Creating and Using Stacks: Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure

by Mikkel Aaland
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This excerpt is from Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure. Completely up-to-date for Lightroom 2, this beautifully illustrated and eminently practical book offers a complete tour of Adobe's integrated digital photography workflow application. Augmented by photos and case studies from a demanding road test in Tasmania, award-winning photographer Mikkel Aaland explains how Lightroom allows you to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images.

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Stacks are another useful way to organize your images. Imagine a traditional light table (if you can!) and remember how you could set one slide on top of another, creating a relational stack. Well, that's pretty much what you do with Lightroom stacks.

Start in the Grid view by selecting All Photos from the Catalog pane or a folder from the Folders pane. You can't stack from within a collection from the Collections pane or between different folders. Next, select a group of related images that you want to stack together, as shown in Figure 3-111. (To select multiple sequential images, click on a thumbnail, hold the Shift key, and click on the last thumbnail in the sequence. All the thumbnails between are also selected.) Next, right-click on one of the selected thumbnails. Be sure to click on the image area, not the outer frame. This brings up the menu shown in Figure 3-112. You can get the same options by selecting Photo→Stacking from the menu bar.

Figure 3-111

Figure 3-112

Now your selected images are collapsed into one, and the visible image displays a number in the upper-left corner indicating the number of stacked images (circled in Figure 3-113). Change the order of images in a stack by dragging and dropping thumbnails from the grid, via the Stacking menu or the following keyboard commands:

Figure 3-113

  • Shift + [ Move up in stack
  • Shift + ] Move down in stack
  • Shift + S Move to top of stack

Remove images from a stack via the Photo menu, or by right-clicking on a thumbnail and choosing Remove from Stack from the contextual menu.

Working with Stacks

To expand a stack, right-click to bring up the contextual menu and select Expand Stack, or simply click on the stack icon in the top thumbnail. You also can choose to Expand All Stacks if you have multiple stacks and you want to view all the contents. Numbers in the upper-left corner of the thumbnail indicate the grouping order (circled in Figure 3-114). Your collapsed stack now looks like this in the filmstrip (circled, top in Figure 3-115). Select the stack in the filmstrip and double-click it, and you see the top image in the Loupe view. Click on the stack thumbnail in the filmstrip, and the stack expands, as shown here (circled), and you can use your arrow keys to select and view the other images in the Loupe view one by one.

Figure 3-114

Figure 3-115

You can also select the Survey view (circled in Figure 3-116) and, when you expand the stack in the filmstrip, all the images will appear in the main viewing window, as shown in Figure 3-117. (Obviously, the larger the stack, the smaller the images will be in the main viewing window.) To split a stack, first expand it, then click on one of the middle thumbnails and select Split from the contextual menu. This makes two stacks: one including all to the left, and one containing the selected image and all to the right.

Figure 3-116

Figure 3-117

NOTE Auto-Stack by Capture Time is also an option via the contextual menu or the Photo→Stacking menu. This feature is especially useful if you want to automatically stack sequenced photos that are destined for a panorama.

Unstacking Stacks

To unstack a stack, go to the contextual menu and select Unstack. The images now appear as distinct thumbnails, as they were before stacking.

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This excerpt is from Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure. Completely up-to-date for Lightroom 2, this beautifully illustrated and eminently practical book offers a complete tour of Adobe's integrated digital photography workflow application. Augmented by photos and case studies from a demanding road test in Tasmania, award-winning photographer Mikkel Aaland explains how Lightroom allows you to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, buy a copy of Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure.