January 10, 2012
[This post is part of our ongoing series introducing Photosmith 2.0]
The original version of the plugin allowed a few options, but our users wanted more. More control, more flexibility, and better integration into their workflow. Photosmith, is, after all, designed for workflow enhancement, so it’s certainly reasonable to ask for more.
The other highly requested item was the ability to sync your existing Lightroom photos into the the app. We’ve gotten a lot of email from people (some angrier than others…) that they expected this in 1.0, so I wanted to give a brief history of why v1.x only has one way sync. When we initially set out to make the app, we were just looking for a tool to use in the field – to take pics with our camera, load and rate on the iPad, and then sync with LR when we got home. It simply wasn’t in our sights to send pictures TO the app. We had ~80 beta testers in v1.0. No one even requested it, so we didn’t give it much thought. And then we launched 1.0, and many people bought the app – many times without reading the app description, and so were dissapointed. Just because we didn’t have a need doesn’t mean that others don’t, and boy did they let us know. Unfortunately, to make that happen required a large re-write of some existing code, so we had to wait until we were ready to tackle that.
And v2.0 was our opportunity.
Publish Services were introduced with Lightoom version 3.0. I’ll admit, that as a Lightroom user and casual photographer, that I looked at them, but really didn’t give them much thought. For those like me, the one sentence overview would be: Publish services allows you to configure a destination for your photos (for example, Flickr, Facebook, etc), and once that destination is configured, you can publish whatever photos you associate with that publish service. Once a picture is published, it’s tracked so you don’t have to worry about duplicates, merging, etc.
And the more I thought about this, I realized that this was perfect for Photosmith. Except that we don’t want to be limited to just pushing from Lightroom – we want to go both ways, in a full, two-way sync.
And so that’s what we did – Photosmith’s Lightroom plugin v2.0 is now based on Published Services.
Publish Services is able to integrate the sync process into Lightroom, rather than being a simple popup as it is in v1.x. Essentially, any folder you create in the Photosmith publish service is just another collection. Add the photos you want to sync to that collection and the plugin does the rest. If you add photos to that collection on the app, then they’ll be synced back into Lightroom. Once Publish Services has been setup and “paired” with your iPad, there’s nothing left to do except hit Sync when you’re ready.
What’s that? You don’t want to use Publish Services and just want to send over a few images to Photosmith? We took care of that too! Just like you can Export To Hard Drive, you can now Export To Photosmith. Select your iPad from the dropdown, set your options (JPG full resolution, JPG full screen, RAW, etc.), and just hit Export. The plugin will convert your images (if needed), and send them to Photosmith on the iPad via WiFi. As they are sent, they’ll show up automatically within Photosmith. Of course, your iPad has be connected to the same WiFi network and Photosmith running; sorry – them’s the rules.
Quick, easy, and (yes, I’ll admit…) pretty darn convenient. In fact, it’s much nicer than I ever expected it to be. I don’t bother using iTunes to get my images loaded anymore.
As an added bonus, you can save the Export session as a User Preset, saving your iPad and image settings. When you’re ready to export again, just right click on your images (or select File->Export) and select “Export to Photosmith”, and it’ll do the rest. Literally, three clicks to load your Lightroom images on your iPad.
If you export the same image again, then not to worry. Images are tracked between the two, so that you won’t have duplicates. In fact, if you export the same image again, any metadata/keywording changes you’ve made will be kept in sync in both places.
Everyone like options, and it seems that pro photographers especially love their options. So we adding a bunch of them in as part of the sync process.
You can now select metadata presets or develop presets that get set upon import. You can even decide the order in which things get applied (preset first, and then your new data, or other combinations).
The new plugin represents a lot of new work, built on the logic of version 1.0 of the plugin. It’s much more integrated and makes for a much smoother workflow. We sure you’ll be simply delighted!