Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday Photoshop Q&A - Printing From Lightroom 3

Today's question comes from several keyword searches I've seen bringing people to the blog asking about printing from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  I have to admit, since I use both Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, I print, almost exclusively, from LR3.  I find I get more control from LR3 than I do from CS5.  It may be a psychological thing and there may be no real benefit of one over the other, but I just print from LR3.  Today's image is a "Print to File" image directly out of LR3 showing the base image in a Fine Art Matt mode.   Printing in CS5 gives you one dialog box and says here are the four or five options you have.  You can click a button that'll take you out to the printer setting, but that's about it.  The print module in LR3 gives six different Panels, plus a Page Setup dialog box and another Panel with more than twenty five presets.  To go through each of the panels, hit the "read more".

As is typical in Lightroom there are retractable frames on each side of the viewing panel.  The frame on the left has three options.  The Presets, you can get to your Collections and you can do your Page Setup.  Page Setup is where you select you sheet size and if you're going for landscape or portrait orientation.  You have all the same dialog box controls you find in printing from anywhere. 

Being able to get to your Collections is fairly important.  You don't have to create a separate file of selected image .  Just define what it is you want to print and let the computer find you images.  The big deal in the left side frame, as far as I'm concerned, is the Presets.  There's almost anything you'd want and if you don't see the layout you want you can create your own and save that as a User Preset.  That way you have infinite possibilities for layouts.

Now: on to the right side.

Layout Style:  Pick the general idea of what you're going for.  You have the ability to make a Single Image, a Picture Package or some sort of Custom Package.  A single image is what you see in today's image.  A Picture Package is good if you're doing school, sports team, children's or any sort of group shots.  You can do a 4 x 6, and six 2 x 3s (wallets).  If you're selling packages, this makes it simple.  In addition to a half dozen of the same image, you can do a different image in each opening. 

Image Settings:  Here you have four choices to mix and match.  You can zoom to fit, rotate the image, put a border and/or stroke and modify the settings for both.

Rulers, Grids & Guides:  This is pretty self explanatory.  You can move and position your custom layouts, align images, offset image by specific amounts.  Using your arrow keys can make precise movements.  I seen some stunning groupings by doing very careful movements.

Cells:  Here's the meat and potatoes of making the custom package layout.  Start with a blank sheet and start clicking.  Add two 3 x 7s, click, click.  Add two more 2 x 3s, click, click.  Fill up one sheet, keep clicking and a new sheet will start.  You can offer a mom and pop exactly what they need to satisfy the whole family and all it is is take the custom order and click through it.  On to the next family and build them a custom package.  Workflow is the key to the Cells Panel.

Page:  This is the place to add drama to the print.  You can select your Page Background Color.  In today's image a true black color was selected to give the image a very cool effect.  The Name Plate can be added.  In addition to a straight text Name Plate a graphical type Name Plate can be used.  Name Plates can be saved and used in different circumstances.  One of the custom graphical Name Plates I use has a code Tag to it.  Anyone with a smart phone and the proper app can scan the tag and be taken to this blog site. 

Print Job:  This is the last Panel and gives options of where you want to print the image.  What's the purpose, how it should be sharpened, what resolution to print at, what the intent is, etc.

The amount of control you have printing from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is outstanding and is my default method of printing.  Even when the image is taken to its conclusion in CS5 I'll bring it back to LR3 for printing.  It's just that good.