Masking in Lightroom

Adirondack Dock

This post was written a while ago, but the concept is still one that many people aren’t aware of – essentially that you can perform masking in Adobe Lightroom.  Keep reading to learn how!

Often when  I talk to people about their work flow one big question and the need to do some pixel based editing in Photoshop, one of the questions that often comes up is “Why can’t I do X in Lightroom?”

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EXIF Data Explained

Lightroom Interface

Did you know that your images contain a whole host of information that you may not even be seeing?  The header information in your photos contain something called EXIF data.  While most of us know how to get things like our shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and perhaps even the camera body, there’s so much more that can be pulled in with the right software.

That software is a plugin that Jeffrey Friedl makes called Metadata EXIF Viewer, which you can download for free from his website at the link provided.  It’s based on an EXIF tool Perl script from Phil Harvey, which he links to here.  It’s just like any other Lightroom plugin as far as installation goes – download the compressed file,decompress, and then copy the folder to where ever you save plugins for Lightroom and you’re set.

Then, after installation, highlight the image you want to get extended info for, and click on File, Plugin Manager Extras, and select the plugin:

Lightroom Interface

Once a short CGI script runs (that’s the Perl program for you programming types), you’ll be presented with a laundry list of more info than you likely ever wanted to know about your photos.  All this, just from the header info!  Check it out:

Like I said, a veritable fountain of info…and this is just from one photo!  The question of course becomes one of “What do I do with all of this?”  Excellent question!  In the interests of full disclosure, more data isn’t always a good thing, and for many of the fields, there’s often no data reported.  Nevertheless, there are times (albeit not everyday occurences), where being able to access everything can be helpful.

Take a minute to stop over at Jeffrey’s website and try the plugin.  (If you want to register it, you do need to make a donation of at least one penny, otherwise it’s free to use for 30 days.  I gave $2.00)

Got your own neat little add-ons, plugins, or tools that you use in your workflow too?  Feel free to sound off with your input in the comment section!  Until next time, happy shooting!

First Looks…that’s plural!

Adobe Reviews

There’s been a lot of screaming press lately in the camera industry, and in typical fashion I am a day late to the party here.  Some really exciting changes in software options have been announced by the Mother Ship (a.k.a. Adobe), and lots of blogs, forum communities, and watering holes for photo-geeks like you and I are filling with fodder.  Is LR4 really the bees knees or is it a little sluggish?  What’s the deal with that Photoshop Touch app for the iPad?  And then yesterday, or is it two days ago… the big guns came out – Photoshop CS6!  We’ve seen a few demos on the high profile blogs already (don’t tell me they didn’t have prior access…no one is that fast and good!  🙂  )along with some flashy promotional stuff and other “thoughts” from industry professionals.  How biased or accurate are they?  Tough call.

Don’t get me wrong though, I like salivating over the tools of the trade just like everyone else, but when someone is a self-professed Evangelist  for the folks at Adobe, it does rather temper the impulses from “ooooh-ing” and “aaaah-ing” prematurely.  Well, the good news is that for the rest of us is that some real reviews are on the way! Yep, yours truly was included in what I suspect is my final year of inclusion in the review membership club for Adobe products.

As you may recall, I was not kind to Adobe a while back when some flack about upgrade policy changes hit on CS6 a while back.  Adobe since backpedaled (although probably not from my voice, because….let’s be serious, it’s just me) but I suspect I ruffled a few feathers.  For now though, my participation in the review program remains intact for another season of Adobe products…and what that means is that for those of us who just want real reviews, real thoughts, and real tutorials on usage in real world scenarios (none of those lab-created scenarios where everything is specifically set up to showcase the best features and minimize things like memory consumption, speed/performance, and the occasional oddities of the programs), some stuff is on the way!

I know – much of this is all last weeks news and some nuggets even older, so apologies are in order, but unfortunately, this blog and my photography are not my primary source of income (I’ve also mentioned this before that there may be a dearth of content periodically…).  The “real job” has kept me busy, and a nasty flu bug also sidelined me for a tad too, so the can went empty yet again.  So, mea culpa for the delayed blogging post, but exciting things are coming.  Next week on the blog we should see three exciting posts:

1.  A new podcast with an amazing Lightroom instructor – Laura Shoe!  She’s got an incredible talent for not only the software, but for the educational value and the quality of her training videos are unparalleled in my opinion!  Look for that on Monday!

Lightroom 4

2.  A first look of my own on the app that has taken tablets by storm – Photoshop Touch!  It’s got a few surprises in there, and certainly nothing you’ve seen from the canned demos on the higher profile evangelist sites, so make sure you tune in Wednesday for that!  (The regularly scheduled Wordless Wednesday will be back the following week…)

Photoshop Touch

3.  Then, of course, (if all goes well)…by Friday I’ll have a few insights and thoughts on the new features of PSCS6 to share with everyone (this of course will be off the publicly accessible beta which anyone can download for free now).  I gotta say in advance though – totally digging their launch splash screen!

Photoshop Cs6

More resources on LR4, Photoshop Touch and CS6 are starting to filter in from many good friends of the blog, so you may also see some blog posts talking about some other eBooks and good learning materials as well, so definitely stay tuned, as a whirlwind tour of products, learning resources and a bunch of stuff is on deck!  So, that’s what’s in store…are you ready for it?  About the only thing more exciting I can think of is that Peyton Manning is now a Bronco!  But that’s a post for another blog…