More Lightroom Panel Tips and Tricks
The panels of Adobe Lightroom can be customized and configured in quite a few ways, some obvious and some less so, some useful some just simply for fun. I covered the basics last week, now it's time for some of the more "interesting" panel tips and tricks.
You can change the font size used in Lightroom's panels to either "Small" or "Large" using a dropdown in the Edit >> Preferences >> Interface dialog. The default is to let Lightroom decide which is best based on your monitor resolution. You have to exit out of Lightroom and restart the program for the change to take effect.
Go to Edit >> Preferences >> Interface. Not only can you change the shade of gray here that Lightroom will use as the fill color behind whatever is displayed in the main image area as well as the secondary display window, you can fill the area with a very fine pinstripe pattern. An odd touch to be sure, but I am unclear as to what use it actually serves. Indeed, if your monitor has a high enough resolution, the stripes that make up the pinstripe pattern are themselves barely perceptible with the result appearing nearly as just another shade of gray. Still, it's thoughtful of Adobe to provide a touch of class like this.
Panel End Marks
Here's another touch of elegant class that Adobe added to the Lightroom user interface for some unknown reason. Take a look at either side panel group and scroll all the way to the bottom. What you will find is a flourish curlycue thingy that looks like it belongs more at the top of a Roman column than it does in a photo editing program. One might cynically assume that Adobe placed these at the ends of the panel groups so even the most inexperienced users would know when they were at the bottom and stop dragging on the scroll bar handles. I just know there had to have been a more practical reason, I just can't come up with it.
Anyway, since they are there and we're on the subject of tips and tricks for Lightroom's panels, why not change them to something other than the default so you can show that you have even more class than Adobe's engineers? No problem. Either go back to the Edit >> Preferences >> Interface panel and try out some of the entries in the End Marks dropdown list, or right click on the current end mark at the bottom of a panel and do likewise. Here you will find a variety of ornaments, flourishes, and clip art to choose from. Whatever you pick will replace both left and right panel group end marks.
After you work your way to the end of the available choices you'll run into the "Go to Panel End Marks Folder" that will display an empty folder on your hard drive. Since you've just looked at a selection of end marks you might have been expecting the folder to filled with the files used to render what youv'e just seen but the built-in end marks live elsewhere. But if you put your own file here you can indeed use it as an additional end mark choice.
Adobe doesn't do a very good job of describing how to make your own end marks, but the process is actually quite straightforward. Indeed, just about any image you put in this folder will add itself to the End Marks dropdown list and will indeed display at the bottom of both panel groups if you select it. But before you go hog wild, you might consider what would actually work. Your artwork should be about the same size as the default samples as anything too big could cause problems. And while you can use a color image, I'd recommend sticking with grayscale if you want your new end mark to look like it belongs as part of the Lightroom user interface. The width of your creation should be no bigger than about 150 pixels, with 100 pixels probably being the maximum practical height. I created a PNG image with a transparent background from the Earthbound Light logo and added it to my Panel End Marks folder and it actually looks quite smart at the bottom of my Lightroom panel marks. There may be no practical reason for doing this, but it was fun and I like it.
Oh, the irony that it takes Photoshop to create a new Lightroom panel end mark. You can't feasibly do so in Lightroom.
So there you have it: a roundup of some of the less common tricks and tips for Lightroom panels. If you have your own favorite, let me know and if I like it, I'll add it here.