Screen-Shot-2012-03-26-at-12.22

A  Screen Shot of the new Develop Module in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

Adobe have very recently released Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6.

Lightroom has been the mainstay software in my digital workflow. It provides an excellent RAW convertor, which is the same as Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) in Photoshop. It is also, in my opinion, the best image library management system. Well, Lightroom has just got a lot better with the Lightroom 4 version. There are some major changes to the Develop module with the sliders becoming more intuitive – once you have worked with this version for a while.

There is more control over the highlights and shadows and, for me, resembles Shadow/Highlight in Photoshop. Just better, with more control. New Map and Book modules have been added, giving you the ability to plot the exact location of your images on a Google® map by using GPS and to publish books through Blurb® respectively. Real cool features.

Current Workflow

Images are ingested from the CF cards to the computer using Lightroom. At this stage I change the image file names accordingly and add standard or common keywords. These are important as many of my images go to stock sellers like Gallo Images® or Getty Images®.

After viewing and editing, I mark the obvious “no Go’s” for deletion.

Another edit is undertaken, when various comparisons are made and the better/best images are retained. I must say, I really miss Downloader Pro and Breezebrowser from Breeze Systems®, but unfortunately there is no Mac version available. Editing using Breezebrowser was much faster and simpler.

Images are then “developed” using the Develop Module. This is largely the RAW conversion. Lightroom 4 is giving one the ability to do more and more adjustments within Lightroom without using Photoshop, especially with the new adjustment brush which has many more functions.

I probably have quite a unique library system. It is divided into two main groupings – RAW images and “Converted Images”. After each shoot images are downloaded, as above, into the RAW folder which naturally contains many subfolders, categorized by “shoot”/project. Once the conversion has been done in Lightroom, each image is exported as a TIFF format file to the “Converted Images” folder which in this case is broken down by subject matter. The image is opened in Photoshop (done automatically by choosing that option in the export dialog in Lightroom) and any further enhancements or adjustments are done. This work is largely area specific and is all layer-based. The image is then saved as a TIFF file in the respective “Converted Image” folder – replacing the exported TIFF format file. There is thus a converted TIFF image in the library (with adjustment layers) and the original RAW image in the library. The RAW image has had work done on it but as this is done in Lightroom it is very simple to just go back to the image “as captured”.

In Photoshop, there are a number of plug-ins like PhotoKit Sharpener® and Perfect Photo Suite®. If an image needs to be printed or posted to the net then the corresponding version, resized and sharpened, is saved together with the converted TIFF file. In the case of a printed image file it is a saved in the printed size and with the correct printer /paper profile.

Lightroom 4’s noise reduction module is very good and fortunately Noise Ninja® is no longer needed, as there is still not a 64-bit version available for a Mac.

Storage 

This system requires lots of storage capacity. The Mac Pro has two 3TB internal hard drives for storage, the one being a complete back-up of the other. Carbon Copy Cloner ® is used daily for this. I have not elected to go the RAID route. Further back-ups are made weekly for safe-keeping at home – a separate location from my digital workshop , which is located downtown.

More about Photoshop CS6 as I begin to this new version.