pcdMagic can be used as an external editor for Adobe applications such as Lightroom, Apple's Aperture, and other apps that support "external editor" functionality. When you choose to edit an image from one of those apps using pcdMagic as an external editor, the app will render a TIFF or JPEG from the Photo CD file and send it to pcdMagic. pcdMagic will then search for the corresponding Photo CD file, open the Photo CD file, and then overwrite the JPEG/TIFF from the calling program with pcdMagic's rendition of the Photo CD image. Depending on the app, the pcdMagic rendition will appear in Lightroom/Aperture/etc as an "alternate master", "version" or similar.

External editor setup

To use pcdMagic as an external editor for Lightroom, Aperture, etc, follow these steps:

  1. In pcdMagic, go to Preferences, and select the "App Integration" tab. Then set the location of your Photo CD files. pcdMagic will search subdirectories of this location, but will not be able to search outside of the directory you set. NOTE: if the Photo CD file location is not set, pcdMagic will not be able find the Photo CD file corresponding to the file sent to it by Lightroom/Aperture/etc. If you have multiple version of pcdMagic installed, you must do this for each version of pcdMagic individually. 
  2. In Lightroom or Aperture, go to the Preferences dialog and activate the "External Editing" preferences tab. 
  3. Select the version of pcdMagic that you have installed as the external editor. If you have multiple versions installed - e.g., both pcdMagic and pcdMagic Monochrome, or beta versions, you must set each version separately. 
  4. Select an intermediate file format. pcdMagic supports both TIFF and JPEG, but we strongly recommend 16-bit TIFF using ProPhoto for the color space. Using JPEG or sRGB may result in banding or colors at the extremes of your camera's color gamut being desaturated.
  5. Set a file naming scheme. pcdMagic supports the default naming schemes of both Lightroom and Aperture. However, if you have a different application, or chose to change the default setting, make sure that the naming scheme follows one of the patterns below. If it does not, pcdMagic will not be able to locate the original Photo CD file corresponding to the file passed to it.
  6. Open the file you want to process within Lightroom, Aperture, etc, and open it for external editing in whatever version of pcdMagic you have installed. Make adjustments in pcdMagic as usual.
  7. When you've done with adjustments in pcdMagic, transfer the image back to the original app with the "Update Edited Image" button, under the "App Integration" section of the adjustments pane. Some applications - e.g., Aperture, may require you to quit pcdMagic before the new image shows in the original application. NOTE: it may take several seconds for the new image to show.

Intermediate JPEG/TIFF name format

For the intermediate JPEG or TIFF, you must configure Lightroom/Aperture/etc to use one of the following naming schemes so that pcdMagic can locate the Photo CD file:

  • <FileName> where <FileName> is the Photo CD file name, e.g., "DSC_0049.TIF"
  • <FileName>-Edit-<Digits> where <Digits> is a sequence of digits, e.g., "DSC_0049-Edit-1.TIF"
  • <FileName>-<Digits> e.g., "DSC_0049-1.TIF".
  • <FileName>_v<Digits> e.g., "DSC_0049_v1.TIF"
  • <FileName> <Digits> e.g., "DSC_0049 1.TIF"
  • <FileName>-<suffix> where suffix can be anything but FileName cannot contain any hyphens.