Last night, under cover of darkness, Adobe rolled out Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. And there was much rejoicing. It was fun to watch people quietly realize it had been released, order it and begin to play with the new features. For the first time in my life I was on the inside of a secret little club, complete with NDAs and letters from lawyers and stuff, so that meant I could finally start talking about it. Phew. I hate keeping secrets.
I’ve been living with Lr3 in its various incarnations for months now because Vision & Voice, Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the third in the vision trilogy, is based on Lr3. So now is a good time to tell you what Vision & Voice is and is not and how it fits into your learning curve for Lr3.
First, Lr3 isn’t – on the outside – vastly different from Lr2. If you know and love Lr2, Lr3 will be an easy upgrade for you. That doesn’t mean it isn’t better. It is. It’s faster and leaner and the image quality, especially with noise, seems noticeably better to me. Most of the tools are the same, though the Post Crop Vignetting has been ratcheted up a couple notches, there’s Grain, and the new ability to remove lens distortion is going to rock people’s worlds too. Import is noticeably different as well.
So, is Vision & Voice the book you want to learn Lightroom 3?
Well, it is and it isn’t. Vision & Voice was written with Lightroom 3 in mind. The screenshots are all from Lightroom 3. But the purpose of the book was not to completely unpack the software for you. In fact I never once leave the Develop module. So Importing, doing slideshows, printing, and making fancy web galleries – you’re on your own and there are bound to be great books out there that teach you those things better than I could. Vision & Voice was written to discuss the aesthetics possible with Lightroom, to help you find a process that works for you but that begins with discovering and articulating your vision for the image and then using the best tools to get there in your workflow. I call it Vision-Driven Workflow. It’s not a system, just an adaptable process to refine your vision in Lightroom.
Will Vision & Voice work for Photoshop, ACR, or Aperture 3 users?
Well, I’ve never used Aperture 3 but like Nikon and Canon cameras have some differences but are essentially just cameras, so too I think are the leading post-processing programs. Basically it comes down to what they call the slider and how you accomplish one change or another, but if you are willing to do a little translation work in your brain, the principles I explore in the book are absolutely transferable. There’s a large-ish chapter in the middle about the specific tools in Lightroom 3 itself, but again I think you can read that with your preferred software open in front of you and get some good learnin’ in.
What about LR2? Surely you aren’t abandoning the Luddites?
Lr3 and Lr2 aren’t profoundly different in the way you do 98% of your development, and this book is all about development. Don’t sweat it. If you use Lr2 you’ll feel right at home with this book.
But I don’t need all this vision-stuff, I just wanna make my pictures look better, man.
This is where I began with this book. So many of us seem to approach our post-processing with the “just make it look better, man!” mentality. I pushed back and said, until we define what “better” means, I can’t help you and you can’t help you. You have to know what your own intent for the image is before you start heading in that direction. So I discuss that. And then we look at 20 of my own images, work through them together from beginning to end. I’ve provided 20 DNG files that you can download when you get the book and work alongside me from beginning to end.
Will we learn really fancy Dave-Hill techniques and Recipes for Awesomeness and the latest Un-Suck Filters?
No you won’t. Shame on you for asking.
When does the book come out?
It went to press last Friday. Should be in my hands by end of the month or the first few days of July. Then it’ll begin shipping from various retailers. Folks who pre-order through Peachpit’s website will get theirs first. Amazon orders will arrive after that.
What if I want to learn Lightroom 3 right now?
Well, my first stop is always the NAPP and that’s where I’ll send you. No doubt the blogosphere is about to explode with posts about new features and they’ll be great, but my go-to place for learning is Kelby and the gang. Go to the NAPP Lightroom Learning Center.