Getting Started with Lightroom 2.0

Are you trying to learn how to use your new copy of Lightroom 2.0? Adobe has posted a set of video tutorials to help you do just that. There’s something for everyone here. For an excellent set on how to get started in Lightroom 2.0, look at Matt Kloskowski’s set of 15 video tutorials. If you’ve just upgraded from Lightroom 1.0, check out Julianne Kost’s set of “What’s New in Lightroom 2.0?”. You can find all the videos on the “Getting Started with Lightroom 2.0” page on Adobe.com.

Lightroom 2.0 ships!

Last night at 9 pm PST, Lightroom 2.0 finally shipped. Yippee!!! You can find out more about the new features on Adobe’s Lightroom marketing page. If you want to watch some in-depth videos on the new features and updates, I recommend looking at Julieanne Kost’s videos. They are each a little over 20 minutes long and fairly detailed. So reserve an hour of your day, grab a cup of coffee, and check out these flicks:

Do you prefer reading about the new features instead of watching a video? You can look at a listing of all the new features in the new Lightroom Online Community Help. Here are a few highlights that you should definitely read up on:

Create an HDR image using Photoshop (and Lightroom)

©2008 Ben Willmore

©2008 Ben Willmore

My son recently asked me how to create an HDR image in Photoshop. I hated to admit it but I hadn’t tried it yet. It’s been on my list of techniques to experiment with for a while but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Setting aside the excuses, I went digging and found some really good tutorials on this subject. I liked Colin Smith’s Merging HDR in Photoshop. Mark Galer has a good one too, called HDR – High Dynamic Range. There’s also a video by him (I think) called Merge to HDR in Photoshop CS3 High Dynamic Range. He uses different imagery than in the html version. If you want a different video tutorial, try the one on Adobe TV called Merge it Together. Ben Willmore’s quickie YouTube videos Part 1 and Part 2 are teasers for his HDR Mastery DVD ($69).

A video from Michael Rather advises how to set up and manage your shots in Lightroom for an HDR outcome. The last half of this video tells how to fake the different exposures from a single shot. The problem is that Photoshop doesn’t really work well with this and it requires you to purchase a separate piece of software for HDR processing. Michael also has a 28-minute video on how to create HDR images in Photoshop. (This is only part 1 and he mentions that he’ll have another video on how to shoot for HDR in about one week.)

One of the extras you’ll need to create HDR shots is a tripod. I recently asked Moose Peterson to recommend a good tripod for an amateur photographer like me. I told him that I’m not an equipment geek and I like to travel light. He recommended anything in the 2000-3000 series from this company. Wow! They are pricey, but he says they are worth it. I’ll be taking his upcoming photo safari workshop at Photoshop World in Las Vegas. Should I buy the tripod?

Russell Brown wins an Emmy

Congratulations to my longtime friend Russell Preston Brown for winning an Emmy for his instructional videos! I’m so proud of him! If you haven’t seen his videos yet, tune in to Adobe TV to watch some of them. For example, to learn about the 3D tools in Photoshop CS3, watch his 3-D Whales Experiment. Is he wacky? Yes. Is he goofy? Yes. Will you learn from him? Absolutely, yes. Russell makes it fun to learn how to do things in Photoshop. Go ahead, try it. So what if you don’t want to make a 3-D whale—you’ll still learn how to use the tools—and isn’t that the point? Russell has even more tutorials on the X-Train site. There are some for free and some you’ll have to pay for.

For other great instructional videos, check out the Adobe Video Workshop. You can learn from Russell about Animating Layer Properties, Cloning Content Across Multiple Frames, and Working with Video Layers in Photoshop CS3. Great job, Dr. Brown!

Adobe TV has a photography channel

Have you looked at Adobe TV yet? This is a great resource for video tutorials if you want to learn more about Adobe’s digital imaging products. There is a good combination of programs including content from Lynda.com, Adobe, Software Cinema, X-Train, Peachpit, and more. Some of the people presenting or being highlighted include Julieanne Kost, George Jardine, Russell Brown, Sarah Silver, Bert Monroy, and Ben Wilmore to name a few.

My blog 2.0

This blog is having a bit of a facelift today. Until now it has been focused on providing useful information on how to learn many of Adobe’s creative products. That focus is about to become finer. From now on, I’ll mostly be giving you information on great learning resources for our digital imaging products (Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Express). I’ll probably throw in a post or two about Illustrator here and there since so many people use Photoshop and Illustrator together for their illustration work. I will keep the old posts archived since some of my old posts are still very popular. For today, I’d like to share a link to a really interesting article I read in yesterday’s New York Times. Virginia Heffernan discusses the effect that Flickr has had on the art of photography.

Funny Photoshop; Photoshop Express

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Photo by Charlie Cohen

Funny Photoshop Tutorials
Can you learn while laughing? Of course! Humor is a very effective teaching tool, and the folks at MyDamnChannel.com know it. If you aren’t offended by a bit of crass humor and foul language, you can learn some good stuff from “Donnie Hoyle” in his “You Suck at Photoshop” series of videos. I highly recommend them.

Photoshop Express launches
Want to do some quick online editing and share your photos? Check out Photoshop Express. You certainly don’t have all the functionality that you get in Photoshop, but it is pretty handy for posting snapshots for friends and family. Have a peek at two different albums that I created. I processed the images in Lightroom and then exported them as jpgs before uploading them to Photoshop Express. To download a free chapter of a new book on Photoshop Express, go to the Peachpit Press site. You can also find out what Matt Kloskowski’s favorite Photoshop Express features are. If you want to learn from videos, NAPP has 19 video tutorials to help you learn to use Photoshop Express.

Sharpening and Smart Filters

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Controlling sharpness in an image (or specific areas of an image) is extremely important. One of my favorite bloggers, Veerle, has a new tutorial for people who want to try out sharpening with the Smart Filter feature in Photoshop CS3. It is simple and clearly written. If you haven’t tried out Smart Filters, this is a good introduction to it. For other tutorials on this topic, look at How to Apply a Smart Filter in Photoshop CS3 by Steve Patterson. Al Ward gives you Adobe Photoshop CS3: A Filter-Freak’s Dream for a more involved sharpening effect. If you prefer learning from a video tutorial, try watching Michael Ninness’ tutorial called, “Applying Smart Filters.” Matt Kloskowski has some cool tips on using Smart Filters on his Photoshop Killer Tips site. Check out his Dragging Smart Filters.

New Lightroom Help available

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Finally! A project I’ve been working on for several months is live and ready for you to look at. The Learning Resources group at Adobe has been working on several different experiments pertaining to the idea of community help. The Lightroom LiveDocs Help is one of those experiments. It has been converted to a wiki to allow users to not only comment, but to add content as well. The wiki is moderated by experts from both outside, and inside Adobe. You’ll find all the basic Help pages along with the “Learn More” pages. The Learn More pages are aggregated lists of great tutorials, videos, and other resources for Lightroom users and digital photographers. All the list items have been vetted by our experts. I hope you find it useful.

New Lightroom Resources

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I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been out of the country. (See one of the images I took on my trip to Romania and Austria at the top of this post.) While I was gone, Peachpit Press has been very busy on their new Photoshop Lightroom Resource Center. Here you will find some excellent tutorials, videos, and book excerpts from the likes of Martin Evening, Chris Orwig, Matt Kloskowski, and Scott Kelby to name just a few. For more information about keywording, check out Martin’s chapter, “Using Keyword Tags and Keywording Panels in Lightroom.” Chris Orwig has a nice article on a professional sharpening workflow for Lightroom. There is a lot more to look at here and it is being updated regularly so take a peek.

Another good resource worth mentioning is Julieanne Kost’s excellent set of video tutorials on the Project Photoshop Lightroom site. The videos are very well done. Julieanne speaks clearly and in detail—nothing is glossed over. This approach is especially valuable if you are a beginner Lightroom user.

I’m sorry it took so long for me to post this month. I’m working on a really exciting new version of Help for Lightroom that we will be revealing in January. Keep checking this blog for more news about that.