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This is an important movie for everyone, whether you're using the lynda.com exercise files or your own photos to work through this course. If you are a Premium subscriber to the lynda.com Online Training Library, you can download the exercise files that I prepared for you. But if you don't have access to those exercise files, you can certainly use your own photos to practice along with me. In either case, I suggest you set up a separate Lightroom catalog for the photos you'll be using to work through this course, and that's what I'm going to show you how to do in this movie.
Although I normally recommend that you use one main catalog for all your photos, in this case I think you should use a separate catalog for your exercise files, or your own practice files, so that you don't mix them in with your personal work, and so that you keep your main catalog pristine while you're learning Lightroom. Start by putting the exercise files folder, or a folder of your own practice photos, on your Desktop. I've opened my exercise files folder on my Desktop, so you can see how they're organized. There are chapter folders, and in those, there are folders for individual movies.
Inside the movie subfolders, you'll find the photos that are the actual exercise files. If you haven't launched Lightroom, go ahead and do that now. Lightroom opens to the last catalog you were working in, in my case my main Lightroom 3 catalog. If this is the first time you've launched Lightroom, it will open to an empty main catalog. I'm working in the Library module. If your title bar doesn't say Library, then click the triangle in the center of the screen and choose Library from the module picker.
When you move your mouse off the module picker, it disappears to the top of the screen. So I want to put my exercise files in a separate catalog from this main catalog. To make a new catalog, I'll go to the File menu and I'll choose New Catalog. Here I'll give the new catalog a name. I'm going to call this Ex Files Catalog. I'm going to save that catalog into my Pictures folder; that's the My Pictures folder on Windows. There's nothing special about this folder; I could put my catalog anywhere.
I don't even have to have the catalog in the same place as the actual exercise files. As you know, those are located on my Desktop, and I'm going to be putting my catalog here in the Pictures folder. The reason I'm putting it here is that this is the same folder into which Lightroom made the original main Lightroom catalog. So just for consistency, I'll put my exercise files catalog here too. With Pictures selected on the left, I'll click Create, and I'll skip through this message about backing up my Lightroom catalog.
In just a moment, Lightroom has made a brand-new catalog for me, the Ex Files Catalog. Now it's time to import information about my actual exercise files into this catalog. To do that, I'll go down to the Import button at the bottom-left of the screen and that opens the Import window. I'll start up at the left by clicking Select a source, and from here I'm going to navigate to my exercise files folder on my Desktop. I'll click on Desktop here, and then I'll go down to the Source panel, and I'll move down to where it says Desktop, and then I can see the Exercise Files folder.
I'm going to click right on the exercise Files folder, and now in the center of the screen, I can see a thumbnail for each of the exercise file photos that are inside all of the subfolders in my exercise files. There should be a check mark next to every one of those thumbnails so that they all get imported into the exercise files catalog. If there isn't, I can go down and click Check All. Now I'm going to go up to the center of the screen and I'm going to tell Lightroom how I want it to import information about these photos into my catalog.
It's important that I choose Add here, because I want to leave the photos on my Desktop in the Exercise Files folder, but I want to bring information about those photos into this catalog. I don't want to move the photos, I don't want to copy the photos; I just want to add information about them to the catalog. Next, I'll go over to the right, where I can see that I'll be importing information about my photos into the current catalog, which is the exercise files catalog. I'll leave the File Handling Options at their defaults, and I'll go down and I'll click Import.
You can see the progress bar up here indicating that Lightroom is bringing all of the exercise files into this catalog. And now in the image display area in the center I have a small thumbnail preview of every photo in my Exercise Files folder. Down here is the Folders panel. Here I can see my Exercise Files folder that I brought into this catalog, and when I click the arrow left of the Exercise Files folder, I can see all the chapter subfolders. This is how you're going to access the exercise files as you move through the course.
Say that you're working on a movie in chapter04. You'll click the arrow to the left of the chapter04 folder, and you'll click right on the folder for the movie that you're watching, and then you'll see the exercise files for that movie in the image display area in the center of the screen. In the Folders panel, you'll see some small numbers to the right of the various folders. Those indicate the number of files in each folder. Don't worry if the number of files in your exercise files don't exactly match those members. I've included some extra files in some folders so that you have lots of photos to practice with.
So that's how to make a new catalog for your exercise files and how to import information about the exercise files into that catalog. One word of warning: please do not move the exercise files from their current location on the Desktop, or even put them inside another folder on the Desktop, because if you move files or folders outside of Lightroom, the links between this catalog and the exercise files will break. The steps you just went through to import the exercise file photos to a catalog are similar to what you'll do when you want to bring your own photos that are already on your computer or another hard drive into a Lightroom catalog.
There are a few extra steps in that case, and that's what I'm going to show you in the very next movie.
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