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Touring the Library module

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 3

Video: Touring the Library module

The Library module is one of the first stops in a typical Lightroom workflow. It's where you'll go to view and organize the photos that you import to a Lightroom catalog, like the exercise files catalog where I am working now. In the Library module you can rate, keyword, sort, and make collections of photos, as we will do later in this chapter. But first, let's take a tour of the Library module to get a sense of its features and how it's laid out. The overall layout of the Library module is similar to that of the other modules.

Touring the Library module

The Library module is one of the first stops in a typical Lightroom workflow. It's where you'll go to view and organize the photos that you import to a Lightroom catalog, like the exercise files catalog where I am working now. In the Library module you can rate, keyword, sort, and make collections of photos, as we will do later in this chapter. But first, let's take a tour of the Library module to get a sense of its features and how it's laid out. The overall layout of the Library module is similar to that of the other modules.

There is a main window and in the case of the Library module, the main window contains previews of the photos that are in your Lightroom catalog. The main window is surrounded by a couple of bars and some panels and panel groups. Up at the top, there's a bar that includes the module picker, which you'll use to jump to other modules. Over on the left is a group of panels. I think of these panels as source panels because many of them control which photos show up here in the document window and down here in the filmstrip.

Let's make room for the panels that we want to take a look at. If there's a panel that I don't need at the moment, I can collapse it by clicking on the panel header, like this Navigator panel header. And if there's a panel like Publish Services that I'm not going to use in the near future, I can close that panel by Ctrl+Clicking on its panel header-- that's right-clicking on a PC-- and choosing the panel by name. If I ever need to open that panel again, I can do that by going to the Window menu and down to Panels and choosing it from this submenu, but I am going to leave that closed for now so that there is more room to look at these other panels.

I am going to click on the Folders panel header to expand the Folders panel. The first part represents my hard drive, which contains folders and photos that I brought into this Lightroom catalog. In the Folders panel, I can see all of the folders and subfolders that are included in my Lightroom catalog. If I click these triangles, I can move down through the folder hierarchy, and if I click on a particular subfolder, the document window will display previews of just the photos in that particular subfolder. As I move up this folder tree, say up to the exercise files folder, which is parent folder, I can see all of the photos in all of the subfolders that are included in that parent folder.

But the main point is that whatever folder I click on here controls which photos show up here in the main window, and the same is true if I go to the Catalog panel. I will click on its panel header to open it, and then if I want to see previews of all the photos in this catalog, I will click on All Photographs, and those previews are displayed here in the document window. If I scroll down, I can see that there are many of them. Over on the right is another group of panels, and I think of these as information-type panels.

There are panels here that give me information and panels where I can add information about photos in this catalog. If I click on a photo in the main window to select it, the Histogram panel shows me a distribution of the tonal values in this particular photo. I can also add information about selected photos, like keyword tags, which are searchable subject matter tags that we will be looking at in more detail later in this chapter. Down at the bottom of the screen is the filmstrip. The Filmstrip panel is another place that I can go to view and select thumbnails of photos in my catalog.

I can quickly scroll through the thumbnails by clicking on this scrollbar and dragging to the right or left, so it's a quick way to get around the thumbnails. I think the filmstrip is particularly useful when the main window is set to a view other than this Grid view, which displays thumbnails surrounded by these gray cells that have information about each thumbnail, like whether I've added star ratings to it, or whether I've flagged it as a pick. In any event, if I go to these icons on the toolbar and click on the second one, I can switch to a different view from Grid view.

This is Loupe view that shows a large version of the selected photo. Over here on the same toolbar, I can click on the Zoom slider to change the magnification of the photo in the main window. And as I make the photo bigger, I may need to move it around in the main window. To do that, I can just click and drag. Now, this is when the filmstrip comes in really handy, because I still can access all my photo thumbnails, and I can select another one here to see it up here in the main document window.

I am going to take the Zoom slider back over to the left, so I can fit this photo in the main window. There are couple of other views here that are worth noting. If I select two photos by holding the Command key on a Mac, or the Ctrl key on the PC, as I click on a second thumbnail in the filmstrip. I can then go to this view, Compare view, to see both photos at once in the main window. And if I want to see multiple photos, I can select multiple photos down here in the filmstrip the same way and then click on the Survey view to see them all here in the main window.

I have shown you some of the icons here in the toolbar, but there are others that are useful as well. I am going to click on the Grid view again, and you can see some other choices here in the toolbar. Here is the Sort menu where I can change the attributes by which my thumbnails are sorted in the main window. I can add stars to photos. I can add labels, and here's the Zoom slider. If I drag this now, my thumbnails get larger or smaller in the main window. If I want to customize which tools are showing on the toolbar, I can do that by clicking this triangle on the right side of the toolbar and selecting a tool to add it to the toolbar or deselecting any tools that I want to remove from the toolbar.

And last but not least in this survey of interface elements, there is a Library Filter bar up here above the main window. Later in this chapter, I will show you how to use the Library Filter bar to find images in a Lightroom catalog that meet particular criteria, like all photos taken with a particular camera and a specific lens and within a particular time range. So that's an overview of the main features and layout of the Library module. I hope this helps you make your way around this module as we work on organizing photos in the Library module in the movies to come.

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Up and Running with Lightroom 3

29 video lessons · 11021 viewers

Jan Kabili
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