Friday, July 2, 2010

Lightroom 3 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 - The First Month

My digital darkroom received a major remodeling back about a month ago. Adobe finally released Lightroom 3.0. It was been in a public beta for an extended period of time and I used it off and on since the public release. I am a legacy Lightroom 1.x user and I am a "skip a version" user when it comes to Adobe products--Adobe's "Major" version number updates are typically not enough to get me to make the jump, but there is enough change every two versions to make me jump ship and engage the learning curve again. I was also using Adobe Photoshop CS3 so I upgraded to both CS5 and LR3 at the same time.

Things I liked moving from LR 1.x to LR 3.0:

  • Dual screen support: Admittedly this was available in LR 2.x, but since I didn't make the jump I didn't have it. Then again, I wasn't running dual screen on my computer either, so having the capability wasn't much of a selling point for me.
  • Graduated ND filter: Again, this was something that was in LR 2.x, but it was not nearly as smooth or useful as the current edition.
  • Plug-in Support for Flickr and SmugMug: This is a gee whiz, but it's a nice gee whiz. For folks who want to throw the initial images out on Flickr to share with family and friends, this is a nice feature. For studio work, I can see a great deal of good to be had by being able to push directly to SmugMug or other providers so that event images can be processed quickly and made available for customers.
  • Tethered Shooting: For studio and event shooters, this is an incredible feature. If clients can see what the shot looks like before they leave, they can provide feedback and re-shoots can be done on the spot rather than later. Happy clients should equal more sales.
  • New Slide Show Mechanism: Great improvement from previous attempts. This could eliminate or greatly reduce my reliance on software packages like Pinnacle's Studio. I can't wait to fully explore this one.

So now about a month into my new dual software experience and I have a few thoughts...

Even though it is a newer piece of software and software tends to get larger rather than smaller through it's evolution, Lightroom 3 is far quicker than Lightroom 1.x. Granted that right now my main processing folder only has 2010's images and they total just under 1,100 (or in the old days, about 3 shoots worth). But I find that except for the initial switches into the different modules (i.e. develop, web, etc), that Lightroom 3 is lightning quick.

Dual-screen support is incredibly useful in Lightroom 3, especially during dust removal and initial meta-tagging.

I've also found that there is so much to this program that I do not know that it is going to take some time to truly feel 100% comfortable with it. The features that I know that are carryovers from Lightroom 1.x are still very intuitive and I have successfully processed a number of images. But I also know there is so much there that I don't know that it is going to take some time.

Photoshop CS5 runs beautifully as well. What I knew of CS3 works great. I'm still learning the other features and am anxiously awaiting for mid-August when Scott Kelby's CS5 book is released so I can really get into the guts of what I need to know.

Overall it has been a smooth transition. I can't wait to (a) get the books to help me along the learning path, and (b) to make more images in the camera so I can take them into the digital darkroom.