Notes: I have updated this article (effective June 16, 2016) to reflect changes in the Adobe Mobile Apps. As a result, I have removed the older project to avoid confusion. This tutorial is really more about workflow than how to achieve a specific technique/effect, but if you are using Lightroom Mobile, or are interested in Adobe's other mobile apps, I think you will find this post worthwhile.
Also note, this tutorial is iOS-focused. Workflows may be similar on Android devices, but not all apps are currently available on the Android Platform. You can find out more about the apps and the platforms they are available on, at this link.
I recently learned of some new integration between Lightroom Mobile on iOS (at least), and many of Adobe's mobile apps, such as Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Fix, Adobe Comp, the new newly released Adobe Spark storytelling apps, and Lightroom Desktop. I'm going to walk through these workflows in this tutorial and also share some other tidbits I've discovered.
There is a new connectivity/workflow between Lightroom Mobile, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Fix, Behance Photoshop Express, Adobe PaintCan and Lightroom CC (desktop).
The overview is:
1) Create a collection in Lightroom CC and sync with Lightroom Mobile
On your mobile device, import images from your Camera Roll into a collection in Lightroom Mobile
2) Select an image from a collection in Lightroom Mobile.
3) Tap the Share icon (upper right corner), and you might notice that the share options has expanded. You can now directly Save to Camera Roll, Open In, and Edit In. Let's look at each of these options, starting with Save to Camera Roll.
Save to Camera Roll
You might be wondering why this is even an option. The main reason is that Collections synced from LR Desktop do not show up in your regular Camera Roll. A couple other reasons would be you might want to save a jpeg version of a file you edited inside of LR Mobile, maybe for use as wallpaper, or to add to an album in your Camera Roll to show it to friends. The option has always has been available, but it was buried a bit deeper. Now, it's more discoverable.
Open In... could give you many options, including the ability to bring your selected image directly into other apps like Instagram or Adobe Mobile apps. For some apps, including Adobe apps, you will see the preface, Import with (app), and this is an important distinction.
By choosing one of these options, Open in > Import with Photoshop Mix, for example, you are telling Lightroom to render a jpeg file of the image, with all the LR edits and open it in the target app. Once in Photoshop Mix, you are working with an unrelated version of the file. Lightroom Mobile knows nothing about it and it's not in any LR collection, unless you choose Save to Lightroom from the Share menu in PS Mix.
4) Make your edits in Photoshop Mix.
5) Tap the Share Icon, and choose Save to Lightroom.
5) Tap the Share Icon, and choose Save to Lightroom.
6) Once the file is saved, go back to Lightroom Mobile and you will see a brand new collection, auto-created by Lightroom, called Photoshop Mix. This in itself is pretty cool.
But the real magic in my opinion is that this collection will sync with Lightroom Desktop CC.
Sounds great, but . . .
Now, there are some critical caveats to remember:
1) All metadata is stripped out of the new file. It has no link or relationship to the original DNG file from Lightroom Mobile.
2) File names for the new files are auto-generated, and no file extension is appended, but my testing seems to indicate the new files are jpeg files.
3) Resolution is locked in at the resolution of the original DNG Smart Preview from Lightroom Mobile which (is likely NOT as high resolution as the original RAW file), or the original resolution of the image capture from the device. The exception to this is images pulled from your camera roll. Now that iOS and LIghtroom support RAW capture and import, you also have options for very high quality images.
4) Any edits you have done prior in Lightroom, or Mix are now hard-coded at the pixel level in the new file. You essentially have a new jpeg file with no metadata.
5) Of course, any editing you do on the new file within Lightroom will remain nondestructive, but just bear in mind that you are now working with a new, original jpeg file.
You might be wondering - with all these caveats - why I think this workflow is so cool. Well from my perspective, this integration is a great first step. I'd love to see improvements in the retention of metadata, for example, but the fact that these two apps are somewhat talking to each other - to me - gives an indication of where the future is.
A recent addition to the Lightroom menu is Edit In...
While in its early stages, this menu currently gives you roundtrip workflows for two very common retouching tasks within Photoshop Fix; Liquify and Healing.
For example, my lovely Clydesdale horse is a bit of a messy eater, and I'd like to remove some of distracting bits of hay from his head. Tapping on Healing... pushes a copy (yes, a copy, so same caveats apply as they do in Mix) of the the image out to Photoshop Fix as a new Project, with only the Healing tools accessible.
When I have made my edits (note the circled area on the horse's jaw), I tap the blue bar at the top of the screen and I'm brought back to LR Mobile. The edited copy of my image is placed in the same folder as the original, and not a separate PS Fix folder.
You can also choose Open In or Edit In while at the top level of a Collection. In this scenario, you'd tap the Share icon, choose either Open or Edit, and then they menu disappears so you can select one image (and only one) from the thumbnails in your Collection.
I'm really hoping to see more capabilities opened up from within the Edit In menu. Photoshop Fix and Mix are both powerful apps and I'd like to see more access to the rest of the toolsets. As I said though, early days...
Working with Photoshop Mix and Fix aren't the only things you can do. From that very same Share menu in Lightroom Mobile, you can quickly take a selected image into Adobe PaintCan, or save to your Creative Cloud account, or build a fantastic interactive Adobe Spark Page project.
You can also access your Lightroom Mobile Collections from with the Spark tools, Adobe Capture, Adobe Comp, Adobe Sketch, Adobe Draw, and Premiere Clip.
The Premiere Clip workflow enables you to create a video slide show very easily, complete with background music and timing.
In the Adobe Comp Workflow, you can not only select images from your Lightroom Mobile Collections, but also round trip edit those (or any other) images in the layout using either PS Mix or PS Fix. Again, the task options are limited to very specific actions (knocking out a background in Mix or Liquifying or Healing in Fix).
Let's look at the workflow for PaintCan, then Spark.
Note: at this time, PaintCan and Spark Page are only available on iOS for mobile apps, but all the Spark tools (Page, Video and Post) can be used within a desktop web browser.
Still in public beta, Adobe PaintCan is a truly awesome app that will help anyone with an iPad or iPhone create digital paintings of their photographs. Hands-down, I love this app and really hope it makes it into Adobe's main mobile app offerings.
To get started, select an image in Lightroom Mobile, then tap the Share icon and choose Open In... and select the PaintCan app from the list.
Create your new work of art from your photograph, usng the various brushes or presets available.
There is no roundtrip back to Lightroom with the current version of PaintCan, so once you are done, simply save your artwork to your Camera Roll.
Create a Spark Page
Adobe Spark Page (formerly Adobe Slate) is a very cool tool for creating interactive stories using text, images and simple animation. It's a lot of fun to work with. In fact, I'd say it's more play than work. A completed Spark Page (essentially an image-laden web page, using parallax scrolling effects) is uploaded to Adobe servers and can be shared with friends and family (or anyone else). As well as being a great story-telling tool, I've seen this tool used instead of PowerPoint and Keynote for presentations. I've done so myself.
To get started, open a collection in Lightroom Mobile and before selecting any images, tap the Share icon and choose Create in Spark Page.
Spark Page opens (assuming you've installed it). If you've never created a Page before, check out a couple of the sample stories (seen below) then get started on your own by tapping the big "+" sign at the bottom of the screen.
Tap the Photo icon to begin.
As soon as you tap the Photo icon, a sidebar appears, showing all the images from the currently active Collection within Lightroom. It may be a little thing, but I find it very helpful to have my desired image Collection show up as the default. Simply tap an image to make it the cover image for your story.
I can of course, navigate out of that collection into others if I wish.
Add a title and maybe a subtitle if you're feeling vebose.
From this point on, just follow the prompts, adding text, photos, clipart or creating composites like a photo grid or a "glide show". Along the way, don't forget to experiment with the various pre-built themes and other layout options. Half the fun of Spark Page is discovering what's possible.
When you're happy with your Spark Page story, tap the Share icon. Here you can fill in some additonal metadata, image credits (if necessary) and then share via Facebook, Twitter, email or text message. You can also copy the link for the Spark Page (remember, they upload to Adobe servers, not your own url) so that you can share the story via Behance or other social media.
So that's it. You've seen several innovative ways to be even more creative using your iPad or iPhone. While not all these apps are available on Android (yet), Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop Mix are. I hope I've inspired you to try something new and if I have, please share it with me!
To learn more about all the Adobe mobile apps, and what platforms they work on, be sure to check out this link.
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