Creating Lightroom Slide Shows
(This article originally appeared in the October/November 2007 issue of Photoshop User magazine.)
There are two distinctly different types of slide shows in Lightroom, both with their own advantages. The first is an Impromptu Slideshow that can be launched at any time, and the other is the Slideshow module. We'll introduce you to the world of slide shows by taking a quick look at both of these options.
One of the advantages of the Impromptu Slideshow (as the names suggests) is that you can launch it at any time. Simply go to the Window menu and choose Impromptu Slideshow or press Command-Return (PC: Cntl-Enter). This shortcut can be used in any module and will show whatever slides are currently active in your library. One common way to use the Impromptu Slideshow is a full-screen way of sorting through your photos—use the numbers 1 through 5 to rank the photos or use the shortcuts for flagging (P for Pick, U for Unflagged, X for Rejected) as the slide show is playing. Press Esc to exit the slide show.
As quick as the Impromptu Slideshow is, there are no real controls to speak of—and that's fine since its purpose is to be "quick and easy." To create more customized slide shows, we use the Slideshow module.
After selecting the images you want in your slide show, click the Slideshow module, or press Command-Option-3 (PC: Cntl-Alt-3). On the left side, you can use the Template Browser to choose from the existing templates—and then tweak a template and save it as your own.
On the right side are all the settings to change the look of the layout and how the slide show will run:
Use the Options panel to zoom the image to fill the slide frame (or not), add a stroke border to the frame and choose its width and color, and edit a cast shadow. Whatever settings you choose in this and other panels will be applied to every slide in the slide show.
In the Layout panel, you'll edit the size of the slide image by changing the left, right, top, and bottom borders. You can choose to do this numerically in this panel, or visually by clicking and dragging on the borders of the image itself.
The Overlays panel is used to determine what (if any) overlays you want to display, including an identity plate, rating stars, or text overlays. If the identity plate or text overlays are turned on, you can then click and drag these elements on the image to reposition them.
To edit the content of the text overlay, click on the "ABC" button to make the custom text field appear. Then, click and hold on "custom text" to view a list of choices, including Edit, which will open a separate dialog with lots of options for what text you want to appear.
To change the color of the background, add a graduate background (color wash), or use a photo as a background you'll use the Backdrop panel. One interesting option (as shown in our example) is to drag a photo from the filmstrip into the Background image holder, and then alter its opacity.
Lastly, you can edit the slide show itself in the Playback panel to add a Soundtrack, set the duration of the slides and fade, and use a random order. Lightroom uses iTunes for its soundtrack, so you'll get best results if you first go to iTunes and create a new playlist that includes the song(s) you want to use in your show. Then, back in Lightroom, you'll choose that playlist from the Library popup menu.
Press Play to view your slide show in full screen mode, or if you want to do a quick preview, hold down Option (PC: Alt) and Play becomes Preview—this will show the slide show in the image areas rather than full screen. You can also create a PDF version of your slide show by clicking on the Export button.
Once you create a layout that you like, return to the Template Browser and click on the Add button to add your own reusable template.
As you can imagine, you can create some eye-catching—and reusable—slide show templates very easily, so with these basics under your belt, it's time for you to start creating your own slide shows. Have fun!