As mentioned in my previous post, Adobe has just released Lightroom 1.1, a free upgrade to their wonderful photo-workflow application. Correspondingly, I have upgraded my Custom Metadata Viewer Preset Builder, a web application that allows you to create custom metadata display configuration templates for use within Lightroom.
This web-based tool is now superseded by my Metadata-Viewer Preset Builder plugin for Lightroom 2 and above.
This description is presented with Lightroom 1.1 as an example, although the config files should work in any version of Lightroom 1.x, including 1.3.1.
This post is the introduction and documentation for my template-builder application. If you have used the previous version, you'll find lots of new things here, including new metadata items, new display options, and even the ability to set label text.
- Viewer Presets vs. Data Presets
- Obligatory Disclaimer
- Quick Overview
- Using the Application
- Menu Buttons
- Display Options
- Overriding Label Text
- Wide, No Label, Empty Label
- General Notes
An example of Lightroom 1.1's metadata display panel is shown at right. The panel is capable of showing much more information about an image than anyone's likely to want to see at one time — over 100 items, such as the image filename, the latitude/longitude where it was taken, the shutter speed, a caption, etc.— the volume of which can quickly overwhelm.
To whittle down the display to a smaller set of items, Lightroom comes with a number of built-in display presets (Default, All, EXIF, IPTC, Large Caption, Location, Minimal, and Quick Describe), each showing a different subset of the possible items. But because there are so many items that might be shown, chances are small that a built-in presets shows just the items you wish to see.
This is where my web application comes in: with it, you can create your own display-configuration presets. The one shown at right is the one I made for my own daily use.
I must be clear up front that this post is about selecting which fields to display, in what order, and with what labels. It is not about “this field is assigned this value” Metadata Presets that Lightroom already allows you to create and edit. (For what it's worth, you can access those presets viaseen just under the red-circled “Jeffrey's View” in the screen capture shown at right.
Custom metadata-viewer presets, from this or any source, are not supported by Adobe. There are no guarantees that the presets you build for Lightroom Version 1.1 will be at all useful with later versions of Lightroom. In fact, there are no guarantees that they'll be useful with any version of Lightroom.
“Use at your own risk.”
To build your own preset, use my web application to select the metadata items you want to see and arrange them in the order you prefer. You give your configuration a title (I used “Jeffrey's View”) and then a file is generated for you that you then download and install in one of Lightroom 1.1's system directories.
Your preset is available the next time you start Lightroom, in the Metadata Panel drop down box as shown at right.
When you visit Jeffrey's Lightroom Metadata-Viewer Preset Builder (finally, that's the link to the application!), you are presented with the view shown below.
(For a clear view, you can also .)
Choose from over 100 items
To create your own presets....
Select one of Lightroom's built-in presets to use as a starting base, or choose from among one of the extras I've included (“None,” “All 1.1 Supported Fields,” and “Jeffrey's View,” my own daily-use preset).
Read the instructions, then press the “hide header” button to devote more of the screen to the preset builder itself.
Create your preset, adding and removing items by checking them in the menu (seen at right), adding headers and rules with the buttons at the top of the menu, and by adjusting item options.
An example view of your custom preset is shown in the lower-left of the application, with fake metadata filled in from one of my images, just to give a sense of how it'll look in actual use.
In the custom list, you can drag items to reorder them, and you can drag them to the trash (the pink stripe at far the left) to remove them. This goes for header and rule lines as well.
Once everything's as you like it, bring back the application's header by clicking the hide-header button again (which had become a show-header button) and enter a title for your preset. The title you choose here is what Lightroom shows in the drop-down list of presets (as shown earlier), so choose a short but descriptive title.
Finally, press the “Generate Preset File” button.
After pressing the generate-preset button, you're presented with a page from which you can download the template, as discussed a bit further down.
The top of the menu area contains six buttons grouped to provide three unrelated functions (placed together for convenience):
The “Expand/Collapse All” buttons work on the menu list itself, revealing or hiding the 100+ metadata items supported by Lightroom. You can, of course, expand and collapse individual subtrees with the boxed “+” by head menu header item.
The “Unhide/Hide All Options” items are for revealing each item's option list (when the item itself is revealed, of course). The box of options (like the red-boxed controls for “Dimensions (+ crop)” in the menu image above right) can be long, and are not often needed for most items, so by default they appear first as a “click to show options” placeholder.
The “Add Header Text” button inserts a new header line into the template, which you can then click on to edit. “Add Rule Line,” unsurprisingly, adds a new rule line.
Some items in the menu have more details than others. Here's an example that illustrates everything, with the display options showing (unhidden).
Each item has its own mix of display options, from among the following. My web application attempts to reflect the visual effects option, but the descriptions below are for how they affect the display once loaded into Lightroom...
Shown when not blank vs. Shown always — Some items, by default, are not shown by Lightroom when the item's underlying data is missing from the image. For example, even if a template includes the “Shutter Speed” item, Lightroom doesn't show it if the shutter-speed data is missing from the image. By selecting “shown always,” the label will be presented but the value area will be blank.
Readonly — when this is turned on, editable items become static display items. This might be helpful during client presentations, but is of limited usefulness because any “click to edit” icons remain.
Enter finalizes vs. Enter included — Normally while typing text into one of the metadata editable fields, hitting enter causes the input to be finalized, returning control from the field to the larger Lightroom application. When Enter included is selected, enter inserts a newline into the metadata value.
Lines — how many rows the item value should occupy in the display. This is the most useful for free-format editable fields (“Caption,” “Copyright,”, etc.) and is the minimum size: the field grows as needed for longer text. Most other fields (“Rating,” “Filename,” etc.) use only one row regardless of this setting, so adding further rows simply adds padding under the value.
Width Normal vs. Width Wide — the normal presentation is a two-column approach, with the label on the left and the value on the right. When choosing Width Wide, the value is presented with the whole width of both columns, and the label is presented above it. (An example is shown below.)
Label — Choosing None is similar to Width Wide in that the value is presented using the full width of both columns, but the label is not shown above the value. When Custom is selected, the label text input field appears, allowing you to override the label with your own choice. There are some cautions about doing this, discussed below.
The labels for metadata fields can be changed in three ways:
- By Adobe, when they put out a language/region-specific version of Lightroom
- With my Lightroom Configuration Manager (not yet upgraded with new items from 1.1)
- By entering label overrides in this metadata configuration manager.
The preset display shown at the top of this post is my personal “Jeffrey's View” preset, with many of the label text set with this application (method #3). Most changes were to make labels shorter (such as “Dimensions” → “Size” and “Capture Date” → “Date”) because the label column in Lightroom is only as wide as needed for the longest label, so making long labels shorter means more overall width is devoted to the values.
I also changed some labels to change their meaning. For example “Copy Name” became “View Name” for reasons I'll explain in another post. “Job Identifier” became “Blog URL,” because I use that field to record the URL of the blog post or posts that an image was part of.
I also used a blank custom label for a couple of items, so as to reduce visible clutter. One was the ridiculously verbose “ISO Speed Rating”, which I made blank because the value has “ISO” in it, and placed right below “Exposure,” it's certainly not ambiguous.
I did the same with “Capture Time,” since “8:312:17 AM” right below “Date” is pretty clear.
There's one concern you should be aware of if you intend to use multiple presets or share your presets with friends: labels changed with this application are seen only when the specific preset is selected, and override any changes made by the other methods. That means, for example, they override the language-specific labels found in localized versions of Lightroom.
If you want to change a label for all presets (including the original built-in presets), use my Lightroom Configuration Manager instead of overriding while making a preset.
As a convenience, the per-preset download page offers an extra “no label overrides” download if the preset contains label text overrides. That allows those who don't care for your label text (because, for example, they prefer labels in their native language) to use your preset without losing their labels.
The various permutations of Label and Width display options can be a bit confusing, so here are some examples (the first being the default):
After pressing the “Generate Preset File” button, you're taken to a page that offers a download for a “.lrtemplate” file. You can bookmark that page, and share its url with those you'd like to share your preset with; they can then download the same preset, or use yours as a basis from which to build their own. For example, here's the page for my main daily-use preset that's been the subject of these examples.
On the download page, click the link and save the preset file to disk.
Before installing your first preset, you must first create a “Metadata Field Lists” directory in Lightroom's application support folder. To find that folder, from within Lightroom invoke the Help > Go to Lightroom Presets Folder command to bring up the “Lightroom” folder, within which you should create the “Metadata Field Lists” folder that holds the “.lrtemplate” file downloaded.
For reference, the folder you create will likely be:
- Mac OS X:
- ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Metadata Field Lists/
- Windows XP:
- C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Metadata Field Lists\
- Windows Vista:
- C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Metadata Field Lists\
C:\Users\username\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Metadata Field Lists\
Preset drop-down where your
preset title appears in Lightroom
(On Windows, you may have to visit the Folder Options dialog to allow the normally-hidden Application Data folder to be seen.)
Finally, drop the .....lrtemplate file you downloaded into the directory you just created, and start (or restart) Lightroom.
The left side of the header in the Library Mode's Metadata Panel likely says “Default” — click it to see your preset among those in the drop-down list.
Here are some cautions about Lightroom's metadata viewer, whether with a custom preset or one of the standard ones:
All 100+ metadata items are new in this version in the sense that they all now have display options, but those items totally new in this version are marked in the menu with a bright “new” label. Click the [Expand All] button and scroll through the Menu to see them all.
The preset builder shows a very wide view of the Metadata viewer panel — perhaps wider than most people will want their Lightroom panels to be (since widening the panels takes away from the Grid/Loupe area). So, keep in mind that long data (e.g. lens information, camera make+model) may be too wide to actually fully appear in normal use. (Yet another reason to use shorter labels.)
Some items seem almost identical, but are really quite different. For example, both the “File Path” and the “Folder” items display the name of the folder that the file is in, but they differ in how they interact with the mouse: clicking on one brings up the file in Explorer/Finder, while the other switches Lightroom to viewing the images in that same folder (something I find much more useful).
The similarity among some of the items is one reason that the standard “All” preset really doesn't have all the items. It's also one reason that you'll want to take care when building your presets, so you'll get what you think you're getting.
As you move from image to image in your library, the metadata items missing from an image are not shown in the metadata panel unless they're editable, or have the “Shown always” option selected.
Click on an item in the metadata field list to automatically bring up the corresponding controls in the menu.
The metadata viewer simply reports metadata in the file (or in Lightroom's database about the file). For example, Lightroom could potentially compute a value for “Focal Length 35mm” (full-frame-35mm-camera effective focal length), but it reports it only if that Exif field is actually present in the image metadata.
(Actually, Lightroom doesn't display this particular field even if it is present in the image; I've submitted this bug to Adobe.)
Lightroom does not generally show metadata from the “Maker's Notes” section of metadata placed by many cameras. For example, Nikon cameras place the distance to the subject, if known, into the Exif “Subject Distance” field of JPG images it creates, but for NEF (raw) images, Nikon puts that data only into the Maker's Notes. Thus, Lightroom does show the subject-distance field for Nikon JPGs that have it, but not for Nikon NEFs that have it.
(On an odd but encouraging note, Lightroom does pick up the Lens information from Nikon raw files.)
The colophon for the first version tells how this project came about.
It was a lot of work just to get this application working in a first-class browser like Firefox, not to mention then getting it to work in IE. I hope you'll find that it was worth it.