Importing images and looking at file formats
Importing images and looking at file formats
Because Lightroom is a workflow application and because it has this built-in database catalog, how we import our images is really important. In other words, if we get it wrong or if our Preferences are off, we are really going to pay for it in the long run. Because of this, I find it helpful to kind of break down this whole process of importing our photographs. What I want to do here is simply start off by talking about what are the different file types that we can import and what are a few considerations that are worth keeping in mind with those different file formats.
Well, for starters, we can import a wide range of different types of documents whether they are JPEGs or TIFF files, Photoshop documents, RAW files, CMYK or movie files. Now what do we need to consider with these different file formats? Well, the first thing that we need to consider is that if we are going to work with this PSD format, there is a specific preference. Now I've taken a picture of this preference, it has to do with maximizing PSD and PSB file compatibility. Now you may be thinking okay Chris, why does this really matter? Well, it matters because a lot of times what happens is we've worked in Photoshop a lot.
We have all of these documents, all of these old Photoshop files, we are gong to import in and as we move forward, we are going to continue to work with Photoshop. So if we are going to choose this PSD format, there's a really important preference we have to consider. What I want to do here is open up the Photoshop Preferences dialog and talk about this preference. So here it goes. Let's go into Photoshop and go to File Handling. Now previously, what you most likely chose here is in Maximize File Compatibility, you may have selected Never.
What this would do is it would just save your file as is, not adding anything else. Another option would be to choose Always or Ask. Now if you choose Always, what happens is, is it saves with this layered file inside of that also a flattened version of the document. Now you never see this "extra flattened version", but you experience it in increased file size. One of the reasons why you might want to do this is if you're sending this Photoshop document to someone who's using a much older version of Photoshop, pre layers, or maybe if they are going to view this file in another application.
Well, for most of us this wasn't very relevant, so we didn't use this option. The last option would be Ask. This is where you get to choose. Do you want it to have this File Compatibility or not? Now previously in my own workflow, I chose this option. I said, if this is a Photoshop doc that I want to use in Lightroom, well, yes, let's maximize that compatibility, if it isn't, then no. But in reality now, because we are using Lightroom so much, what I've turn this to is Always, because I don't want to have to worry about whether or not Lightroom can read that file.
Now you have to make your own decision on which option will work best for you, but the one I recommend is Always. It will increase your file size, but it will allow you to import and work with those Photoshop documents in Lightroom. Now another option, to skip this altogether, would be just to use this TIFF file format. It's much more flexible and it works much better with Lightroom. So that maybe something to consider as you move forward and you think about how you are going to save your files out from Photoshop in the future. Another thing that we need to consider is this RAW file format.
Now the RAW file format is really interesting. This could be an NEF file from a Nikon camera or a CR2 RAW file from a Canon camera or whatever, and Lightroom supports all of these different types of file formats. Yet there's one file format that a lot of Lightroom users have adopted and it's called the DNG format. We'll be talking about this format more throughout the course, but for now what I want to highlight is that this format what it does is it kind of wraps like a container around the image, like a Tupperware container and it gives us archival confidence.
And what this will allow us to do hopefully is to access this file and work with it into the future. It also allows us to compress the file in a unique way in order to decrease the file size without losing quality. And now new in Lightroom 4, we have this ability to create what are called Fast Load DNG files and also Lossy Compression files. Again, I'll deconstruct this a bit more, but here I just want to highlight that the DNG file format is more important than ever and it may be something worth looking into, worth considering as you look at importing your files.
Again, more on that format later, but I just want to highlight it here. The last thing I want to point out is that now inside of Lightroom, we can work with different movie formats, AVI, MOV, MP4, AVCHD and more. Lightroom allows us to import and work with movie files from our smartphones or from our DSLRs or from video cameras and what's great about this is so much of us are starting to shoot video. We have RAW files sitting next to video files and now we can start to kind of bring those files together, organize them, access them, and even work on them in some pretty interesting ways.
We'll talk about that topic later, but here again, I am just trying to highlight, we have these different file formats and there are a few things to think about as we're working with these file formats. All right! Well, now that we've looked at that, the next step is to take a look at our Importing Preferences and let's do that in the next movie.
Importing images and looking at file formats provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Chris Orwig as part of the Lightroom 4 Essentials: 01 Organizing and Sharing with the Library Module
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