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Well today saw the arrival of Adobe Lightroom Version 4, which having tried the beta, I have eagerly been waiting for.

The new version has a number of new features not least of which is the integrated ‘Book’ module. This new module allows you to design photo books right in Lightroom using a large number of predesigned templates, unfortunately for now there is no ability to create your own. You can modify the size of apertures (make them smaller, not larger) while laying out a page and you can zoom an image in and out, so there is a bit of control but not much.

The book module is integrated directly to Blurb though you can also produce a PDF from the laid out book. I would imagine that over time we will see other publishers being made available. I’m a little surprised that since there is such tight integration to Blurb that the template editor available in the desktop version of Booksmart has not been incorporated, let’s hope that this is something that will be addressed in the not too distant future. I think it should be said that this is a long overdue feature which still has a long way to go. Even a simple thing such as putting the book title and author on the spine is not simple, in Booksmart these are 2 separate fields, in Lightroom it’s one field so if you want the title to be left aligned and the author right aligned you need lots of ‘tabs’ in-between, not the smartest implementation in the world!

There is now also a map module which allows photos to be geotagged and displayed on a Google map, useful for cameras that have built-in GPS. You can drag photos on to a location and GPS coordinates will be put into the metadata of the image, if you want specific location information, such as the city/country, you still need to put this in manually. Just a little word of caution here, I have experienced a little bug when moving off the map module, it would not let me, just kept coming up with an error box. Luckily on restarting Lightroom everything worked fine.

I do like the way the the develop module as be improved, there are still 6 tone sliders but the way they work have been altered allowing for much greater tonal control over the image. The screen grabs below show the new and old panel after an auto tone has been carried out on identical images.

The auto tone function has also been fine tuned to coincide with the other changes and as the two images below show, there is certainly a big difference in the processing. With careful adjustment of the sliders it is now possible to get very good results from less than perfectly exposed images and for there to be little loss of detail.

Lightroom V4

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Lightroom V3

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From what I’ve seen so far of the product I think that it is well worth the upgrade. There is still room for improvement but I’m sure that will come in time. As far as I’m concerned it’s still the best of the bunch and I’ve tried a number of them including Aperture, iView and a number of lesser know ones too.

 

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I’ve spent most of today doing what I have been putting off for a while, probably about 4 months actually.

Scanning.

I try and scan all of our paperwork and then shred the originals so that we have much less paper hanging around. A great policy but I’m not entirely convinced that it works as we still have piles of paper in various places.

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It normally starts off in the kitchen and gradually works it’s way up stairs to where my office now is.

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Unfortunately I can always find better things to do than scan the paper work, so invariably it stacks up until it’s piled high and it then takes an age to sort out and scan. If only I did it as it arrived then it wouldn’t be a such a chore!

Still I do have the excuse that up until we went to Norway at the start of the month I had been working very long hours on a web development for a client. Since coming back from the holiday however there’s been no real excuse. So yesterday I started, and today I continued, well some of today anyway.

I did start playing with iBooks Author to see if I could create a half decent iBook about our Norwegian adventure. I got the first couple of chapters completed last night and this morning I thought I would just spend half an hour on it before restarting the scanning. That was a bit of a mistake of course as half an hour turned into half a day!

I decided that I would change the template that I was using so that I had an image place holder on certain pages. Easy, five minute job. I read the help which told me exactly what to do, only that didn’t work, what a surprise. The instructions were very simple:

1) Choose Show Layouts from the View menu

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2) Select the layout to be changed

3) Add an image or shape object where you want it

4) From the Format menu select Advanced>Define as Media Placeholder

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This all worked as described until I then tried to use the layout in question because no matter what I tried I could not select the placeholder. But it should work as the layouts already have a number of placeholders and they work. I searched the help, I searched the internet but all to no avail. There is currently not much technical info on iBooks Author unfortunately. Eventually I stumbled across a post that was able to point me in the right direction. It would appear that there is just one more step that needs to be followed and that is this:

5) Open the Inspector and select the Layout tab and place a tick in the ‘Editable on pages using this layout’

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Obvious, isn’t it.

Now to get back to the diminishing piles of papers on the floor that still need scanning…………

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………and then of course there’ll be the shredding!

 

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