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I've seen the Light(room)!

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:32

I've had Lightroom for a few years but I have never really used it as a work flow tool, preferring to do things in my own uniquely old school way. Up until last week whenever I did a shoot I would copy the images I took from the memory cards onto folders in my hard drive and then process them from there using a variety of tools, including PS, Capture NX and various other things, saving the edits and conversions into their own sub-folders. I would rely on my own memory as a means of finding certain images. But, even being as ridiculously intelligent as I am (ahem) even I find the curse of middle age and its effect on my memory to be a burden. Finding images easily is a chore and then re-editing them an even bigger chore (because being who I am I do make different edits of the same image and finding the one I want sometimes really sends me rushing for the aspirin).

So yesterday I decided to enlighten myself a bit about how this whole Lightroom thing actually works. I read some of Scott Kelby's excellent book on LR3 and OMG - I feel like an ass for not doing this earlier. Let's just say I have seen the light.

In the past I was always annoyed with how when loading images into LR I would see a decent image at first, but then it would lose all it's shine and become something very flat and boring looking. I always thought that this was a deficiency of LR, but in reality all that's happening is that you're seeing the RAW file without any camera profile attached to it. He points out in the book that you can actually get the profiles (like Nikon's D2X Mode III which I use exclusively) in the camera profiles section of the develop module, and even create a preset for that so that when you import your images into LR, it will apply the profile to each one. Yay!

Going through the book I found many other things that LR does that I would toil over needlessly in the past (hey, just remember, I got into digital photography long before anything like LR even existed). Needless to say I am now a Lightroom convert and will be investigating the possibility of upgrading to version 4 soon.

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#2 Dave Rosser

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:51

And version 4.1 is even better than 3. However if you upgrade to 4.1 you do need a powerful computer. I was running it on a 2.6GHz core 2 duo machine and it realy struggled so for that and other reasons I bought a new box. The new one has an ASUS P9X79 motherboard and a 3.6GHz Intel i7-3820 processor with 8 gig of RAM. Lightroom 4.1 runs fine on this and I note that Lightroom uses all 8 cores (4 real, 4 hyperthreaded) intensively but does not use much more than half the memory available.
It looks like Lightroom 4.1 is a very processor intensive program :angry: :devil:

#3 Jyda

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:58

I would also recommend http://lightroomkillertips.com run by Matt Kloskowski. Particularly the videos.
/Johnny

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#4 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:33

I have been thinking about upgrading my computer (2010 Mac Mini 2.4GHz on Snow Leopard). It's running everything fine at the moment, but that's probably because I have 8GB's of RAM in it and am not feeding it too many difficult things to do.

Thanks for the link, Jyda. Will check it out.

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#5 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:20

Well done Dallas. Was never sure if you could read - Now I know you can :devil:

If wonderful to see the light with something new in photography - have loads of fun.
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#6 Michael Erlewine

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 13:29

Welcome to Lightroom, but all is not sweetness and light. I am using Lightroom 4.1 along with Photoshop CS6 and Zerene Stacker.

Things were good until the Nikon D800E clogged the system with its huge files, that when converted to .TIF files are like 200K+ in size, and I frequently stack 100 of them at a time. Ouch!

So I have ordered but not received an overclocked system that look like this, for those interested in speed. This is not the fastest, but perhaps the fastest for the bucks..


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NVIDIA Geforce GTX 670 2GB - (Special Order)
RAID 0 Configuration
500GB 7,200rpm SATA
3 x 1TB 7,200rpm SATA as RAID 0
20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64-Bit
USB Keyboard
Logitech M500 Laser Corded Mouse
BOXX 3 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY
Model Specifications
Intel® Core.i7 Extreme 2nd Generation
Liquid Cooled
Intel® X79 Chipset
Quad Channel DDR3-1333-1600
. . (8 DIMMS)
(4) Serial ATA 3Gb/s ports *
. . (RAID 0 and 1)
(2) Serial ATA 6Gb/s ports *
(2) Serial ATA 6Gb/s ports Marvell Controller *
(2) Gigabit Ethernet port
7.1 HD Audio
. . Front panel mic + audio out
(1) S/PDIF Out (Optical)
(12) USB 2.0 ports:
. . (2) Front, (10) Rear
(4) USB 3.0 ports:
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(2) 1394a ports:
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#7 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 13:53

Needless to say I am now a Lightroom convert and will be investigating the possibility of upgrading to version 4 soon.


The engine behind Lr 4.1 has been totally re-written and you really do need to make that upgrade without delay because everything that you edit in Lr 3 you will find that you wish to re-edit in Lr 4.1 because the difference in the quality of the results is that marked.

Seriously!

#8 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 14:10

You may need to bring me another Mac, Ann! But looking at the prices I just don't see me being able to get what I would really want, and do the upgrades on the software side too. I am tracking an auction for a MacBook Pro 15" i7 Quad Core today, but it's already headed north of what I can realistically spend on a machine without attracting the unwanted attentions of the local Minister Of Finance.

No D800 for me either. I'm unlikely to go above 24MP if I ever do get an attack of NAS again. In fact, I don't use my Nikons much for personal photography anymore - micro 4/3rds is my new area of interest. :)

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#9 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 14:22

If you can run Lr 3 on Mini, you can definitely run Lr 4.1 instead.

Don't waste time on learning Lr 3 because Lr 4.1 has totally different sliders and they are designed to be used in a totally different way.

The Upgrade price if you already have any version of Lr is $79 here.

#10 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 16:16

$79 would be most welcome, but I doubt that's what we'd get it for here. I got mine 2nd hand. Are non-US residents allowed to buy it online or do we have to prepare ourselves for some brutality?

I've downloaded the LR4 trial. Can it be run on the same computer as LR3 at the same time? I don't want it to upgrade anything until I am convinced of it's usefulness.

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#11 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 16:43

$79 would be most welcome, but I doubt that's what we'd get it for here.


It is downloadable but I fear that you may have to pay a little more than we do in the USA as always seems to be the case in ZA?.

I got mine 2nd hand.


That might be an issue if the previous owner had registered it in his name previously or had used it as part of an upgrade-path, and hadn't done a Legal Transfer to your name (through Adobe Customer Service/Legal Dept.) You will soon find out the status of your Lr 3 when you try to buy and register Lr 4.1 after the 30-day Trial.

Yes, you can keep every version ever issued on your computer perfectly safely — but don't actually launch more than one version simultaneously.

With Lr 4.1 (and make sure that you have upgraded to the .1):

Start your RAW editing at the top by setting Exposure to centre the Histogram to its best advantage.
Adjust the Contrast Slider; followed by Highlights and Shadows.

Don't be afraid to move these two fully to either the right or the left when necessary.

And LASTLY:
Adjust the White and Black Points. That is the way that the ACR engine was designed to be used by Eric Chan and a number of the video tutorials (including Julieanne Kost of all people!!) are dead wrong in the way that they are demonstrating this software.

If you click "Auto" you will get suggested settings for a particular image and often simply adjusting the Exposure Slider from the Auto settings will get you into the ballpark.

Finally, make use of Plus or Minus Clarity to accentuate or reduce mid-tone Contrast and detail (texture) as the subject requires and realise that all of these settings (including Noise Reduction) can also be adjusted locally via the Adjustment Brushes.

I can assure you that Lr 4.1 (and CS6 too with ACR 7.1) are such huge advances over what came before and once you have used them, you will have no use whatsoever for your earlier versions.

:)

#12 bjornthun

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 16:59

And there is one more thing...

...LR 4.1 corrects CA with the push of a button, no more lens profiles are necessary for that.

Just like CNX2.
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#13 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 17:09

I think I will just stick with this version for now. It's not going to make me a better photographer to over-edit my images.

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#14 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 17:18

I think I will just stick with this version for now. It's not going to make me a better photographer to over-edit my images.


Actually it IS going to make you a better photographer — and it is going to upgrade both the DR of your camera and the quality of your lenses.

This is NOT "over-editing" — it is simply a question getting far more quality out of your existing equipment than you have ever experienced until now.

And that is no exaggeration!

:)

#15 mnscott

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 17:23

Dallas, glad to see you've expanded your horizons a bit. I must say, I've been using Lightroom for a while now, and still don't believe I'm anywhere near getting the most out of it. But I do know a few things, like how to use the sliders for sharpening to very good effect (love that mask!).

One thought for you to ponder: If you're only using one camera profile for everything, you're leaving a lot of good tools in the box. I find that different profiles sometimes produce a better end result based on the subject. There are a number of profiles available - lots to experiment with. Several are available at the site that Johnny posted, for example.

#16 armando_m

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 17:46

Good!

I tried LR3 before and hated it

so I sticked with CNX2

I now use LR4.1 for most of my edits

Regards,
Armando 
 


#17 Chris Dees

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 18:08

LR4 is way better than LR3.
The engine is better the development module is much more logic.
Drawback it's much slower.
Too much glass to carry.

#18 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 18:31

The calculations which ACR 7.1 is making are much more complex than they were in earlier versions. The automatic lens adjustments and CA Removal algorithms are one of the reasons for the slightly longer time that it takes — but I will always choose Quality over Speed.

I do have a reasonably powerful computer and I work in Batch mode and load dozens of files simultaneously into ACR. I then share (synchronise) particular individual settings between individually selected files (from among the loaded ones) whenever appropriate.

The trick, if you have a slower or less powerful machine, is to leave the CA and Lens Corrections turned off until you have completed your other Edits.

With practice, you will find that you can rate and edit literally thousand of RAWs a day to an average degree of correctness and then return to make final refinements with the Adjustment Brushes to your five-star images as you need them.

#19 Dallas

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 19:56

I've installed the 4.1 trial and have created a new catalog, imported a few snapshots I made today. So far I am not sold. It is unacceptably slow compared to LR3.

I'll check out a few other images from other parts of my library, but I need to know what I'm supposed to be looking for that is better. It all looks the same to me.

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#20 Ann

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 20:25

Go to the Camera Calibration Tab and choose Process: PV 2012 and either Adobe Standard or one of the Profiles for your camera.

Now return to the Basic Panel and click Auto to provide a suggested starting point; and then follow the order of working which I posted previously.
Start with the Exposure slider and work downwards. (Ignore the Kelby Tutorial because if I recall, it is incorrect!)

Now see how much better DR your DR is with less clogged shadows (and without the artefacts that were so prevalent if you boosted shadows in the older version), smoother HLs and a White Point "kicker"?

Then look at the Sharpening and NR tools; use Clarity and Vibrancy to taste and then use the Lens correction tab for CA removal and auto Lens Adjustment controls.

Also notice the many additional Adjustment Brushes— including local Noise and Moiré reduction.

SPEED shouldn't be of concern but QUALITY should be — and the difference in speed is really very little once you get into the rhythm of using the software correctly.

Edited by Ann, 04 July 2012 - 20:27 .

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