Pixology Magazine February 2013 Issue



Pixology Magazine February 2013 Issue
The Magazine for Photographers
February 2013
Photoshop Touch
Aligned Cleanup
A Smarter Cable Release
The Magazine for Photographers
4 Photoshop Touch
11 Declaring Catalog Independence
17 A Smart Cable Release
22 To Delete or Not to Delete?
25 Aligned Cleanup
30 Exporting from Elements
35 Photographic Year in Review
From the Editor
As I work on sorting out my schedule
for the year, in the back of my
mind I’m constantly thinking of
photographic opportunities. For some
trips the photographs will be easy
because the location will be exciting
and perhaps new to me. For locations
I’ve visited many times before it may
be more challenging to find new
photographic opportunities.
This also has me thinking about what a
“photographic year in review” time-lapse
video might look like at the end of the
year. And in this issue I share the process
I used to create just such a video for my
photographs from last year.
I hope this issue of Pixology proves
informative and entertaining. As
always, I welcome your thoughts via
email at [email protected]
Thank you,
Tim Grey
Now that the New Year has come and
gone, it seems the focus turns increasingly
to the year ahead. For me that mostly
means reviewing the calendar as I try to
figure out how I’m going to fit everything
in that I’d like to accomplish.
Getting a Feel for Photoshop on Tablet Devices
By Tim Grey
Surely you’ve had this experience, probably
more than once. You’ve setup your digital
SLR and a nice (and expensive) lens. You
may be using a tripod. You’ve contemplated
your exposure, carefully adjusted your
framing, and are about to capture a
photograph. And then you see someone
nearby photographing the same scene with
their mobile phone...
For me the most memorable such situation
occurred on safari in South Africa. Our
vehicle was outfitted with some very
serious photographers with some very
serious equipment. The “short” lens in the
group was 300mm. I was sure the glass
onboard probably weighed more than the
vehicle itself. And as we were poised near
a lion, waiting for the classic “yawn shot”,
another vehicle pulled up. There wasn’t a
single removable lens to be found, with all
of the occupants using compact cameras
or—gasp!—mobile phones to photograph
the majestic lion.
As a result of experiences such as this,
there seems to be a strong tendency to
discount anything “mobile” when it comes
to photography. And yet, I’ve quite enjoyed
the time I’ve spent working with the mobile
version of Photoshop. It’s called Photoshop
Touch, and it is available for Apple’s line of
iPad tablets, as well as tablets running the
Android operating system.
Photoshop Touch includes many of the adjustments you are probably already familiar with from the computer-based version of
Photoshop, including Color Balance, Saturation, Levels, and Curves (shown here).
Priced at only $9.99, Photoshop Touch is a
relative bargain. And the range of powerful
features frankly came as a bit of a surprise
considering that price.
To be fair, Photoshop Touch is most
certainly not going to replace the full
“desktop” version of Photoshop in your
digital workflow. And you’re not likely
to use Photoshop Touch for your most
important photos. But the feature set is
powerful enough, and the experience of
using it nice enough, that you just might
find that Photoshop Touch fits into your
overall workflow for certain images under
certain circumstances.
The first thing to keep in mind about
Photoshop Touch is that it will only run on
a tablet device. That naturally creates some
limitations in terms of how you interact with
the application, and what is possible in terms
of the quality of your final result. But I still
think many photographers would be surprised
to see what is possible with Photoshop Touch.
You might naturally be concerned that using
your fingers on a tablet device won’t provide
the best control over the various adjustments
you’ll be applying. I’ve actually found that
using just your fingertips works quite well.
However, you can also use a variety of different
stylus devices designed for touchscreens.
These range from simple pen-like devices
that provide nothing more than greater tactile
control than a fingertip to stylus devices that
support pressure-sensitivity.
Photoshop Touch includes a full complement of tools for working with your images, including the Healing Brush tool shown here.
Getting Started with
Photoshop Touch
Because Photoshop Touch runs on tablet
devices, you naturally need to have
images on that device before you can
work with them. In most cases that will
probably mean synchronizing photos
from your primary computer to the
tablet, so they are available from within
Photoshop Touch. However, you can
also access images stored on the Adobe
Creative Cloud if you have a Creative
Cloud account, and you can capture new
images with your tablet’s built-in camera
directly via Photoshop Touch.
Photoshop Touch also includes a variety of
tutorials with their own images included,
and I highly recommend that you explore
those tutorials both to get a better sense of
how to work with Photoshop Touch, as well
as to learn about some of what is possible
with this application.
To get started working with an image, you
create a new project. When you do so, you
can select an image to include in that project,
with that image becoming a layer in the
document that is created in the process.
When you’re finished working with a photo
project you can save the result locally, or to
the Creative Cloud if you have an account.
A variety of effects are available for quickly adding a creative touch to your images within Photoshop Touch.
Overall Feature Set
The feature set in Photoshop Touch is quite
impressive, and photographers who make
use of the desktop version of Photoshop
might be surprised at how many of their most
frequently used features are included.
To begin with, there are a variety of tools
available. For creating selections you
can choose from the Marquee and Circle
Marquee, the Lasso and Polygon Lasso,
the Magic Wand, the Scribble Selection
tool (where you paint over areas you want
to include or exclude, and let Photoshop
Touch figure out the rest), and the Brush
Selection tool.
For painting there is the Paint tool, the
Effects Paint tool, and the Spray tool. As the
names imply, the Paint tool is for painting
pixels in a normal way, the Effects Paint
tool allows you to paint creative effects into
specific areas, and the Spray tool provides an
airbrush effect.
For image cleanup there are the Clone Stamp
and Healing Brush tools. And then there
are the Eraser tool, the Blur tool, and the
Smudge tool.
To make the most of any selections you
create, you’ll find a variety of commands
for modifying selections. These include
commands for selecting all pixels, deselecting
all pixels, selecting all actual pixels (as
opposed to transparent areas), inverting a
selection, feathering the edges of a selection,
transforming a selection, and refining the
edge of a selection.
When working with a selection you can cut
and copy pixels, paste pixels, clear pixels, or
extract pixels. And of course, you can apply
adjustments that only affect a selected area of
the image.
What would appear at first glance to be the
equivalent of the Move tool actually provides
many more options, including the ability to
resize and move image layers, rotate an image
layer to any angle, flip the image horizontally
or vertically, and even skew the image.
Adjustments you can apply to an image layer
(or a selected portion of an image layer)
include Invert, Black & White, Saturation,
Auto Fix, Levels, Brightness/Contrast,
Temperature, Replace Color, Curves,
Shadows/Highlights, Color Balance, and
Reduce Noise.
There are also a modest number of effects
that can be applied to your images, which
are divided into categories of Basic, Stylize,
Artistic, and Photo.
An additional set of options allows you to
crop, resize, rotate (in 90-degree increments),
fill and stroke, add text, warp an image, add a
gradient, fade one or more edges of the photo,
add lens flare, and even fill all (or a selected
area) of a photo with a new photo captured
with your tablet’s camera.
You can also work with multiple image layers
(though adjustment layers aren’t an option).
This allows you to make copies of a layer
so you can work in a non-destructive way,
duplicate a selected portion of an image,
add other images to create a composite, and
much more. You can adjust the Opacity and
Blend Mode for all layers, delete layers, and of
course move or resize individual layers.
There’s also a full-screen view so you can
focus on just the image for evaluation or
for performing certain tasks. And there are
also Undo and Redo buttons so you can
navigate back and forth through the history
of tasks you’ve performed while working
with an image.
Sharing and Managing
Once you’re finished with a Photoshop
Touch project featuring one or more of your
images, you can share the result very easily
in a variety of ways. That includes posting
a photo to Facebook, sending the image
via email, and much more. You can even
synchronize photos back to your primary
computer, and photo projects saved in the
native Photoshop Touch file format can be
opened in Photoshop CS5 or later with the
Touch App Plugin installed.
The process of sharing in general is quite
simple. All you need to do is tap the Share
button and then choose an appropriate
option from the popup menu. For example,
you can save the photo directly to the
normal photo location for your device, or
choose Share to save in a variety of other
ways. After selecting a specific option, you
can choose one or more photos to share,
select the desired file format, and click
OK. The images will then be processed and
shared based on the settings you chose.
In addition to sharing your images directly
from Photoshop Touch, there are other
options for managing your images. You
can create folders and move projects into
a specific folder, create a duplicate copy of
existing projects, and delete projects. You
can also have your images automatically
synchronized with your Creative Cloud
In addition to the basic tools and adjustments you would expect, Photoshop Touch also includes support for layered documents,
enabling you to produce creative and complex images.
subscription, so those images will be available
from any device or computer with access to
your Creative Cloud account.
No Free Trial, But Fun
Perhaps the greatest drawback of Photoshop
Touch is that you can’t get a free trial the way
you can with so many computer software
applications. In fairness, at a price of $9.95 the
risk isn’t all that great. But it does mean you
need to make a commitment to purchasing the
app before you can try it out, unless you can
find a photographer friend who already has the
app on their tablet device.
But I’ve found Photoshop Touch to be great
fun to work with, and can certainly see myself
using it in situations where I don’t have my
computer, or when I just want a more casual
and comfortable way to work with photos I’d
like to share online.
You can find Photoshop Touch in the
Apple iTunes Store here:
Overall, I’m very impressed with Photoshop
Touch. Sure, there are features that aren’t as
good as they should be, such as the lack of a
grid for reference when rotating an image.
Declaring Catalog
Avoiding the Perils of a
Corrupted Catalog in
By Tim Grey
Backing up your photos is certainly a critical
task, and I feel that the topic of backing up
photos receives a pretty good amount of
attention. But what doesn’t seem to get quite
as much attention is the notion of backing
up the information about your photos. In
the context of Lightroom (or other catalogbased image management software) this can
be especially tricky, because by default the
information about your photos is contained
only within the catalog.
Simply from the standpoint of being able to see
the information about your photos that is stored
in metadata when using other applications, it
can be helpful to have the data you add to your
photos stored outside the Lightroom catalog in
addition to within the catalog.
For example, if you add a keyword to a photo
in Lightroom, and then browse that image
with Adobe Bridge, by default the keyword
you added will not be shown in Bridge. That’s
because the information about your photos is
only written to the Lightroom catalog unless
you change a key setting.
First, I should emphasize that a corrupt
Lightroom catalog is not something that
seems to be very likely. I have exposure to a
reasonably large number of photographers,
and so far I’ve only heard from one
photographer with a clear case of a corrupted
catalog. This obviously represents anecdotal
To me there’s another even more important
reason to avoid a dependence on the Lightroom
catalog, which is the challenges you may face if
your catalog ever becomes corrupted.
Backing up your Lightroom catalog might make you feel that you are safe from the effects of a corrupted catalog, but that’s not
necessarily the case depending on how you utilize Lightroom.
evidence that isn’t even remotely pretending
to be based on a scientific study. But my sense
is certainly that the Lightroom catalog doesn’t
tend to get corrupted, at least not all
that often.
the last backup, and to try to reproduce all
of those changes accurately, seems to me a
rather daunting and frustrating task. So much
so that I would rather avoid this situation
altogether if at all possible. And it is possible.
Even if the risk of your catalog becoming
corrupted for any reason is relatively low, the
problems such an occurrence would cause for
you are significant enough that it makes sense
to take steps to reduce the potential impact of
a corrupted catalog.
The solution is to avoid a dependence on
the Lightroom catalog as much as possible.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly happy that
Lightroom is a catalog-based application, and
I make extensive use of my catalog. But I use
Lightroom in a way that a corrupted catalog
would merely be an inconvenience, most
likely with no loss of data that I’m actually
concerned about.
Your initial thought might be that you have
nothing to worry about. After all, by default
Lightroom reminds you once a week to
backup your catalog. Perhaps you’ve even
taken the additional precaution of changing
the catalog backup frequency from the default
of once a week to either once every day or
every single time you close Lightroom.
My preference, however, is to not depend
upon a backup of the Lightroom catalog.
After all, if my catalog were to ever become
corrupted, the timing isn’t likely to be so
fortuitous that there won’t have been any
changes to the catalog since the last backup.
The notion of trying to figure out which
specific updates have been performed since
Managing Your Metadata
The first step to avoiding catalog dependence
is to make sure the data you add to your
images in Lightroom is also added to the
images themselves. For RAW captures,
that means enabling the option to write
metadata updates to XMP sidecar files that
can accompany each of your RAW captures.
Those XMP files will have the same base
filename as the RAW capture to which each
corresponds, so that when you view your
images in filename order through your
By turning on the option to automatically write metadata to XMP sidecar files you will preserve most—but not all—of the
information that can also be stored in the Lightroom catalog.
operating system, for example, you’ll see each
XMP file right next to each RAW capture.
To have Lightroom automatically write
changes to XMP sidecar files every time you
update any information in Lightroom, you’ll
need to adjust the Catalog Settings. Keep in
mind that the Catalog Settings options are
specific to the current catalog in Lightroom,
so if you utilize multiple catalogs for any
reason you’ll need to adjust the setting for
each catalog individually.
To adjust the Catalog Settings, choose
Lightroom > Catalog Settings on Macintosh
or Edit > Catalog Settings on Windows.
In the Catalog Settings dialog that appears,
choose the Metadata tab. Then turn on
the “Automatically write changes into XMP”
checkbox and close the Catalog
Settings dialog.
It is worth considering that having this option
turned on can cause a bit of a performance
degradation in some cases. If you update a
single metadata field for a single image, the
update is virtually instantaneous, and you
won’t even notice a difference between having
the option to automatically write the updates
to XMP turned on or off.
If, on the other hand, you add a few keywords
to 10,000 images, that means 10,000 XMP
files need to be updated (or created). While
each of those updates may be very small, and
each XMP file is very small, the processing
can still take considerable time. You will still
be able to work in Lightroom while the XMP
files are being updated, but performance
can suffer. Therefore, if performance is a key
concern, and you tend to apply metadata
updates to a large number of images at one
time, you may have second thoughts about
turning on automatic XMP updates.
It is possible to manually apply metadata
opposed to the ranking approach afforded
updates, so you can have the work performed
by star ratings. That said, I would rather
when it is most convenient to you. The process
utilize an approach of using five stars for
involves selecting the images you want to
images that would otherwise get a pick flag
update (perhaps even selecting all of the
and a one star rating for images that would
photos in your catalog) and then choosing
otherwise get a reject flag, rather than have a
Metadata > Save Metadata to Files from the
situation where I’m making use of metadata
menu. The problem, of course, is that this
that can’t be preserved in the XMP sidecar
puts you in charge of when those updates are
files for my photos.
applied. If your catalog becomes corrupted at
Collections can be a little bit trickier, because
a time when you haven’t saved updates in a
they are such a useful feature in Lightroom.
while, you’ll be in a similar position in terms
In effect, a collection provides a way for
of lost data as though
you to group images
you hadn’t been writing
together by something
The information that
those changes to the
other than the folder
XMP files at all and were
in which the actual
is not saved in XMP
instead depending up on
photos are contained.
the catalog backup.
For example, I might
sidecar files includes
photograph birds in a
Missing Metadata
pick flags, membership in wide variety of locations
over the course of time.
Perhaps the most
collections, history, and
With a collection I
important thing to keep
can group my favorite
in mind is that writing
virtual copies.
bird images together
metadata updates to
regardless of which
XMP sidecar files,
trip a given photo was
even automatically,
captured on. When you add a photo to a
doesn’t provide you with a complete lack of
collection you aren’t creating another copy of
dependence upon your Lightroom catalog.
the image, but rather just creating a reference
The reason is that certain information about
to the original.
your images is only written to the Lightroom
catalog, not to the XMP sidecar files, because
Of course, you could achieve much the same
those values are not defined in existing
result through the use of keywords. In this
metadata specifications.
example I might just add the keyword “BestBirds” to each of my bird images that I would
The information that is not saved in XMP
otherwise add to a collection. I can then filter
sidecar files includes pick flags, membership
based on that keyword anytime I want to view
in collections (smart or standard), history,
those images, and I’ve achieved what is in
and virtual copies.
effect the same result I would have otherwise
Avoiding pick flags is relatively easy. You can
achieved with a collection.
utilize star ratings instead of pick flags, for
Smart collections aren’t quite as easy to
example. Of course, that’s not necessarily
replace in and of themselves, but keep in
an ideal solution if you prefer the “yes or
mind that a smart collection is really just
no” approach the pick flags are aimed at, as
a saved search query. You can very easily
use the Library Filter to search for images
meeting specific criteria at any time. As such,
smart collections certainly serve as a bit of
a time saver (and perhaps a memory aid for
certain searches that can be helpful), but
they aren’t impossible to replace through
other means.
The risk of losing the history for my images
is something I’m really not worried about.
Sure, reviewing the history for an image can
be helpful. And from time-to-time I might
actually take a step back in history. But that
is pretty rare, and I can assure you it isn’t
because I don’t make mistakes or change my
mind when working in Lightroom. Rather,
because everything you do in Lightroom is
non-destructive, you’re never really taking
any great risks with your images. If you
decide you’re not happy with a particular
adjustment, for example, instead of stepping
back in history you can simply go back to that
adjustment and change it or revert it to the
original value.
Virtual copies are certainly a helpful feature
in Lightroom, though it happens that I don’t
tend to use virtual copies all that often. When
you create a virtual copy of a photo in your
Lightroom catalog, you are effectively able to
create two unique versions of the same image
within the Develop module. For example,
you might apply a variety of adjustments that
serve as a basic optimization for a photo,
then create a virtual copy and create a black
and white version of the same photo. This
isn’t something you can easily work around,
at least in terms of retaining the same
capabilities. You could create a new derivative
image by sending your original to Photoshop
or Photoshop Elements, for example, but that
If you utilize virtual copies in Lightroom, it is important to keep in mind that those virtual copies are only stored within the
Lightroom catalog, and therefore are not protected by writing metadata to XMP sidecar files.
doesn’t provide the same flexibility and it
also consumes considerably more hard drive
space. Therefore, if you utilize virtual copies
you have a dependence on the Lightroom
catalog for which there isn’t a workaround.
Recovering Photo Info
If your Lightroom catalog becomes corrupted,
you have only a few basic options. You can
simply start from scratch, accepting that
all of the information about your photos,
adjustments you’ve applied, and more, have
been lost. This obviously is not even remotely
acceptable for most photographers.
The second option is to recover from a backup
of your catalog. If you have a recent backup,
you can simply restore from that backup and
continue working in Lightroom. The problem
is that you then need to figure out what
information had been added since your last
backup, and then go through the process of
adding that information again. This, of course,
can be a bit frustrating. But this approach does
enable you to preserve the catalog-specific
information that was included in your most
recent backup.
The third option
involves virtually no
work at all, although it
can involve a bit of time
while Lightroom rebuilds a catalog. All you
need to do for this third
option is create a new
catalog in Lightroom,
and then import all of
your images directly
from the hard drive they
are stored on. All of the
information contained
in the XMP sidecar
files for your RAW
captures will thus be included in this new
catalog. If you had taken the steps outlined
above to minimize (or even eliminate) your
dependence on the catalog, you will recover
the information you care most about for
your photos. Lightroom won’t take very long
to import the images themselves, but there
will be a fair amount of processing time to
re-create the previews for your photos. You
can still use Lightroom during that time,
but performance will be quite slow until the
processing is complete.
Peace of Mind
There’s no question that the features in
Lightroom that depend upon the catalog can
be very valuable. As a result, you may not
be willing to bypass some of those features
simply to maintain a lack of dependence
on the catalog. However, if you take steps
to minimize your exposure to information
loss in the event of a catalog becoming
corrupt, you’ll ensure that the impact of such
corruption will be quite minimal.
If you maintain catalog independence, if a catalog becomes corrupted you can simply create a
new empty catalog and import all of your existing images to recover image metadata.
Cable Release
By Tim Grey
Turn Your Smartphone into a
Very Smart Cable Release
I really enjoy when technology provides great
value and isn’t just employed for the sake
of technology. And I also enjoy surprises—
at least when they’re the good kind. So I
was extremely happy when I tested out the
Triggertrap device that enables you to use a
smartphone as a cable release.
I was intrigued when I initially heard about the
concept of using my phone as a cable release,
though I frankly hadn’t done any research
on the Triggertrap before receiving it. When
the Triggertrap arrived in the mail, the only
thing in the box was a cable for connecting my
smartphone to the cable release plug on my
camera. This didn’t leave the impression that I
was going to have any great functionality at my
disposal, and I wondered if I was simply going
to have “yet another” cable release that didn’t
offer any value.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The key to the Triggertrap setup is really the
application for your smartphone. The app is
free, and available for both Apple iOS and
Google Android devices. Once the application
is installed on your device, you can simply
plug the phone to your camera using your
Triggertrap dongle, launch the app, and get
ready for some fun and creative photography.
To be sure, the Triggertrap app can be used as
a simple cable release. But it also enables you
to capture a sequence of time-lapse images,
The Triggertrap app for smartphones combines with a dongle connecting the phone to the camera, enabling some very powerful
cable release features.
capture an image in response to a sound, use
your smartphone as a motion detector for
triggering capture, and much more.
Once you’ve launched the Triggertrap app on
your device and connected the device to your
camera, you’ll want to be sure to establish
the Camera Setup options. This is mostly a
matter of choosing a preset based on your
camera and setup. For example, I tested the
Triggertrap with a Canon digital SLR, and
wanted to utilize manual focus, so I chose the
“Canon Manual Focus” preset.
Timelapse — This is a basic time-lapse
feature, enabling you specify how many
images you would like to capture and what
span of time you would like those photos
captured in. I would prefer the option to
simply specify the interval, rather than
having to use these other parameters to
establish that interval. But the options
The DistanceLapse feature is one of the more creative cable
release options for Triggertrap, allowing you to capture a
series of time-lapse on the move with the interval between
captures based on distance traveled.
You can also choose specific settings for the
shutter, focus, your device’s internal camera,
and WiFi triggering so another device on
the same network can be used to trigger your
camera. For most users the default settings
will work perfectly fine for these
additional options.
With the device configured, you’re ready to
have some fun. On the home page of the app
you’ll find a wide variety of capture options,
which are as follows:
Cable Release — This is the most basic
option, although it includes some nice
features as well. You can simply tap a button
to take a photo with the connected camera,
but you also have options to tap-and-hold
for as long as you’d like to keep the shutter
open (with the camera set to Bulb), tap once
to start and once again to stop the exposure,
and to specify a particular exposure duration
and then tap to take the photo.
Bang — This shooting mode uses the built-in
microphone on your smartphone to trigger
the shutter. At a very basic level you could
simply clap to trigger the shutter. But you can
also utilize this feature to capture a scene just
as a loud event occurs.
provided do enable you to capture timelapse captures very easily.
relatively slow shutter speeds to achieve
longer exposures.
TimeWarp — The TimeWarp option is a
variation on the Timelapse option, with
the added feature of being able to have the
capture interval accelerate or decelerate to
produce some interesting effects with the
moving subjects in your scene.
LE HDR Timelapse — This option combines
the Timelapse feature with the LE HDR
feature to enable you to capture a sequence
of images to produce a high-dynamic range
time-lapse video.
DistanceLapse — This is an option I wish
I had when I was capturing on-the-move
time-lapse videos while driving crosscountry. With DistanceLapse you are
capturing frames for a time-lapse video, but
with the interval based on distance traveled
rather than time. The internal GPS receiver
is used to determine the distance traveled for
purposes of triggering the camera’s shutter.
The Star Trail option for Triggertrap allows you automate
the process of capturing a series of nighttime photos that can
be blended together to create a star trail image.
Seismic — With the Seismic trigger
option, bumps or vibrations detected by
the accelerometer in your smartphone will
trigger the shutter. This can obviously be used
in a variety of different scenarios where, for
example, a moving subject causes movement
that will be “felt” by your smartphone.
Peekaboo — This option makes me think
about setting up an automated photo booth
at a party. The internal camera in your
smartphone is used to determine when
there are a specified number of faces in the
frame, and the connected camera’s shutter
is then triggered.
Star Trail — The Star Trail option allows you
to capture a series of individual exposures of
the night sky that can later be assembled into
a single seamless image that features long star
trails with minimal noise.
LE HDR — This option enables you to
capture a sequence of exposures at different
exposure values, in order to create a highdynamic range (HDR) result, but utilizing
Tesla — The Tesla option is quite unique,
and takes advantage of the sensor in your
smartphone that measures changes in
magnetic field. Thus, moving a magnet
toward or away from your smartphone will
cause the shutter to be triggered.
Motion — This option literally turns your
smartphone into a motion detector for
purposes of capturing a photo. You need
to mount your smartphone securely, and
then capture a reference photo of the scene.
You can specify a percentage of change in
the scene required to trigger the shutter.
In other words, when something within
the scene moves or enters the frame, a
photograph is captured.
Bramping — With the Bramping option
you can capture a sequence of time-lapse
images with the exposure adjusted via the
shutter speed slowly over time. For example,
if you are capturing a time-lapse at sunset,
you can anticipate how the light will change,
and therefore what the starting and ending
exposure values might be. You can then have
Triggertrap automatically adjust the exposure
time slowly over the duration of your timelapse capture so you end up with a smooth
transition of exposure settings.
Wi-Fi Slave — This option allows you to
utilize another device on the same Wi-Fi
network to trigger your camera’s shutter. In
effect, you are simply extending your reach
so you can trigger from a location other than
beside your camera, as long as you are in
range of the Wi-Fi signal.
Triggertrap Impressions
The Triggertrap dongle and cable kit is
specific to the camera you will be triggering,
with most kits selling in the $24.99 to $29.99
price range. The accompanying application
for your smartphone is free. A wide range
of cameras are supported, including most
models from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and others.
A full list of supported cameras can be found
on the Triggertrap website, which you can
find at http://www.triggertrap.com.
The dongle is very straightforward and easy
to connect. I do wish the cable were a bit
longer so the smartphone wouldn’t need to be
quite so close to the camera. This would allow
me to put my smartphone into a backpack
hanging from the center column of my tripod
during capture, for example.
The application is quite easy to use, and offers
a wide variety of useful and creative capture
options. There are a few features I would like
to see modified slightly, but overall I was
happy with the available options and basic
operation of the software.
In short, this is a relatively inexpensive tool
that makes it possible to trigger your camera
based on a variety of inputs. The result is a
lot of utility representing great value for the
price. Perhaps even better, the various options
are bound to provide some inspiration as
you figure out unique ways to put the various
trigger options to use.
A Question Worth Contemplating...
By Tim Grey
I think it is fair to say that all photographers
who ever photographed with film tend to
capture more images with digital than they
did with film, simply because the incremental
cost per capture is effectively zero with
digital. That’s not to say digital photography
is necessarily cheaper than film photography
was. We can still most certainly spend
plenty of money when it comes to digital
photography. But the point is there seems to
be a tendency to capture more images when
there isn’t a sense that each image captured
costs you more money.
Your results will certainly vary, but the fact of
the matter is that all photographers will—at
least from time to time—end up with images
they don’t really have any use for. These are
the outtakes, the discards, or the rejects. So,
do you delete those images?
I suspect most photographers have a quick
answer to that question. They either fall into
the “yes” camp or the “no” camp, and there
probably isn’t much (if any) hesitation in
answering whether the outtakes get deleted.
This may very well be a simple matter of
your personality.
I often talk about my good friend, the
exceptional bird photographer Arthur
Morris (an interview with Arthur Morris
appeared in the December 2012 issue
of Pixology magazine). On a variety of
occasions I’ve found myself looking over
Artie’s shoulder as he sorted through his
images. And many times I’ve seen him delete
images that are better than the best bird
photos I’ve ever captured.
This is what we call “tight editing”, and there
is certainly value in this approach. When I
would ask Artie why he was deleting such
great images, he explained in a matter-offact tone that he already had better images
of that particular species. That makes
perfect sense, and yet I don’t feel entirely
comfortable with that approach.
The key benefit of tight editing is that you
don’t have as many images to deal with. You’ll
require less storage space for your images,
you’ll have an easier time finding a particular
image, and you’ll have the confidence that all
of the images in your catalog are worthy of
putting to use.
But I’m not a tight editor. In fact, it is pretty
rare that I delete any photos. I can provide
you with some reasons for this approach, but
it is probably best to understand up front that
the reasons are at least to some extent just
rationalizations for my preferred approach.
That’s not to say the reasons formulated after
the fact aren’t valid, but I’d be the first to
admit that some perspective is warranted.
The real reason I rarely delete images has a lot
to do with the reason I got into photography
in the first place. To me photography is first
and foremost about preserving memories.
That can mean many different things. A
photograph can capture a sentimental
moment, a person who is important to you,
a scene you enjoyed viewing, a place you
enjoyed visiting, or many other things that
are considered important.
One of the things I’ve often worried about in
the context of digital photography is the loss
of the memories that have been recorded in
photographs. With film there was a tendency
to store all of your images in one place, and
to provide at least some degree of protection
from the elements for those images.
With digital, there are more opportunities
to protect our valuable memories, such as by
backing up our images multiple times, storing
a backup in a different physical location,
and more. But it also seems there are more
opportunities to lose our memories. Files
can become corrupted and hard drives can
fail, among other potential calamities. And
sometimes that calamity is simple oversight.
Perhaps you replace a computer with a new
one, and forget about a few “extra” locations
on the old computer’s hard drive where
digital photos had been stored.
I worry that photographic memories
might get lost. And in my own life I’ve
had situations where an image that surely
{{ … a storage cost of
less than a tenth of a
penny per image. }}
deserved to be thrown away based on
technical merit represented a tremendously
important memory on an emotional level. In
those situations I was very grateful I hadn’t
deleted images.
process of deleting the images doesn’t feel
worth the effort considering all I need to
do in order to view only the images I might
actually use is to filter the images within a
given folder based on star rating.
So, that’s the real reason I tend not to delete
images. I’m worried that at some point later
the images will have value to me that I can’t
anticipate today.
Very typically I’ll filter images so that I can
only see those with a one star or greater
rating. That way I don’t waste any time
reviewing images I am not likely to use. But
that leads to another benefit of this approach.
On more than one occasion I have felt that
the images I had assigned star ratings to
didn’t represent all of the images I might want
to use. In other words, some of the outtakes
were worth using after all.
What about some of the rationalizations for
this behavior then? Well, there are a few.
To begin with, hard drive storage space is
pretty inexpensive. I currently have about
a quarter million images on my primary
external hard drive, consuming the better
part of a three terabyte hard drive. There
are a variety of external hard drives at this
capacity available for around $150. Even
if you factor in an additional backup drive
with the same capacity, that still takes
the total cost for all that storage to only
about $300. That represents a storage cost
of about a tenth of a penny per image. I
consider that to be pretty cheap.
One of the other reasons I don’t delete bad
images is that I just don’t feel it is worth the
effort. My general approach to selecting
favorite images is to apply star ratings. I sort
through all of the photos from a given shoot,
and assign star ratings where a one-star rating
represents an image I like or otherwise think
I might put to use at some point. Two or
three stars mean the image is even better, and
a four or five star rating is reserved for my
favorite images.
Because I tend not to delete any images, at
any time I can turn off my filter and see all the
photos in a given folder. And if I’ve selected
a particular image and want to see similar
images, those will most likely “magically”
appear right next to the selected image, since
the same subject is often captured multiple
times in a single session.
I’m not suggesting that my approach is
the right approach for all photographers. I
am remarkably confident that I will never
convince Arthur Morris to stop deleting
photos that I wish he’d just pass along to me
instead. And I’ll bet Artie will never convince
me to start deleting images.
However, I think it is worth giving some
thought to both sides of the equation here,
even if that thought leads you to be even
more resolute in your existing opinion.
In theory I could certainly delete all of the
images that don’t have a star rating once I’m
finished with that process. But if I were to do
so, I would want to review all of the images
again to be sure I really wanted to delete
them. Even if I skipped that review step, the
al i gned Cleanup
A Feature in Photoshop
and Photoshop Elements
Helps Keep Pixels Aligned
During Image Cleanup
By Tim Grey
I’ve become a big fan of the Spot Healing
Brush tool in Photoshop, in large part
because it enables me to work fast since
the tool will automatically select which
pixels within the photo should be used
to perform the cleanup work. However,
in some cases that automatic selection of
source pixels actually causes the cleanup
work to be less effective. In fact, when
the cleanup work needs to be performed
in areas where there are straight lines or
other clearly defined shapes, alignment
can be critical to your work.
In situations where the alignment of source
and destination pixels for image-cleanup
is critical, you’ll want to use one of the
“manual” cleanup tools. Those include the
Clone Stamp and Healing Brush tools.
Basic Operation
The basic use of the Clone Stamp and Healing
Brush tools is rather straightforward. I
recommend working on a separate empty
image layer so you can work non-destructively.
The first step then is to click on the thumbnail
for the top-most image layer on the Layers
panel (which may very well be the Background
image layer) and then click the Create New
Layer button (the blank sheet of paper icon) on
the Layers panel. You can double-click on the
name of the new layer to type a new name if
you’d like to rename the new layer.
Next, select the desired image cleanup tool
from the toolbox. In the case of being able to
control the alignment of pixels that means
you need to select either the Clone Stamp
tool or the Healing Brush tool, since those
are the cleanup tools that allow you to choose
a source area of the image for the pixels you
will use to paint your corrections.
Once you’ve selected one of these cleanup
tools, set the Sample popup on the Options
bar to All Layers, and turn on the option
button to the right of the popup so the effect
of adjustment layers will be ignored for
purposes of the image cleanup.
At this point you’re ready to perform your
actual cleanup work. In general concept
this is very easy. Simply configure the brush
settings for the tool as desired, hold the Alt/
Option key and click on a source area of the
image, then paint in the area of the image
that needs to be cleaned up. This can be a
bit of a challenge, however, when perfect
alignment between source and destination
pixels is necessary.
Aligning Pixels
If you are performing image-cleanup
work in an area of a photo that requires
accurate alignment, it can quickly become
very frustrating using the basic method of
choosing a source and then painting in the
destination area where the cleanup is needed.
You can certainly work very carefully to
ensure that the source and destination areas
remain aligned as you move the mouse, but
there is a much easier solution.
The key is to make use of the Clone Source
panel, and specifically a single checkbox
on that panel. To access the Clone Source
panel in Photoshop, choose Window >
Clone Source from the menu, and the Clone
Source panel will appear. In Photoshop
Elements after choosing the Clone Stamp
tool click the Clone Overlay button on the
The Show Overlay checkbox in the Clone Source panel makes
it easy to align pixels when working with the Clone Stamp
and Healing Brush tools.
Options bar at the bottom of the Elements
Editor window. You can then turn on the
Show Overlay checkbox.
It should be noted that there are also a variety
of other options available to you on the
Clone Source panel, especially in Photoshop.
Frankly, I don’t find most of these options to
be all that helpful, and I rarely put them to
use. The Show Overlay feature, however, can
be incredibly helpful.
With the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tool
active, when you hold the Alt key on Windows
or the Option key on Macintosh and click on
a specific area of an image you are defining
the area that should be used as the source for
cleanup. For example, if you need to clean a
With the Show Overlay checkbox turned on in the Clone Source panel, you can see an overlay of the source pixels as you position
your mouse when working with the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tools, helping ensure perfectly aligned cleanup.
dust spot from the sky you could hold the Alt/
Option key and click on a clean portion of the
sky, then release the Alt/Option key and paint
in the area of the blemish.
When you have the Show Overlay checkbox
turned on, instead of the normal brush
shape icon for your mouse, you will see the
source pixels reflected within the brush circle.
As a result, you can very easily align the
source pixels before you start painting in the
destination area, enabling you to work very
precisely and efficiently.
In addition to the basic capability of the
Show Overlay option, at times you may find
you need to paint in a straight line when
performing image-cleanup work. If so, you can
take advantage of an option for automatically
painting in a straight line when working with
the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tools (or
virtually any other brush tool in Photoshop).
To paint in a perfectly straight line, rather
than clicking and dragging from one point
to another, start off by simply clicking at the
point where you want the stroke to begin.
Then move the mouse pointer to the end of
the line you want to paint, hold the Shift key,
and click again. The two points you clicked
will be connected with a brush stroke, which
in the context of the Clone Stamp or Healing
Brush tools means the area along that brush
stroke will be cleaned up.
As much as I find the Show Overlay option
to be incredibly helpful when accurate
alignment is necessary for image cleanup, I
find the overlay display incredibly distracting
when I don’t actually need it. Therefore, my
preference is to turn off the Show Overlay
checkbox as soon as I’m finished with the
portion of my cleanup work that requires
precise alignment.
Manual Patching
In some cases you may find that working
with the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tool
in conjunction with the Show Overlay option
still doesn’t provide quite the level of control
needed to properly align pixels when cleaning
up an image. In those cases I utilize a process
I refer to as manual patching.
To get started, create a selection that covers
the area you want to use as the source of
cleanup, but make sure that selection extends
a little beyond the area you’ll actually be
repairing, in order to provide some flexibility.
Then, with the selection tool set to the New
Selection option (not the Add to, Subtract
from, or Intersect with option), point the
mouse inside the selection and drag it to the
area you’d like to use as the source of pixels
for cleanup. Make sure the appropriate layer
that contains the source pixels is active on
the Layers panel. Next, choose Layer > New >
Layer Via Copy from the menu. You can also
press Ctrl+J on Windows or Command+J
on Macintosh to access the Layer Via Copy
command. The result will be a new layer
containing only the pixels you had selected.
At this point you can reduce the Opacity
setting for this duplicate layer using the
control on the Layers panel. I generally
work with a value of about 50%, so that I
can see the underlying pixels as well as the
duplicated pixels for purposes of evaluating
alignment. I then use the Move tool to drag
the duplicate pixels into position. If needed,
you can use the Free Transform command
(Edit > Transform on Photoshop, or Image
> Transform > Free Transform on Elements)
The “manual patching” technique allows you to copy pixels from one area of an image to another with considerable control as
you work to correct blemishes and distractions from your photos.
to adjust the overall size and shape of the
duplicate pixel layer, pressing Enter/Return
on the keyboard to apply the change.
When you’re happy with the size and position
of the duplicate pixel layer, you can return the
Opacity back to a value of 100%. At this point
the pixels should align well, but since you
included more pixels than necessary and the
edges likely won’t align perfectly, you’ll want
to blend the edges.
This involves adding a layer mask to the layer
containing the duplicate pixels, so click the
Add Layer Mask button (the circle inside of
a square icon) on the Layers panel. You can
then use the Brush tool with the Hardness
value reduced at least a little to paint with
black to block areas of the duplicate pixel
layer. At the very least you will want to
paint with a moderately soft-edged brush
around the entire perimeter of this cleanup
layer, so that those edges will blend in to
the surrounding photo. However, you may
also need to paint further into some areas to
achieve better blending. At any time you can
switch the foreground color to white and then
paint with the Brush tool to reveal previously
hidden areas of this cleanup layer.
It can be tremendously satisfying when image
cleanup requires a simple click with the Spot
Healing Brush. But when you need a bit
more precision, I think you’ll find that taking
advantage of the Show Overlay option for
the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tools, or
utilizing a manual patching technique, will
help you achieve a blemish-free image of the
highest quality.
To learn more about cleaning up blemishes and distractions in your
digital photos using Photoshop, take a look at “Photoshop CS6 Image
Cleanup Workshop”. This video training course features over two
hours of high-definition video to help you make the most of your
image-cleanup efforts.
You can view sample lessons, get more information, or purchase this
course through the Tim Grey video2brain online store here:
Exporting from Elements
Creating Copies of Photos
for Sharing Outside the
Elements Organizer
By Tim Grey
One of the key advantages of using
Photoshop Elements to manage your images
is that the Organizer makes it remarkably
easy to share your images in a variety of
ways. You can very easily share photos and
videos via Facebook, send a photo as an email
attachment, post to Flickr or SmugMug, and
much more. But what about situations where
you need to share via a method that isn’t
included among the options provided with
the Elements Organizer?
In those cases, you’ll want to take
advantage of the option to export your
images from the Organizer in a variety of
formats. In other words, to make a new
copy of your image, possibly in a different
file format, ready to share any way you’d
like. For example, if you’re going to have
a lab make a print of one of your favorite
photos, you might export a high-quality
TIFF image. If you’re going to provide
low-resolution copies of a large number
of photos to a friend, it may be more
convenient to copy those photos to a flash
drive rather than send them via email.
The first thing to keep in mind when
exporting images is that you are creating
additional copies of your photos. You will
not be removing the original photos from the
Organizer, and the new copies of the photos
The first step to exporting images from the Elements Organizer is to select the images you would like to export.
you create in the export process will not be
added to your Organizer catalog. Instead, you
are creating new images based on the originals
you select, and those copies will reflect any
changes you’ve applied to the photos via, for
example, the Elements Editor.
The basic process of exporting images from
the Elements Organizer is very simple. The
first step is to select the images you want
to export, or make sure that no images are
selected if you want all photos in the current
location to be exported. If you have a photo
selected and want to deselect all photos, you
can click on an empty space surrounding one
of the photo thumbnails, or simply choose
Edit > Deselect from the menu.
To initiate the export process, choose File >
Export as New File(s) from the menu. If you
don’t have any photos selected in the current
view you’ll be asked if you are sure you want
to export all of the images currently visible
in the Organizer. That can include all images
in your entire catalog, or all images in the
currently selected folder, for example. You
can simply click Yes to confirm you do want
to export all of the current images.
You’ll then be presented with the Export
New Files dialog. Most of the dialog will
be taken up by a thumbnail display of
the images currently selected for export.
If you change your mind about which
photos should be exported, you don’t
need to cancel the export process at this
point. Instead you can simply select one
or more images you’d like to exclude from
the export process and then click the
Remove button at the bottom-left of the
Export New Files dialog. If you’d like to
add additional images to list of those to
be exported, click the Add button at the
bottom-left of the dialog, which will bring
up the Add Media dialog.
In the Add Media dialog you can specify
whether you want to choose from all media
in your Organizer catalog, or only the
images that are currently visible within the
Organizer (for example, images in a specific
folder you’ve selected). You can also filter
the images in a variety of ways. You can
click the Advanced header to expand the list
of available filter options, and then choose
to filter images based on a specific Album,
Keyword Tag, and tags for People, Places, or
Events. There are also checkboxes that allow
you to further filter the images to only show
those with a star rating applied or to display
hidden media.
Once you’ve established which images will
actually be available within the Add Media
dialog, you can select one or more images you’d
like to include among those to be exported.
Besides selecting individual images you can also
click the Select All button at the bottom-left of
the Add Media dialog. Once you’ve selected
the images to include for export, click the
Add Selected Media and they will be included
among those to be exported. You can continue
this process of filtering, selecting, and adding
images until all images you want to export have
been added. Once you’ve added the desired
images to the export, you can click Done to
close the Add Media dialog.
The Add Media dialog allows you to search for images from your Elements Organizer catalog to be exported that you hadn’t
selected when you first initiated the export process.
The Export New Files dialog allows you to establish the settings for the new image files you will create as part of the export
process from the Elements Organizer.
The next step is to specify the settings for the
actual export. At the top-right of the Export
New Files dialog you can choose the file type
you’d like to use for the exported images.
The first option is Use Original Format,
which will create copies of the images in
their original file format. For example, if
you took advantage of your camera’s RAW
capture capability for the selected images, the
exported files will also be RAW files.
In most cases you will likely want to use
something other than the original file format
for exported images, simply because the
intended use for those exported photos will
dictate the file format that makes the most
sense. For example, if you want to keep the
image files as small as possible you might use
the JPEG file format. For images that will be
printed and for which you want to maintain
maximum quality, you would likely use the
TIFF file format.
After selecting the desired file format, you
can establish Size and Quality settings as
appropriate to the file format you are using
for export. If you select the option to Use
Original Format, you won’t be able to adjust
these settings at all. If you specify the TIFF
file format, you can adjust the size, but there
is no option for Quality. And for JPEG
images, you can adjust both the Photo Size
and Quality settings.
The Photo Size option is a popup, where you
can select from some typical output sizes, such
as 800x600 pixels or 1024x768 pixels. You
can also choose Original if you don’t want the
images to be resized at all, or Custom if you
want to specify dimensions not available from
the list. When you choose Custom from the
popup the Custom Size dialog will appear,
where you can enter values for Width and
Height in pixels. That means you’ll need to
calculate the number of pixels you need if, for
example, you’ll be sending the exported images
to a lab for printing. In this case you’ll need
to know the desired output size as well as the
output resolution to be used. For example, at
a typical 300 pixel per inch (ppi) resolution, if
the images are being printed at about an 8x10inch size, you’ll need the images to be sized
to about 2400x3000 pixels. After entering the
appropriate values in the Custom Size dialog,
click the OK button.
The Quality slider is only available if you
have selected to export your photos as JPEG
images. My general approach is to use the
maximum value of 12 if the images will
be printed or I am otherwise prioritizing
image quality over file size. For situations
where I want to keep the files as small as
possible, such as for online display, I set the
Quality value to 8, which represents a good
compromise between quality and file size.
With your basic output settings established,
you can choose where you want the exported
images copied. To specify a location, click the
Browse button and use the Specify Export
Directory dialog to navigate to the desired
location. You can also click the New Folder
button if you’d like to create a new folder to
contain the exported images. In most cases
I will export to a folder on my Desktop,
making it easy to find the folder (and thus the
images) so the exported images can be copied
to another device or otherwise put to use.
Once you’ve specified the export location,
click the OK button in the Specify Export
Directory dialog.
The final option relates to the filenames for
the exported images. If you will be sharing
the images with others and they may need to
communicate with you about a specific photo,
I recommend using the Original Names option
so that the filename of the exported image
will match the filename of the image in your
catalog (with the possible exception of the
filename extension, of course). In that case it
can be a good idea to make sure you’re using
meaningful filenames within the Organizer
before initiating the export process.
In cases where you want to use unique
filenames for the images, you can choose
the Common Base Name option, and then
type a basic filename in the text box below
this option. When the images are actually
exported a sequence number will be added to
this base filename for each image, so that each
exported file has a unique name.
With all of the settings established, you’re
ready to begin the export process. Simply click
the Export button at the bottom-right of the
Export New Files dialog, and Elements will
get to work processing the selected images.
When the process is complete, you’ll receive a
confirmation message letting you know how
many images were exported. You can then
navigate to the location you specified for the
export, and the exported images will be there,
ready for you to put to use.
Once the export process is complete a dialog will indicate
how many images were successfully exported.
Ye a r i n R e v i e w
The making of a time-lapse video
featuring every photograph from 2012
By Tim Grey
I guess it was the combination of enjoying
time-lapse photography and also having
a tendency to look back on the prior year
whenever New Year’s Day rolls around
that led me to create a video recently. The
video is a little under five minutes in length,
and features essentially all of my “real”
photographs from 2012. That was a total of
15,993 images, and I assembled them at 60
frames per second in order to ensure the final
video wouldn’t be too long.
To be sure, the video flies by very quickly
(and 2012 seemed to do the same). Plenty of
viewers pointed out that the video can be a bit
difficult on the eyes. I think the trick is to not
try too hard to identify each subject, since the
photos go by so quickly, but rather just take in
the overall sense of the video.
I have a variety of ideas for making the video
better. For example, I’ve contemplated only
including the horizontal shots, so that there
isn’t the sense of additional flicker caused by
the switch between horizontals and verticals.
That would obviously result in fewer images,
enabling me to assemble the time-lapse
at perhaps 30 frames per second (or even
slower) so that the images don’t fly by so fast.
I’ve also contemplated taking the editing a bit
further, so that for example I could have some
of my favorite images of the year linger a bit
longer while the not-so-great photos continue
to fly by very quickly.
While I continue to ponder what other fun I
might have with this little project, I thought
I would respond to some of the requests for
a “how-to” guide by presenting the process I
used to create the video in the first place.
Here’s the process I used to create the 2012
year-in-review time-lapse video:
I utilized a variety of software tools to create
the final video. I employed Adobe Photoshop
Lightroom to identify the images to include
as well as to create JPEG versions of the
photos at a smaller size, Adobe Photoshop
to perform some additional batch processing
for those images, Apple QuickTime Pro 7
to assemble the basic time-lapse video, and
Adobe Premiere Pro to add some finishing
touches, including music and title slides.
The final rendered video was then shared via
YouTube (http://youtu.be/b9sZjuwKRwY).
Step 1: Access All
The first step was to ensure I had access to
all of my photographs, so I’d be sure to find
every image from 2012 that I wanted to
include in the time-lapse video. So, with my
master Lightroom catalog open, I clicked All
Photographs in the Catalog section of the left
panel in the Library module. That meant I
was browsing all 247,179 photos currently in
my catalog.
The first step in creating my year-in-review time-lapse video was to access all of my photographs in Lightroom.
The Library Filter enabled me to very easily filter my images to include only my RAW captures photographed during 2012.
Step 2: Filter the Images
With all of my images displayed in
Lightroom, I obviously needed to narrow
the field a bit. This is where the Library Filter
proved incredibly valuable. You can display
the filter bar by pressing the backslash key (\)
or by choosing View > Show Filter Bar from
the menu.
In this case I wanted to use metadata values
to filter my images, so I clicked the Metadata
option on the filter bar. I then clicked on the
popup at the header of the first column, and
chose Date. I selected 2012 from the list of
years that appeared in that column, based on
the dates of all photographs in my catalog.
This narrowed the field to 25,604 images.
I then set the second column to File Type.
I only wanted to include RAW captures in
this project, in part because those are what I
consider my “real” photographs. For example,
when I capture a time-lapse sequence I set the
camera to capture in JPEG mode. Choosing
to view only my RAW captures narrowed the
list of images to 16,775.
In theory these two filter options would have
provided me with all of the images I wanted
to include in my time-lapse project. However,
at times when I’m leading a workshop or
speaking at an event, attendees will capture
photographs of me and send them along.
Sometimes those include RAW captures,
and I add them in a sub-folder below the
folder containing my photographs from
that particular trip. So, to filter out images I
didn’t capture with my own camera, I set the
third column to Camera Serial Number and
selected my camera’s serial number from the
list. This brought the number of images down
to 16,668.
Step 3: Export the Photos
With the images filtered in Lightroom based
on the criteria I had specified, I was ready
to export those images. I made sure the sort
order was set to Capture Time by choosing
View > Sort > Capture Time from the menu,
so that the images would all be listed in the
order I captured them.
Next, I selected all of the images, which
can be done by pressing Command+A on
Macintosh or Ctrl+A on Windows, or by
choosing Edit > Select All from the menu. I
then clicked the Export button at the bottom
of the left panel in the Library module to
bring up the Export Files dialog.
In most cases when I am exporting images
from Lightroom I will have them saved into a
folder on the desktop, so that they are readily
accessible. So, I chose the Specific Folder
option from the Export To popup, and then
clicked the Choose button and chose the
desktop as the destination. I then turned on
the Put in Subfolder checkbox and typed a
descriptive name for that folder.
I used the “Custom Name – Sequence” preset
in the File Renaming section of the Export
Files dialog, though I modified that preset
so that it would use a five-digit sequence
number to allow for the large number of
images I was exporting. I then entered
descriptive text in the Custom Text field for
the base filename for each image, making sure
the Start Number was set to 1.
Under File Settings I set the Image Format
to JPEG, the Quality to 100, and the Color
Space to sRGB. These settings would ensure
relatively small file sizes while retaining good
image quality and vibrant colors.
The Export settings were established based on the intentions for the final time-lapse video.
In the Image Sizing section I turned on the
checkbox and set the popup to Width &
Height. I then set the W (Width) value to
720 and the H (Height) value to 480, with the
popup following those values set to pixels.
This would produce images that fit within the
standard DVD Video dimensions. I certainly
could have created images at larger pixel
dimensions to produce a high-definition
video, but in this case I was just having a
bit of fun and planning to post the video to
YouTube, so DVD Video dimensions
worked well.
With the settings for my images established
I clicked the Export button, and Lightroom
began processing my images. I then headed
out for dinner and otherwise kept myself
distracted, since the process of converting
16,668 RAW captures into lower-resolution
JPEG images requires a bit of time.
Step 4: Create an Action
At this point my images were theoretically
ready to assemble into a time-lapse video.
However, because the set of images consisted
of both horizontal and vertical photos, I
needed to process them further. That is
based in part on the software I was using—
Apple QuickTime Pro 7—to assemble my
time-lapse video. With this software (and
a variety of other time-lapse tools) images
that don’t fit the frame will be resized to fit,
causing the vertical images in this case to be
stretched and distorted. I needed to process
the vertical images so they would have the
same pixel dimensions as the horizontal
The key element of the action created to batch-process the images was the Canvas Size command in Photoshop.
images, with black filling in the added space.
To perform this task, I created an action in
Photoshop and batch-processed the photos
with that action.
When I create an action I prefer to work
with an extra copy of one of the images
I plan to process with the action. This is
simply to ensure I don’t inadvertently alter
one of the images in an unintended way
while creating and testing the action. So,
I copied one of the images I had exported
from Lightroom into a test folder, and used
that as the basis of my action.
To get started creating the action I went to the
Actions panel (Window > Actions), where I
could select or create an action set to contain
the action I was going to create. I created a
new action set by clicking the folder button at
the bottom of the Actions panel, giving it the
name “TL”. I then clicked the blank sheet of
paper icon at the bottom of the Actions panel,
typed a name for the action I was creating,
and clicked the Record button.
I then opened my test image and chose Image
> Canvas Size from the menu. I started off by
setting the Canvas Extension Color popup to
Black, so that the new space created around
my images would be black. I then set the
popup to the right of the values for Width
and Height to Pixels, and set the Width value
to 720 and the Height value to 480.
These DVD Video pixel dimensions represent
an aspect ratio of 3:2, which is the same
aspect ratio as the native captures from my
digital SLR. As a result, uncropped horizontal
images are not affected by this Canvas Size
command, while vertical images would have
their canvas size enlarged to match the pixel
dimensions of the horizontal images, with
black pixels added to the left and right.
The completed action would enable the individual images to
be processed for final assembly into a time-lapse video.
Next, I chose File > Save As from the menu,
and saved the image as a JPEG with a Quality
setting of 12, which is the maximum value.
The purpose of this Save As step was not to
define the location and filename where the
action would actually save all of the processed
images, but rather to define the file format
and settings for each of the saved images.
Finally, I chose File > Close from the menu
to close the image, so that each processed
image would not remain open during batch
processing. I then clicked the “stop recording”
button (the black square icon) at the bottom
of the Actions panel, in order to stop
recording the action.
Step 5: Batch Process
then clicked the Choose button to close the
“Choose a batch folder” dialog.
With my action created, I was ready to use
that action to process all of my images.
So I chose File > Automate > Batch from
the menu to bring up the Batch dialog in
Photoshop. I made sure the Set and Action
popups were set to the action I had created
for this purpose, and then adjusted the rest of
the settings in the Batch dialog.
I then turned on the “Override Action
‘Open’ Commands” checkbox. Without this
checkbox turned on, the test image I had
opened as part of the action recording would
be opened as part of the batch processing.
In the Source section I chose Folder from the
popup, and then clicked the Choose button
and navigated to and selected the folder
that contained the images for processing,
I also turned on the “Suppress Color Profile
Warnings” checkbox. In this case I had
converted the JPEG images to the sRGB
color space when they were exported
from Lightroom, and my working space in
Photoshop was set to ProPhoto RGB. Having
this checkbox turned on ensured I would not
be warned about this mismatch.
The Batch dialog allows an action to be used to process a large number of images quickly and easily.
In the Destination section I chose Folder
from the popup, and then clicked the Choose
button. I navigated to the desktop and created
a new folder to be used as the destination of
the processed images. I also turned on the
“Override Action ‘Save As’ Commands so the
batch processing would determine the location
and filename for each image, and the action
“save as” step would only be used to specify the
file format and settings for each image.
Under File Naming I left the default values of
Document Name and Extension, so that the
filenames for the processed images would be
the same as the JPEG images that were
being processed.
With these options established, I clicked the
OK button, and Photoshop set about the task
of processing all of my images. When the
batch processing was complete, I was ready to
assemble my initial time-lapse video.
Step 6: Assembling the
Time-Lapse Video
To create the basic time-lapse video, I utilized
the Pro version of QuickTime. However, you
need to use version 7 (not the latest version)
for this processing, because the time-lapse
feature was removed from later versions of
QuickTime Pro.
I utilized a frame rate of 60 frames per second in large part
to keep the final video from being too long. Normally a rate
of 30 or even 15 frames per second would be preferred.
60 frames per second option. With the frame
rate selected, you can click the OK button and
the video will be assembled.
When the processing is complete you can
immediately play the video, but of course you’ll
want to save the video as well. So, choose File
> Save As from the menu, and in the Save
As dialog navigate to the location where you
want to save the video and provide a filename.
Choose the “Save as a self-contained movie”
option, and click Save. The time-lapse video will
then be saved, ready to share with others.
When saving the initial time-lapse video from QuickTime Pro,
it is important to use the option to save a self-contained movie.
The process of assembling a time-lapse is
incredibly simple with QuickTime Pro 7.
Simply choose File > Open Image Sequence
from the menu, and then navigate to the
location of the images to assemble, select
the first image in that folder, and click the
Open button. The Image Sequence Settings
dialog will appear, where you can choose the
frame rate for the video. The standard for
video is 29.97 frames per second, but since
I was assembling a time-lapse video with a
relatively large number of images I chose the
Step 7: Customize the
At this point you could certainly call the project
“finished”, but I wanted to customize the video
a bit more. I created a new project with Adobe
Premiere Pro, and imported the time-lapse
video I had assembled. I also created some title
and credit slides in Photoshop and imported
those into the project. For a soundtrack I made
use of the royalty-free (but donations accepted
and encouraged) music from the talented Kevin
MacLeod (http://incompetech.com/).
There are all sorts of great things I could have
done in Premiere Pro, but I chose to keep it
simple. And of course, I could have also used
a variety of other software to customize the
video. Premiere Pro just happens to be my
tool of choice for video editing.
Step 8: Share the Video
The final step, of course, was to share the
video with the world. So I uploaded the video
to my channel on YouTube (http://www.
youtube.com/timgreyvideos), wrote a blog
post about it that included an embedded
version of the video (http://timgrey.com/
blog/2013/my-photographic-year-inreview/), and shared the link to the blog post
on Facebook and elsewhere. I enjoyed reading
the comments and emails I received about
the video, and started thinking about how to
make the video even better.
When I was finished tinkering with the video
in Premiere Pro, I exported the video to render
the final result.
Once I had created my year-in-review time-lapse video, I posted the video to my YouTube channel
and included it in a blog post, so others could view and comment on the result.
Upcoming Events
Optimizing Photos in Lightroom
February 6, 2013, 5:30pm to 7:30pm
In this informative presentation hosted by Adorama in New York City, you’ll learn to truly
understand Lightroom’s Develop module, so you can master the use of this powerful software
to truly optimize your photos.
Olympic National Park Workshop - FULL
May 5-11, 2013
Experience the remarkable forests, rugged coasts, and quaint towns of the Olympic Peninsula
with this week-long workshop led by Tim Grey and Wolfgang Kaehler.
Palouse Photo Workshop
June 15-21, 2013
Experience the incredible landscape of the Palouse region of eastern Washington state with
this week-long workshop led by Tim Grey and Wolfgang Kaehler.
Lightroom Photo Project Workshop
August 4-10, 2013
With this workshop at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine, you will not only
learn from Tim Grey as you follow along, but will enhance that learning with a real-world
hands-on project.
The Magazine for Photographers
Pixology magazine is published electronically on a monthly basis. For more information, visit
Copyright © 2013 by Tim Grey. All Rights Reserved.
To contact the publisher:
Tim Grey
328 8th Avenue #132
New York, NY 10001
[email protected]
About Tim Grey
Tim Grey is regarded as one of the top educators in digital
photography and imaging, offering clear guidance on
complex subjects through his writing and speaking.
Tim has authored more than a dozen books and hundreds
of magazine articles on digital imaging for photographers,
and has produced over a dozen video training titles on a
wide variety of subjects. He publishes the Ask Tim Grey
email newsletter in addition to Pixology magazine. Tim
teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at
major events around the world.
For more information:
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capitalization style used by the manufacturer and marking those marks as either a trademark or registered trademark. All trademarks and
registered trademarks included in this book are the property of their respective owners.
The publisher has made best efforts to prepare this magazine, but makes no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to the
completeness or accuracy of the contents herein and accept no liability of any kind including but not limited to performance, merchantability,
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Parting Shot

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