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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 29 of 31

Export Image in Different Formats

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

29. Export Image in Different Formats

Lesson Info

Export Image in Different Formats

I love Lightroom because it's got all of the options. I can print from here as well. I can have my printer connected, choose the size, choose my printer. Set up everything, set up multiple prints in here. So there's many things you can do in Lightroom itself, but the exporting is where I would take you now. So File and Export. Now I usually have presets set up. This is one of the benefits of Lightroom as well, is that you can have a preset set up for different uses. Now one preset that I have here is for Web. My settings are set up for Facebook because that's sort of the common one. And 2048 pixels wide. So kind of the maximum size that will look decent on Facebook. I've got it set to 150 resolution. You could set it to 72 resolution pixels per inch, but I usually use this for my website as well, and I upload this to multiple different sites. This is my setting and I've got also a watermark that is set up here. So I'm gonna show you that. Edit Watermarks. So I've got this Story Art log...

o. I don't always export out with watermarks. I do it less and less these days. I find them distracting and for my images, I find most people recognize them, so if someone chooses to try and steal it, they generally get caught out pretty quickly. But sometimes you want to put a watermark to protect your images, other times you want to put a watermark for recognitions. So people know that it's yours. So you can do that in Lightroom and it makes it very easy so that you can just export a whole set of images with these sort of presets. You can move where you have the watermark. And you can change the opacity of the watermark, so you can have it totally solid, you can change the size of it. And then you can save it as a particular setting. So let's save that. You can update here, update your previous one if you decide that's the way you want it to look from hereon in. Or you can save it as a new preset. Create. So all of these are the settings. So let's just take a look at them. I've got it set to put in a sub folder that is web. So what that does is wherever I've saved my file, it will create a sub folder and then it will go into a web sub folder. It makes it easy for me to find. Down here, I don't want to rename it. I've already named it. So I'm keeping that name. It's going to output as a JPEG image at 85 quality. So I've got it so that it makes it a little more compressed, not so much that it destroys the image, but enough that it makes it a small file. So you can play with those settings as well. Resize to fit so it's no bigger than 2048 pixels wide. Don't enlarge, so if the image is smaller than that, we don't want Lightroom to enlarge it, because that would create extra pixels and it would destroy the image. So you click on Don't Enlarge. Resolution a 150 and when I export, I've got it show in explorer. So I can easily find it then and drag it into wherever I want to put it. So if I hit export, and there it is. So it's right there and out. Ready to place into Facebook or wherever I want to put it. That's really, once you've got that set up and you've got it saved, you can just quickly export in that way. For print, you don't want to, you want to actually keep all of your details as much as you can. But I'm just going to show you what you would export as if you were outsourcing to a printer. Because if you're printing inhouse, I can print from this file directly in Lightroom. I don't need to export it. But if I'm sending it to someone to print, I want to be able to send it at the highest possible quality but the smallest possible size. My internet at home is very, very slow and the upload speed is very slow. So for me to need to upload high big files, it takes too long. You only need to set it at the, basically you don't need to export it out at a 100%. It will print the same regardless of whether it's a 100% here or 85%. I'm going to show you that. I've got a setting called SmugMug. I upload all of my finished images to SmugMug because I store them there. They're my backup. And I can print from there. Other people can order prints from SmugMug as well. And the settings, I upload ones that have been recommended by them in the past. And the prints that I get back are the highest quality. You don't need to have the full size image to get the highest quality. So my setting here is it's going into a sub folder called Exported. That's for me, that works, I know that's my exported hi-res file. I don't rename it 'cos I've already named it. So normally I've actually need to adjust this. I would normally have this at 85%. I could probably get away with going as low as 75 quality but 85, so it's dependent on how many I'm needing to upload. How long it's going to take, if it's a big batch of wedding images, then I would probably make the quality less because there's a lot that need to go up. And if it's an image like this, I can afford to make the quality a bit higher, but it should still print fine. So the pixels I've got at 300, but the resolution actually doesn't need to be more than for a print. I don't know about you guys, but many times when I get asked for an image from a magazine or someone that is printing seem like their offset printing, they're asking for it in 300 DPI because that is the standard that they need. And quite often, because I've uploaded to SmugMug and I might be sending it from there, that automatically changes it to 240 DPI. So they often get that image and they say it's not high enough resolution. It is actually high enough resolution, based on the width and height and how, so the actual pixels per inch are more, the smaller that you make the image. So there can be some confusion there but just the standard that if you're outputting for someone generally if it's for magazine or print, then it's 300 DPI and if it is for just photographic print, and it's generally 240 DPI. So I've got it set to 300 just so more is better. And I don't have a watermark on that for obvious reasons. It's going to go to print. And then I have it showing explorer. So when I export, it's going to save that hi-res JPEG and that one there is the one that everyone can print from. And I can print from that as well. Are there any questions about exporting (laughs)? I did have a question. I don't know if this opens a can of worms, from Mick Strefard who had asked about working on 16 bit color depth, versus 8-bit. That's a really good question and it's important actually. 16-bit definitely is the preferred way to work. If you work in 8-bit, you'll find that you get a lot of banding particularly in areas of color that is similar in clouds and yeah you lose a lot of detail. So work in 16-bit wherever you can. There are some plugins that don't work in 16-bit. They work in 8-bit. So in that regard you would probably need to try and find a workaround, but if you're ever having any problems with banding, which is the gradient and using sort of the steps from color to color, check whether you're working in 8-bit or 16-bit. Great and just to clarify for Mick, does that mean that usually say you're not printing, is 8-bit sufficient at that point or is that a different... Yeah I think if you can work in 16-bit, you're still going to see banding in 8-bit when you're working on lots of different layers and you're making many adjustments, that's when you're going to see the banding. If you export out in 8-bit, the final image is 8-bit, that's probably okay. It's going to web, but when you're actually working on it to reduce any weird artifacts and weird banding, then try and work in 16-bit, yeah. Go ahead. All the people are saving their files as PNG for Facebook and their websites. So sometimes they're saving like sRGB and sometimes for web, what is the difference and how these reflect in images? There's kind of two questions there (laughs). So the PNG saving as PNG, I've read a lot about Facebook doesn't compress the PNGs as much. So they do come up better. I've experimented with both. I haven't found much of a difference but maybe other people have. That would be something to try if you're finding that your images are looking terrible on Facebook. Perhaps try saving them as PNG. But also make sure that they're the correct width and height and size. So Facebook often changes things. And you need to check what the latest sort of rules are on sizing. Because yeah, when you find that they're compressing something, something has probably changed. You need to do it differently. In regards to sRGB and color space, that's sort of a whole other story that we could spend many hours on. But I'll explain it a bit because it does confuse people and it can make a big difference in the output. So sRGB is for web and you view your images on the web in sRGB. When you're working on PhotoShop, you have all these other options that you can go into. And they can be very, very confusing. So they're down in, Edit, Color Settings, all of these different settings can be like what do we put it on, how do we work, and I'm using an Eizo monitor as I said, E-I-Z-O. And that shows a whole lot more color, than a standard iMac computer or a standard PC so different monitors will actually show different amounts of color. So if you're working with a monitor that is not showing all of the potential colors that say ProPhoto can show, you may be better off working in sRGB. But there's a few different trains of thought on that because if you start in sRGB, you're pretty much stuck with it and I've worked on sRGB before I got my Eizo monitor. So many of my images I've created in sRGB and I can't go back now. I've sort of lost all those extra potential colors and depth of shadows, they're not in my file. But if I'd been working on ProPhoto or a different color space or Adobe, so there's a few different ones down here. There are way too many to show you there hang on. Go down here. So there's a only a few that you'd really look at. So Adobe RGB is mostly what you would look at using if you're on a pro monitor, so this sRGB there is ProPhoto but that can be a tricky one to work with as well. It's got a lot of colors in it. So if I'd worked on Adobe RBG which has more colors and sRGB, then I'd be looking at my image on the iMac and not seeing all the colors that are actually there. So there's sort of which do you go? My recommendation is if you're getting into this work and you really want consistent color invest in a great monitor that you can see everything. And start the right way and save your images with all the color space that you can and work that way. When you export out to web, you'll need to export in sRGB version anyway (laughs) for web, so yeah it can get very confusing and there's a guy in Australia called Les Wakeling who is absolutely fantastic with color. Alright, one final question just came in actually. Again kind of maybe rounding out your workflow, from Kate Albert, how are the large format files organized? Where are they saved to? How do you manage all that? The large format files I save in the same place that I save the flattened files. I'll just go into my folder. It's probably a little bit of a mess 'cos I've got a different versions here. But you'll see that, 'cos as I've been creating the background plain, I've made a few changes as well. So I generally call it whatever I need to to recognize it. I save it under a folder. On my backup drive, I will have everything saved under dates and then under different types of work. Then under styles and genres. So I break them up into different folders. And then when I'm in the folder, so this is wonderland folder. I've got the PSB files, which are the large document files saved there as well as my PhotoShop files. I can tell the difference between the two because of the file type. I also have my flat files so they're the ones that I know I'm working with to export out and to print from. So I keep them all together and then I back them up altogether, so every job is in a particular folder.

Class Description

Karen Alsop is known for creating beautiful fantasy worlds through her unique compositing techniques in Adobe® Lightroom® and Adobe® Photoshop®. Whether you're a wedding, portrait, landscape or commercial photographer, this class will show you how to create beautiful and distinctive images you can offer your clients to expand your business.  

Join us for this class, and you’ll learn how to: 

  • Shoot with your composite in mind: lighting, posing and angles.
  • Choose background and subject images that will work best in the composite.
  • Learn Adobe Lightroom and AdobePhotoshop techniques to create a fantastical atmosphere.

Karen’s emphasis on creativity and imagination in her process has helped her to make a product that competitors have a hard time recreating. Karen’s beautiful, intricate work is not simply the result of vast technical skill, but rather is the careful integration of a number of elements. She puts subjects at ease and inspires them with artful direction; incorporates them into fantasy landscapes using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and then effectively prices and markets the final product.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


Judy Mitschelen

I've found many great instructors at CreativeLive and Karen ranks right up there at the top! With her relaxed, thoughtful manner of presenting, I was immediately hooked. Her organization, clear explanations and demonstration, and on target response to questions are superb. This course covers an amazing range of skills and tricks of the trade. Whether you're interested in getting better shots to work with, better workflow at the computer, or better output at the end, Karen covers it all.


Karen is very talented and a great teacher and I enjoyed every minute of the course. But what I found to be the best part was seeing what an amazing person she is. The video of compositing the disabled children to make their dreams come true had me in tears. It has inspired me to use my talents to help others and not learn photo manipulation for self enjoyment. God bless you Karen.

Endigo Rae

This was such an amazing class! Karen is so talented, inspiring, and such an amazing teacher. Very forthcoming and open about all of her techniques. I'm so looking forward to jumping into compositing, I feel like this is definitely something my soul desires to explore and Karen has made it so easy and accesible through her beautiful course! Thanks so much Karen and CreativeLive!