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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.
One of my all-time favorite features inside of Lightroom is called virtual copies. What virtual copies does is it taps into how we actually raw-process our photographs. So, let's go ahead and revisit this topic of raw-processing really quickly, and then jump into the topic of virtual copies. Well, if we have a photograph, and we're working inside of Lightroom, we know that this particular image has pixels. It has data. There's something physically there. Well, Lightroom doesn't change the physicality of the pixels. Nothing happens to them; it's nondestructive.
Yet, what it does is it modifies some settings. The settings are this small, little text file, which say hey, display this image a certain way, or apply this amount of sharpening or this amount of contrast. So what virtual copies does is it taps into this overall workflow. In other words, if you create a virtual copy of an image, here's what happens. You're just creating a small little file, a small little set of settings which say hey, I want to display this image this way. So, in other words, there is no drastic increase in file size.
In fact, the file size is so small, it's not even really significant. The way that these setting files are accessed and used is so nimble and lightweight and quick that it adds a lot of fluidity, not to mention a ton of creativity. You can push this even further. You can say, well, let's create another virtual copy. Again, you're just creating the small, little settings file, and you modify your settings in Lightroom, and then have yet another iteration, or another version of the image. So, this iterative approach, in other words, this approach where you can have one image, and then apply settings and have a different image, and another one, can really be helpful.
Let's say if you need to compare noise or contrast between two photographs, or let's say you just want to get creative and have a couple of different versions of a file. So, virtual copies allow us to do this in some really profound ways. Now there's a shortcut to creating a virtual copy, and this is an essential shortcut. So, I want to pull it up here, and I definitely recommend you write this one down. On a Mac, the shortcut is Command. On a PC, it's Ctrl, and then plus one character, and the character is the Apostrophe key. So again, it's Command+Apostrophe or Ctrl+ Apostrophe in order to create a virtual copy.
All right, well, now that we've been introduced the topic of virtual copies, let's go ahead and take a look at how we can start to work with them in the next movie.
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