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Learn Lightroom in a Week - Day 6: Printing, Slideshows and Web Galleries

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In today’s tutorial we’ll continue our in-depth introduction to Lightroom by looking showing your images off to others. We’ll be discussing printing, exporting and creating slideshows in Lightroom!


Step 1: Preview Panel and Template Browser

The three modules (Slideshow, Print and Web) which we will explore in this tutorial share the same types of panels in the left panels area. On the left, you'll see Preview, Template Browser and Collections. The first gives you a preview of the currently selected template with all of its settings applied. The Template Browser is similar to the Presets panel in the Develop module explained in details in Day 4 of this series. It contains premade templates for making prints, slideshows and web galleries. When you hover over a template with your cursor, in the Preview panel you can see a live preview for it. You can create your own template with your frequently used settings. First you select a template, customize it and then save it as new one.


Step 2: Collecting Photos

Before making a print, slideshow or web gallery you need to choose and collect the photos you want to include in it. One way to do that is to create a specific collection based on settings you specify for any given module. This is called Output Creation. For example, in the Print module click the Plus icon in the Collections panel and choose Create Print which will create and add a regular collection to the list but with special icon in front of the collection's name. With an output creation, it is easy to return to your output settings for a specific collection of photos. In addition, you can add new photos to the collection, and they automatically include the output settings. An output creation differs from a custom template in that a template includes the output options, but no photos. An output creation, however, applies the output settings to the photos in the collection.

To organize, sort and select photos for the collection you may use the Filmstrip or the Library module depending on the number of the images you want to process. In the Filmstrip, you can choose images for printing by selecting or deselecting them. And in the Toolbar, you have the option to print all the images in the chosen source, or just the selected ones by choosing the appropriate option from the Use pop-up menu.

A good practice is to use virtual copies when you make a print, slideshow or web gallery. That way you can make adjustments specifically to the current output job while your original files remain intact.

To create an Output Creation first select the photos for the Print. Now choose a starting template and specify the settings you want in the panels at the right side. Click the Plus icon and choose Create Print. Type a name in the dialog box and choose a collection set from the Set pop-up menu. Select the Include Selected Photos and Make Virtual Copies options and click Create.


Step 3: Print - Page Setup

Before you do anything else in Print module you have to specify the size of the prints, and therefore the size of your files. This is important because all the other measurements will be determined based on these settings. To do that click the Page Setup button at the bottom of the left panel area. In the dialog box, which may appear different depending on your operating system, choose the correct paper size and orientation for the current print job.


Step 4: Print - Layout Style Panel

Lightroom provides you with three built-in Layout Styles to choose from. Depending on the selected style and its purpose the options and controls in the other panels change accordingly. Let's see the difference between these layout styles.

Single Image/Contact Sheet allows you to print a single photo. You can also print a sheet of many image thumbnails. This can be done in various configurations on one or more pages.

Picture Package allows you to print photos in various sizes on a page.

Custom Package gives you the freedom to totally customize the photos and their sizes and position on each page. You can print different photos at different sizes on any number of pages.


Step 5: Print - Image Settings Panel

In the Image Settings panel you specify how the photos are placed within the grid cells. You get different options depending on the currently selected layout style. Let's see what they are:

  • Zoom To Fill - enlarges each photo to fill the entire grid cell. Depending on the size and aspect ratio of the cell, the edges of the image might be cropped. If an image cell doesn't display the portion of a photo you want, drag the photo in the cell to reposition it. In a Picture Package layout, you must press Ctrl as you drag.
  • Rotate To Fit - rotates photos as necessary to use the most available space in the cell.
  • Repeat One Photo Per Page - with multiple images selected, enabling this option will force Lightroom to place only one photo on each page of the print job. Depending on the number of rows and columns you specify, this could result in just one photo on the page, or multiple copies of the same photo repeated at the same size in all the cells.
  • Photo Border - adds a white border with specified width around each photo.
  • Stroke Border/Inner Stroke - adds borders along the edges of the photo.

Step 6: Print - Layout/Cells Panel

In the Layout panel (Single Image/Contact Sheet), you can specify different settings for the grid layout. You may notice that when you change one setting this will usually change the others because they work in conjunction. For example if you change the values for the Vertical Cell Spacing, the Height of the grid cells also changes and vise versa. So play for a while with the sliders in this panel in order to see how everything relates.

The first thing you need to specify is the units for the Ruler in the View area, which can be done from the Ruler Units pop-up menu at the upper-right corner of the panel. Next set the outer page margins. Then you can specify the number of the Rows and/or Columns in the page grid. If you have more than one Row or Column, the Cell Spacing section becomes available and you can adjust the amount of vertical and horizontal space between the cells. In most cases, it is better to set the size that you want the image cells to be and let the cell spacing to be adjusted automatically. You can also, check the Keep Square option in order to keep the cells with equal width and height.

When your print job has multiple pages, you can navigate between them using the Previous and Next arrow buttons in the toolbar. To move back to the first page, click the Show First Page button at the left. On the right side of the toolbar you can see a control that shows the current page number and the number of pages.

In the Cells panel, you can add and remove cells from the Picture Package. To add a new cell, click the button with the desired size dimensions. To change the size dimensions, click the arrow at the right side of the button and choose option from the menu. To add a custom size to the menu, choose Edit and enter the new dimensions. To add a new page, click the New Page button. To delete a page from the layout click the red X icon which appears at the upper-left corner when you move your cursor over the page.

Clicking the Auto Layout button will force Lightroom to arrange the existing image cells in the most suitable manner possible. This will affect all cells and all pages. To rearrange the image cells manually click and drag the photos. Also, if any cells are overlapping, a warning triangle appear at the top right of the page. However, you can still print the page with photos overlapping when you want to achieve such effect. Clicking the Clear Layout button removes all the cells from all pages, and also deletes all pages from the current layout except the first one. To adjust the size of a particular image cell, select it and use the sliders in the Adjust Selected Cell or drag the handle on the sides of the cell. To delete an image cell, select it and press Delete key.

When you work with the Custom Package layout there are some differences. First, at the bottom of the Cells panel you can find two more controls. The Rotate Cell button and the Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio option. When you place a new cell on the page, via Add to Package section's buttons, only an empty cell is added and you have to drag and drop a photo from the Filmstrip in order to fill the cell.

In Custom Package, when you right-click on a photo you get many additional options in contrast with the Picture Package. From this menu in the Custom Package, you can change the stacking order of overlapping pictures by sending them forward or back. Also, choosing the Match Photo Aspect Ratio will automatically match the cell to the photo aspect ratio. And you can anchor a particular cell, which will place the selected cell in the same position on all pages. With these additional features you can produce all kinds of creative print layouts.


Step 7: Guides/Rulers, Grid & Guides Panel

In the Guides panel, you have a set of visual aids to help you position the photos on the page. You can show/hide the guides by using  the Show Guides option. When the Layout Style is set to Picture/Custom Package then instead of the Guides panel, the Rulers, Grid & Guides panel appear with two more options available. The first, Ruler Units, we've already seen and the second, Grid Snap, allows you to choose whether the photos snap to other cells or to the grid as you drag them. All elements in the Guides/Rulers, Grid & Guides panel will not appear on a print.

  • Rulers are placed at the top and left sides of the View area
  • Page Bleed refers to the amount that an image or images extends beyond the edges of the page and determines the maximum printable area, based on the Page Setup settings. When visible it's shown as a gray area around the margins of the page.
  • Margins and Gutters/Page Grid - margins are the spaces around the outer edges of the paper, and gutters are the spaces between cells on the page. Page Grid displays a grid with light blue lines behind the photos.
  • Image Cells shows the cell borders as solid black outlines.
  • Dimensions shows the sizes of the photos as they are placed within the cells.

Step 8: Print - Page Panel

The Page panel gives you ability to add additional elements to the page. By checking the Page Background Color you can specify a solid color for the background. To add a graphical or textual overlay, such as a logo, your studio name, etc. to your prints check the Identity Plate. After choosing the desired Identity Plate you can specify the following:

  • To rotate the identity plate choose an option from the pop-up menu at the top right side of the panel
  • To use a color different from the original check Override Color and choose one from the Color Picker by clicking the color swatch.
  • To lower the opacity and/or change the dimensions for the identity plate use the Opacity and Scale sliders.
  • Check the Render Behind Image to place the identity plate behind the photo(s)
  • If you want to apply the identity plate on every photo check the Render on Every Image

To add watermark to your photos check Watermarking and choose one from the menu.

Refer to the first tutorial from this series to get more information about working with Identity Plates and Watermarks and how to make your own custom ones.

With a little bit of imagination you can use the Identity Plates and Watermarks to make some really cool effects. For example, you can use them to overlay customized borders or other graphical elements on your photos.

You have the ability to add Identity Plate and Watermark also in the Slideshow and Web modules. This is done in the similar manner.

Under the Page Options section you can specify whether or not additional elements will show. You can add Page Numbers to the bottom right corner of each page and Page Info such as sharpening, color management settings and printer information at the bottom of the page. Also you can place Crop Marks outside the corners of the cell(s).

Also, from the Photo Info pop-up menu, you can add additional photo information such as filename, caption, title and so on.

At the bottom of the panel you can set the size of the font, used for the text elements, in points.

In the Picture/Custom Package layout there is an additional option that appears at the bottom of the panel - to add cut guides to the page. You can choose from the pop-up menu whether Lines or Crop Marks are used.


Step 9: Print - Print Job Panel

The first choice you have to make in the Print Job panel is whether to print to your printer or to JPEG file. Depending on your choice the options available bellow changed. The Draft Mode Printing option is available in both cases. When this is checked the rest of the Print Job options become disabled and Lightroom outputs the image data from the photo previews, not from the full-resolution files on disk.

Printing to Printer

When Print Resolution is checked, you can specify an output resolution in pixels per inch (ppi). Regardless of their native resolutions, all the photos in the print job will be resampled to the specified resolution as they are output from Lightroom. If a photo, when scaled to final print size, falls anywhere between 180 ppi and 480 ppi, it's usually best to leave it at its native resolution. The negative effects of resampling may produce worse results than leaving the file at a lower resolution. To use the native resolution of the photo, deselect Print Resolution.

Check Print Sharpening, to apply output sharpening during the print job.

You have two options for Color Management when printing from Lightroom - let the Lightroom do the color management using an icc profile or let the printer manage the color output. Unless you have a custom printer color profile created for a specific printer and paper combination, then it is usually is better to let the Lightroom handles the color management.

To use a custom profile, select a profile from the popup menu. If none are listed in the menu, select Other. A dialog box appears that allows you to add profiles into Lightroom. All the available profiles on your computer are shown here. Choose the icc profile made for your printer and the type of paper(s) you are using. If no printer profiles are listed, you can download them from your printer and/or paper manufacturer's Web site. In the Choose Profiles window, check the box(es) for the printer/paper profile(s) you want to add to Lightroom and click OK. When added, they will remain in the Profile pop-up for future use.

If you specify a profile, choose how colors are converted from the image's color space to the printer's color space. The printer's color space will generally be smaller then the image's color space, often resulting in colors that can't be reproduced. The rendering intent also you to choose how to compensate for these out-of-gamut colors.

  • Perceptual rendering tries to preserve the visual relationship between colors. Colors that are in-gamut may change as out-of-gamut colors are shifted to reproducible colors. Perceptual rendering is a good choice when your image has many out-of gamut colors.
  • Relative rendering preserves all in-gamut colors and shifts out-of gamut colors to the closest reproducible color. The Relative option preserves more of the original color and is a good choice when you have few out-of-gamut colors.

If you don't want to have Lightroom handle color management, set the popup menu to Managed by Printer. Lightroom's color management controls become disabled. You then make all your color management settings in the printer driver screens.

Click the Print button at the bottom of the right panels area. The printer driver dialog box will appear. Apply the appropriate settings for the print job. If you're using Lightroom's color management, you need to take special precautions to make sure that color management is completely turned off in the printer driver.

The Print One button allows you to quickly send a print job, bypassing the driver dialog box and using the most recent settings. This can be a real time saver, just make sure you have the correct settings in place before clicking.

All the printer driver settings also get stored with the print template when it's saved, so be sure to save/update your template when you're done with your print settings.

Printing to JPEG

In Lightroom, you can create print-ready files for printing by a lab. To do that choose Print to JPEG File and specify the following options:

  • File Resolution - set the resolution in ppi for the output file.
  • Print Sharpening - enable it and choose the amount of sharpening to apply
  • Media Type - choose the kind of paper that is going to be used
  • JPEG Quality - always use 100 for your print files
  • Custom File Dimensions - here you can specify a size for the print file.
  • Color Management - choose a color space and select rendering intent.

Finally click the Print to File button and choose a destination for the file.


Step 10: Slideshow - Options Panel

In the Options panel you have three main options. The first one, when checked, enlarges the image until it fills the entire slideshow frame. This can produce some cropping, especially in vertical images. The second option (Stroke Border) allows you to add a solid outline around the photo. By enabling the third option, you can add a cast shadow to the photo with following options:

  • Opacity - this sets the overall strength of the shadow. 100% opacity will be solid black, and lower opacity will make the shadow lighter and transparent over the background.
  • Offset - this sets the shadow's distance from the image. Larger offsets give the appearance of more depth between the photo and the background.
  • Radius - this defines the softness of the shadow's edge. Larger values will apply more feathering to the shadow edge.
  • Angle - this sets the direction of the cast shadow. Turn the knob or move the slider to adjust the shadow's angle.

Step 11: Slideshow - Layout Panel

In the Layout panel you set the slide margins, which determine the photo's distance from the edges of the slide. To adjust all margins simultaneously and maintain their relative proportions select the Link All box. To change the size of a margin independently of the other margins, deselect the link box next to the specific margin. You can adjust the margins by dragging the margin boundaries which appear when Show Guides is enabled.


Step 12: Slideshow - Overlays Panel

In the Overlays panel, you can configure text and graphical elements that appear on the slides along with the photos.

To place a text overlay click the ABC button. New text overlays are inserted at the bottom left corner of the slide. Instead of custom text you can use another kind of text to display by choosing an option from the pop-up menu. These options use the specific data unique to each photo in the text overlay, so each photo will show different text. Custom text overlays remain the same on all slides. Once you've inserted a text overlay, you can click and drag to move and/or resize it with the control handles. In the Text Overlays section, you can change the Color, Opacity and Font options for the overlay.


Step 13: Slideshow - Backdrop Panel

On the Backdrop panel, you can set slide background colors or use a background image. For a solid black background uncheck all the options. The options are applied from bottom to top which means that Background Image is applied on top of Background Color, and Color Wash is applied on top of both Background Image and Background Color. To apply a color different from black, enable the Background Color and specify one in the Color Picker. To add a background image, enable the Background Image and then drag a photo from the Filmstrip to the background frame. To make the image transparent and partially show the background color, lower the opacity. The Color Wash option applies a gradient wash color on top of the background color and background image.


Step 14: Slideshow - Titles Panel

In the Titles panel, you can add intro and ending screens for your slideshow. The title screens can be a solid color or you can use identity plates to apply text or graphics. Also, you could design custom images to use as intro and ending screens.


Step 15: Slideshow - Playback Panel

To include audio to your slideshow, check the Soundtrack option. Click the Select Music button and select an audio file. The Fit to Music button, allows you to automatically set the length of the slideshow to match the song duration. This feature only applies when the Slide Duration option is enabled. If you want to manually advance the slides during playback (by using Left and Right arrow keys), leave the Slide Duration box unchecked.

Here you can set the time that each photo is displayed and the time of the fade transition between slides. The Random Order option will show all the slides randomly and the Repeat option determines whether the slideshow will automatically loop to the beginning and play again after reaching the last slide or the ending screen.


Step 16: Slideshow - Preview and Play

You can play a preview of your slideshow to see how it will look. While you're previewing the slideshow this way, you can also make adjustments to settings and the changes are applied - in real time - as the preview continues.

To start previewing the slideshow, click the Preview button at the bottom of the right panel area, or the arrow button on the toolbar. To exit the preview, press the Stop button in the Toolbar or press Esc.

To play a slideshow, click the Play button at the bottom of the right panels area. This will black out the display, start the slideshow immediately. You can pause the slideshow by pressing the space bar.


Step 17: Slideshow - Exporting

You have three options for exporting your slideshow.

Export PDF Slideshow - when you export a slideshow to PDF a soundtrack will not be included. Click the Export PDF button and then specify the following options:

  • Quality - this renders each slide at a specified JPEG quality setting.
  • Width and Height - specify the pixel dimensions for the slide show. Lightroom resizes the slides to fit within the dimensions without cropping or changing the slide's aspect ratio.
  • Common Sizes - specify common dimensions for a slide show, such as 640 x 480, and enters those values in the Width and Height fields.
  • If you want Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader to auto-play the slideshow and show it full-screen, you must enable the option "Automatically show full screen".

Export JPEG Slideshow - this will export each slide as a single JPEG file. The options in the dialog box are the same as with PDF Slideshow.

Export Video Slideshow - this will create a single mp4 movie file (H.264) containing all slides, transitions and other playback options. In the dialog box, choose the location for the file and specify the size of the video from the Video Preset menu.


Step 18: Web Gallery - Layout Style Panel

In the Layout Style panel, you have five styles to choose from. Four of them are Flash based and one is HTML Gallery. Depending on the selected style, the options in the other panels change accordingly.

You preview the templates by hovering over them in the Preview panel.


Step 19: Web Gallery - Site Info Panel

In the Site Info panel, you can add textual information about your gallery. Just type the info in the text fields for Site Title, Collection Title, Collection Description, Contact Info and Web or Mail Link. Click the triangle buttons at the right of the text fields for quick access to recently used text values. To remove any type element from the layout, leave the text field blank. Instead of using the text fields you can type directly on the page.

  • Site Title - type the name of your site.
  • Collection Title - type a name for the collection.
  • Collection Description - type some details about the collection.
  • Contact Info - this is the text used for the link at the bottom of each page.
  • Web or Mail Link - this must be a correctly formatted URL address.

The last two options are used together. The first one is the text for the link, and the second is the link itself.

You can also include your Identity Plate as a link, but only in the HTML Gallery.


Step 20: Web Gallery - Color Palette Panel

In the Color Palette panel, you can specify colors for the elements within your layout.

HTML Gallery options:

  • Text - the text entered in the Site Info panel
  • Detail Text - links and text on the large image pages
  • Background - the main page background
  • Detail Matte - the area surrounding the large image
  • Cells - thumbnail backgrounds
  • Rollover - the color used for highlighting of the thumbnail cells when you move the cursor over each cell
  • Grid Lines - lines separating thumbnail grid cells
  • Numbers - numbers in the background of grid cells

Flash Gallery options are self-descriptive. Just play with the colors to see what area of the gallery represents each of them.


Step 21: Web Gallery - Appearance Panel

For a HTML Gallery, there are three sections:

  • Common Settings - these affect all photos within the gallery. You can add drop shadows to all photos and/or section borders with custom color.
  • Grid Pages - here you can set the columns and rows for the gallery. Move your cursor over the grid preview and click to set the numbers of rows and columns. The second option here is to show the numbers for the thumbnails. Also you can add borders with custom color to the photos.
  • Image Pages - here you can set the size of the image on the longest side and photo borders with specified width and color.

Flash Gallery - choose a layout for the gallery from the Layout pop-up menu.

You have the following options:

Scrolled - this contains a Filmstrip with the photo thumbnails and a Preview area above it with the large version of the selected thumbnail.

Paginated - this shows grid based pages at the left and a Preview are at the right.

Left - here the Filmstrip is placed at the left of the Preview area.

Slideshow Only - this shows only large images.

Here also you have the option to include an Identity Plate. And finally you can set the size for the Large Images and Thumbnail Images.


Step 22: Web Gallery - Image Info Panel

In the Image Info panel, you have the ability to display up to two labels of textual information on the large image pages.


Step 23: Web Gallery - Output Settings

In the Output Settings panel, you can specify options for the Large Images. The first one, Quality, sets the level of JPEG compression. Since the images will be used for the Web we don't need 100 percent quality as this will increase the file size. Something between 70 and 85 will produce good result in most cases.

In the Metadata menu, you have only two options. The first one includes only the copyright information to your output files, while the second includes all the metadata you've assigned to the file including keywords, titles, captions, and so on. Keep in mind that when you include all metadata, this will increase the file size.

To add a watermark, enable the Watermarking section and choose one from the menu. To apply output sharpening, enable the Sharpening option and choose an amount from the menu.


Step 24: Web Gallery - Upload Settings

To put your gallery online, you need to specify some settings first. This is done in the Upload Settings panel. Open the FTP Server pop-up menu and choose Edit. In the dialog box, enter the name of the server as well as the user name and the password for the FTP account. Checking the "Store password in preset" option can speed up the uploading process in future sessions. If you need to put the files in a different folder than the site root, enter the directory path in the Server Path field. In most cases, you can leave the default settings for the Protocol, Port and Passive mode for data transfer. You can save all of this as a preset, if you choose. Finally click OK to apply the FTP settings. To put the uploaded files into a subfolder enable this option and type a name for the subfolder in the text field. Then under the Full Path you can see the full directory path (without the domain name) where the Web gallery will be uploaded.


Step 25: Web Gallery - Upload and Export

Before you upload/export a Web gallery you can preview it in your web browser. Just click the Preview in Browser button at the bottom of the left panels area.

When you are ready with the upload settings, just click the Upload button. Lightroom will generate all the files required for the gallery, including JPEG images and HTML pages and will upload them to your Web server. This action does not save a copy of the files on your hard drive.

If this scenario doesn't satisfy you, then you can first Export the gallery to your local drive by clicking the Export button and specifying a location and name for the gallery.


Conclusion

Now you can create prints and web galleries. In the next and last tutorial, we will explore Lightroom's exporting and publishing capabilities. Stay tuned.