Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catalogs - getting everything together

When last we met, we were working on exporting catalogs. We looked at the quick and easy way to get out images out of Lightroom for discovery. But the quick and easy way did not get us all the information. We wanted something more.

That something more is Export negative files.


With the Export negative files option checked, you will include the original or master photos as well as the catalog info. Depending on how many files you need to export, this process could take some time. You'll want to make sure that you have at least 200MB of disk space available for Lightroom to use as a scratch area.

Including the available previews sends all the Library Grid thumbnails, Loupe views and 1:1 views as part of the export. Make sure that you've rendered your previews before exporting. To do this, go to the Library Module and click on Library>Previews>Render Standard-Sized Previews. You can also choose to render the 1:1 (full resolution) previews from Library>Previews>Render 1:1 Previews. This preview export comes in handy if something happens to the master negatives. Without the negatives, you won't be able to re-render the images.

Exporting in this way insures that all data is sent for discovery. Next week, we'll look at getting these files from someone else and importing them into Lightroom.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Catalogs continued

In the last post on this subject, I mentioned that Lightroom isn't exactly a multi-user program. With that in mind, how do you share information and catalogs? It's actually quite easy.

The Export feature is designed to allow the sharing of catalogs between different computers running the same version of Lightroom. For discovery purposes, we can export images or an entire catalog. Assuming opposing council's expert has the same version of Lightroom, they should be able to import the catalog and see what we've done.

In the Library module (or the Filmstrip), simply select the relevant images and choose File>Export as Catalog. The dialog box will open and you will select a location to save the new catalog (you can't export images into or combine images with an existing catalog using this method). This will export the images along with basic metadata. This is what makes a catalog export different from a normal file export ... you get everything that's associated with the files.

This basic method is fine for everyday use. But for us, we need something more. We want to be able to export the catalog and include the master files as well, in their native state. In the next installment, we'll see just how easy it is.

Until then, enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thanks for your support!

Well, we didn't quite make the Blurb's Readers Choice Award. But, as a way of saying thanks to all for your continued support, Blurb is offering $10 off the book - Forensic Photoshop. Just enter offer code friendofblurb08 at checkout. Hurry! The offer expires at midnight, Sept. 30, 2008.

Thanks again for all of your continued support.

Lightroom Catalogs

One of the things that I first noticed when looking at Lightroom for law enforcement was how and where the program stores images. The Lightroom Catalog (it used to be a Library in version 1), is the one stop shop for all of your images and associated data. This is both good and bad.

The good news:
When you first install Lightroom, a default catalog is created for you. Most writers have opted for a single catalog workflow, choosing instead to manage their files within the same catalog. For our purposes, it may be necessary (for eDiscovery reasons) to keep each case's files within it's own catalog. In this way, there is no blending of file info across cases. Luckily, creating a new catalog is easy enough. Just click File>New Catalog. Choose an appropriate name (like the case file number) and location ... and you're off to the races. When you want to open an existing catalog, just click File>Open Catalog. This leads us to the bad news.

The bad news:
Lightroom does not allow you to work on several catalogs at once. Neither can you search within a catalog that is not open. This one can become a huge issue as your case files grow. You also aren't allowed to save the catalog to a network share for use by others.

With this in mind, we'll spend September exploring the catalog structure of Lightroom and working through a logical structure and workflow for using catalogs effectively in law enforcement.

Until next week, enjoy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Behind the scenes

Whilst at Adobe for the NATIA convention, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Tom Hogarty, Lightroom's Product Manager. He was friendly and extremely forthcoming about what Lightroom can do today, what they want it to do in the future, and what its limitations are. (No, I can't reveal all of their secrets).

Lightroom News recently published an interview with Tom. Check it out by clicking here. I think that you'll see why he is one of Adobe's all stars.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

vote early - vote often

Forensic Photoshop - the book - is entered in the Photography Book Now contest at Blurb. I'm up against over 1700 books. How can I possibly stand out in the crowd?

One of the categories is the People's Choice Award. I need your help and this is where you come in. If you like what you've seen, click here and voice your opinion. Your support is what keeps this blog going strong ... and free.

Vote early and vote often (just kidding ... they've got the cookies set to only allow one vote per person). In this political season, everyone is wondering who will get the vote for President. I'm hoping to get your vote for People's Choice.

As always, thanks for your support.