Crap! Do I have management all wrong?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jamesgysen, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Browsing a recent unrelated PN post I read the following:
    The changes you make are all tracked in a database and not actually applied to the image until you tell it to export a particular version. So, if you want to try a few different looks, like sepia, b&w, both with & without a vignette, you can see them all at the same time & compare. WITHOUT making 4 different copies & then applying the changes.​
    I'm currently using LR 2.6 for my (very novice) editing and what I thought was photo management. Being self taught (4 months), I've historically imported the photos I want, tag/edit/manipulate/print etc and then export them back into the original windows file I got them from (yes making epic amounts of copies which I thought were needed). The quote above was talking directly about Aperture however eluded to LR doing things the same way.
    Without calling me an idiot (I have that covered!) can someone clarify:
    1. Should I just be importing, tagging and leaving everything in LR?
    2. Does the above even apply to LR?
    3. How many photos can LR hold (database?) or is this even a factor given that its not saving physical copies, just creating 'templates' as it were?
    Thanks for any advice. I think its evident that I've been approaching this all wrong. J
     
  2. James, do a search on LR develop mode, and LR library mode, or, read or watch a few basic tutorial about the same on (youtube) and your questions will have answers. LR is NON destructive . . . You need to change completely how you think about images management and manipulation when youre using LR. . .

    Tony
     
  3. 1. Yes!
    2. Yes!
    3. Lots

    Like Aperture, Lightroom is designed for non-destructive editing and cataloging. The way I use it (and
    everyone I've ever talked to) is to import raw files into lightroom, make adjustments, tag, etc. and then
    leave them until I have a specific need. Once I have a particular use such as sending a CD or making a
    web image, I export for that use, but keep the raw file in lightroom until I need it again for something else.
    If I want to make different versions of an image such as color vs. black and white, I make a virtual copy
    in lightroom. I almost never handle the actual raw files via the operating system—I let lightroom organize
    them by date and forget about them.
     
  4. And to answer your questions directly:
    (1) That's what most of us do. It's not the only way, though.
    (2) Yes, it applies directly to LR as well, without even any changes in terminology.
    (3) There is no limit to how many photos LR can hold, though obviously disks are only so big. With extremely large catalogs (100,000 files or more) you may experience some slowness in some database-intensive operations, depending on your system and your tolerance.
     
  5. The beauty of LR is you really don't have to think (very much). Instead of keeping track of which changes you've made to which copies of the same image (and then inevitably losing track of same), you can just make changes to the LR image ad infinitum. If you like an image you just make a digital copy of it, which essentially is like a "bookmark" for your changes thus far, and continue working with the photo to do new and interesting things. Meanwhile, the original photo sits in your hard drive, untouched.
     
  6. You can save LR settings instead of copies of the Raw file showing the different rendering versions. To get quick individual previews created by these saved settings just do a screen capture and assign your monitor profile (Windows doesn't do this automatically but Mac OS X does) . Then name the captures using the corresponding settings name and drag and drop into the folder where the original Raw resides.
    You'll have VERY small files with quality previews that are very quick to generate over saving in a rendered format like tiff or jpeg out of LR which can get cumbersome especially with numerous images even when using batch automation processes.
    One caveat about this dependent on the version of LR used is color rendering may be slightly different compared to how it appears in Photoshop and online according to zoomed view used in LR to create the screen capture. In my version of ACR 4.6 100% view will show actual saturation levels as viewed in Photoshop at any zoom view. But for some reason this isn't the case with every image which stumps me to this day.
     
  7. Brian showed me I don't know very much about LR (I use ACR).
    The "bookmark" idea sounds like a more efficient workflow.
     
  8. how timely, this article from LR Lab is well done and provides a good foundation.

    http://thelightroomlab.com/2010/06/getting-started-right-adobe-photoshop-lightroom-3-setup-and-catalog-creation/
     
  9. I just got LR3 myself, never used LR before, old PhotoShop guy. If I'm reading this thread correctly, I can create versions without creating versions, just XML or whatever sort of data...how do I do that and view all variations?I didn't realize I'm not affecting the file:)
    I didn't think LR was so complex, but wow! Think of the drive space saved.
    The database aspect scares me though, DBs tend to corrupt if you aren't meticulous with them. But a bunch of purely text data should hopefully minimize that? Is there any way to know what the DB is? I mean, some info on what LR is doing? Can you open it in a program similar to PHPMyAdmin, MSAccess, etc.? Obviously not those programs, but if something corrupts, can you go in somewhere and fix it?
    Frankly I'd like LR to replace ACR and move into Photoshop from there, but I'm sure I'll change my ways:)
     
  10. Shawn, what you want is a 'create virtual copy' which you'll find under the 'photo' menu. I normally right
    click on images and choose it from the contextual menu. It looks and acts like it's an independent image,
    but it's reading the same underlying raw data. You can stack it with the original to keep track of it.

    The DB under lightroom is sqlite. I don't see why you couldn't muck around with it if you wanted to, but it
    sounds like you understand the risks of doing so. I'm sure a google search will lead to people hacking and
    poking around in it. The best bet it to periodically backup the catalog file, which will save the metadata,
    previews, etc. Backup options are in the 'catalog settings' dialog. The original raw images aren't in the
    database, though, they just live in the file system like any other image.

    Once you drink the LR cool-aid and start doing it their way, it's hard to go back to managing files and
    versions yourself.
     
  11. I've taken a pause from banging my head against the wall. Thank you all for the help - Tony B, the reference in that link about LR being a 'file index' of sorts makes the most sense to me so I think with some more pain, things will only get clearer from here.
    Tim - I'm with you on the bookmarking that Brian mentions however brings up another question (among many). I do various edits to one particular photo and LR saves the 'Setting Data' (for lack of a better term) for each change. Where? Will I accidentally corrupt them doing something else on my computer (ie backups) and, I take it that only LR will be able to read those settings and apply them in-program - I would still need to save (export) an edited version if I want to open it with a different program (non-adobe).
    The database aspect scares me though, DBs tend to corrupt if you aren't meticulous with them.​
    Shawn, how would LR corrupt your library if you're not overwriting the original files just saving essentially "extra" data?
     
  12. Mark - we must have posted at the same time, its getting clearer now and thanks for the expertise. As Tony B. is stating, I need to educate myself allot more.
     
  13. WRT relying on LR to keep track of virtual copies, I use this feature extensively when I'm actively working on an image, and it's a wonderful approach. As they say, I've drank the cool-aid and probably won't go back to my old workflow.
    HOWEVER, when I'm pretty sure I know which route I want the image to take, and I haven't made any major changes to the image for a while, I always export one or more full rez, uncompressed TIF files with my favorite rendering settings, and save the TIFs in a subdirectory.
    The reason for doing this is that I take a long term view of image management. LR is just one isolated piece of proprietary software. A few years from now, LR will either fade from the scene, or morph into some other form, such that all new versions will either not recognize the old render commands and render data, or will render old images differently from the way the current version, LR3 renders things. In fact, this is almost exactly what happened in the recent upgrade from LR2 to LR3 w.r.t. sharpening, NR, etc. settings. This time, Adobe nicely provided a means for compatibility. The next time, they might not. I don't want to take that chance and rely on any one company.
    The reason I use uncompressed TIFs as my archival insurance against change is because they are a very stable, very easy-to-read, open-standard image format. Virtually every image editor and viewer can read such files. In fact, even mathematical programs (eg, Matlab, Mathematica, Statistica, MathCAD, etc.), and scientific image processing programs (eg, Image J) can read and parse TIF files. If even one bit of a JPG file eventually gets toggled because of data rot, the remainder of that file is usually toast. If this happens in a TIF file, only that one pixel is corrupted and is easily repaired. In addition, the basic TIF format has been stable for decades (albeit with a few extensions).
    I'm a belt AND suspenders type of guy because I've been around computers since the mid 1960's and have personally experienced the problems caused by the inevitable evolution in storage media type, in data formats, etc. As they say, it isn't "if" this problem will occur, it is "when".
    Just my $0.02,
    Tom M
    PS - @Tim and others, LR "snapshots" are another useful way to preserve different renderings of an image as you are working on it. I usually use LR snapshots to compare different versions within a given style (eg, dramatic BW), and virtual copies to work an image in significantly different styles. Thus, I will sometimes have a "dramatic BW" set of snapshots, a "muted color" set of snapshots, etc.
     
  14. Pick up Martin Evenings' "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2" for $25 and you will get all the answers. I though thought I knew how to work in Lightroom, but not until I read that book that I have learned that I was missing key information and key aspect of the program.
    Tom
     
  15. If you think of LR as a browser, that can also edit, it might help wrap your brain around it. You can store your LR catalog anywhere. In fact, if you have an extra eighty bucks, pick up a LaCie (or something comparable) external hard drive to store your catalog. LR just needs to know where the images are kept. When you open your catalog, LR looks to where you keep it. If you keep it on your hard drive, that's where LR will look. If you keep it on an external, LR will look there.
    Essentially LR stores previews, and only needs the RAW file when you actually start to edit. If you keep your catalog on a separate HD, you don't have to worry about your machine slowing down as images pile up.
    With regards to your edits, your LR catalog will remember any edits you make to an image. Any metadata you apply to it will be attached as a "sidecar", which simply means exporting the image will bring the metadata with it unless you specifically tell LR to leave out the metadata.
    I used Aperture for three years, and to be honest I never felt like I was taking full advantage of the product. It just never felt intuitive. I learned LR2, and quickly bought 3 and I couldn't be happier. I keep a pretty decent file system, but I flake out with my personal work on occasion. LR's keywording is so simple and fast, I really don't have to worry about an image not being in exactly the right folder for exactly the right subject. As long as I keyword it thoroughly, I'll always be able to find it if I need it in the future. Be generous with your keywords. Anything you can think of that applies to the image that can help you find it later. Colors. Textures. Names. Places. If it applies, add it.
    When you edit in LR, think of coming up with a recipe for your photo. Nothing gets cooked until you finish the recipe, and then export. Only then are changes applied. I actually like to keep a separate folder for "modified" images, apart from my raw files, usually broken down by "website, portrait, commercial, personal" ect.
    Wait...what was the question again? But seriously. Hope this helps!
     
  16. Oh, and as an aside, don't feel bad about being overwhelmed by workflow. It's a daunting task. With digital, your images add up quickly. If you're workflow isn't consistent, and your catalog/file management gets lazy (guilty), images pile up fast and just sit there. But if you get into a habit of shooting, pulling your images off fast and at least keywording them, you'll know that you can find what you're looking for when you have time to edit.
    Cheers!
     
  17. I'm not sure what you mean by this "export them back into the original windows file I got them from" but it sounds potentially dangerous. I wonder if it's possible to import a jpeg to LR, leaving the source file where it is, and then export and overwrite the original source file with your final version? I would guess it's not possible but you certainly wouldn't want to do this.
     
  18. Rob: It's possible if you export the jpeg to the same folder you store the original, and you export it with the same file name. That would be bad, yes. Don't do that.
     
  19. LR is NON destructive . . .​

    I find very often this sentence applied to Adobe.It seems a beautiful feature.
    It isn't: any raw converter is non destructive. The raw data are always untouched.

    You can save LR settings instead of copies of the Raw file showing the different rendering versions. To get quick individual previews created by these saved settings just do a screen capture and assign your monitor profile (Windows doesn't do this automatically but Mac OS X does) .​


    The different rendering versions are not copies of the Raw file. They are different RGB images resulting from elaboration.
    Assigning monitor profile = view non color managed.
     
  20. It isn't: any raw converter is non destructive.​
    Sure, but then Lightroom is more than any raw converter; it will also (non-destructively) edit jpegs, and tiff files. In the context of the this question (…export them back into the original windows file I got them from) that's important.
     
  21. Sure, but then Lightroom is more than any raw converter; it will also (non-destructively) edit jpegs, and tiff files.​
    Any photo editing software may be used non-destructively.
    You can save the edited image without overriding the original one.
    Saving of instructions instead of saving rendered image make the open of a rendered image slow.
     
  22. Any photo editing software may be used non-destructively. You can save the edited image without overriding the original one.​
    And the reason lightroom and aperture are so popular is because few people like a workflow that involves saving full-res copies of every iteration of an image. Also, the lightroom workflow saves every step of the process. Try opening your saved image and then undoing two steps—the history is not saved with the image. Or are you suggesting we save a rendered image for every step in the processing?
    Also, I don't find opening and working with images in lightroom slower than opening a full-res tiff in photoshop. In fact, I find it much faster—by an order of magnitude.
     
  23. Try opening your saved image and then undoing two steps​
    I don't use to go back when the image is saved. When I save the edited image it is not destroyed, it is better than the original.
    Occasionally, I can go back while editing. But it's very rare:before applying any adjustment I check the result comparing it versus the previous rendering.
     
  24. Any photo editing software may be used non-destructively.
    You can save the edited image without overriding the original one.
    Saving of instructions instead of saving rendered image make the open of a rendered image slow.​
    Uh, no. Not in the context of LR/Aperture. Whatever works for you is good. With LR/Aperture you can step back through your edits if need be. I don't think ACR can do that. At least I couldn't figure it out, if it does. In ACR you can change things, but there is no history palette (AFAIK), so you have to remember what you did so you can undo it.
     

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