What can lightroom do that photoshop can't?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by brian_hankey|1, May 8, 2009.

  1. Subject says it all. Thanks.
  2. It can help you manage, index and sort your photo library.
  3. But in terms of editing? I keep reading posts where people talk about fixing color in Lightroom and things like that.
  4. Download the trial version and try it out.
  5. It should be compared to Bridge/ACR or Aperture more than Photoshop. We used Bridge/ACR at work but I prefer the interface of Lightroom more. Both programs can do editing, global color changes and some other effects that Photoshop can do, but aren't nearly as powerful when it comes to manipulations. Generally, Lightroom, Aperture and Bridge/ACR are used first, and then, if necessary, exported over to Photoshop for more intensive work.
    I also recommend trying out the trial version. What you should do is shoot a bunch of shots on your camera and then go through the workflow from importing the images to printing. This will show the value of the program best.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The above description doesn't reference the local editing that LR can do. I actually find the way it works better than Photoshop in certain ways, and when coupled with some of the Nik tools, I find I can do 95% of what I want.
    LR also is easier to use and better adapted to a photographer's workflow. You lose sophisticated masking and filtering (I go to PS for some of the filtration) and there's no real blur function although there are sharpening functions. You need to look at what kinds of things you want to do and see how it fits with both tools.
  7. PS has about 99% more control your image but LR is faster and more efficient.
  8. Even considering all the batch processing stuff photoshop will do?
  9. Photoshop is a 100 ton dumptruck, Lightroom is a Bobcat. They can both achieve the same basic task, but one of them's faster and more nimble at it (and it ain't the ungainly dump truck the size of a small city).
    At the same time, the Bobcat won't haul 100 tons of gravel.
    They've both got their place: Lightroom handles hundreds of images with aplomb and is actually made for managing image libraries (unlike Bridge), while Photoshop is the option that's slower and heavier but lets you do more.
  10. Photoshop will indeed do batch processing. You can set up an action which will perform the same adjustments on as many images as you like. If you want individualized adjustments on RAW files, you can make them non-destructively in Bridge/ACR then convert them to another format through Photoshop. The type of adjustments you can make in this manner are severely limited, and then only on RAW or DNG files.
    Lightroom takes this a step further, and can make non-destructive adjustments on any file type (e.g., TIFF and JPEG), not just RAW and DNG. The types of adjustments you can make are far more extensive than in Bridge/ACR, including cropping and sharpening. The way files are displayed is highly effective - an array of thumbnails which can be enlarged to full screen with one click, and to a 100% (pixel=pixel) crop with one more click. Think of it as an electronic light table with a loupe - because that's what Adobe had in mind.
    Lightroom is ideally suited to reviewing and adjusting a large number of images, and make them consistent from image to image. A typical even might have several general scenes with multiple exposures in each. You can not only synchronize adjustments among similar images, but make that group consistent with other groups. You can get your arms around a large project and adjust 100 to over 400 images in an hour.
    Adjustments you make in Lightroom are saved in auxillary data files without touching the original file. They are applied at the instant of viewing or when converting to another file format. That conversion process is highly automated (similar to Image Processing in Bridge/Photoshop), and locks the changes into the results.
    Lightroom thumbnails (previews) are very high quality, much better than in Bridge. Furthermore, they are saved in a database and viewable even if the original files are no longer available. Lightroom is almost worth the price for this feature alone.
    I use Photoshop for masking and compositing, as well spotting for dust (Lightroom 2 adds that feature), precision resampling. Sharpening is more parametric in Photoshop, and works better for me when resizing files for printing. Photoshop is also much more sophisticated for printing. I like to print "contact sheets" using a laser printer (faster, at a fraction of the cost of an inkjet or dye-sub). However, Lightroom (1.2) will not manage a CMYK laser printer, but Photoshop will. You can use a laserjet as an RGB printer, but the results are much, much better in CMYK mode.
  11. i use Lr to managed, developed, create web page, and print using preset layout.
    i use photoshop to remove / add / alter / liquify and do all my retouching.
  12. The editing component of Lightroom (called "develop" in LR) is identical in capabilities to the features of Adobe Camera Raw which is included with Photoshop CS4, although the interface in the two programs is somewhat different. Both allow you to make many "global" edits, such as adjusting white balance, saturation, contrast, tonality, etc. with limited tools for local edits like dodging and burning. Photoshop of course has vastly more capability if you need to edit content, such as removing unwanted objects, adjusting perspective, etc. LR has much more capability as a file organization, workflow enhancement tool--particularly if you have large numbers of files.
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I wonder if people have really explored LR 2. You can easily dust spot in it. You can do a lot of local editing. You can't composite and you can't do things that require layer masks and blending modes, but for what most people does, it probably has more than they need. As I said above, the local adjustment tool is quite good, more sophisticated in a way than anything in PS.
    In LR1, it was much more akin to an improved Bridge + Camera Raw, but it's changed a lot since then.
  14. Brian, I would simply say if you use the Bridge, you should stop doing so and use LR. As others have said, LR can handle most of the workflow short of micro-fine-tuning color, correcting perspective, and retouching.
    I would have to disagree with Jeff S. about local adjustments. LR is still very primitive compared to PS in the kinds of selections and masks you can make in PS (using quick mask/brush/eraser/gradient tool/fading. opacity/feathering/etc.), and the kinds of adjustments you can then make to those selected areas. PS is far more capable and sophisticated in this regard.

    LR's clone and heal tool is also horrendous and should be avoided like the plague unless you want blurry circles all over your photos. PS tools are much better for retouching and selective editing. I do like the LR graduated filter, very handy.
  15. Agree with Jeff..since day one i was saying that Ligthroom could be the feroceous competitor to Ps..and 2 years later, 9 out of 10 photographer could do ALL they need with it, and what they cant, could be done in Element..that come free with a wacom tablet!
    For most of my personal work, like family image for example where body retouching or removal element are not needed (well OK i migth need retouching but dont do it..my wife and kid are perfect) i dont go in Ps. But as a pro retoucher, Ps is a tool i still need for now, until they add liquify and a better brush selection / size / hardness because its not fast enough for me to have to go back to the slider to change it vs combo key or pen pressure.
    I just gave a 3 x 45min workshop today about the develop module for a kind of PMA in Montreal, and they sell there Ligthroom box like it was a freeware! More and more people are getting the Lr concept, and more and more people will get it and realize that they dont need to learn 1 soft for development, 1 for organizing, 1 for web and slide presentation 1 for.....but only 1 that do all that, simply for almost all the camera on the market today.
  16. Jeff's point on blending modes is a very good one. I would be lost without this in doing color correction. For me as a nature photographer it's absolutely critical. Auto-color, auto-contrast, auto-levels, faded to varying degrees with different blending (usually color or luminosity), along with the history brush, are all critical for what I do, and LR offers none of these (well, there is auto-tone in LR, but it's still pretty useless after several years)
  17. "LR's clone and heal tool is also horrendous and should be avoided like the plague unless you want blurry circles all over your photos."
    It works great if you know how to use it, I like it better for removing dust than CS4. I think you need LR and CS4.
  18. >>> It works great if you know how to use it, I like it better for removing dust than CS4.

  19. "I think you need LR and CS4."

    Not sure what you mean, as that's what I have.

    In my opinion and experience the LR clone/heal tool is terrible, and is inferior in every way to the PS tools. No need to be condescending in any case. I don't know about you, but I've been using Photoshop for 20 years and have used the PS clone and heal tools on many tens of thousands of images, and the LR tools since the day they came out. The LR tool is fine for family snapshots, but is a very poor alternative to the PS tools for serious photographs. Every photographer I've tutored in LR has rejected the tool out of hand after seeing the results at high magnification.
  20. i tried LR2, and LR1.
    If the type of shooting you do, like ladscapes or portraits and other setup images that dont require much editing perhaps LR is the best sollution. I particularly like LR upload to web presenation feature.
    A feature I like on Bridge is the ability to apply the same raw reciepe to multi images, and the CMYK and PDF handling. Other than that it cannot handle multiple drives well, and overall sluggish.
    If you are looking for a manager, and file adjustments i.e. maintenance (not image)....ACDSee2.5Pro. If it could handle colors in CMYK and leave PDF's alone, it would be the bridge for Bridge and LightRoom.
    Very flexible printing with contact sheets and texts. Watermarking, batch processing, exif editing, batch resizing with a lot of cutom options. Its fast, and it doesn't crash that often. It has a raw processor that I have found handy in a couple instances. but I dont use it for RAW processing. It is great for
    EVERYthing except editing and processing...but it does a bit of that too...in some good ways.
    Bridge does allow other functions while it is processing something else. ACDSee does things one at a time
    For Raw processing, CS4 and CaptureOne is plenty good. I didn't feel the need to keep LR2 in use.
    I think Adobe can merge Bridge with LR as they both have stuff the other needs.
    ACDSee almost has it...if they can fix CMYK and pdf
  21. Personally, I find spotting faster in Photoshop, but I am amazed how far LR has come. With the local adjustment capability and the increasing ability to use plug-ins, LR2 is a far cry from version 1 and is getting better all the time, just as an image editor. The management capabilities are excellent and the ability to do non-destructive editing without file bloat is a great plus. If they added some better distortion controls and the ability to somehow blend layers or the effects that blending layers give, it would just about replace PS for all but the tightest photo retouching or compositing.
  22. I would compare it to Bridge in Photoshop. It is essentially the digital version of a light table for film. It allows you to look at several photos at once and organize your photos. It does allow for some adjustments as well. It also allows you to make adjustments to several photos at once, but I think you can do that with Bridge as well.
  23. ...using PS for 20 years... [someone]
    PS 1.0 - Feb. 1990 (Mac only)
    PS 2.0 - Nov. 1992 (PC Windows finally)
    PS 3 - June '95
    First use of layers.
    PS 11 - CS4 with ACR 5.x (NOV. 2008)
  24. Sorry Ken, just start in 92, never seen PS 1.0 ; )
    but the 2.5 upgrade with preview for some filter was really cool on my LC 475 with 16meg of ram (100$/each meg)
  25. since v.1 on the mac, so 19 years, guess I should have gone to wikipedia for exact dates
  26. Brett (and Patrick): wow!
  27. When i see those number i feel like im 85years old..and im just 35!...school seem so far : )
  28. Used it since it was called Aldus on the Mac, Aldus Freehand. Then PS 2.? came to light. Also a couple years after I remember AT&T had some design/photo editing software on the PC if I remember correctly.
    Things started cooking on the Apple 9500 :)
  29. In my opinion and experience the LR clone/heal tool is terrible, and is inferior in every way to the PS tools.​
    The LR2 version of the tool works a little differently; I can understand how it would be an adjustment for career Photoshoppers. It took me a couple of tries to understand the LR2 tools, but once things "clicked" I was able to use the tools for some very sophisticated edits.
    The bottom line is that I can do 90+ percent of what I need to do QUICKLY and EASILY in Lightroom. Photoshop is waiting in the wings for instances when I need the extra horsepower, but I use it very infrequently these days.
    To the OP: Download the free trial. If you don't care for the program you've lost nothing.
  30. I have used the LR clone heal tool since v.2 first came out and understand how to use it, and all I'm saying is that it's sloppy and crude compared to PS. It does work differently, it just doesn't work well compared to PS. It leaves blurry circles with relatively hard edges. PS tools for clone/heal are more nuanced and flexible, and produce a far better actual result, which can be best evaluated at higher magnification. Plus in PS they can be used in conjunction with far more sophisticated selections and masks that are impossible to create in LR (very important for cloning and healing around edges), and they can be faded and blended in ways that are not possible in LR.
    AFAIK, Freehand was a precursor to Illustrator and other vector programs, not Photoshop
  31. It was never called Adlus Freedhand on the Mac. Freehand was Adlus' "Illustrator"
    As someone already mentioned, a more interesting debate (if it didn't turn into a flame war) would LR 2 vs. Aperture. But I suspect that's been done before (many times - although I haven't found a good comparison).
    Unfortunately, I've found Aperture to too unstable for daily use (I know others have had more success than I have), but I liked Aperture's UI a little bit better the LR 2 (which I've barely used). I wonder if there are large functional differences.
    I now use just Bridge and PS for my processing - but for me PS is way overkill, on the otherhand, I don't process a lot of files at a time so I was thinking I didn't need the DB aspects of LR (or Aperture - which is why I gave up trying to get it to be more stable). I am intrigued by the comment about LR 2 having better thumb nails than Bridge. I'll have to check that out.
  32. Brett,
    Does one have to magnify more than 300% before the blurry circles and hard edges start to become visible?
  33. I could be wrong, but that doesn't sound like a sincere question. I'm not a fan of snark. I sincerely apologize if I'm misreading you.
  34. This is the same image, both heal brushes, same diameter. Lightroom on the top, PS on the bottom. The point is the two tools behave fundamentally differently. If the LR tool works well for you, go with it. It doesn't work for me.
  35. Another, same thing done to both. This time heal brush in PS set to 50% hardness. 10% in first one.
  36. One thing I like about LR when I tried it at a friends place are the presets - squillions of which are available online free. And having applied them you cna then modify the outcomes. That makes it very efficienit by comparison with PS. still I am not convinced that it can completely replace the latter although it seemed to me to be a nice feature that you could quickly perfrom 80% of your edits in LR then export to PS to complete the edits in that software.
  37. >>> The point is the two tools behave fundamentally differently.

    Yep. And for me, LR's is *much* better. You can't use LR's clone/heal tool as you do Photoshop's.

    And similarly, LR's crop tool also behaves differently than Photoshop's. Also better...
  38. The funny, or rather sad thing is that you have one company who puts out these 2 tools, yet cant have the functions within act or at least mimic alike? Why not have them behave the same? PS was first, have LR do as PS does and not confuse people on which is better or flexible, or learn to use? I would like to see Bridge and LR merge as 1 ap. They need to fix Bridge's way of handling drives and its database, and then merge the features with LR. I dont like Bridge since it doesnt think straight when it sees a bunch of drives, and folders with lots of files. Slow and often crashes (deep long crash) ACDSEE pro2.5 does a heck of lot better job at everything Bridge does and More with a couple MAJOR drawbacks in COLOR for CMYK, and that it tries to handle PDF files. Oh and a major one that it cannot take a recepe of raw from CR and apply it to other files. (It does have its own Raw dev, that still have not looked at.)
    I do see LR with some key functions that I would love to use, but almost not worth keeping loaded. Unless the few functions were a heavily used daily grind.
    So for the OP, It comes down to your shooting method. Do you have sets that are all manicured and all you need is a couple of blimps to take out and crop? or do you need to tone, clean, brush, scrub, wash, .......Ok, So PS is like a washing machine with all the features, and LR is like a Tide magic clean wand. JK, Obviously that is not the best way of looking at it, as it does have a couple of features that I like. Just not enough to keep it installed when so many other functions are not within.
  39. Lightroom (and ACR) is a parametric editor (you edit instructions for rendering).
    Photoshop is a pixel editor (you alter values and burn them into existing pixels).
  40. >>> Why not have them behave the same? PS was first, have LR do as PS does and not confuse people on which is
    better or flexible, or learn to use?

    Time moves on. Better tools and methods are developed. If you change the way PS behaves you're upsetting a huge base
    that's been used to how the tool has worked for years.

    However, with a fresh sheet of paper and a program that's more photo-centric, you can benefit from wisdom and offer
    superior tools and methods. The better option, IMO... LR's crop tool behavior is another excellent example of a change for the better.
  41. Better tools and methods are developed​
    But the clone/heal tool in LR is not better or superior - it's terrible. The crop tool in LR however is 10x better than the one in PS. I don't think any would argue with that. The adjustment brush is also excellent. The gradient filter too. They're all great. But if a tool sucks it sucks, and compared to PS the clone/heal tool sucks. I don't think it has anything to do with people's comfort level. New tools are not good tools simply because they're new.
  42. I what way the crop tool is better?
    Since you can set format and ppi when cropping in PS, see and move the crop area on your image..i wonder what is so better in Lr?
    As for the healing brush in Lr or clone tool, i dont like it either BUT when you shoot over a white background in studio, and you have some dust on your sensor, and you retouched 1..i like the idea of being able to synchronize it with all the images..if the dust is not in a crucial part of the image : )
    Other than that, i much prefer to use the one in Ps...personnaly.
    And Brad, im not sure this is what you meant about a long list of tool in develop (in this or another thread), but you know (or you will now) you can set the tool as SOLO mode, meaning that they are all close, and only the one you use open..making the list shorter when working on a laptop for example : )
  43. But the clone/heal tool in LR is not better or superior - it's terrible.​
    Use the right tool for the right job. The tool in LR isn't terrible, its not designed nor should it be used in lieu of a pixel editing clone tool as we have in Photoshop. Its producing a pragmatic clone who's job is to be used on multiple images. Imagine having a dust spot on the sensor, maybe even a dozen. Imagine spotting that out on 1000 images in Photoshop. Nightmare, terrible. In LR, you can copy and paste this instruction on 1000 images. It will automatically locate the most appropriate source spot based on the image. Photoshop can't do that. It would take forever to do this. And if 990 images are perfect in LR, the last 10 instruction based clones are not affecting pixels, none have been rendered yet. You can manually alter/move the clone instruction on the last 10.
    Now imagine removing a person from an image. Doing this in LR is silly! The place to do this is with a precise pixel editing clone tool which we have in Photoshop.
    One tool is only terrible when used inappropriately.
  44. It would be a lot more useful if you could control the hardness. That's pretty basic, and they managed to include it for the adjustment brush. I find both of the tools to be uselss for anything other than fixing very small defects, as they leave noticeable circles on the image.
  45. >>> One tool is only terrible when used inappropriately.

    Totally agree. New tools require learning and practice before being dismissed...
  46. >>> I what way the crop tool is better?

    Several ways... First, is how the image can be dragged within the crop rectangle. Second, when you take the cursor to one of
    the corners and start to rotate, a set of grid lines appear in the crop rectangle letting you straighten the image (aligning with
    a horizontal or vertical element) effortlessly. Much better than in ps. The only thing I'd like to see is an option (like in ps)
    where you can move crop corner handles in and out to adjust perspective. Maybe in LR 3.0...
  47. >>> Since you can set format and ppi when cropping in PS, see and move the crop area on your image..i wonder what is
    so better in Lr?

    Not necessary in LR, as you are working in RAW. You can set a crop rectangle ratio (not absolute pixels or inches). And don't (and shouldn't) set a ppi and size until you need to export...
  48. >>> And Brad, im not sure this is what you meant about a long list of tool in develop (in this or another thread), but you
    know (or you will now) you can set the tool as SOLO mode, meaning that they are all close, and only the one you use
    open..making the list shorter when working on a laptop for example : )

    Yes, you can close tools. But that is not very elegant or efficient. It's not that there's a long list of tools now in
    Develop, but going forward there could very well be. But even now, it's a pain to scroll from the top of the Develop list to the
    bottom when trying different options. Imagine if that list becomes twice or three times as long with time. There are better
    UI metaphors to handle that.

    Just as an example, I have a third-party Web Module pluggin that has around 150 parameters. It takes forever to scroll and
    slog through that list; back and forth, trying different options.
  49. Brad, your points have reason, Patrick's point makes it limited... the sync to all images can be powerful, but rather limited to the usability based on the subject. This does show that there are possibilites that can be abapted FROM PS, (as you concur the mass PS users) to improve on such tasks, and convert them to pixel/space specific "actions". This would be powerful.

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