Extending Lightroom – LR2/Mogrify

Mon, Sep 28, 2009

Best Practices, Lightroom

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LR2/Mogrify is probably the absolute most useful plug-in for extending Lightroom. Timothy Armes’ plug-in was developed to utilize the ImageMagick software suite to further manipulate and edit images after you have completed editing in Lightroom as the file is exported.

LR2/Mogrify allows you to extend Lightroom’s core capabilities further, allowing you to carry out functions that Lightroom is not natively capable of without the need for final editing in Photoshop.

Any plug-in that helps you avoid a trip to Photoshop to carry out simple, much needed tasks (such as watermarking) is incredibly useful and a must have for any serious photographer.

The greatest thing about LR2/Mogrify is its ability to further extend Lightroom. Its second greatest strength is price. Timothy Armes could definitely get by with charging a respectable amount for the functionality of the plug-in. However he has decided to make this plug-in available for a simple donation, allowing you to determine what you wish to pay for his fantastic efforts.

Just because you can get by purchasing this cheap is no sign that you should. Download the trial version and see if it suits your needs, if it does, consider donating an amount of money equivalent to what the plug-in is worth to you.

LR2/Mogrify allows you to complete a multitude of different tasks Lightroom is not natively able to do on its own. As LR/2 Mogrify is an export plug-in, it is simple to use as it is controlled by a series of option panels in your Export dialog in Lightroom. Although the program is simple and intuitive, you may still find the options it presents to you intimidating.

To this extent I have chosen a few of LR2/Mogrify’s most useful features, discuss them briefly and then link you to some in-depth tutorials from around the web to get you started.

LR2/Mogrify Basics

Before we dig into the multitude of online resources to help you utilize LR2/Mogrify to its furthest extent, I would like to refer you to Timothy Armes’ LR2/Mogrify pages. Here you can find both the installation instructions and a quick guide, which lightly touches upon many features that will be used in the following tutorials.

Watermarks

Lightroom has the ability to include simple, text only, copyright watermarks. However a simple text watermark in the corner offers little protection to the photographer who is concerned about image theft. Most still utilize Photoshop to place a traditional translucent graphic watermark with is much more difficult to remove from an image.

Borders

Many photographers feel that Lightroom’s inability to create borders on images is a severe software downfall. Fortunately for them, and the rest of us, LR2/Mogrify facilitates this need. LR2/Mogrify allows both inner borders, which crop the borders into your image, and outer borders, which appends a border to the outside of your image.

Text Annotations

Text annotations allow you to include text directly on your image. Working in concert with the bordering feature of LR2/Mogrify, this allows you to title and “sign” your image. A further use that may be of use to many people out there is the ability to document selected EXIF data directly onto the image. Either way this functionality allows you to include text instantly, on export, eliminating the need to utilize Photoshop to add text data to your images.

Optimum Jpeg Output

A great feature with little coverage across the web is LR2/Mogrify’s ability to control the size of your Jpeg output. Utilizing the “Mogrify JPEG Compress to given file size” options, you can set the desired maximum file size of your image you desire.

LR2/Mogrify will then create a Tiff image and reprocess it with differing Jpeg compressions to get you the highest quality image at the desired file size. As said, this feature is poorly documented on the internet at large, however the Quick Guide contains a good brief description of the option.

Color Space Conversion

Another feature of note, again untouched on the internet, is LR2/Mogrify’s color management abilities. Utilizing LR2/Mogrify’s color space tools allow you to attach a custom color (ICC) profile to your image. For the vast majority of users, this feature is not needed, however if you have special printing, exporting or publisher requirements in regard to color space, this is a handy feature. Again, more on this is in the Quick Guide, and sadly covered little elsewhere.

If you could not already tell, Timothy Armes’ Quick Guide is a must read for this tool. It gives a brief rundown on all of the above features, as well as other features I find less important. It is a definite must read before you delve into the other tutorials listed here, giving you the basic knowledge required to know what is going down.

The preceding tutorials are great to get you going with LR2/Mogrify. The authors of these tutorials took the time to explain in-depth how to leverage this great tool to make up for some lacking aspects of Lightroom. However, these capabilities of LR2/Mogrify are simple the tip of the iceberg. This plug-in is so flexible, that after you get familiar with its interface you will find yourself utilizing this plug-in for more than just these basic features.

LR2/Mogrify is a literal toolkit for the serious photographer using Lightroom. It is powerful and flexible, and no serious user of Lightroom should be without this plug-in.

To get started with LR2/Mogrify, if you do not have the plug-in already, simply grab the trial version at Timothy Armes’ website. Although the trail is limited, the limitations imposed do not get in your way of testing out and learning this fine plug-in. The trial’s limitation is simply to limit you to 10 images per export. This is a roadblock if you are a professional using the tool, but is great for trying out the plug-in. The limitation is lifted when you donate to the project and get your full version registration.

Hopefully this article gets you up to speed with LR2/Mogrify if you are not familiar wit it already. Even if you have been using LR2/Mogrify, hopefully you found a few of these links to be helpful as well.

Michael W. Gray – LifeInDigitalFilm

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