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Lightroom is a powerful and a professional tool and it doesn't stand by its own; it's not an isolated application that we just use by itself. Rather it's part of the Photoshop family. The official name of Lightroom is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. One of the reasons why people like Lightroom so much, including myself, is because it's closely connected to Photoshop; it helps create a seamless and really fluid workflow between the two applications. So here in this chapter, we're going to look at how we can work with Lightroom and Photoshop together, starting off by setting up our external editing preferences.
To navigate to those, you want to go to the Lightroom pull-down menu and then select Preferences. Here we're going to go to External Editing, it's the third tab. Now this allows us to determine what we're going to edit in. In this case, while I'm recording this, the latest version of Lightroom is CS5. So, whatever your latest version is here that'll be the default option here up top. Now, you can choose your File Format. You have two options here; TIFF or PSD and TIFF is always going to be better, especially if you're ever going to have a layered file.
And what's interesting about this is the Lightroom engineering team initially wasn't even going to include PSD as an option because TIFF is just a much stronger and better format. So again, we'll leave that on the default setting. Next, Color Space; what's interesting about Lightroom is there isn't really a color space. There's this really wide gamut but the color space isn't applied until you export a file or until you edit a file in another application like Photoshop. So from this Color Space dialog, this is an important choice.
We need to decide something here. The default is ProPhoto and the reason that is because that is a wide, wonderful, rich, big, broad color space and you want to leave that default option turned on because that's going to give you the ability to work with the file in the best way. Now, if you want a smaller file size, you could go to this Adobe RGB but most Lightroom users have really adopted this ProPhoto workspace. Next, Bit Depth; we have the choice between 16 or 8 bits per channel.
Now some will argue why use 16 bits per channel because most printers they print at 8-bit. So it's kind of extra or irrelevant information. I disagree. The reason why you choose 16 bits is because, again, you have the ability to preserve all of these details in Lightroom. Having more formation in a digital file allows you to stretch or push or pull that file, in other words, bring up the blacks without adding extra noise or add contrast without things kind of falling apart or recovering highlights or whatever it is.
So by having this 16 bit here, it again gives us the ability to really preserve the most from Lightroom for most of the changes we've made to our files. Of course, this will mean a larger file size; I'll talk about that in a second. Resolution, we can choose any resolution here. Again, 240, the default is great and then a Compression of ZIP is a really good default compression you want to leave on. Now, some of you will be thinking okay, gosh, if I do that, if I have these as my preferences, this is going to just be a gigantic file.
What if I'm just going to kick a file out of Lightroom? I want to work on it in Photoshop a little bit and it's just going to be on my blog or on a website or something. I don't need this to be 16-bit at this high- resolution, this high or big of a color space. What else can I do here? What you can do is define an additional external editor not choosing another application but choosing Photoshop again. Let's go ahead and take a look at that. Here I'll click on Choose. What I'm going to do is go to my Applications folder and then I'm going to select Photoshop again here and I'll try to find this from the list, scroll down to that, and select Photoshop and click on the Photoshop icon and Choose.
Now, this says hey, you've already chosen Photoshop. Are you sure you want to do this? You can use this setting to choose an editor other than Photoshop. I'm going to say Use it Anyway. The reason is what I could do for my Additional External Editor is have Adobe Photoshop again, File Format TIFF again, but then I could have, say, a smaller Color Space like Adobe RGB, 8-bits per channel, Compression here, I'm going to choose that ZIP compression as well. Now in this case, you can see what it's going to allow me to do is, of course, to export a little bit lower quality file from Lightroom.
If I'm in a hurry or maybe as these files eventually going to go online and it's not going to be printed or maybe this file was pretty good from the get-go, so I'm not too concerned about having all of that extra information, I don't really need all of that. So in my own workflow, I like having these exact two setups. It just gives me a little extra flexibility and I have to say the majority of the time, you know, what I do is I use this one and then I make any other changes I need to in Photoshop. But I just want to highlight that you can kind of have this two-tiered approach.
Next thing, we want to stack this file with the original, leave that checked on. All right! Well, now that we've dialed in these external editing preferences, let's take a look at how we can start to edit our photographs inside a Photoshop and let's do that in the next movie.
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