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A Quick Tour of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

Article Description

In this lesson, you’ll get an overview of how Lightroom works. You’ll familiarize yourself with the workspace, panels, tools, and controls, as you explore the Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print and Web Modules.
The Lightroom workspace

The Lightroom workspace

The Lightroom workspace is divided into six main panels. At the center of the workspace is the work area, flanked by the left and right panel groups. Above the work area and the left and right panel groups is the top panel, with an identity plate at the left and the Module Picker to the right. Immediately below the work area is the Toolbar, and below that, across the bottom of the workspace, the Filmstrip.

The basic arrangement of the panels is identical in all of the seven Lightroom workspace modules. Only the contents of the panels vary from module to module, to address the specific requirements of each working mode.

The top panel

The top panel displays an identity plate on the left and the Module Picker on the right. The identity plate can be customized to feature your own company name or logo and will be temporarily replaced by a progress bar whenever Lightroom is performing a background process. You’ll use the Module Picker to move between the different workspace modules by clicking their names. The name of the currently active module is always highlighted in the Module Picker.

The work area

At center-stage is the main preview and working area. This is where you select, review, sort, compare, and apply adjustments to your images, and where you preview the work in progress. From module to module, the work area offers different viewing options, allowing you to see either one photo or multiple images at a range of magnification levels, and to preview your book designs, slideshows, web galleries, and print layouts.

You can increase the size of the work area by hiding any or all of the surrounding panels. The work area is the only element of the Lightroom workspace that can’t be hidden from view.

The left and right panel groups

The content of the side panel groups changes as you switch between the workspace modules. As a general rule, you’ll use panels in the left group to find and select items, and panels in the right group to edit or customize settings for your selection.

In the Library Module for example, you’ll use the panels below the Navigator panel in the left group (Catalog, Folders, Collections, and Publish Services) to locate, select, and group the images you want to work with, and the panels below the Histogram panel in the right panel group (Quick Develop, Keywording, Keyword List, Metadata, and Comments) to apply changes to them. In the Develop Module, you can choose from develop presets on the left, and fine-tune their settings on the right. In the Slideshow, Print and Web Modules, you can select templates on the left, and customize their appearance on the right.

The Toolbar

The tools available in the Toolbar also vary as you move from module to module. You can customize the Toolbar for each module independently to suit your working habits, choosing from a variety of tools and controls for switching viewing modes, setting ratings, flags, or labels, adding text, and navigating through preview pages. You can show or hide individual controls, or hide the Toolbar altogether until you need it. Most of the options presented in the Toolbar are also available as menu commands or keyboard shortcuts.

The Filmstrip

The Filmstrip always displays the same set of images as the Grid view in the Library module; it can show every image in the library, the contents of a selected folder or collection, or a selection filtered by subject, date, keyword, or a range of other criteria. You can work directly with the thumbnails in the Filmstrip—or the Grid view in the Library module—to assign ratings, flags and color labels, apply metadata and developing presets, and rotate, move, or delete photos.

The Filmstrip keeps the images you’re working with accessible when you’re using a view other than the Grid view in the Library Module, and while you’re working in one of the other modules. Whichever module you’re working in, you can use the Filmstrip to quickly navigate through a selection of images, or to move between different sets of images.

Customizing the workspace

All of the workspace panels are highly customizable. You can expand, collapse, resize, hide, and show panels and groups of panels, either manually or automatically. You can add or remove control elements, change the font size, background color, and more. All of these options will be covered in more detail in Lesson 2, “Introducing the Workspace.”

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