Friday, October 1, 2010

Lightroom 3: cool, new publishing and video features


By Scott Koegler

This week, we continue our look at the new Adobe Lightroom 3. This time, I'll look at some exciting new publishing and video features.

Publishing services

In previous versions of Lightroom it's been possible to export your edited images so they can be posted to your choice of image sharing sites. Plug-ins like Jeffrey Friedl's Flickr exporter made the task of posting photos to Flickr simple and fast, but required either using a limited version of the plug-in, or making a small donation to unlock the plug-in's full capabilities.

Lightroom 3's Publishing Services act differently from Friedl's plug-in in that Lightroom 3 maintains a link between your Lightroom 3 catalog and your published locations.

Publish Services make it easy to select the images you want to share, then drag them to the publishing service you want them to appear in. Destination choices, as shown in Figure A, include online sharing sites like Flickr and Facebook, as well as hard drives. The hard drives can be external drives, or even drives on another computer in your network, and can be used to sync with your iPhone or other portable device.


You have many publishing choices. (click for larger image)

It's possible to have multiple publishing destinations for each service. For example I can have two (or more) services in Flickr that represent Flickr collections or sets. And I can have multiple hard drive publishing services that represent different drives and folders.

In some ways, I like this less than the ad-hoc method of defining which collection or set to export my photos to each time I use Friedl's plug-in, because it forces me to create and maintain a publishing service for each destination.

On the other hand, because the publishing destination is permanently defined, if I want to update a photo that's already been published, all I need to do is make my edits in Lightroom 3. My edit triggers a flag that lets me simply click the Publish button to replace the old version with the new one. Another nice touch is that comments made to photos in the Flickr site are brought back into Lightroom 3 and appear with the photos.


Another task that was previously possible only through the use of a plug-in is that of adding watermarks to your photos. Lightroom 3 includes the ability to add both text and image watermarks to any output, including export and print. It's possible to define location and transparency so that your watermark doesn't interfere with the image, as shown in Figure B.


You can customize your watermarks. (click for larger image)

Video import and storage

In yet another "used to be a job for a plug-in" feature addition, it's now possible to import video clips as Lightroom 3 assets. Lightroom recognizes video files just as it does image files, when a removable drive is attached to the computer. When the Import dialog comes up, the video files are treated exactly as their image counterparts. That means you can assign keywords and other values that help identify your video clips. It also means that video clips show up in context with your static images.