Work with Smart Previews when traveling Lightroom 5
Working with Smart Previews when traveling
If you like the idea of being able to actually edit your photos in Lightroom's Develop module, when you're away from your office. You'll really appreciate smart previews, in Lightroom 5. Smart previews are low resolution representation of your original photos, that you can edit in Lightroom when the originals are offline. Later, when your originals are back online again, any edits that you made to the smart previews will automatically apply to the originals. So, here's a scenario in which smart previews come in really handy. Let's say that I travel a lot, and I often work outside my office, so my laptop is my primary working computer. In fact, I keep my Lightroom catalog files on my laptop, so I always have my catalog with me.
I've got the Lightroom application and the catalog files on my laptop. Let's assume that's what you see open here. But there isn't enough room on my laptop to store all the large raw files that I shoot and import to Lightroom. So I keep my big collection of Lightroom photos. On a large external desktop hard drive, my working drive, as I suggested that you do earlier in the course. Here in Lightroom, you can see my working drive in the Folders panel of this catalog. And here you can see the Lightroom photos that I've imported into this Lightroom catalog.
Now, I would love to be able to edit these photos in Lightroom here on my laptop even when I'm not sitting at my desk, tethered to that external hard drive. And I can do that if I've made smart previews of my photos beforehand. So the first step is to make smart previews of your original photos, and you can do that either while you're importing photos here in your import window where I can check build smart previews. I'm going to cancel out of here, or you can build your smart previews after you've imported photos into a Lightroom library. Just select the photos here in the library, and then go up to the Library module and down to previews, and choose Built Smart Previews.
When the progress bar is finished I get this message that the smart previews are built, so I'll click OK. I'm going to deselect by pressing Cmd+D on the Mac or Ctrl+D on the PC, and I'm going to click on just one of these photo thumbnails. And you can see over here under the histogram, this label indicating that the selected photo has both an original and a smart preview. If I select multiple photos here, I'll press Cmd+A, that's Ctrl+A on the PC, to select all of these. Under the histogram, the second icon, shows me the total number of originals and smart previews, that I have selected.
By the way, if you ever want to delete your smart previews, you can do that by clicking this icon, while your photos are online, and choosing to discard the smart previews from the selected photos. But I'm going to cancel out of this, and keep my smart previews. And once again, I'm going to deselect Cmd or Ctrl+D. Now let's say that I'm leaving the office. Maybe I'm off to the airport for a long trip. Or I'm just going to the local coffee shop with my laptop. My external working drive, with the original photos on it, is going to stay at the office. So I'm going to take it offline by ejecting it from my laptop. I'll do that from my finder on a Mac or from the status bar on Windows. Now, let's say that I'm on the airplane or I'm down at the coffee shop and I'm ready to work on my photos.
I'll launch Lightroom on my laptop and here in the folders panel, I can see that my working drive is offline. It doesn't have the little green mark next to it that means it's online. And the folders located on the working drive have question marks on them Because the originals are missing. However, if I click on one of the thumbnails in the Library module, over here under the histogram I see a label telling me that I have a smart preview. And that means that I can work on this photo even though my originals are offline.
And that's because the smart previews, which are much smaller than my original photos, are stored in my catalog files, which I have with me. So let's see how we can work with these files here in Lightroom, even though the originals are offline. I've got one of the files selected here in the Lightroom Library module. I'll go up to the module picker and click Develop, to open that photo in the Develop module. We'll be taking a look at lots of the features here. But for now I'm just going to quickly convert this photo to black and white by coming over here to the HSL, Color, B and B panel.
And clicking B and W for black and white. Now let's go back to the Library module, by clicking Library, and you can see, the change on that photo. I could also make changes here in the Library module. So if I select the next photo, I could go over to the Quick Develop panel. Click the preset menu there and apply one of these toned presets. Let's see how this one looks with sepia toning. And I can manage photos here in the Library module too. So I might add five stars to this photo by clicking on the fifth dot under the photo and if you don't see those dots, press the J key on your keyboard until you do. With the originals offline like this I could even use this smart previews to publish files to facebook or it export copies of my raw photos as jpeg's. Subjects I'll be covering later in the course.
Now lets say that I'm back in my office where I have my working drive with the originals on my desk. I'm going to plug that drive into my laptop. Now over in the Folders panel, you can see that my working drive is back online. The folders are no longer missing, and all of the changes that I made to the smart previews when these originals were offline, have been automatically applied back to the originals, now that they're online again. Now there is one thing to keep in mind. If while you're working on smart previews, you use the sharpening or noise reduction controls in the detail panel of the Develop module, which requires zooming in to a 100%.
Then it's a good idea to zoom into the photos to a 100%, after the originals are back online, and tweak those sharpen or noise reduction settings if necessary. Because the smaller smart previews would have probably looked different at 100% then the originals do here. So, I think you can see that smart previews and the new workflow they offer can be a real time saver if you're often on the go. If you're following along, you can copy some of the exercise files to an external drive, like, My working drive, build smart previews of them, and then, take that drive offline from your computer to explore smart previews for yourself.
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