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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training, author Chris Orwig provides a comprehensive look at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, the popular photo-asset management, enhancement, and publishing program. The course covers indispensable techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, and creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. In addition to exploring all of Lightroom 3's capabilities, this course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
When importing photographs, one of the important options to consider is your render preview. Now as I mentioned, you can open up the File Handling panel, and you can view your Render Previews. There are four options here, Minimal, Embedded & Sidecar, Standard, and 1:1. So, what I want to do here is navigate to a slide, which will help us demystify how to actually work with Previews. All right. Well, one of the things that we need to consider in regards to previews in the Import dialog is which option is best.
As I mentioned, there are four options. What I like to do is I like to think of these options as speed versus quality. The first two options really have to do with speed. Minimal and Embedded & Sidecar basically means that it'll use a JPEG preview, either a really small preview or a JPEG that's embedded in the RAW file. Now, why would you want to do that? Well, in certain situations, let's say you're shooting RAW images, and let's say you're a wedding photographer, and you just shot a thousand images and you're at the wedding.
What you want to do is import these files in the Lightroom. Go through them really quickly. Select 50 for a slideshow that you're going to play at the wedding. Well, in that particular case, you don't need a super-accurate preview. You just want to quickly view the image, and access the file, and make some quick decisions and then put together a slideshow. So, in those cases, Minimal or Embedded & Sidecar would work really well, because you're prioritizing speed. Now, what's the downside to this? Well, the preview isn't going to be a very accurate representation of the RAW file.
So, if you're interested in accuracy or in quality, you're going to choose one of the latter two options, either Standard or 1:1. And what these options will do is necessitate that Lightroom renders or creates a preview based on the RAW information. In other words, Lightroom is going to dig into the RAW file and say, okay, hey what's there? All right, because of what I'm seeing here, I'm going to then create this preview so it's a little bit more accurate. Now then a lot of people say, okay, well, out of these four options, which is typically best? For the most part it's going to be Standard or 1:1.
Out of those two, which is the best? Well, really that's a question that's contingent upon hardware. In other words, what camera are you using? How fast is your computer? In my particular case, I'm shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II, and I've a pretty fast computer. Yet, that being said I choose Standard, because I find with my camera, because it's generating such a large file, if I use 1:1, that it takes so long to render that preview that it's not really worthwhile. Now that being said, if I were using an older camera that was capturing a file that was a little bit smaller, well then I may choose that 1:1 option.
So, what you're going to need to do is to experiment a little bit in regards to your overall workflow and see which option works best for you. Now, one of the things that we need to define is if we we're going to choose Standard, how big is that preview going to actually be? Well, we can define that in our Catalog Settings dialog. You'll notice here that in the Import dialog, we have File Handling. We have the same option in our Catalog Settings. We also have the Preview as Standard. We have the same option over here, Standard Preview Size.
So, the nice thing about this is that, what we can do is we can define how big we want the Standard Preview Size to be. You notice that currently it's 1440. In other words, it's a pretty high- res file, but it's not super-big. Now, we can change this. We can increase or decrease this amount by simply clicking on this dropdown menu here. Now, what you may want to do is to choose a little bit of a larger preview if you're using a higher-resolution monitor. If it's a smaller-resolution monitor, like a small little laptop, perhaps you're going to choose even a smaller size.
We have one more option here that's kind of important. It has to do with our preview quality. So, let's say we define our size, well, what's the quality of their preview? We have High, Medium, or Low. Now, the thing to keep in mind in regards to these options is that the High option is going to generate a preview based on the ProPhoto color space, whereas Medium and Low are going to generate a preview based on the Adobe RGB color space. Now, you may be thinking, okay, well, what does that mean? Well, basically if you choose High, that preview is going to be a little bit more accurate.
It's going to have more access to a wider gamut or a wider array of colors and tones. So typically, what happens when you're working on a computer is if you choose High, it means a larger file size, which means your computer may run a little bit more slowly. Well, in this particular case, the trade-off is well worth it, because it is just a preview. It's not like a huge file that it's rendering. It's worth it to have that High setting turned on, so that you have a much more accurate preview, which then makes that preview more relevant to your overall workflow process. All right.
Well now that we've seen some of these options, let's go ahead and navigate back to Lightroom. In Lightroom, what I'm going to do is cancel out of the Import dialog here and I'm going to navigate to my Catalog Settings. I'm going to go ahead and choose Lightroom and then Catalog Settings. On a PC, you can find those settings in the Edit pulldown menu. This will then open up the Catalog Settings dialog. There are three tabs. If you click on File Handling, you have the option to choose your Standard Preview Size, in this case, 1440 pixels, or you can go higher or lower.
Now, because the resolution of the monitor I'm working on is actually a little bit lower than I typically would use, I'm just going to leave it on this 1440 size. Preview Quality though I'm taking up to High, because I want a really nice preview so I can actually evaluate the image little bit more effectively. Now, in an ideal world,it would be great to keep our 1:1 previews, and we can create those either as we're working on our images or upon import. Yet, the reality is that these files get to be pretty big. So, you may want to choose an option to discard those after certain amount of time.
You're going to want to choose the option that makes sense in your own workflow. If you have access to a ton of hard drive storage space and you're not really worried about it, well choose Never. In other situations, you're going to want to probably discard these after a certain amount of time once you know that you're not going to really need access to those. In my particular case, I just leave it on the default, After 30 Days, and that's intended to work well in my own workflow. All right. Well, now that we've been introduced to the Import dialog and some of our options and preferences, let's go ahead and take a look at how we can actually import files so that we can begin to work on them in Lightroom.
Let's go ahead and do that in the next movie.
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