Well, it has been a really nice weekend here in Dominica. Yesterday I spent some time volunteering at the Portsmouth library where I did my best to tutor some kids in math. Math was never my strongest subject, but I guess after taking so many classes, multiple times, the basics eventually sank in. We practiced multiplying decimals, and when I got home I used my renewed skills to calculate what my 17-35mm lens would equate to on the new Canon EOS 1D Mark III.
I have also been working with Lightroom and Aperture quite a bit this weekend. I am still trying to figure out some key concepts in Lightroom, and I have even learned a few new tricks in Aperture.
Today I spent some time playing with the Export functions of both programs. I know this might seem like a pretty lame topic, but there are some differences that I thought stood out to me. A couple are items that are just plain missing (or at least I have yet to find them) and I also have a few gripes here and there about intuitiveness, a topic I keep coming back to.
First and foremost, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to export a Master in Lightroom. Am I missing something here? All I want to do is select a bunch of images and send their Master files to a folder on my desktop. Now, I know I can easily click Show in Finder, but that only works for one file at a time. I also know that I can use the Folder menu in the left hand side panel to move images around, but then we are taking about the original copies, which I want to keep in place.
I looked in the Export dialog box and the best I could come up with was to export in the DNG format. I even searched through the help file and came up empty handed. So, please, if any of you Lightroom aficionados out there know how to do this, please let me know. It seems like it should be a pretty obvious thing, but I can’t find it.
One smaller detail I noticed is that Lightroom is shipped with three Export presets. Now, I know I am going to have a pretty easy time creating all of the custom presets I can think of in Lightroom, but it would have been nice to have a few of the basics set up for me right out of the box.
In Aperture I really like the fact that I can set Black Point Compensation, and add a Gamma Adjustment on export. These two features are especially useful when dealing with clients, as you really never know what a clients workstation will consist of. I also noticed these options were missing in the Print module, where they might be even more important. It’s true, a good color management system should be able to make these settings obsolete, but in the real world, (regardless of how many times you calibrate your setup) sometimes a print just needs a little more contrast than what we are seeing on screen.
On the topic of user intuition, I really like the way Aperture presents its Size To settings in the Export Presets dialog box. It’s one of those things that just makes perfect sense to me. In Aperture you simply select Original Size, one of three Fit Within options, or Percent of Original. With the Fit Within setting you essentially pick the size of the box you want your image to fit within, and Aperture takes care of the rest.
Of course you can do a Fit Within with Lightroom as well, it just doesn’t really say so. In Lightoom you click Constrain Maximum Size and then you just fill in the width and height. All they need to do here is reword the dialog and I would be happy. Once I realized what they were trying to say, I was all set, but it would have been nice if it was more clear. I mean, I’m talking about real world user friendliness, and this stuff may seem obvious to everyone else, but the less I have to think about a setting, the less I have to worry if I pushed the wrong button or not. In the end, all these little details add up.
I do like Lightroom’s implementation of the After Export function. I can see how this could come in handy but I have yet to really try it. From what I can tell, I can essentially invoke a script such as an Automator Workflow, or ActionScript with this functionality. But, this brings me to another point. Where are the Automator Actions? Well, I am sure Adobe will ship a few actions in the near future, but I haven’t heard of any available at the moment.
So, tonight, I hope I am not complaining too much about the minor details. The truth is, it is these little minutia that can make or break a piece of software for me. As they say, the devil is in the details!
Tomorrow morning I am waking up bright and early for a day long trip out to the Atlantic side of the island, where I will be hiking up to the Sari Sari falls. Once I get back I will hopefully have enough time to work up some of the shoot into a gallery you all can look at, before beginning to write up my synopsis of this series. Over all, I have had a great time exploring both of these really amazing programs, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface. So, I wanted to give a big thanks to all of you who have followed along and left your comments. We aren’t finished yet!