Lightroom: Introductory tutorial material inadequate

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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The information for new users of Lightroom, including the tutorial videos, are inadequate! As a specialist in teaching adults technical material (very effectively), I found as a new user, that there are far too many assumptions included in the introductory training material. Since the use of the product is of a 'technical nature', it seems obvious that use of graphics and easy to understand language is needed. It is essential that a wide range of terms used in the introductory material makes too many assumptions about the basic understanding of certain terms. For example the use of the term "catalogue" which can mean many things to a technical person such as myself - needs careful explanation. Another term that I found also needed careful explanation was the term "xmp file". To describe this as a "sidecar" file is simply inadequate. This lack of basic explanation raises the question as to how does the Lightroom team test the tutorial material? Do they test it with new users of cameras - or do they expect the videos to do the work? I believe there will many many others who find the same difficulty. Time to rethink the training / educational strategy here, methinks.
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Colin Prouse

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Posted 3 years ago

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Rob Cole

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It might help to identify which introductory tutorial material you're talking about. Adobe may know exactly what you're talking about, but I don't, and maybe they don't either.
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Rory Hill

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While Adobe makes an attempt to throw out some tutorials they primarily rely on third parties to do this. If you combine the tutorials that are available with the user to user forum, where people like Rob donate vast amounts of their time to help people out, I think you will be able to figure everything out.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Here's our overall Learn and Support page: http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom.html

We break our video tutorials into 4 categories: [Get Started] [Learn Essentials] [Key Techniques] [New Features]

Our video materials are mirrored on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/lightroom

Our written material (manual) is here: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/top...

Julieanne Kost's video's are some of my favorite for Lightroom: http://tv.adobe.com/show/the-complete...

I try and keep a full list of all the free training materials for Adobe here: http://blogs.adobe.com/crawlspace/201...

This Quick Start Guide from another of feedback site champs, Victoria Bampton, is also a great resource: http://www.lightroomqueen.com/free-do...

As Rory, and Rob, state, we're here to help answer any questions you have.
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Rob Cole

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Thanks Jeffrey, and a couple of specific points which may help going in to the above-mentioned tutorials:

* Catalog: an sqlite database file containing all develop settings, metadata, and other supporting information. filename extension: lrcat.

* xmp file: an xml file (.xmp extension) containing develop settings, metadata, but not all the other supporting information which is only in the catalog.

Note: xmp files accompany proprietary raws only (e.g. NEF, CR2..). If not proprietary raw (e.g. DNG, JPG, TIF..), the same info is embedded in image file instead.

xmp info, whether embedded or in separate "sidecar" file, is saved via "Save Metadata" command (on Metadata menu), and can be used to restore saved settings / metadata via "Read Metadata" command on same menu.

Other key concepts which need to be understood up front:
1. Destructive editing vs. non-destructive.
2. Embedded preview / camera-manufacturer image vs. Lr-rendered image.

1. Non-destructive editing is where original image remains unchanged, and edits are stored separately as "instructions for recreation", applied when appropriate - during editing and/or exporting.. (destructive editing is incorporating edits permanently in image, so edits never need to be "recreated").

Pros of non-destructive: nothing is permanent, so everything can be redone, quality is never lost.
Cons of non-destructive: it takes time to recreate image by combining image data with "edit instructions".

Pros of destructive: image does not have to be re-rendered for viewing / exporting - so very fast.
Cons of destructive: you can't go back, and every time you go forward (re-save image file), a bit of image integrity is lost.

To be clear: Lightroom is a non-destructive editor.

2. Camera and/or mfr.software combines camera settings with image data for final image according to their (proprietary) recipe - such image is always embedded in raw file (when shooting raw..), and sometimes stored in separate jpeg file (e.g. when shooting raw + jpeg).

What you see in Lightroom initially is preview embedded in raw file, then Lr-rendered version.

Pros of manufacturer-rendered version: incorporates camera settings and may have intelligent exposure-compensation/contrast-reduction automatically applied.
Cons of manufacturer-rendered version: in Lr, be mfr. rendering can't be undone, and it doesn't take advantage of Adobe's excellent technology.

Pros of Lr-rendered version: it's what Lr works with, and Adobe technology is excellent (e.g. Process Version 2012)
Cons of Lr-rendered version: it won't match what comes out of your camera in jpeg format, and sometimes needs a little "manual love" (e.g. exposure and contrast enhancement..) before it looks good.

A couple other key concepts related to library module / metadata management:
* Photo targeting (single vs. multi-photo changes).
* Space handling (in search terms, and in the metadata being searched).
(no crash course from me here/now, just something to be aware of..).

Hope this helps..
Rob