The previous article showed you how to use the UltraBlack Lightroom Develop Presets from Creative Presets to process portraits (click the link to catch up on the article).
One of the downsides of using Develop Presets is that it takes time to go through your presets and see which ones work best with your image.
That’s where the Excessor Lightroom plug-in, created by CaptureMonkey, comes in. The plug-in automatically creates a sequence of Virtual Copies and applies a Develop Preset to each one. It speeds up the Lightroom workflow, saving you a ton of time and helping you find the best presets for your photo much more quickly.
How to install the Excessor Lightroom plug-in
Follow these instructions to install the plug-in.
1. Go to the CaptureMonkey website and download the Excessor plug-in file. Double click the file to unzip it.
2. In Lightroom, go to File > Plug-in Manager. Click the Add button, navigate to the folder where you saved the plug-in file, select the Excessor.lrplugin file and click the Add Plug-in button.
The plug-in is distributed using a shareware model – you can download and use it, and if you find it useful, you are encouraged to pay a one time registration fee of $10.
How to use the Excessor Lightroom plug-in
Once installed, this is how the plug-in works.
1. In the Library module, create a new Collection to contain the Virtual Copies. Add the photo you want to apply the Develop Presets to. It must be an original photo file, not a Virtual Copy.
2. Go to File > Plug-in Extras > Excessor.
3. Select the folder containing the Develop Presets you want to apply to the photo. In this example I’ve selected the Cinematic Collection, also provided by Creative Presets.
4. Select Preset name under Set Virtual Copy Name as. Lightroom will add the name of the preset to the file name so you can see which preset has been applied to the Virtual Copy.
5. Let Excessor do its work, and within a few seconds it will have created a new Virtual Copy for every preset in the selected folder. In this case it created 30 Virtual Copies (one for each of the Cinematic presets).
6. The advantage of using Excessor is that it lets you make side by side comparisons of the presets. Press ‘F’ on your keyboard to go to full screen mode. Look at the images one by one and press ‘P’ to flag the versions you like. This assumes the original image wasn’t flagged in the first place. If it was, go to Edit > Select All and press ‘U’ to unflag all the images in the Collection.
7. Go to the Filter Bar (press the ‘\’ keyboard shortcut if you don’t see it) and select Flagged from the menu on the right. Lightroom displays the Flagged images only in Grid View.
8. Now you can go through the images again and pick one or more favorites. In this case my favorite is the image below, created with the Cinematic 12 preset. You can mark this by giving it a 5 star rating or a Color label.
9. Now you know which Develop Preset you prefer, you can apply it to other images from the same shoot. You can also move over to the Develop module and use the right-hand panels to tweak the settings. In this case I went to the Effects panel and removed the grain the preset had added, as this is something that I don’t like, and added Noise Reduction, which the preset had set to zero.
Here’s a comparison between the original image and the version after the preset had been applied and tweaked.
Now it’s time to really speed up your workflow. Get the most out of Excessor by creating Preset folders containing your favorite Develop Presets.
You can create different folders for different subjects: e.g., a folder for portraits, another for landscapes, another for black and white, another for vintage presets, and so on.
Then you can use the Excessor plug-in as a shortcut to applying your favorite presets. It’s much quicker than going through your Develop Preset folders one by one to find the perfect preset!
Note: Creative Presets kindly provided the presets for me to review. As always, the views in this article are my own and I only write about products that I am happy to recommend to my readers.
The next steps
If you’d like to learn more about Lightroom I suggest you sign up to our Introducing Lightroom free email course (see below).
Mastering Lightroom ebooks
You can also learn more about Lightroom with our Mastering Lightroom series of ebooks.