Free Lightroom 4 Beta Video

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If you thought yesterdays post of Lightroom 4  beta resources wasn’t enough to get you started, well here’s another one for you. It’s another video, or rather a collection of videos over at the well known online training library at Lynda.com. I’m not a member or subscriber but this video is 1 hour 50 minutes of a Lightroom 4 Beta Overview from Chris Orwig and it’s free.

It’s split into many short segments each covering a specific top of LR4 beta so is a very useful resource. I haven’t watched it all yet but found the section soft proofing and books very useful. You can find the videos listed here.

Lightroom 4 Public Beta – Online Resources

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It’s been just over 24 hours since the release of Lightroom 4 Beta and already there are a multitude of reviews, resources, discussions, tips and video’s online already. If you are an existing Lightroom user and haven’t downloaded your FREE copy of LR4 beta, you can do so now from Adobe web site here.

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Lightroom 4 Beta Available for Download.

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Adobe Release Lightroom 4 Beta

Well it’s here, Adobe have today released the beta version of Lightroom 4 Beta and it’s available to download from their web site here. I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it so far, but the big new features seem to be Video support (which is not really of much interest to me, but no doubt very commercial), GPS support, new shadow and highlight controls, additional local adjustment controls and the much requested soft-proofing. Adobe’s summary of the new Lightroom headline features is as follows:

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Star Rating Your Photographs

Lightroom Star RatingsI recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime photographic trip to the Antarctic Peninsular where I shot almost 7,500 frames in under 6 days. A phenomenal number of frames by anyone’s standard, but as a member of a 73 strong group of photographers my frame count was probably on the low side, and probably very low compared to some I saw. At the end of our trip, during one of the lectures from one the lead photographers and organisers, we we asked to raise our hands if we had captured any 5-star images.

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Lightroom 4 Beta Soon?

 

Lightroom 4 Beta to be released soon?

Lightroom 4 Beta

I was recently on a Photo workshop with a well known Lightroom 4 beta tester who also writes books on a particular aspect of Lightroom. He let slip his new revised book on Lightroom 4 is set to be delivered to his publisher in February 2012 and that we should seeing a Beta version of Lightroom 4 released very soon. He also intimated that there may be a few surprises in store especially with the Lightroom user interface, but he was pretty tight-lipped about exactly what those surprises would be.

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Nik Software Announce Silver Efex Pro 2

Software Release

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Yesterday Nik Software, the makers of several well known Photoshop plug-ins announced the impending release of version 2 of their highly popular black & white conversion software Silver Efex Pro. For those of you who don’t know Silver Efex Pro offers an All-In-One workflow to convert your RAW images to monochrome. The program can be run from Adobe Photoshop or accessed from within Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom RAW images processors. Not only does it provide superb B&W conversion, but offers a multitude of accurate film emulations, toning, grain, vignettes, burning and the ability to add local adjustments via Nik’s rather clever U-point patented technology.

Version 2 promises to be just as popular, and whilst improving on many current features with new improved algorithms, many new features have been added such as a History Browser, new Fine Structure, Soft Contrast, Dynamic Brightness, and Selective Colour, and it can now add Natural Image Borders. There’s also support for full 64-bit processing.

You can pre-order Version 2 from the Nik Software website which is currently offering a 10% discount. Version 2 is to be released on the 11th February, but if you purchase version 1 now your upgrade is free.

The full price is to remain at $199, which is pretty expensive for just a plug-in. However, if you’re looking for a one-stop quick monochrome conversion facility with realist film emulation and more, you be hard pressed to better Nik’s offering. The u-point local adjustments work very well, but the interface in version one was a tad clunky in parts. You can download a 15 day trial of version one from here. Lets hope the version 2 delivers the refinements Nik promises.

Resources

An Overview of Lightroom 3 Video Tutorials

Video Tutorials Review

With Adobe Lightroom 3 having been out on the market for a while now several of the big names have released commercial packages of Lightroom 3 Video tutorials. These range from view online flash videos, downloadable video files to DVD’s you can buy. So what is available and what do you get for your money?

The Luminous Landscape Guide to Lightroom 3

If you’ve never visited The Luminous Landscape web site then you’ve really missed out since it’s one of the premier photography sites on the net. It’s the brainchild of Canadian and Toronto based photographer Michael Reichmann but accommodates contributions from many other renowned photographers and contains a wealth of resources to interest any photographer. If you think I’m a fan then I have to say quite lr3graphic unashamedly that I am. I’m a frequent visitor to the Luminous Landscape web site and subscribe to Michaels’ video journals which offer truly unique insight into many aspects of photography which you can’t really find elsewhere.
For this Guide to Lightroom R3 Michael once again teams up with Jeff Schewe, one of the co-founders of PixelGenius, and a chap who seems to hold significant influence with the Lightroom development team and whom certainly possesses a strong technically knowledge on the inner workings of Lightroom. Michael is a seasoned presenter, and guides the tutorials along and makes sure that all the typical user questions are addressed. Together they make a formidable team.

The tutorials comprise almost 9 hours of video split into 52 individual video files which can be purchased online for the sum of $49. These can be downloaded to your hard drive so are then available for you to view at your leisure and can of course, be watched time and time again without the need for an internet connection or a subscription. The files are in Quicktime (*.mov) format which unfortunately is not supported on the iPad (although you could convert the files in 3rd party software). If you purchased their Guide to LR2 they are still currently offering a 10% discount online. Michael and Jeff have produced similar tutorials for Lightroom 1 and 2, but this is by far the longest to date and just about covers every Lightroom topic imaginable. They work well together, and have a pleasant rapport with a rather relaxed and casual, style of presenting. This personal presentation style may not suite all viewers, and there is significantly more joviality than on previous LR tutorials, but I find it quite entertaining as well as being very informative. Michael and Jeff are just so familiar with the Lightroom product however, that in parts they do tend to make some assumptions that I thought may confuse the absolute beginner. If you possess some familiarity with Lightroom or are an intermediate user than these tutorials will be a excellent resource to improve your workflow, and even though I consider myself a competent and experienced Lightroom user I still found out many new things. You can test drive a sample video here. Highly recommended.
Pros:

  • Downloadable video files that you can take anywhere and watch at your leisure.
  • Huge content, 52 video files containing almost 9 hours of video.
  • In depth coverage of just about everything you need to know about LR3.
  • Detailed technical information of how many of the Lightroom processes work.
  • Good value compared to others available.

Cons:

  • There are a few parts that may confuse an absolute beginner.
  • The presentation style may not be to everyone’s liking.
  • No iPad support.

Adobe Lightroom 3 Video Workshop by George Jardine

George Jardine is name probably familiar to Lightroom users who have been using Lightroom from release 1. George was one of the original Adobe Lightroom team members and the former Adobe Pro Photography Evangelist. He produced several excellent online tutorials on the original Lightroom release for Adobe, a task which is currently fullfilled by Julieanne Kost. image He continued with an excellent series of podcasts which many may remember, which were available for download on iTunes and via his blog. George left Adobe in 2008 go his own way and now, amongst other things, runs Lightroom Workshops. In July 2010 George announced a Lightroom 3 Video Workshop comprising 16 online video tutorials on Library Workflow and Digital Photo Library Management which can be viewed by purchased a subscription. The online videos are Flash driven so can’t be viewed on the iPhone or iPad, however George will provide a link to downloadable iPad versions once a subscription has been purchased. In October 2010 a further 15 videos which cover the Lightroom Develop Module, but as yet there are no plans to provide any other series to cover the Web, Print and Slideshow Modules.
George’s indomitable style of presentation is much to be admired. You find no face shots here, nor will you detected and ‘umms’, ‘errs’ or pauses in diction. With George it’s straight down to a very business like delivery, full of concise and detailed instructions and he succeeds including an extraordinary amount of information into each of these videos. Watch them over and over again and you notice more facts you failed to retain on earlier viewings; they are that good. These tutorials are excellent for users of all standards and ideal for the beginner too.
The first series of 16 videos can be accessed by purchasing a subscription for $29.95 via George’s Blog here and if you want to view a sample movie on Virtual Copies check out this link. The second series of videos on the Develop Module is also available as an online subscription for $24.95. No iPad/iPhone versions of the second series are available (yet?) for download but they can be acquired on DVD from Amazon.com for the sum of $34.95.

Pros:

  • High on content, yet concise, well produced and very informative.
  • Suitable for all levels from beginners to advanced.
  • Very professional and well presented.

Cons:

  • Not all is downloadable.
  • Requires a live web connection and subscription to view.
  • Doesn’t cover all aspects of Lightroom just yet.
  • Only the Develop Module videos are available on DVD and at $35.00 is expensive.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Power Session WITH Matt Kloskowski

I’m sure almost every Lightroom user must have come across the excellent Lightroom Killer Tips web site hosted by Matt Kloskowski. It’s just about top of every Lightroom search on Google and has been since Lightroom was released. LR3PSMatt is part of Scott Kelby’s KelbyTraining.com team and has release at DVD entitled Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Power Session. It’s priced at $69.99 but if your a member of NAPP ( National Association of Photoshop Professionals) you can get get for $54.99. You can find out more information about Matt’s DVD here, but there is no sample video to watch or DVD contents listed.
A perhaps more preferable option to access the Matt’s Lightroom Power Session Tutorials may be to purchase a subscription to Kelby Training online. This gives you access to hundreds of online video tutorials, and not just Photoshop and Lightroom, but many other design, video and creative applications. It also contains a section on Photography which has something of interest for just about every type of photographic genre. Unfortunately you can only watch the videos online and can not download copies to watch later. Subscription is not cheap and currently runs at $24.96 per month. If you are a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) your subscription is reduced to $19.99 a month, but as membership to NAPP costs $99 per year it’s not really a saving at all, although with NAPP membership you do get a years subscription to the Photoshop User Magazine. If you think this all smacks a wee bit of rather clever American marketing by the astute Mr. Kelby, then I’d have to agree, however much of the online content I’ve sampled thus so far has been extremely good. I just wish I could get the content on my iPad.
If you purchase the Lightroom 3 Power Session DVD you get access to 19 instructional video files ranging from 1:31 to 6:45 minutes in length, plus a brief introduction and conclusion, totalling just under 75 minutes. The videos are just as slick and informative as Matt’s online video’s and indeed Matt has a pleasant and relaxed style that is a joy to watch. The DVD videos are rather terse however, and lack the depth and detail of the Lumimous Landscape offerings. However, if you purchase a subscription to Kelbytraining.com you get access to 3 further courses of tutorials by Matt entitled Lightroom 3 In Depth, which cover the Library module (Part 1), Develop module (part 2) and Printing, Slideshow and Web modules (part 3) in some considerable depth. These cover aspects of Lightroom 3 such as integration with Photoshop, creating HDR and Panorama stitching, and 3rd party plug-ins. Currently there are also video course on Lightroom for the Web one of the other Kelby Instructors and video tutorials on culling and selecting photos from a fashion shoot and beauty retouching from Scott Kelby himself.

Pros:

  • Abundant online content.
  • Well produced and lots of choice.
  • Content for all levels from beginners to advanced.
  • Professional and well presented.

Cons:

  • DVD represent poor value compared the Luminous Landscape downloads.
  • Subscription content requires a live web connection for access.
  • Online subscription can work out to be quite expensive.
  • Unable to download subscription videos copies to your hard drive.
  • No support for the iPad unless you buy the DVD.

Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training from Lynda.com

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Lynda.com is a huge online resource that provides video tutorials for just about every graphics package, web design and photo-manipulation software you can think of, and many more to boot. It even contains tutorials on Home Computing, iPhones, Business packages, Animation, and has recently been adding videos on Photography. It boasts at having the largest access to online training courses available, and looking at the list they certainly seem to be the granddaddy of the online video tutorial world. It’s an odd name for a web site but that’s down to it’s founder Lynda Weinman. You can access just about anything, but it’s not cheap, ranging from $25.0 (basic) to $37.50 (premium) per month to $250-$375 for a full yearly subscription. The basic subscription covers access to all videos, the Premium subscription provides access to Instructor’s exercise files. The courses however, can only be watched online and thus require a live internet connection, and can not be downloaded to your hard drive.

For LR3 users they have a course entitled Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training presented by photographer and designer Chris Orwig. Comprehensive details, video transcripts, course contents and 24 sample videos can be viewed and accessed here. The course details are very comprehensive and list over 13 hours of videos in 30 sections and contain over 200 individual video files covering techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. The course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow and also includes exercise files to accompany the course if you have plumbed for a premium subscription.

The whole course can also be purchased on DVD for $99.95 which you can then watch at your leisure. The online subscriptions however, give you access the a multitude of other courses, so if you additional Photoshop tuition is in your remit, this could be the way to go.
Pros:

  • High on content, thorough and very informative.
  • Very professional and well presented.
  • Covers all aspects of Lightroom.
  • Online subscription covers many other software packages

Cons:

  • Unable to download copies to your hard drive.
  • Requires a live web connection and subscription to view.
  • Could work out quite costly for a long subscription.
  • DVD price expensive compared to others.
  • No support for the iPad unless you buy the DVD’s

Free Lightroom 3 Video Resources

Of course you don’t have to part with good money to get Lightroom 3 video instruction as there are plenty of free resources on the web, many of which are linked in the side panels of this web page. I’ll try and cover some of those in another post.

Summary

It’s too difficult to select a clear winner here as each cater for slightly different audiences and provide differing levels of accessibility. If you’re experienced user, you may find Luminous Landscape Guide to Lightroom 3 more to your taste, whereas beginners may be best suited to Lynda.com’s offerings, Matt’s DVD or George Jardine’s videos. If you’re looking for wider base tuition then the online subscription offer much more. Personally I prefer to have downloadable content that I can watch at my own choosing, irrespective of whether you have an internet connection or where I am. If value for money is an issue then I’d have to say Luminous Landscape takes first prize. The good news is, no matter what you choose you won’t be disappointed; they are all very good. Do try out the sample videos first and see what appeals to you. The choice is yours.

Resources

Adobe Release Lightroom 3.3

Software

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Today Adobe have finally released version 3.3 of Lightroom; this has been released in conjunction with version 6.3 of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) for Photoshop. The update has been available for some while as a beta version for filed testing, but is now in its commercial version for general consumption. This release contains the usual additional support for a bevy of new cameras and some bug fixes. Perhaps the most interesting addition for existing Lightroom user are the addition of many new lens profiles. This includes 15 additional Canon lenses, 26 Nikon lenses, 14 Pentax lenses as well as a few Sigma, Tamron, Ricoh and Samsung lenses.

Lens profiles were one of the great new features added in Lightroom 3.0 and it’s a feature that I find particularly useful. If you shoot a lot of seascapes and landscapes with wide-angle lenses then you’ll know unless your camera is perfectly vertical on your tripod and the horizon is smack bang in the middle of your frame, it’s going to appeared curved. I used to have to flip out to Photoshop and use PTlens to correct my shots but now this can be all handled within LR. It’s great for correcting verticals when shooting architecture too and can also be used as a creative tool.

You can download your copy of Photoshop Lightroom 3.3 Release Candidate from Adobe Labs here, find out full specifications of the Lightroom 3.3 release and a list of all the new lens profiles here.

Lightroom 4 Wish List

Software EDITORIAL

Lightroom4

Now that Lightroom 3 has been out for a while and is already in it’s second iteration (the current version being 6.2) it would seem that some of the regular pundits have been turning their thoughts towards what may be included with Lightroom 4. Scott Kelby recently posted a rather interesting blog on features he would like to see in version 4 and that got me thinking what would be in my top ten wish list. Scott’s article was pretty thorough and I thought and covered most of the bases. Plus, being in a position he is within the industry, it would seem that Adobe are already taking note. His article also provoked quite a response. You can read the original here and the follow up Wish List Comments here.

I of course, have absolutely no clout with Adobe what-so-ever. So apart from posting my wishes here in the vain hope that someone from Adobe may, by complete chance, happen to stumble upon them, I think getting my wishes fulfilled are pretty dam remote! Nevertheless, here are my top ten in order of preference:

  1. Soft Proofing: if it’s one thing I still have major difficulty with it’s getting my prints ‘just right’. If you read the web posts I’m not the only one, there are thousands of others out there who, even after profiling monitors and papers, still find achieving the perfect print a bit of a dark art. This one’s a no-brainer and way out in front for me.
  2. GPS Support: as a landscape photographer I’d love this feature. Pretty soon all DSLR’s will have GPS built-in. I currently use Jeffrey Friedl’s Geoencoding Plug-in for Lightroom which, even by his own admission, is a tad clumsy due to the current LR plug-in architecture, but does work quite well. This enables locations to be imported from a GPS device or simply tag locations from Google Earth, but requires a bit of juggling to get this data back into the LR catalog.
  3. Key Word Manager: I haven’t seen many requests for this and I don’t really know why. Key-wording is one of those necessary evils. We all know it should be done, but managing long lists and hierarchical keywords in a little side panel is a clumsy affair. They made the new import dialog into a huge pop-out module (which wasn’t really a critical feature in my opinion), so why can’t we have something similar for managing key words?
  4. Improved Local Adjustment Tools: these currently contain Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity, Sharpness and Colour. But why not Fill Light, Recovery and Vibrance, or even go the whole hog and give us a local Tone Curve adjustment too.
  5. Improved Slide Show: I currently use a third party product (ProShow Director) for my AV requirements, and whilst I don’t expect Lightroom to provide that level of sophistication, the Slide Show module as it stands is a little basic. More layout capability, with multiple pictures per slides, different backgrounds, more text features, Ken Burns zooming and panning and a few different transitions are an absolute must. Syncing to music would be nice too plus the ability to use several music tracks in sequence.
  6. Photo Book Services: Scott Kelby mentions this is the sole feature he uses Aperture 3. But I certainly don’t want to be tied to a photo book publishing feature that ties the user to one service like Apple does. To me this is an ideal feature to be added to the Publish Services feature, so hopefully we’ll see services like Blurb, fotobook and many others added here.
  7. Face Recognition: enough said, it’s already in Aperture and we’d all use this for sure. Surely adobe couldn’t afford to leave this out…could they?
  8. Improved Spot Removal Tool & Clone Stamp: these are some of the few features that still require me to leave Lightroom. I’d really like to see the Spot Removal tool developed into a proper healing brush, so annoying wires and TV aerials can be cloned out without a round trip to Photoshop.
  9. Photo Stitching: the ability to make panoramas and stitch photographs within Lightroom.
  10. Improved Interface: I like the Lightroom interface very much, but it needs to be a little more adaptable. Some of the side panel features are too small when restricted to a narrow panel. A pop-out/expand mode feature may suffice. And please, please, Mr Adobe, do something about the dreaded little triangle in the far left and right margins. I’m forever clicking in there by mistake thinking it’s the scroll bar and hiding my panel. Scroll bars should be on the Outside!

Well that’s my wish list for now. Now tell me yours!

Lightroom 3 Released

Software UPDATE

Lightroom 3

Well if you don’t know already, Abode finally released their long awaited upgrade to Lightroom with Version 3 going live yesterday. The good news for UK residents is that it’s probably a tad cheaper than most of us were expecting, this time costing £76.88 (£63.54 ex VAT) to upgrade direct from the Adobe web site. The full version is priced at £232.65 (£198.00 ex VAT), but if you qualify for the Student/Teacher edition you can obtain the full version for a mere £64.39. Mind these prices look set to rise as a VAT hike looks imminent for the budget due on the 22nd June so if you’re planning to upgrade or buy do it before then. Rather surprisingly the beta 2 version will still work till the 30th June. You can download a trial version, upgrade or buy from here.

The (slightly) disappointing news is that there are no big surprises, so pretty much what was available in the Beta 2 release is what you get, albeit in it it’s final polished state. The new features added since version 2 are:

  • Accelerated with a new processing engine
  • Lens Correction
  • Support for DSLR video files
  • Flexible publishing to sites like Flickr
  • Image Watermarking
  • Exportable slideshow with music (to MP4 video files)
  • Easier Importing
  • Tethered Shooting
  • Perspective Control
  • Film Grain Simulation
  • Flexible Print Packaging

There are some minor changes since the Beta 2 version however, and these are detailed by Tom Hogarty on his Lightroom Journal Blog.

As usual there are several sites already listing the new features in greater detail. Check out the Lightroom Queen Victoria Brampton’s blog for a full listing of all the new features and changes and there’s an excellent summary by Ian Lyons at the Computer-Darkroom. Videos of several of the new features are provided at the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Learning Center, courtesy of Matt Kloskowski (of Lightroom Killer Tips) and Scott Kelby of NAPP. There’s also an introduction to what’s new by Julieanne Kost on Adobe TV here. Also look out for the forthcoming Lightroom 3 Video Tutorial by Jeff Schewe and Michael Reichmann which will be soon available from the Luminous Landscape site. I purchased and downloaded their tutorial on Lightroom 2 when that was released which was good value and the easiest way to learn all the new features. I can thoroughly recommend any of their videos.

Upgrading

I upgraded my Lightroom last night which installed easily and with the new version 3 seeming more responsive than the Beta 2 version. When installing, Version 3 will automatically ask if you want to upgrade your existing catalogue to version 3, which went ahead quite seamlessly but takes a while to complete depending on the size of your catalogue. I left my running overnight. Lightroom 3 will not however, change your existing picture modifications to the use latest LR3 de-mosaic RAW processing engine (now called Process 2010, with the prior version now Process 2003). In the Develop module you may see a little exclamation icon in the lower left of your picture in Loupe mode.

LRprocess

This means that picture is still using the old 2003 Process engine. To upgrade simply click the icon and you are given the choice to upgrade just that photo, all selected photographs or all in the Filmstrip to the new 2010 Process. This can also be achieved through the Settings | Process menu in Develop mode.

Initial Thoughts

The lens correction and noise removal features of Lightroom 3 alone, certainly make this upgrade a thoroughly worthwhile purchase for me and probably many other photographers. Both perform very well in comparison to the stand-alone packages I use (PT-lens & Noise Ninja Pro). The processing engine (Process 2010) will cause some of your pictures to look quite different so some tweaking may be needed in places, but from what I’ve seen in the Beta 2 version, the end result is much improved. I’ll reserve comment on the accelerated processing until I’ve had more time .

It’s clear that with Lightroom 3.0, Adobe have a mature, very capable and competent product and I would have no hesitation in recommending this upgrade.

Lightroom 3 Resources

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