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features can bog down non-designers
and, in many ways, that’s probably true
since having fewer choices often speeds
up completion of a project. But even with
limited choices (e.g., five book formats/
sizes and three paper surfaces), having
the tools to create and export your book
directly to Blurb is certainly convenient.
Template based, with some flexibility
in individual page layouts and the ability
to add text and captions, the Book module is both fun and frustrating. Using
the tools is mostly intuitive but there
are small yet important tasks—like deleting a single page—that aren’t readily
apparent. There are layout limitations as
well but with workarounds.
For example, if you don’t find a page
layout in the presets that matches
your vision, Adobe senior digital imaging evangelist and software wizard Julieanne Kost suggests you use
Photoshop to create a custom, single-page layout. Then you can just save
it as a JPEG, import it into Lightroom,
and drag and drop it onto one of your
pages. While you can’t create your own
template, per se, you can save the book
(with or without images) to use again.
You can also output the book to a PDF.
If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to
mess with the manual layout, you can
pick a template and with a click of a button Lightroom will automatically populate the pages with your images.
Once you’re finished with the layout,
just click “send book to Blurb” and you’re
pretty much done. A couple of nice
touches: the estimated price is displayed
in Lightroom and you can opt to exclude
Blurb’s logo on the printed book or save
a few dollars by letting it sit fairly unobtrusively on the bottom of the last page.
Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of geotagging nor do I use it on a regular basis;
keywords work perfectly fine for me.
But pretty much all smartphones record location data, some compact cameras are equipped with built-in GPS and
DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III offer an
optional GPS unit. If the location information is in the file, LR4 reads the meta-data and plots the images on a map.
You’ll need an Internet connection since
LR4 uses Google maps, but the whole
process is seamless.
If you don’t have a GPS-enabled
camera, there are several ways to at-
tach batches of images to various lo-
cations. You can search by location
(including address) or popular sites
like the Empire State Building and then
drag and drop images onto the loca-
tion. GPX log files can also be utilized to
match images to the log’s capture time
and plot them on the map.
THE BOT TOM LINE
You don’t have to use, or even like, all of
the new features or modules in LR4 to
appreciate the upgrade. I doubt I’ll ever
use the Map module, for example, but it
doesn’t bother me that it’s there. On the
other hand, I love being able to paint on
white balance adjustments and noise reduction. Cumulatively, however, Adobe
has moved Lightroom forward in a significant manner. We think that photographers will value the new features and
under-the-hood innovations, albeit after
a brief period of adjustment given the
changes in the Basic panel. At the same
time, Adobe has made the program more
welcoming to newcomers without compromising the professional-level core
Lightroom is known for.
PROS: More effective shadow
and highlight recovery;
additional brush-on options
(white balance, noise reduction,
moiré removal); expanded
CONS: Current users will have
to adapt their workflow to
incorporate the new Basic panel
features; minor aspects of video
options require a little hunting
around; some features in the
Book module can be confusing
and frustrating to use
PRICE: $149 full version;