with Adobe Mobile Apps. Check out the Spark Story below!
Rikk Flohr © 2016
with Adobe Mobile Apps. Check out the Spark Story below!
Rikk Flohr © 2016
Volunteering as much on the support forums as us Adobe Community Professionals tend to do, we hear a lot of repeat tribulations. One of the common refrains I hear sung is What happened to my watermark? It was working just fine and then all of a sudden, it stopped!!! Don’t get me started on that multiple exclamation point thing. (hint: It is a good way to keep experts from taking you seriously.) One exclamation point conveys all you need to convey. But, the refrain remains, “What happened to my watermark?”
Most people don’t realize that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has three types of watermarks. The first is a function of Metadata and the Export Module. The other two are created in the Watermark Editor.
Each of these can be appropriate to use. When things go awry and the watermark fails to show up on Export, Print, or other output, here are the most common causes listed by watermark type.
This was the original watermark included with Lightroom. It appeared in the Version 1.x Export dialog as a simple check box in the Image Settings section. There were no options, no font choices, no size selection – there was simply an on-off switch. So you click it and then ask “Where’s my watermark?”
The most common answer to the missing Simple Watermark is that you have failed to populate the Copyright field in the Metadata Panel. The Simple Watermark relies on this data field to provide the text with which to create your watermark. If the field is empty – you get no watermark.
Sometimes, I hear reports from users that they have text in this field and still no watermark appears. When confronted with this my next question is “What is the output size of your image?” The Simple Watermark is just that: simple. It has only one size – it is a fixed-pixel height and that height is not very big. If you export a large version of an image (e.g. 4500×3000 pixels) the watermark is there but it is tiny. You may have missed it. The bigger the exported image, the smaller the watermark is on that image. The Simple Watermark shows up nicely on an image to share but not on a seriously large version of your image.
Version 3 of Lightroom brought us the much-needed Watermark Editor. It was a definite step up from the Simple Watermark of Lightrooms 1 and 2. Now, you could specify a font, size, color and a host of other options, save them as a preset and use them from all of the Lightroom output modules.
In the above screenshot of the Lightroom Watermark Editor, I have highlighted the ability to control the text that will appear, the font in which it be rendered and the place to save a preset so that the watermark can be used repeatedly and from many output locations. So, that said: “Where’s my watermark?”
The most common problem with the Text-based watermark is the font itself. Certain fonts do not render successfully through Lightroom’s watermark engine. If you have a font that appears in the Watermark Editor but doesn’t appear on the image, your first port of call is to to try a different font. Older, non-standard fonts seem to have issues. Try your watermark with a font that ships with your OS as they tend to be vetted and work well.
What happened to my watermark? It was working just fine
and then all of a sudden, it stopped!!!
Another common issue is that the watermark used to work and now it doesn’t. In these cases, an OS upgrade can often be the root cause. Fonts are sometimes updated in OS updates. Usually, re-creation of the watermark and assigning it a new template name will rectify this. The non-functional template can then be discarded. Additionally, I have seen users who’ve “cleaned” up their fonts inadvertently delete a font that was part of a watermark template and not discover it for months.
Sometimes templates can be shared between users and potentially platforms. I have seen a Mac user share a Watermark preset template with a PC user. A font mismatch occurred and the watermark didn’t work. If you are sharing watermarks between multiple devices, fonts have to be in sync.
Bottom line: If it is a Text-based watermark, look to the font. If your must-have font won’t work. Consider creating a graphical version of the typeface and text and using the Graphic-based watermark.
Since Lightroom 3, the Watermark Editor has allowed the use of a graphic as a watermark. Any PNG or JPEG can be used as a watermark via the controls in the editor.
In the example above, I have highlighted where you select Graphic vs. Text, the Image Options picker and the resulting rendered watermark. The Watermark Editor works the same in Graphic mode as it did in Text mode. It simply replaces the font-rendered text string with an image of your choosing. So, that said: “Where’s my watermark?”
The Watermark editor is relying on an external graphic (much like a font). If that graphic file is moved, renamed or deleted, Lightroom has no way of knowing what happened to it. Result: you can get a file created with no watermark adorning it. This is very likely the issue if your watermark worked and then stopped working. People will clean up their files, folders and desktop periodically and often that watermark file is moved, renamed or deleted in the process. The time between creation, use and cleanup can be such that you don’t remember moving the watermark’s graphic file and are at a loss when it fails to appear.
It is vitally important that, when a file is linked to a watermark template, that it remain intact and in-place! If it isn’t you will need to update your template with the new location of the graphic file by clicking the [Choose…] button, finding the image again and updating your template. I create a special folder in the Lightroom Presets storage area that holds my watermark and Identity Plate JPEGs and PNGs. That folder never moves and I never loose connection to my Graphic-based watermarks.
Those are the biggies. 98% (made-up statistic) of all watermark issues can be solved by following these methods.
I hope this helps you get those pesky missing watermarks restored. If you have followed these suggestions and are still having problems, hit the Adobe forums here and get more in-depth help.
Rikk Flohr © 2015
Edited 3-17-2016 to include changed information from the release of 6.5/CC2015.5:
In the last article, I discussed strategies for how many and how far apart individual exposures need to be, optimally, for the Photo Merge>HDR… function in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.x/CC2015.x. Today, we are going to expand into the realm of the panorama stitch as well as talk about HDR exposure blending.
A brief trip onto any of the support forums for Lightroom will shake out a few individuals who are chagrined to find that their careful Develop module adjustments are being discarded by the Photo Merge functions. I thought it might be a good idea to reveal which adjustments survive in a Photo Merge to HDR or Panorama and which are lost.
First, let’s talk about those settings which survive and their few exceptions.
Now, let’s list the settings which are wiped clean by the Photo Merge.
Put another way, for HDR, the merge tool is expanding tonal range, so existing primary tone settings (such as Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks) are not copied over. For a Panorama, the merge tool is changing geometric attributes, and will therefore not copy over existing geometric settings such as Lens Corrections/Upright (with the exception of the Defringe settings).
If you are planning on doing an HDR Blend or a Panorama, or even an HDR/Panorama amalgamation, you want to avoid the items in the second list. The won’t harm your final output but they will be taking up time as you are performing the work for nothing. Build a workflow around waiting to crop, spot heal, and performing local adjustments until after the merge. It will save you time, effort and make for a happier Photo Merge experience.
Rikk Flohr © 2015
With the advent of Lightroom versions 6 and CC2015, the Photo Merge feature is now available. Photo Merge allows users to create HDR exposure blends as well as Panoramic merges – all within the Lightroom interface. In the next two articles we will discuss some details you need to know with regard to using these features efficiently.
Accessing Photo Merge>HDR…
Most cameras have the ability to bracket exposures, creating a three (and sometimes more) set of images that vary by exposure. Traditionally photographers have used these captures to create a blended image that contains much more shadow and highlight detail than is possible with a single exposure. For many this means setting the camera to create a set of exposures that are –2.0, 0, and +2.0 stops. Others may use a narrower exposure bias and create more images. On the extreme side, I have seen photographers create as many as 9 exposures which vary by only a single stop. While the number of images and the exposure variance is sometimes a hotly debated topic, the advent of the new Photo Merge to HDR in Lightroom changes the game slightly.
The HDR Merge dialog
As explained by Martin Evening (and by proxy, Tom Hogarty) here, the result of the Photo Merge to HDR is a DNG file containing a scene-referenced 16-bit floating point Tiff. This file can contain over 30 stops of image data. When you compare that to the 32-bit Tiffs required to store the same 30 stops of information resulting from other HDR processing programs, it is easy to see that the files are low impact on your storage without sacrificing quality thus making your HDR workflow more efficient.
Though debated for a decade, the new method of creating an HDR merge via Lightroom changes the game slightly with regard to how many images are optimally needed and how many stops of separation is ideal. If your HDR bracketing is fewer than 3.0 stops in total separation,
(i.e. -1.5,0,1.5), only the darkest and brightest exposures are needed to create the optimal HDR blend. The Zero exposure, in this case, is not necessary for a quality exposure blend. When you exceed the 3-stop separation between the darkest and lightest exposure, an additional exposure is required to create an optimal blend.
If you are a photographer who shoots a ± 1.5 bracket, you no longer need to use the middle exposure. That isn’t to say the “0” exposure isn’t useful. Many times you may bracket – only to find your scene is within the acceptable dynamic range of a single exposure. The “0” exposure can the be developed independently for a completely different look. However, when performing the merge, the “0” exposure can be ignored. This has the benefit of improving alignment odds by reducing the number of exposures and thus, the potential for camera movement between the exposures. It is also faster!
Camera Bracket Settings
Optimum Number of Exposures for Photo Merge to HDR
-1.5 to 1.5
-3.0 to 3.0
-4.5 to 4.5
-6.0 to 6.0
Looking at the chart above you can quickly determine how many images are optimal under the new Photo Merge to HDR processing. For the standard HDR shooter using a –2.0 to 2.0 bracket the optimal image count is still 3. If, however, you were a 5 shot, ± 4.0 stop, shooter before, you can drop from 5 shots to 4 shots in your blend. But, if you were a 7 shot ± 6.0 stop shooter previously, you can now get the optimal HDR blend with only 5 shots (-6.0, –3.0, 0, 3.0, 6.0) provided your camera has three-stop stepping in the exposure bracketing function.
Finished HDR Merge along side its components
While not an earth-shattering change, it is significant. The time spent processing fewer images in the HDR pipeline will decrease if you follow these recommendations. A 3-image merge takes approximately 50% longer to analyze and merge than does a 2-image merge. If you create a significant number of HDR blends it can add up to real time savings. Couple that to the reduced chance for misalignment (or mitigation of moving objects), and you can see the advantages.
In the next part of this article series, I will be discussing those adjustments in the Develop Module which survive the HDR and Panorama Photo Merge process and which need to be made after to resultant merge.
Rikk Flohr © 2015
The newest features in Lightroom CC2015/6 added great functionality to the Adjustment Brush. The ability to paint in straight lines with brushes of different sizes, feather settings, flows, and Automask settings opens up myriad possibilities for using the Adjustment Brush in new and exciting ways. Check out this video tutorial:
You can see the previous stupid tricks video at this link: https://youtu.be/YNmPkb1Gbj4
Rikk Flohr © 2015
Then people wanted the details.
Unobtrusively, Adobe’s Lightroom for mobile and Photoshop Mix have integrated behind the scenes and given us a robust image solution that enables our Lightroom for mobile to Photoshop Mix and back to Lightroom for mobile workflow. This has long been the missing component. Sure, we could have an image in Lightroom for mobile and we could edit it quite nicely on our mobile device. We’ve been able to send that image to Photoshop Mix for a while now and tweak it a little further. Now, that tweaked result comes back to our Lightroom for mobile synced collections and, here’s the good part, ends up in our Lightroom Desktop catalog!
It starts with the raw capture. Here is a jellyfish from the Minnesota Zoo. It is a fairly unremarkable image of typical aquarium lighting and a standard subject. Imported into my Lightroom Desktop catalog, it was synced as part of the larger shoot so that I could edit down the shoot later. I liked this image and when I stumbled upon it while editing on my iPad in Lightroom for mobile, I processed it a bit.
The Lightroom for mobile image is a lot cooler and I was pretty happy with it. I didn’t like the amorphous splotches scattered about nor the two fluorescent tube highlights on the top of the jellyfish. Tapping Share in Lightroom for mobile and selecting Open In… I chose to send the image to Photoshop Mix.
Tapping the […] icon I was able to access the Content Aware Fill in Photoshop Mix and clean up those nagging areas and do some additional editing. Content Aware Fill is a server-based online tool which Adobe Photoshop Mix leverages. Using server-based functions it is possible to do things that the ordinary hand-held device lacks the power to accomplish. After finishing the edit in Photoshop Mix, you tap the Share icon and something interesting happens.
Not only can you go to your Photoshop Desktop, Behance and others, notice there is a Save to Lightroom option. This is the exciting part! Tapping Save to Lightroom sends the edited file back into Lightroom for mobile.
A new shared collection is created called Photoshop Mix. The result of my editing in Photoshop Mix was automatically saved here!
Tapping the thumbnail to go inside the collection, you can see the image (and all others returned to Lightroom for mobile from Photoshop Mix) and continue to edit it in Lightroom for mobile.
So – to recap… Lightroom Desktop – Sync to Lightroom for mobile – Edit in Photoshop Mix – Send result back to Lightroom for mobile – ????
You guessed it – it makes it all the way back to the Lightroom Desktop and integrates with your master catalog.
A pseudo device is created in your Folders panel resembling the devices for my iPhone, iPad and Android tablets. In this “Lightroom” device is the Imported photos folder containing my Photoshop Mix image that round-tripped through the Lightroom for mobile ecosystem.
The finished image, edited in Lightroom for mobile – continued in Photoshop Mix – finished in Lightroom for mobile. Edited solely on a mobile device – No Desktop editing required.
The power of our mobile device-based editing has taken a great step forward. The Lightroom ecosystem is rapidly becoming the hub around which our photography is centered. With companion apps like Photoshop Mix, with its great local tools and powerful server-based tools, we now have access to an unprecedented level of sophistication in our image editing. The best part of this is that it keeps our existing catalog workflow intact and allows us to continue our creativity when we wander far from our desktops.
Rikk Flohr © 2015
If you’ve ever dealt with a professional print fulfillment labs and had a client order a wallet-sized image, you may have run into the Double Crop Conundrum. The standard wallet size is 2.5” x 3.5 “. Conveniently, it shares the same aspect ratio as the venerable 5×7 size print. At first blush, that makes cropping for the wallet-sized print a snap. Right? Wrong! Here’s why:
Setting the Lightroom™ Crop tool to the 5×7 aspect ratio and applying a crop seems like the correct thing to do. Well, it is but it isn’t the last step in the process. We will go ahead and apply this crop and then export the image for upload to our photo lab. In my particular case, this is White House Custom Color.
The resulting photo is the correct proportions and size for the lab to create the wallet-sized prints. Here’s the problem: photo labs don’t print a wallet one-at-a-time like larger size prints. They gang them up into groups of eight and put them on a larger sheet for printing.
Here is a visual example of what your photo lab is actually printing. It is the classic 8-Up wallet print. Printing wallets in this fashion is much more efficient. The problem comes when the wallets need to be separated into individual pictures. No Customer, Photographer or Lab wants to hand cut these photos so it is done by machine using a die cutting device that quickly punches out the individual wallets. This is where the second crop comes into play.
When you load up your image in your lab’s upload platform and select the wallet, this gray box appears, superimposed over your image preview. This is the die cutter’s safe line. The precision of die cutting a sheet of wallets is such that anything within the boundaries of this gray line is subject to being summarily trimmed off. Anything outside the line, well you can just plan on kissing that goodbye. That is the second crop issue with the Approximate Die Cut overlay. If you cropped too tightly in Lightroom while prepping your file, well, back to the drawing board for a recrop and the hope you have enough material left in the original image.
Suppose there was a way in Lightroom to preview the Approximate Die Cut line before you exported your finished crop… you are in luck – there is.
It is possible to assign a graphical overlay on your image within the Loupe and Develop views within Lightroom. This lets you put a graphic such as a logo, a team picture template, a magazine cover or even a cropping guide on top of your photo so that you can insure your layout is what you want before you commit it to a file.
In your Lightroom menu, go to View>Loupe Overlay>Choose Overlay Image> and navigate to a PNG file with transparency that you’ve created for just such an occasion. Here is the PNG file I am using for this overlay.
I created this file in CorelDraw and exported it as a PNG with transparency enabled. It was built on the 5×7 aspect ratio and should work on all 8-Up wallet prints.
Going to View>Loupe Overlay>Show or hitting the [Ctrl/CMD]+[Opt/Alt]+[O] keyboard short cut cycles the overlay on and off. Now you can adjust your crop in the Develop module and compare your results to your lab’s die cut line and get it just right before exporting the file.
You controlled the first crop where you fine-tune the composition and the edges. Now you can control the second crop too (within the boundaries of the approximation of the guide) and ensure that finger don’t become amputated, hair doesn’t get flat-topped or vital elements aren’t squeezed against an unfeeling machine-cut edge.
Note that when you are actually cropping the image, the crop overlay supersedes your Loupe Overlay until the crop is finished. The guide will disappear and not return until your crop is complete. You may have to go back and forth a bit but the visualization of the overlay will help you create the perfect sized and composed file for printing your wallet.
The PNG File above can be clicked upon and saved to your own computer for use in Lightroom. Consider that a free gift from the Cropist. Install it in your Lightroom catalog and never suffer from the Double Crop Conundrum again.
Rikk Flohr © 2015