The versatile gateway for all image manipulation programs.
Recent work I’ve done preparing classroom materials for my Image Editing Workshops have convinced me that Lightroom from Adobe is a perfect compliment-nay-necessity for anyone in a digital photography workflow. Regardless of who makes your preferred image editing software package, Lightroom 2.0 has found a way to interface and complete your workflow.
Starting with extrication of your images from your camera’s memory storage, Lightroom gives you the facilities to copy, organize and manage your images. It gives you the ability to do the rudimentary editing of your images in the RAW form so that you can take advantage of all the information contained within your digital image file before porting it to a traditional image editing program.
This screenshot shows that, with ten minute’s effort, you can customize Lightroom to port to all your image editing packages. Photoshop is kept on top to support the Adobe company line with your ‘last-used non-Photoshop editor listed second. After is a complete listing of all user-configured image editing packages. As you can see, I have two versions of Corel PhotoPaint, Noise Ninja, Corel Painter, PaintShopPro X2 and Photoshop Elements set up. This means, I can right-click on any image in Lightroom and send it to the editor of my choice-a very handy tool when teaching.
In addition to traditional image editing packages options are becoming available to output to other programs. HDR and web-based galleries are two areas where many developers are interfacing with Lightroom. In my example above you can send files automatically to Photomatix or Enfuse for HDR processing. You can also send files directly to your Facebook page or your Flickr Gallery. Many other plug-ins exist to send to other web sites as well.
The important thing to remember is that whether you are porting to a website, a specialty program, or an image editor, you get to specify the color space, the bit depth, the resampled image size, and the file format. An array of sharpening choices is also available on output. This lets you send different and appropriate files to each location with ease.
There are even plug-ins to automate mundane tasks like providing borders and putting in text or watermarks. The screen shot of the borders portion of the Mogrify plug-in, shows the options you have to ‘dress’ your photograph before sending it to the web or beyond.
In terms of being an image portal, Lightroom works both ways. It is an amazing way to extricate and prepare your images for sending to an image editor for final processing-regardless of where your image-editing allegiance lies. It is also a great way to output multiple files to a specialty program for processing like HDR. If you are like me you will find that Lightroom does so much heavy lifting in transition that you will spend less time in your editor. In the event you can bypass the editing program all together, a slew of plug-ins are there to help you get the image to final form and publish it where it needs to be.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of Adobe, Corel, or another image editor, you can find room in your stable for the Lightroom workhorse.
Rikk Flohr © 2008