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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lightroom Vs. Photoshop

Which one of these programs will you find more useful for your photography?

4 Quickly customizable interface. Simple keystrokes allow you to go from viewing lots of photos to a single image to an enlarged photo. Simple keystrokes also allow you to quickly change what’s shown on the interface so you can simplify it down to just the photo or only keep the panels open that you really need. You can quickly and easily make anything reappear.

5 Interface that keeps controls readily and quickly accessible. In Photoshop, everything is based on opening and closing individual adjustment windows. You can’t go instantly from Levels, for example, to Curves, which you can do in Lightroom. All Lightroom controls are kept available in panels right next to the photos.

6 Always-available History palette.
When you close a Photoshop image, history is gone. It always stays with your Lightroom images.

7 Superior batch or multiple image processing.
Batch processing in Photoshop is a bit of a pain. In Lightroom, simply adjust one photo of a group that you like, then tell it to synchronize those adjustments with the rest. You also can copy the adjustments from one photo to another anywhere in the Library easily.

8 Superior color control. In the HSL (hue-saturation-luminance) section of the Develop panel, you gain more colors to work with compared to Photoshop and with more precise control. This isn’t so different from Camera Raw except for a “magic button”—the Targeted Adjustment button. Click on that and you activate your cursor. Now move the cursor to the photo, click on a color, then drag the cursor up and down to change that color’s hue, saturation or luminance and no other colors (well, some colors that are mixes will be changed). To me, that’s huge—control that’s faster, easier and more effective than any other program. This can correct problem colors, as well as refine the look of the photo.

9 Nondestructive, easy local control. Local control, or adjusting small parts of a photo without affecting anything else, has long been an important part of photography. This always was a part of black-and-white photography, but it has been a problem with color. It was difficult to do with film and prints, and it takes a lot of time and experience to master such controls in Photoshop. In Lightroom 2, you can darken, lighten, affect color and change sharpness and other aspects of specific areas in the photo simply by brushing your cursor across the areas. And if you don’t like the results, just delete and try again.

10 Nondestructive cloning and healing brush. Photoshop has far more power in its Cloning and Healing Brush tools than Lightroom, but Lightroom offers simple cloning and healing that’s nondestructive. You can make a change, yet if it looks bad, you can adjust the change or even delete it.

Yes, it’s true that, unlike Bridge, you have to get Lightroom to “recognize” your photos by importing them into the program (you actually don’t import the photos into the program, but import information about their location so Lightroom can find them). But you only have to do this once and you’re set. With Bridge, you have to find the photos’ locations each time and wait for Bridge to load their previews every time (you can tell Lightroom to always have full-sized previews at the ready).

Rob Sheppard says he really discovered the power of Lightroom while completing his latest book, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 for Digital Photographers Only.


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