Posts tagged with Lightroom plug-ins

Syncomatic 1.21: -edit and other suffixes

Syncomatic’s original idea was to sync the metadata of files where their names are the same but they have different file types – for example, from 123.cr2 to 123.tif.

However, by default Lightroom adds -edit to the file suffix when it sends a file to Photoshop and plenty of photographers identify different versions of a picture by adding other suffixes to the file name. For example:

The original 100703_0123 Jones wedding.nef, 100703_0124 Jones wedding.nef, 100703_0125 Jones wedding.nef…
A version with Photoshop layers 100703_0123 Jones wedding Layered.nef …
A black and white version 100703_0123 Jones wedding BW.jpg …

Syncomatic 1.21 is released today at Photographer’s Toolbox and now handles these suffixes.

Syncomatic available now via Photographer’s Toolbox

Tim Armes’s Lightroom plug-in site, Photographer’s Toolbox now has a blog to announce new plug-ins from Tim, me, and from Matt Dawson. There’s also a Twitter feed for quick announcements.

My latest plug-in Syncomatic is uploaded and available. Syncomatic is not a plug-in everyone will need but is designed for circumstances where you need to copy the metadata between two groups of files and can use the filenames to match up pairs of images. So imagine you have lots of raw files with metadata, and TIFs or JPEGs whose metadata should match the raw files from which they were created. Syncomatic simply runs through the two groups of pictures and makes the metadata of 1234.jpg the same as 1234.raw, makes 6789.jpg match 6789.raw….

Dossier de Presse

Dossier de Presse is a Lightroom-WordPres plug-in from Luc Renambot:

I’m using WordPress with the NextGEN gallery plugin and I used to export my images to disk and then create a gallery and upload the images. They are (better) plugins to upload to WordPress, but I couldn’t find one that supported NextGEN gallery plugin. So I wrote my first Lightroom plugin, “Dossier de Presse“.

It allows you to export pictures directly to your WordPress blog. It supports NextGEN gallery and WordPress Media library. You can optionally create a post including the exported photos (the post is left in draft mode, so you can edit it later).

Locktastic available

Locktastic is now available through Photographer’s Toolbox. This simple plug-in for Lightroom 2 or 3 is designed for photographers who lock or tag files while shooting events, and once they’re in Lightroom it marks those thumbnails with the red label.

Search Replace Transfer – you can now buy it

I’m pleased to announce that Search Replace Transfer is now available for sale at Tim Armes’s site Photographer’s Toolbox.

Search Replace Transfer is a Lightroom 2 and 3 plug-in designed for bulk changes to text in Metadata Panel fields:

Searches and replaces text like a word processor
Appends text before or after existing text
Transfers text between fields
Transfers metadata from iView/Expression Media to 18 custom fields
Audits title, caption and keyword entry

I’m already working on extending the plug-in:

Include the IPTC Extension fields (LR3 users only)
Presets and menus for frequently-used settings (eg filename to title)

Why Photographer’s Toolbox rather than here? Well, Tim is already using Photographer’s Toolbox to distribute his popular plug-ins LRTransporter, LRMogrify and LREnfuse, so we’re working alongside each other to make the site the obvious place to look for high quality plug-ins. Secondly, it means I can take advantage of his tried and tested licensing and distribution mechanism. That helps me offer trial versions of plug-ins, and provide the possibility for automatic updating of the plug-ins (based on code from Jeffrey Friedl). My other plug-ins will soon follow – probably Lockstatic, Syncomatic, and . . .

Lightroom 3, IPTC Extensions, and my plug-ins

One of the less obvious changes between the beta and Lightroom 3 is the inclusion of the “IPTC Extensions“,the extra metadata fields agreed last year (specification here – PDF). Great to see Adobe’s keeping up with publicly-agreed standards rather than doing what the competitor does and pretending they don’t exist!

Some of the fields could prove immediately useful, so for instance the Person Shown (which is where Aperture should have written some of its Faces data) can be used right away. You won’t need to pollute your keywords with the names of your nearest and dearest. However, the new panel does highlight a problem of the standard creating duplicate fields – in this case the British newsreader Katie Derham is a well known person, so her name would also belong as a keyword. In the case of the location fields, these will often be the same as the traditional IPTC locations. Given that it’ll take years for search engines and other programs to start using the Extensions, you may decide that . . .

Lightroom to Mobile Me

When I set up my Mac laptop, I remember they tried to get me to set up a .Mac account, what’s now called MobileMe. My first reaction – you’ve just taken my money and you’re trying to tie me up even more – certainly wasn’t meant as positively as Max Mosley might have uttered it, and my disinclination to lock myself into one company’s products and services has not grown any stronger with time – despite the laptop having been a good buy. So when an Aperture preference asks me to set up a MobileMe account, I’m immediately looking for the Cancel button. Not remotely interested.

Which is a long way of saying – I’ve not tried “Export to MobileMe Gallery” myself. But one Lightroom user I mentioned it to did try it and told me it was great, so it might interest you if you use Lightroom and are one of the millions (?) who do have MobileMe accounts. It’s by Vladimir Vinogradsky, one of the quieter or semi-detached members of the Lightroom plug-in developing community, and it apparently allows . . .

How can I pay you for your plug-ins?

I’ve said before that I intend to introduce paid versions of my plug-ins, especially Search Replace Transfer which finds and replaces metadata text, and Open Directly which sends the selected files to other programs such as Nikon Capture NX. It’s just taken much longer than I’d hoped.

Rather than half-bake my own licensing mechanism, I’ll be using the Photographers Toolbox method which includes code written by Jeffrey Friedl. Unfortunately, Jeffrey’s far cleverer than me (he understands regex) and so my attempts to shoehorn his code into mine have only been successful in breaking my plug-ins. Rather like the reborn Buddhist golfer says, that’s almost certainly my fault and I take full responsibility, but I am about to have another real crack at figuring it all out.

As part of my own rehab process, I had been resisting the temptation (mixed with self-inflicted pain) of starting any new plug-ins until I have integrated the licensing code into those two plug-ins. I had hoped to force myself to sort . . .

My plug-ins and Lightroom 3 beta

I've not been in a great rush to update my plug-ins for the Lightroom 3 beta - the beta's not for real work, and changes to the SDK coding environment don't appear until much closer to the final release date. But in the past few days I have updated three plug-ins which didn't work in the beta because they used SDK features which Adobe are changing in LR3:

Open DIrectly
Psuedo Ratings
Folder Size

Big Note works in LR3, while I'll soon be making an announcement about how to buy Search Replace Transfer.

Custom metadata and Lightroom

Maybe later this week I’ll wheel out the new LR3-friendly version of my Search, Replace and Transfer plug-in. There’s still a bit of testing to do though because I’ve had to find ways to work around LR3’s database access change – when your plug-in’s dialog box provides immediate feedback, you’ve a bit of a problem when the database returns values out-of-sync with it. It rather invalidates the term “dialogue”. I’ve also taken the opportunity to streamline some of the code, improve the layout, and add some new features. One is shown by this screenshot – instead of lengthy drop-down lists, separate dialog boxes make target fields easy to select. But it also shows another change – 16 custom fields.

I’ve never hidden my disappointment that custom fields are not available to users through Lightroom’s interface, as they are with Aperture, iView, Portfolio…. And I don’t think keywords are the right place for entering workflow or internal terms – only last week someone told me he had sent pictures to Alamy with “Getty” as a keyword. Correcting the omission of custom metadata . . .

Lightroom Plug-in #5 - Open Directly

I rarely feel the need to edit a raw file in Nikon Capture, and I don't find much advantage from doing so. In my case, it's an admission of defeat as I should be able to do all I want in Lightroom. For others I suspect it's a somewhat dubious faith in the camera makers' secret sauces.

Whatever the reason for wanting to open a raw file in another converter, it's still irritating that Lightroom's Edit With command doesn't let you do so directly. You're forced to go to the raw file(s) in Explorer/Finder, and then launch it in Nikon Capture. Drag and drop, if Adobe made it work on your OS, is of little use if you're working in full screen mode. And if you want to send files from different folders, you have to open each one in turn. Alternatively, you can use Export, choose original format, and specify the converter as the post processing step. This plug-in eliminates those contortions.

While the original motivation behind Open Directly was that it was for these rare times when I do want . . .

Thoughts on learning Lua

No, I’m not going to write any tutorials, but Sean suggested writing some thoughts on learning Lua for Lightroom….

Getting this far with Lua has been a real struggle. I am not a trained programmer like Jeffrey Friedl. I know no C, C++, Cocoa etc, so I don’t know if Lua is easy for people with such a background (though it heartened me when he described Lua as “horrid”). But I do have a lot of experience of the various flavours of Microsoft VB and VBA, and of JavaScript, PHP, AppleScript, ActionScript 2 and 3, and other useful technologies like XML, SQL etc, all self taught. That brings a confidence that things should be possible, but it barely overcomes the why the bloody hell should I add features that should have been there in the first place? So over the last year the effort has been pretty sporadic, learning a certain amount, achieving something vaguely interesting, and then finding something else to do with my time.

I’ve always liked Microsoft’s approach to scripting professional applications – the Office suite being the prime . . .