Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lightroom and Photoshop: The Peanut Butter and Jelly of your digital workflow!

"Do you use Lightroom or Photoshop?"

I still hear this question all the time and it drives me crazy!!

The question was never there in my opinion.

How did it come to be that people felt they had to choose one or the other? These two powerful tools were meant to be used together in harmony. Sweet and Salty, Ying and Yang and ...oh yes...Peanut Butter and Jelly

I think this all started back when the awesome editing power of LR first came into light. People thought that PS was being challenged for it’s roll as the big Kahuna. Maybe because of this people felt like they had to choose sides, either Photoshop or Lightroom. I think somehow the purpose of these programs has been blurred. Not sure who’s fault it was…it just happened. Never the less, it is there and I see it and hear it all too often. The mindset must change in my opinion or else everyone will be missing the boat!

So lets stop putting these two into the same old “Nikon/Canon”, “PC/Mac” aurguments.

Is LR and awesome editing tool? Yes, absolutely. Does it replace PS. Without a doubt, NO. Now this is not to say that LR doesn’t have powerful editing capabilities and that it hasn’t greatly reduced my time spent in PS, because it does and it has. My ability to locally and globally edit and adjust LARGE amounts of images has skyrocketed while my time spent doing so has decreased dramatically. What LR brought to the table in addition to this is the ability to infinetly group, create multiple variations of, web publish, print, search and keyword images like never before. All this while keeping them organized! Spending less time in PS does not mean that it’s necessity has diminished. The beauty of this relationship is that when I do need to call in the power of PS, LR is the perfect launching point to go there and back again seamlessly. As soon as you save your file in PS, you jump back into LR and there it is: accessible, catalogued and even further editable within LR. What else can you ask for!?

Photoshop is, has been, and will continue to be (as far as I can see anyway) the go to program for major image modifications and element swap out. Not to mention all of the capabilities it gives to graphic artists and animators.

So lets look at some of the major issues people from both camps that I think are holding them back.

From Camp Photoshop:
A lot of people born into PS have a hard time getting there head around importing images into the LR catalogue. From a Photoshop users standpoint one has to think of it as the same task of copying your image files onto the computer itself. You can’t edit your files in PS without putting them on your computer, right? Importing into the catalogue in fact replaces the step of copying the files onto your system. Some people don't realize that importing into Lightroom and copying the images onto your system is done in one step at the exact the same time. As far as not “seeing” your files once you have start to edit them within LR…you just have to start thinking of the LR as you Explorer window or Bridge.

From Camp Lightroom:
Photoshop has been, is and will continue to be the most intricate program for image editing in the world. You have to know that and accept that as soon as you step in the door. So here is my analogy for you if intend to tackle PS. If your wife sends you to the grocery store with a growling stomache and $500 bucks in your pocket…the options are endless. However, if she sends you there with the list "milk and eggs" and gives you $5, your in, your out, end of story. The point to my analogy here is to know what types of things you need to do in PS, learn it, and use it. Get in and Get out. Going in to a program like PS without an understanding of what you need to do is a death trap. Go online and watch a few tutorials or get a book. It is so easy to find online tutorials these days…use them!

So in closing, the decision to use Photoshop or Lightroom is NOT a decision at all. I could not imagine having one without the other…Peanut Butter and Jelly!

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