Archive for September, 2009

Portable Photoshop training: Learn on the go with new iPhone app

Richard Harrington is a favorite Photoshop trainer who nicely balances a clear, concise style with key details when you need them. He’s a great choice whether you’re just starting out with the app or a longtime user who wants to dive deeper.

Recently, Richard introduced an iPhone app that lets you learn on the go. To learn more about these iPhone-based tutorials, check out this helpful overview.


Share your thoughts on key Photoshop workflows

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Click here to take a quick survey about color management.

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Installing and using Lightroom export plug-ins

I received a simple question via email this morning:

“How do you attach and use plug-ins?”

And I realized that Lightroom Help doesn’t provide an answer. Certainly, plug-in developers provide some documentation for their own tools–and by all means, do consult it–but here are some things you should know that will help you work more efficiently with plug-ins in Lightroom:

1. Lightroom 2 can work with export plug-ins regardless of where they’re located, but it’s easiest if you put them in one of the following folders:

• Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Modules
• Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Modules
• Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Modules

To install a plug-in, simply drag it into one of those folders, and then launch Lightroom. Lightroom will automatically find the plug-in and make it available.

2. Use the Plug-In Manager to enable/disable plug-ins. Choose File > Plug-In Manager or click the Plug-in Manager button in the Export dialog box.

3. To use an export plug-in, click the double-pointing arrow ( arrows.png ) at the far right of the Files On Disk button that straddles the top of the Export dialog box. Then, choose the plug-in from the list.

4. Some plug-ins have additional functionality that is available by choosing Plug-In Extras from the File, Library, or Help menu.

For more information, see the Export Plug-Ins topic in Lightroom Community Help.

Emailing photos from, and viewing GPS metadata in, Lightroom

I’ve recently discovered a couple of “sleeper” topics that customers search in Lightroom Community Help–topics that are frequently searched, yield middling results, and could definitely be better documented.

First: email. Lightroom offers a preset that automates the process of exporting JPEGs that are sized for sending via email: 640 x 480 pixels, sRGB, medium quality, 72ppi. The easiest way to use the preset is to select the photos for export and choose File > Export With Preset > For Email. Specify a location for the exported files, and you’re done.

Here’s a tutorial with more detail on how to do this on the Mac, including how to use a post-processing action to automatically create the email with the photos attached: Email photos directly from Lightroom (7:07), by Julieanne Kost on Adobe TV. Victoria Bampton has written a similar tutorial, Attach exported files to email (PDF), for Windows and Mac.

All of this is now documented at Exporting photos using presets.

Second: GPS. If your camera records GPS metadata, Lightroom can read the information and display it in an EXIF field in the Metadata panel. If your camera does not support GPS, there are a couple of ways you can get the information into Lightroom. First, you can use a geotagging device to capture GPS coordinates, and then use third-party software to merge that data with the photo before it’s imported. Alternatively, you can use Jeffrey Friedl’s GPS Support plug-in, which allows Lightroom to read data from a GPS device’s track log, or lets you directly “geoencode” a specific location.

Several great tutorials are available with more information about geotagging and Lightroom:

Lightroom Killer Tips’ GPS information video (3:31)
Geolocation and Lightroom, by Richard Earney
GPS metadata and linking to Google Earth, by Martin Evening (scroll past the “Extra tips for advanced users” and “Audio file playback” topics to get to the GPS topic)
A GPS for your digital camera, by Terry White (old, but still accurate)

This, too, is now all documented at View photo metadata.

Go directly to Lightroom Help

The default behavior in Lightroom 2 when you press F1 or choose Help > Lightroom Help is to go the Lightroom Help and Support page, a landing page with links to community content and a prominent Community Help search field. While there’s a lot of good content on this page, many customers would prefer to go directly to Adobe-written documentation, which is the behavior in CS5 applications. If you would prefer to go directly to the Lightroom documentation when you press F1, you can make that happen by doing the following:

1. Go to Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, the Lightroom online Help landing page.

2. Click the radio button at the bottom of the page: Help on the Web.

Now, when you choose F1 or choose Help > Lightroom Help from inside the application, you’ll go directly to Lightroom online Help. You can change the preference again at any time.

And remember, you can always get to Lightroom online Help from the Help and Support page by clicking the big Lightroom Online Help button to the lower-right of the search field.

One final tip: When you’re in Lightroom online Help, there’s a search field in the upper-right corner of the page. Check This Help System Only when you search to restrict the search to just the Adobe Lightroom documentation. You can always expand the search to Community Help on the results page by deselecting the option Show Only Content From Adobe.

How to manage catalogs and apply watermarks in Lightroom

I’ve pushed another big update to Lightroom Community Help. The edits are geared toward helping you more easily find information about two confusing and oft-searched topics: managing files and catalogs, and applying copyright watermarks to photos for sharing online.

Check out the new “chapter” on Managing catalogs and files, which includes all the topics you’d expect, such as Copying and moving catalogs, Backing up the catalog, and Combining and merging catalogs. In addition, the topics Locate missing photos and Locate missing folders now explain why/how photos and folders go missing, the errors Lightroom displays when it happens, and provide clearer instructions on finding and relinking the files.

“Watermark” is consistently the most-searched term in Lightroom Community Help, but Help about it has been scattered and, frankly, obtuse. So to be perfectly clear: Lightroom only supports text-based copyright watermarks. These are derived from copyright IPTC metadata. To create graphical or custom watermarks, you need a plug-in.

To apply a copyright watermark to photos that you’re sharing online, such as at Facebook, Flickr, or SmugMug, do so when you export the photos. Read how at Specify metadata handling.

To apply a copyright watermark to photos that you’re uploading to an HTML website, use the Web module. See Display a copyright watermark in web photo galleries.

I’ve also made a few other minor corrections and clarifications based on your comments and questions, including one that’s come up often: What do the various mysterious Numbering options for filenaming mean? Find out at The Filename Template Editor and the Text Template Editor.