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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 10, '06 08:47:16AM

You can also drag the photo you want to edit to Photoshop's Dock icon. One very large benefit of doing this over choosing "Edit in External Editor" from a menu is that it sends the original file, not a copy of the file. This is relevant for people who shoot RAW format files: choosing the menu item will send a jpg copy of the file, not the original RAW file, to Photoshop. Since Photoshop has RAW editing capabilities (particularly noise reduction and white-balance sampling) that iPhoto doesn't, this is the best way I've found to use iPhoto as my "shoebox of photos" while still getting the most out of my RAW files. Photoshop will automatically save its .xml sidecar file (the file Photoshop uses to store the changes you've made to RAW images) in the same folder as the original file.

Once you've edited the picture to your satisfaction, you then save a .jpg version of the file. In particular, you want to save a version "over the top of" (i.e., replacing, using the same name as) iPhoto's modified version (NOT the original). This is the downside of this approach: you have to "manually" find the appropriate folder in which to save the edited version of the file. In iPhoto '06, originals are saved in ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/<yr>/<roll #>/, while modified versions are saved in ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Modified/<yr>/<roll #>/; so when you save you have to go up three directories from the folder holding the original, remember your roll number, then go down three directories to that same roll number in the Modified folder and save your jpg. This is a bigger pain in iPhoto '06 than it was in '05, because in '05 the originals were stored in a subdirectory of the same folder that stored the modified versions (I have vague plans to write an Automator action to do this automatically). This change in directory structure also meant that none of my old .xml files got moved into the new directories; though fortunately it didn't delete the .xml files altogether, so if I want to re-edit any of my older RAW files I just have to Spotlight search for the filename of my image and move the .xml file to the new folder.

One thing that seems to have been fixed in '06 is that, in '05, editing this way (by dragging the image to the Photoshop icon in the dock) confused Thumbnail view: the Thumbnails would flicker back and forth between the photoshop-edited version and the "original jpg" version of the file (which is to say the modified version of the file saved by iTunes). If you're still using '05, you can get around this by choosing "Edit in External Editor" from the contextual menu after you've imported your image into Photoshop the other way, then just closing the second image as soon as it opens up in Photoshop. This seems to set iPhoto up so it's "expecting" a changed version of the file to be changed, so it deals gracefully when one is.

Quite a lot of rigmarole, but I like iPhoto's organizational function plus the control RAW gives me over my images enough to make it worthwhile; and I can't afford Photoshop or iView Media Pro.



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Is thumbnail of photo upated as well?
Authored by: moritzh on Feb 10, '06 12:30:13PM
Very nice description, thank you. A short question:
Once you've edited the picture to your satisfaction, you then save a .jpg version of the file. In particular, you want to save a version "over the top of" (i.e., replacing, using the same name as) iPhoto's modified version (NOT the original).
Will iPhoto realize that you are replacing the photo and update the thumbnail? Or does it get confused by this procedure? I assume not, since you seem to get along with this well. Sorry, I don't have iPhoto '06 yet, so I can't test myself.
I can't afford Photoshop or iView Media Pro
Neither can I. But I am wondering: If you can't afford it, how come you use it as an exteral editor? ;-)

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Is thumbnail of photo upated as well?
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 10, '06 01:13:06PM

The answer seems to be yes, in '06 -- though I just got '06 so I haven't tested extensively. In '05, the "thumbnail flickering" I described above is likely the symptom of the thumbnail not updating. As I described, the workaround in '05 (and presumably in '06, if there's a problem) is to do a "dummy" external edit by choosing "edit in external editor" from the menu, then just closing the file immediately when it opens in Photoshop.



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Is thumbnail of photo upated as well?
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 10, '06 01:17:22PM
Neither can I. But I am wondering: If you can't afford it, how come you use it as an exteral editor? ;-)

D'oh! Typo. I meant "I can't afford Aperture or iView Media Pro".



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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: osxpounder on Feb 10, '06 03:37:35PM

That's interesting [your discovery that RAW files get passed to Photoshop as JPGs]. I don't use RAW, but I tried a PSD file and find that it gets passed as a PSD no matter how I choose to edit it [click, context menu, whatever].

But it made me realize that I wish iPhoto would show the file extensions, so I could see at a glance that this thumbnail is a PSD, but that thumb's a JPG. I checked menus and prefs, but find no way to do it. That amazes me. Is it true that iPhoto won't show you file extensions, or am I missing how to enable this?

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osxpounder



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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 10, '06 04:28:15PM

In the source pane you can pull up an info window, there you can see the file type. Or do a command I.



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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 10, '06 05:09:40PM

The fact that PSD files are always sent to Photoshop as PSD files is partly due to the different way iPhoto treats RAW from the way it treats other image formats. When you edit a photo in iPhoto, it always keeps the original unchanged in the Originals folder and changes a copy of that original, which it places in the Modified folder. With every format except RAW, the copy it makes is of the same format as the original -- so there will be two photos called, say, IMG_001.psd; one in the Originals folder and one in the Modified folder. With RAW, however, the copy that gets saved is a different format from the original -- specifically, a jpg. This is to conform to the "RAW philosophy", which treats RAW as a digital negative that should never be edited directly.

So Osxpounder's observation made sense to me: if dragging the image to the Dock icon sends the original, while using the "Edit in external editor" menu item sends the modified copy, then RAW files would be sent as a different format via the two methods, while other files would be sent as the same format.

Interestingly, though, it turns out iTunes seems to be more intelligent than I expected: with RAW files, dragging to the dock icon sends the original; while with other files it sends the modified copy. I tested this (with a psd, in fact) by importing a file to iPhoto, editing it in an obvious way (I sepia'd it), then dragging the file -- lo & behold, the sepia version was what got opened in Photoshop! Pretty fascinating behavior.



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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 22, '06 01:20:26PM

Update on my comments on RAW editing above. I just discovered (in iPhoto '06; i don't think it existed in '05) an option in the Advanced preference pane to "Use RAW files with external editor". This automatically sends the RAW files to (e.g.) Photoshop, when possible, by choosing "Edit in External Editor" from the popup menu. All the rigmarole I describe above then becomes unnecessary. Hooray!



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