Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Photoshop Lightroom, Part 2
Although Photoshop gets all the glory, in Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe has created a tool that will help professionals take control over their image libraries and catalogs of work
The Cropping Tool
Whether you love it or hate it, the one thing everybody can agree on is that it's different. I love it. Since my earliest days working in Photoshop, I've hated the fact that the tool moves and rotates rather than the image. Mark Hamburg designed Lightroom's cropping to change that (some may say I might have influenced him a tad). So, rather than have the crop lines move and rotate, it's the image behind the crop lines that moves. Some have called it the “Drunken Aviator” style of cropping (usually in a derisive tone). I've found that it does take some time adapting to, often inversely proportionate to the amount of time spent in Photoshop. Take it for a spin and see what you think (and if you hate it, blame Mark).
While Lightroom doesn't have “versions” per se, it does offer the ability to create Virtual Copies. The command is found under the Photo menu of Library (don't ask me why it's not there in Develop, but you can access the command via the context menu in Develop).
Virtual Copy is, well, a virtual copy of the original “master” image. It has the same name as the original image—only a tiny page-turn icon designates it as a copy. The copy can have entirely different adjustment settings, useful for creating black-and-white copies, for example, and the copy also can have metadata and keywords that differ from the original (although it will share the EXIF metadata with the original).
The copy doesn't actually exist anywhere—that's why it's called a Virtual Copy (duh). At this point in Lightroom's development, it doesn't quite seem finished—at least, I don't think it's finished. Personally, I'd like to have some organizational capabilities when using VCs (virtual copies, don't you know). But at this stage, other than the little badge icon, there isn't anything that distinguishes the original from the copy. I suspect that will come in a future version of Lightroom because I really think users will fall in love with VCs and start demanding more functionality.
Here's a prime example of the power of VCs. The image above is a Virtual Copy of the original color image. The copy has been converted to black-and-white (via the Grayscale command in Develop), and selective Split Toning was done to give it a warm/cool split color tone.
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