Review: TTG Pages
Months ago, I reviewed a fine piece of Web Gallery Engine for Lightroom from The Turning Gate, the one-man creation of Matthew Campagna. That piece of software, TTG Highslide Gallery Pro, made creation of high quality, attractive galleries simple. Plus, the added benefit that these beautiful galleries can be generated and uploaded directly from Lightroom.
TTG Pages is a complimentary product to TTG Highslide Gallery Pro. However instead of creating galleries, TTG Pages lets you create elegant websites, easily, right from Lightroom. Now understand, these are not Dreamweaver masterpieces; but solid, simple, elegant websites. TTG Pages is a great front end for the varying TTG Galleries. TTG Pages makes it easy to create specialty websites, such as weddings, online exhibitions and even your online portfolio. TTG Pages is the go to software for quick design, creation and deployment of small, custom sites directly from Lightroom.
Installation of TTG Pages is a simple affair, although if you are not familiar it can seem intimidating. Web engines are not a simple menu click affair like importing presets, you have to manually move the files directly into your Lightroom settings folder. Instructions for installing Web Engines can be found on The Turning Gate site. Along with the Web Engine, the TTG Pages download includes a number of preconfigured Web Templates, allowing a quick redesign of the elements that make the web page with a simple click. Installation instructions for the template again can be found at The Turning Gate.
Once the installation is complete, just fire up Lightroom. Select a few photos you want to use to decorate you webpage and click on the Web Module. From here, simply click on TTG Pages in the Web Engine palette on the right tool panel of the Web Module.
Give Lightroom some time now, as it is prepping your selected images and rendering a web page viewable in the preview panel. From here you can select from a selection of pre-made web templates for TTG Pages, or mosey on over to the right tool panel and start scrolling through your options.
TTG Pages provides a myriad of settings to help create the perfect website for your needs. Everything can be adjusted from the right tool panel, leaving you no HTML that you have to deal with. Not saying you can’t tweak the resulting web page, it is just that you don’t have to. It will be fully functional on export.
What is tricky is text. In most tools, not designed for Lightroom, you would simply type text onto the web preview. Formatting already would be applied. However, due to limitations of Lightroom’s design (I mean, Lightroom is not really a webpage editor) you cannot format paragraphs on you pages. However, Matthew found a nice way around that and has separate text boxes on the tool palette for up to five paragraphs on a page. Most times this will be all you would need.
TTG Pages automatically generates a number of pages automatically. The bare basics are a front page, an about page, a gallery page and a contact page. From here you can also add hotlinks for linking to other pages and TTG Pages even has an easy to use contact form for the contact page that can forward comments and questions directly to an e-mail account.
The gallery page automatically takes one of your selected images and creates a link to a gallery. TTG Pages does not create galleries; you would need to use another TTG gallery engine such as TTG Highslide Gallery Pro. However, TTG Pages is designed to automatically link to galleries you produce when you follow the simple instructions on the TTG pages site.
I am really just touching the tip of the iceberg here, TTG Pages is a powerful tool and used in conjunction with TTG Highslide Gallery Pro it was to be the quickest way to create stunning websites to show off your images. Once you finish you website you can either save it locally to fine tune and upload, or you can directly upload your new site directly from Lightroom.
This review is rather brief, as I do not want to go too in depth, as I am working on a complete tutorial walking you through the use of TTG Pages and TTG Highslide Gallery Pro, from start to finish, to make a “boutique” website, such as that for a wedding or portfolio. It is shaping up to be quite in-depth in both applications, but quite easy to follow. So if this does not generate interest in TTG Pages, I am sure the walkthrough will. In fact I am working on my own special project currently utilizing both of these tools.
Here is a sample site, created with TTG Pages. I did not fill out the page at all, used the standard design and did not upload galleries. Since there are no galleries in the gallery folder, there is no previews shown in the Gallery Index. This is just a sample to play around with, and is only temporary, as I will link my project I am working on here to show exactly what TTG Pages can do.
Overall, I found TTG Pages to be a well-rounded piece of software. It is fast, simple and create fine website. Using TTG Pages on its own has limited appeal, but in conjunction with another TTG product or two you have a complete design solution for quick and elegant websites. If you already have a TTG gallery product installed, TTG Pages is a must have. TTG Pages makes it easy to create an great frontend to present your galleries.
TTG Pages is available at The Turning Gate for $25 USD.
US Legal BS: I was provided with a review copy of the software and received no other form of compensation for this review.