button is tuned for specific units that will vary based upon the adjustment. For example, for Exposure, the single chevron is + or - 0.33 units while the double chevrons are +/- 1.00 units. Clicking on the Auto Tone will apply what the engineers have determined is an optimal setting based upon the specifics of the image. It's not perfect, but it's often a really good starting point. No, you can't actually see what the settings are; you can only adjust them relative to what they're already set at. This “relative” adjustment is an important consideration since, regardless of what settings the images already have, you can adjust multiple images relative to the specific settings of the image.
Below Quick Develop is the main Keywording function. Here, keywords can be directly typed in (with auto completion for existing keywords). Additionally, you can simply click on Recent Keywords to apply the keywords or use the menu commands found in the Metadata menu to set up a keyword stamp to help automate keywording tasks. Of course, you can also add course-level keywords when importing, so finer-granule keywording can be left for image-by-image tasking in the Library module.
Below the Keywording function is the Metadata display. You can use the dropdown to select which types of metadata to display. The current setting is at “default.”
Note that if you're tempted to select all, you better have a really big computer display or be prepared to do a lot of scrolling. The fields that can be edited will light up when selected to add or edit metadata.
Also, you might notice the little glyph at the bottom of the panel. Yes, it does have a function; it's designed to let the user know that he or she is at the end of the panel. And while it's a bit Victorian for my taste, because it raised such a furor on the forums when it appeared in beta 3, I've actually grown to like it (if for no other reason than some people don't like it; you can change it to a simple bar or delve into the application where you can insert your own glyph).
This is merely the tip of the iceberg that is Lightroom's Library, but limited space precludes too much detail here.
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