Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Lightroom 3: What is that Exclamation Point Below My Photo?

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm

If you have upgraded to Lightroom 3, when you look at images in the Develop module that you have adjusted with a previous version of Lightroom, you will see an exclamation point in the bottom right:

This is a signal to you that the image is continuing to use your settings from the old (pre-Lightroom 3) processing technology.  The image therefore should look the same to you as it did when you worked it in an earlier version of Lightroom.

The changes to sharpening and noise reduction (and raw demosaicing)  in Lightroom 3 are so significant that Adobe thought it best not to automatically update your images to the new versions of these settings.  With the new versions, at the default settings, images will appear sharper, have less noise, and you may notice more detail.  This is generally a wonderful thing, but among other things, if Adobe automatically updated your images, images that you had already sharpened to taste would now probably be too sharp for you.

They are calling the old version “Process Version 2003” and the new one “Process Version 2010”.  If you want to update an image to the new version, or just see what the  change would do, click on the exclamation point.  You will get the following dialog box:

Review Changes via Before/After will show you the old process version right next to the new one.  If you zoom in to 1:1, you should be able to see some difference — sometimes it will be subtle, and other times it will be more obvious, particularly if you sharpened heavily in the old process version.  (If you have a jpeg on which you have done no sharpening or noise reduction, you won’t see a difference.)

If you like the change, just close before/after mode by typing the shortcut Y.  If you want to revert back to Process Version 2003,  in the History panel click back to the step before Update Process Version, or at the top of the Camera Calibration panel (bottom right panel), choose the process version you prefer.

You may encounter a situation where you need to keep the photo in the old process version, for example if you are in the middle of a print edition and need all the prints to look exactly the same, but you also want to be able to move to the new edition and improve the image with the new noise reduction and sharpening functionality.  In this case, create a snapshot of the image before you update the process version.  (Click on the + at the top of the Snapshots panel on the left and give it a name).  That way you can continue to improve the image, but also always get back to exactly what you had before, by clicking on the snapshot.

After you look at Before/After on a few images, you may decide that you just want to update all your previous process version images.   To do this, in the Library module go to Library>Find Previous Process Version Photos.  Select all of them (ctl/cmd-A), and then  go to Photo>Develop Settings>Update to Current Process.   You can also do this one folder at a time, highlighting the folder, selecting all the images, and going to Photo>Develop Settings>Update to Current Process (or, in the Develop module, clicking on the exclamation point on one photo, and choosing  “Update All Filmstrip Photos”.)

Finally, note that until you update to the current process version, you will not have access to the new noise reduction sliders and functionality.

I can’t assume that it will be right for you, but my strategy has been to update all my photos, and then when I go to print an image that I had sharpened or used noise reduction on in the old process version, I zoom in to 1:1 and re-check my sharpening and noise reduction settings.


Lightroom 3: New Blur Brush and Filter

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

Looking to blur out a background to reduce distractions?  In Lightroom 3, use the adjustment brush with Sharpness at -100.   If this is not enough blur, do it again:  click on New to start a new adjustment, and paint a second time.

Also consider using the graduated filter with -100 Sharpness to simulate a shallower depth of field where the sharpness drops off gradually.   UPDATE:  If you blur out an object that you want to keep sharp, use the adjustment brush and paint back over the object with +100 Sharpness to restore its sharpness!

Is this cool, or what?

Free Demonstration: What’s New in Lightroom 3

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2010 at 10:45 am

I will be giving a free demonstration Tuesday, June 15 at 5:30 pm at the Ballard Library in Seattle.  Come see what’s new in Lightroom 3!

Lightroom 3 Resources

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I was going to compile a list of Lightroom 3 resources for you, but there are many out there already.  Click HERE for a very good one from Wade Heninger.  And HERE is another by Sean McCormack at Lightroom-Blog.

Introducing Lightroom 3 Custom Print Layouts

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

The custom print package is one of my favorite new features of Lightroom 3.  It allows you to lay out images on a page with complete flexibility as to size and placement.  Watch my new video demonstrating this feature HERE.

Hot Off the Press: Lightroom 3 Released!

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Adobe announced at  9 pm PDT tonight that Lightroom 3 is now officially for sale at  You can see Adobe’s official list of feature additions and enhancements from product manager Tom Hogarty HERE.

Adobe continues to show that they are committed to continuing to make our post-processing workflow as efficient and painless as possible and to building in powerful new functionality, even when it reduces our dependence on their flagship Photoshop product.   Frankly I wasn’t excited when the first Beta release of LR3 came out.  Since then Adobe has built in much more, making the upgrade well worthwhile for most of us, in my opinion.

I will have posts going forward explaining in detail new features.  For now, here’s a list of the most exciting additions for me:

1.  Very much improved color and luminance noise reduction. You may think twice about continuing to use your third-party plug-ins.  Here is a quick comparison (click on the image to see it bigger; no sharpening applied after NR):

2.  Custom Print Package.  This third layout engine in the Print Module allows you to place and size images on a page with complete flexibility.  Click HERE for my video on this.  Here is a sample layout I created:

3.  Much improved watermarking functionality.  If watermarks are important to you and you are tired of using a third-party plugin or going to Photoshop to apply them, this will be well worth the upgrade price.  Watermarking is now available in Export, Print, Web and Slideshow.  You can add a graphic watermark (such as a logo created in Photoshop) or a text watermark.  You control size, font, placement, color, drop shadow, opacity, and more.  Watermarks created in one module are available in all others.  Example:

4.  Automatic and Manual Lens Corrections.  Adobe has measured chromatic aberration, geometric distortion (e.g. barrel and pin cushion distortion) and vignetting produced by many common lenses and built profiles that fix the issues.  You choose in the Lens Corrections tab whether to enable the profile (the lens is read from your image metadata), and whether to go with each recommended correction full-strength or reduce or turn it off completely.  I don’t find the profiles to be perfect for my lenses (they are not made for each camera), but they are a good start and I can then use the sliders to finish the fix.   In the Manual corrections section, you can distort your image to fix perspective lines (e.g. lines in a building that bow inward because you photographed it looking upward.)   This is huge to me — a major reason I would still use Photoshop with Lightroom 2.

Before Perspective Correction


These four changes make the upgrade well worth the money to me.

Other additions and changes of particular note:

  • Newly Designed Import Dialog.   There isn’t much new functionality here, but Adobe has tried to make the dialog more intuitive.  (Opinions vary on whether they have accomplished this.)  What is new and of note is that you can now browse files and folders on your hard drive before you get deep into the import process.  You can also look at images full-frame in Loupe view and zoom in on them 1:1 before importing.  Finally, you can save your import settings as presets to make future imports more efficent.
  • Improved image quality:  improved raw demosaicing, noise reduction and sharpening.  The changes are so significant here that Adobe has had to introduce what they call Process Version.  If you have worked your images in LR2, once your catalog is upgraded to LR3, these images remain in the old Process Version (2003) so that the images look exactly as you worked them.  You can choose to update the images to the higher quality Process Version 2010, but this may change their appearance (primarily they will appear sharper).  See my coming blog post on this.
  • Video File Support:  if I had a camera that shot video, perhaps this would be up above in my top features.  You can now import video files into LR, and manage them with the Library module (rate, flag, keyword, sort, etc.).  You can’t edit the video, but if you double-click on one it will play in your default video player.
  • Tethered capture:  For a limited number of cameras you can now control your camera from Lightroom, and have the images automatically import.
  • Publish Services in the Library module.  These are essentially managed exports.  Right now Flickr is available.  LR will manage the upload to Flickr, show you comments people have made on your images, show you images that you have worked on since you uploaded them in case you want to reupload them, etc.  For sure third-party plugins will be coming for other services.  You can also publish to your hard drive, which has this last advantage of keeping track of what you exported and whether it has changed.
  • The ability to change your page background color in the Print module (as in my example above)
  • The ability to export slideshows with music to mp4 videos.  This is very cool.
  • The ability to add very realistic looking grain in Develop.   (No more jumping to Photoshop for this!)
  • Two additional choices for vignette styles.

In addition, there are all kinds of little new tricks that I’ll be writing about in the days ahead.  I’ll give you one now though:  in the adjustment brush and graduated filter, double-click on the word Effects to reset all the sliders!  Hooray for the little things.

If you do buy LR3, when you launch it, you will be asked if you want to upgrade your LR2 catalog.  Say yes.  LR will not overwrite your LR2 catalog, it will simply create a LR3 version next to it in your catalog folder.

Happy exploring!