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Understanding how Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop work together

From: Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques

Video: Understanding how Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop work together

In order to develop a more effective and creative digital post-production workflow, it's helpful to begin to think about how we work with Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom. As a teacher of these three different applications, I'm often bombarded with questions in regards to which one people should use: should I use this program versus that one, when should I do so, and also what program is best? What I want to do here in this movie is begin to dig into some of those questions by first conceptually talking about workflow, and then later by digging into some of the specifics.

Understanding how Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop work together

In order to develop a more effective and creative digital post-production workflow, it's helpful to begin to think about how we work with Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom. As a teacher of these three different applications, I'm often bombarded with questions in regards to which one people should use: should I use this program versus that one, when should I do so, and also what program is best? What I want to do here in this movie is begin to dig into some of those questions by first conceptually talking about workflow, and then later by digging into some of the specifics.

Now for starters, I assume that you enjoy photography, and therefore, what you need is a workflow that increases your passion, expands your creativity, enlivens your vision-- in other words, you need something that's a boost, rather than something that drags you down. Now if we zoom a little bit closer into our overall workflow, we have capture on the left all the way to output on the right. Somewhere in the middle we have these different programs that we can use: Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop. Now many people think of these applications as stand-alone applications, but that isn't quite right; rather, we need to begin to think about them as integrated, as part of the same family.

Then we have to ask ourself, when should we use this particular program versus another? Well, in order to answer some of those questions, sometimes I find it's helpful to step back a little bit and talk about how our workflow has actually evolved. So let's go ahead and do that for a couple of minutes. Well, it all started off with Photoshop. We worked with Photoshop, and that was the way that we processed images. But then along came Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, and once that showed up on the scene, photographers got pretty excited, because there was a way to browse and find our images and then also process them in his raw processing context, which is really lightweight and fast and flexible.

So many people began to marry these two things into their workflow. Well, as time passed, people spent more and more time working with Adobe Camera Raw-- as a matter of fact, more time there than their actual work in Photoshop. Well, Adobe recognized that and the introduced a program which was called Lightroom, which we all know about. Now Lightroom kind of showed up on the scene, and people didn't really know what to make of it. At first, they said, "Well, why would I use Lightroom if I have Bridge?" But then soon people began to discover that Lightroom was much more than that, and they adopted it into their workflow. And really quickly Lightroom began to dominate, so much so that photographers now spend most of their time in Lightroom.

They still do specialized and precise work in Photoshop, and then occasionally they work with Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. All right, well, let's take this a little bit further. Here are the three elements. We have Lightroom, we have Photoshop, and then we have Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. Let's start off over here with Lightroom. Well one of the things that you want to think about with Lightroom is that really, the strengths of this program have to do with these three things: database, develop, and deliver. Now what the database has to do with is it gives us the ability to organize our images in some pretty unique and distinct ways.

We have the ability work with metadata, to add labels and ratings, and to keep track of where images are, and also to maintain the preview, so we can quickly access our images and work on those. We can also process the images in some really powerful ways by using different shortcuts, or techniques, and then ultimately we can deliver these files, whether it's by slideshow or web or print. Now Lightroom is a program that I like to think of that works on thousands of images. Well, how does that compare to say Photoshop? Well, in my mind, I think of Photoshop as power, precision, and perfection, and typically when you're working in Photoshop you're working on one or maybe a few more images at a time.

It's really small-scale, in regards to the volume of work, yet you're working on your photos in some pretty powerful ways. You go to Photoshop when you need that exact precision to create style or effect or to do something that's really distinct. Most of my images that end up in publication start in Lightroom, and then they are finished in Photoshop. Okay, well, how then does Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw fit into this equation? Well, I like to think of Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw as something that you use occasionally.

You go to Bridge when you're looking for images in a real brief way. You're not in power mode, you're not really going through your entire database, and you're not thinking about how you can work on a mass volume of photographs. It's also a little bit more broad-sweeping. Sometimes it's like you're working in folders, maybe 10 or so folders. You go through a few folders searching for something that you're really looking for, and it has that characteristic of being able to be a really good and effective browser. Now of course, there are people that work with Photoshop and Bridge alone.

They don't even work with Lightroom. Well, the thing that they are missing in that scenario is that they don't have the strength, the catalog strength that Lightroom gives us, in regards to all the database functionality. Now, we'll be talking about catalogs in much more detail later, yet as by way of a conceptual introduction, think about it this way: Over here on the left we have Lightroom. That is a tool that we are going to use really for our entire photographic library. It's our workflow tool from start to finish. It's directly connected to Photoshop, and Photoshop and Lightroom really work and speak well together.

They communicate well together. Then on the other side of the spectrum, we have Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. That's a great tool, yet it's a tool that we are not going to be using very frequently. Well, when we'll actually use Bridge or Adobe Camera Raw, we'll use it in situations where we are searching for specific files that we can't work with in Lightroom. Let's say, for example, we want to search or browse through a folder that has PDF files in it. Or maybe it has PSD files, which doesn't have Maximized Backwards Compatibility turned on. Well, in those situations, we absolutely have to use Bridge.

Think about Lightroom really as a photographer's tool. Now it's designed to work with images, and also video files as well. Photoshop is an application where you really want to add that little bit of an extra special touch to your photographs, and then finally, Bridge is that tool that you'll use occasionally in order to access certain types of files. All right, Well, now that we've taken a couple of minutes to talk about the overall concept of working with these three different applications, let's take a little bit more of a practical, and a little bit more of a precise look at how we can actually work with these three programs.

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This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques
Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques

91 video lessons · 17747 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 5m 57s
    1. Welcome
      2m 11s
    2. Strategies for success
      1m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 57s
  2. 39m 0s
    1. Understanding how Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop work together
      6m 25s
    2. Working with Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop
      6m 35s
    3. Maximizing compatibility with Photoshop
      4m 7s
    4. Resolving Camera Raw mismatches
      7m 47s
    5. Customizing external editor naming
      3m 54s
    6. Stacking multiple photos
      5m 25s
    7. What to do when Bridge isn't seeing the raw adjustments
      4m 47s
  3. 18m 30s
    1. Setting up an additional external editor
      6m 38s
    2. Should I work with TIFF or PSD files?
      1m 3s
    3. Setting up an export preset
      4m 4s
    4. Integrating Photoshop actions into Lightroom
      6m 45s
  4. 11m 46s
    1. What are catalogs and why do they matter?
      3m 38s
    2. Where are my images?
      4m 2s
    3. The nuts and bolts of catalogs
      1m 52s
    4. Understanding catalogs, collections, and folders
      2m 14s
  5. 15m 22s
    1. Working with folders
      3m 22s
    2. Working with collections
      3m 55s
    3. The collections workflow
      8m 5s
  6. 16m 5s
    1. Exporting and importing catalogs
      7m 52s
    2. Diagramming multiple catalogs and computers
      2m 10s
    3. When to use multiple catalogs on one computer
      3m 40s
    4. Cleaning up the catalog mess
      2m 23s
  7. 10m 55s
    1. Catalog backup defaults
      4m 7s
    2. Performing a better catalog backup
      3m 45s
    3. Restoring from a backup catalog
      1m 27s
    4. Optimizing catalogs
      1m 36s
  8. 12m 24s
    1. Hard drive options
      9m 50s
    2. Further resources
      2m 34s
  9. 9m 46s
    1. Setting up tethered capture
      3m 12s
    2. Custom tethered capture white balance
      6m 34s
  10. 43m 38s
    1. Enhancing eyes
      8m 59s
    2. Whitening teeth
      2m 51s
    3. Smoothing skin
      6m 45s
    4. Reducing small blemishes
      6m 56s
    5. Darkening or dodging with the Adjustment brush
      2m 29s
    6. Adding dimensions and contrast
      4m 53s
    7. Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 1: Reducing blemishes
      7m 10s
    8. Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 2: Smoothing skin
      3m 35s
  11. 21m 42s
    1. Understanding color space and preventing color profile mismatch
      3m 29s
    2. Monitor calibration with ColorMunki
      1m 5s
    3. Working with ColorChecker Passport
      59s
    4. Creating and exporting a ColorChecker Passport profile
      5m 44s
    5. Choosing and applying a profile
      6m 42s
    6. Saving a profile as a preset
      3m 43s
  12. 19m 0s
    1. Are your prints too dark?
      5m 47s
    2. Monitor brightness presets
      3m 4s
    3. Custom grid layouts
      3m 38s
    4. Importing and exporting custom presets
      2m 31s
    5. Exporting from Lightroom to Pictage
      4m 0s
  13. 20m 19s
    1. Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    2. Implementing a custom watermark
      3m 54s
    3. Using a custom watermark for effect in a slideshow
      5m 54s
    4. Using a custom watermark for effect in a web gallery
      3m 31s
  14. 15m 28s
    1. Exporting images for a Blurb photo book
      6m 45s
    2. Downloading and installing Blurb BookSmart
      44s
    3. Building and designing a Blurb book
      7m 59s
  15. 17m 26s
    1. Publishing to the iPhone or iPad
      8m 45s
    2. Publishing to Facebook
      2m 24s
    3. Publishing to Flickr
      3m 19s
    4. Publishing to SmugMug
      2m 58s
  16. 17m 31s
    1. Web galleries and web hosting
      2m 52s
    2. Creating and uploading a gallery
      6m 29s
    3. Popular web gallery plug-ins
      3m 10s
    4. Installing and uploading a web gallery plug-in
      5m 0s
  17. 25m 44s
    1. Exporting to burn on DVD or Blu-ray
      5m 33s
    2. Exporting to a blog
      9m 16s
    3. Exporting for the web
      3m 26s
    4. Exporting and posting a slideshow or video
      4m 34s
    5. Creating a Lightroom screensaver
      2m 55s
  18. 10m 10s
    1. Creating a client web gallery template
      4m 1s
    2. Sending high-resolution images via FTP
      6m 9s
  19. 10m 23s
    1. Emailing images from Lightroom
      5m 31s
    2. Emailing images from Lightroom with Gmail
      4m 52s
  20. 11m 59s
    1. Installing plug-ins
      6m 17s
    2. Accessing plug-ins
      3m 10s
    3. Creative plug-in resources
      2m 32s
  21. 45m 6s
    1. General navigation shortcuts
      6m 21s
    2. Importing shortcuts
      5m 49s
    3. Library module shortcuts
      8m 15s
    4. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 1
      4m 42s
    5. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 2
      4m 29s
    6. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 3
      5m 24s
    7. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 4
      3m 39s
    8. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 5
      5m 11s
    9. Shortcut resources
      1m 16s
  22. 6m 13s
    1. General tips
      2m 28s
    2. Increasing the cache size for greater speed
      3m 45s
  23. 55s
    1. Goodbye
      55s

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