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Author Topic: Can I Just Ignore The Library Module?  (Read 3632 times)
JimAscher
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« on: April 07, 2011, 04:13:09 PM »
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I give up!  Try as I may -- recognizing that it seems to be providing many Lightroom users in this forum an apparently impressive range of photo management services -- I just cannot master it.  I can't believe how many frustrating hours, if not days, I've spent, with learned texts in hand and lucid tutorial episodes on my screen, in trying to understand and get the Library module to work for me.  I just want to be able to load and process my photos and then retrieve them without mishap.  Whatever happened to the simple "save'" button (or "save as")?  Why the need to "import" and "export?  I know it's a referential data base, but even with my wife who is a professional data base programmer in the next room, there's no osmosis helping me.  I have lost, or had tremendously difficulty in retrieving, my edited photos once they've sunk (or disappeared) into the maw of the LR Library module. 

Even though I have Photoshop CS5 to help in (or fall back on) my editing, I really prefer to use the LR Develop module.  Is there some way therefore that I can bring into the Develop module and retrieve back from it my photo captures without venturing anywhere near the Library module?  When i was formerly using Photoshop Elements, I could isolate the Edit feature, copying from and to my Windows Explorer picture folders.  I suspect there might be a way I could do the same with the LR Develop module, but I'm not sure.   Please don't think I'm too big an idiot for venturing this query.  Thanks.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 04:22:38 PM »
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No, you can't - Lightroom is a cataloguing app combined with image editing.

You'd be best advised to ask specific questions on areas where you're having problems.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 06:57:07 PM »
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Jim,

For the most part I use LR just about the way you say you would like to (although I'm finally beginning to learn a bit about using the Library). Here is my most basic workflow:

1. Use "Import" to bring a bunch of raw files into LR (navigating the "Import" directory structure is a bit counterintuitive at first). After selecting the raw files but before importing I generally type in some keywords that apply to the whole bunch of files (like year, location, subject, etc.) and then import. The keywords are there in anticipation of some day learning how to locate files I've worked on in the past.

2. Select all of the newly imported files and define a new "collection" for them, giving it a meaningful name.

3. Go to the "Develop" module, and process each file until I'm reasonably satisfied.

4. Go back to the "Library" and "Export" the results. My settings for "Export" include --
     Export to Same folder as original photo
     Put in subfolder LR33tiffs
     Add to this catalog
     File naming: Rename to Filename-Custom, with Custom text = b
     File settings: Format TIFF, Compression None, Color Space ProPhotoRGB, and Bit Depth 16 bits/component
     Image Sizing: Resolution 360 pixels per inch
and all other settings left alone.

Once I exit from LR, all of the processed files are put in a subdirectory of the one containing the original raw files, so I can easily tell the processed ones from the raws. And the filenames are similar enough so that I can easily find the raw files again if I want to start over. And I can do further processing (and renaming) of the tiffs in Photoshop later if I want to.

This has worked for me for a couple of years. Recently I've started adding a few of the fancier features, such as round-tripping to Photoshop from within LR, and I now do all my printing from within LR, since the print "User Templates" are so nice for keeping all of the settings of both LR and your printer driver for a particular paper.

So I've finally discovered that one can use LR in a fairly simple way and then add more sophisticated features whenever you feel like it.

I guess my main point is that you don't need to understand very much about the Library in order to do useful work in LR.

Eric
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JimAscher
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 07:39:43 PM »
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Eric:  Thanks for the thoughtful advice.  It sounds like a good start to getting my bearings in this matter.  Another knowledgeable forum member is advising and reassuring me (by email) somewhat along the same lines.  He opines that I should attempt to work solely within Lightroom, rather than following my previous practice of going to-and-fro through Windows Explorer.  I'll give it more of a try.  Thanks again.  Jim   
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 08:27:33 PM »
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Jim,

I wanted to empathize with your frustration. When Lightroom 1 came out I purchased it and promptly got frustrated, angry, and uninstalled it. Not a real smart or mature move.

May I share a few events that changed me to the point where I can't imagine photo editing now without Lightroom?

One, the more I read and followed forums and attended seminars, it became more obvious that Lightroom was a valuable tool, and that I "just didn't get it." I needed to re-look at Lightroom.

Two, I got my hands on a book by Victoria Bampton called Lightroom FAQ. Victoria was the first one who was able to penetrate my thick skull so I could understand the database concept for managing and editing images. And that the database file was a separate animal from those image files. Here is her website: http://www.lightroomqueen.com/

Three, I took a four day class from Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer of D-65. The class was nothing short of excellent and helped me a great deal with file naming, setting up images files, understanding import, etc. Seth and Jamie teach their class all over the country. It is well worth the time and money investment. Here is their website: http://www.d-65.com/index.html

Four, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, and the gang at NAPP have been fantastic for books, online help, etc. Scott and Matt have more of a cookbook, step-by-step approach, but their material has been very helpful.

When you get the concept down that the Lightroom Library is a separate database file with each image that you import being a record in that file, and that the image files themselves are separate files, you'll have come a long way.

Stick with it. It's worth it.

Good luck,

Stan Burman
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JimAscher
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2011, 08:44:10 PM »
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Stan:  I do have the Victoria Bampton book (which is a VERY big help) and the Kelby and Evening books.  (I also have the Jardine tutorials.)  That's why it's so embarrassing for me to have to admit my failure and frustration in this matter.  But, I will stick with it.  Maybe I have TOO much information. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 09:47:03 PM »
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Jim, yes, you can get into information overload. I frankly didn't find Martin Evening's book helpful. Martin knows so much it's difficult for him to communicate with a dummy like me. I did find the D-65 book very helpful. Seth and Jamie use the metaphor of a public library. The Lightroom Library is the card catalog file with its filing system and information about all the books in the library. The books in the stacks are the image files themselves. You can change the card catalog without touching the books. You can also rearrange the books. But what you're mostly going to want to do is edit the information about the book in the card catalog without ever having to track down the book. You'll do this in both the Library and Develop module.

But be careful if you rearrange the books. If you wander in to the stacks and do it yourself, the card catalog will lose track of where they are. So, in Lightroom, do any "file rearranging" that you want to do from the volume browser in the Lightroom Library module. Lightroom will then know where the rearranged files are. If you do it from Windows Explorer or Mac Finder, Lightroom will lose track of them (not to worry, they're easy to find).

Being an outdoor photographer, I finally settled in on a routine where I keep my Lightroom Library database file and recent image files on one external hard drive. The Lightroom application is on both my laptop and my desktop. I can then easily connect the external hard drive to either one and do my thing.

At the end of an on-the-road shooting day I do three things simultaneously with Lightroom: 1) I import the day's image records from the memory card into my Lightroom Library database; 2) I copy the RAW image files themselves to folders on the external hard drive; and 3) I do a backup copy of the RAW image files to folders on a second external hard drive. All this is done from the Lightroom Import dialog box.

You haven't failed. You just hit a non-trivial speed bump.

Here is Seth and Jamie's book: http://www.d-65.com/store/lightroom3.html

Stan
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JimAscher
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 11:08:46 PM »
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Stan:  Your public library analogy is both very apt and very helpful.  It really explains the concept of a data base relationship to actual data files very well.  Also, your preliminary work flow methodology sounds efficient, as to where to store various segments of the LR application.  I use external hard drives and rotate back and forth between a desktop computer and a laptop, but have been keeping EVERYTHING on the external hard drives, so as not to use up too much computer hard drive space.  I think I'd adopt somewhat your storage practices.  Regarding the D-65 book, I have to ask myself how many MORE LR books I actually require!  Thanks again.  Jim 
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PeterAit
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 10:34:05 AM »
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I suspect you are approaching the library module from an old-school perspective where "save" and "save as" are important tools. In LR you can just forget about these notions. Once you import your photos, everything is taken care of for you. All your edits are automatically saved, so there no need to "save" your work. Edits are all reversible, so there's no need to save different versions as you go along (although the snapshot tool lets you do the equivalent). If you want to have 2 versions of the same original photo, make a virtual copy. If you edit an image in Photoshop, you do have to use the Save command in PS, which automatically saves the edit with "-Edit" appended to the name and adds it to the LR catalog (you must open PS from within LR for this to work).
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2011, 10:45:27 AM »
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I can just strongly recommend the LuLa videos on LR.
I doubt an easier start is possible ...
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JimAscher
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2011, 11:13:31 AM »
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I suspect you are approaching the library module from an old-school perspective where "save" and "save as" are important tools. In LR you can just forget about these notions. Once you import your photos, everything is taken care of for you. All your edits are automatically saved, so there no need to "save" your work. Edits are all reversible, so there's no need to save different versions as you go along (although the snapshot tool lets you do the equivalent). If you want to have 2 versions of the same original photo, make a virtual copy. If you edit an image in Photoshop, you do have to use the Save command in PS, which automatically saves the edit with "-Edit" appended to the name and adds it to the LR catalog (you must open PS from within LR for this to work).


Peter:  I understand well the advantages in LR which you are relating.  They are beautiful in concept and I have little doubt that they are also beautiful in practice for most users.  However, just this morning I have once again encountered a seeming glitch (for me) in this functioning.  I print with Quadtone RIP (QTR), not with LR.  And after I have gone through the throes of editing a photo in both LR itself and through PS, and gone through a perhaps unnecessary, but laborious, export/import process, my last edit is not accessible on my hard drive for printing with QTR.  I cannot figure why this is so.  I finally reached an interim  solution of making my final edit a virtual copy, then I could print it with QTR.  For me, the LR Library module, as you can well gather from my initial posting in this thread, is hard work.  But thanks for your imput.  I will well consider it further. Jim
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2011, 11:30:04 AM »
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I can just strongly recommend the LuLa videos on LR.
I doubt an easier start is possible ...


Chris:  When I was making my decision which LR tutorials to purchase -- those from LuLa and George Jardine, both highly rated -- I thought I'd mostly be requiring instruction in the Develop module.  And as Jardine was offering separate tutorials for each of the Library and Develop modules (while LuLa was combining both in one), economics determined my choice to go initially with the single Jardine Develop module.  Then, when I sadly came to realize my need also for further instruction for the Library module, it made sense for me to purchase the other Jardine module.  I am very pleased with the Jardine tutorials, although I believe I would be equally pleased with the presentations of those two great guys on the LuLa tutorial.  If I had it to do all over again, I'd still be hard pressed to decide between the two LR tutorial offerings.  (I must confess that reviewing the free samples each provided for review, I was slightly put off by the folksiness (but recognized entertainment value) of the LuLa presentations.  Those guys do indeed provide a frequent chuckle, but I was then looking more for the solid straight-forward presentation that Jardine provides.  Maybe now, as I am tackling the matter, an additional good chuckle or two might be welcome.  Although Jardine's presentation is not without some nice dry humor. )  Anyway, thanks for the advice and insight.         
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2011, 12:00:12 PM »
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If you have troubles with the Library Module in particular I think the video "Where the /)&%/&% are my images?" here on LuLa is great too, since apart from many other info, like backup strategy and so on it is heavily centered around keywording and using the LR Library module.
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JimAscher
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2011, 12:32:15 PM »
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If you have troubles with the Library Module in particular I think the video "Where the /)&%/&% are my images?" here on LuLa is great too, since apart from many other info, like backup strategy and so on it is heavily centered around keywording and using the LR Library module.

Chris:  Great Idea.  I wasn't aware of its existence.  I've ordered it.  I'm expecting it'll prove a useful supplement to my other LR reference and instructional material.  Thanks again.
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2011, 12:34:11 PM »
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Sure thing.
You won't regret it.
Cheers
~C.
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2011, 03:06:05 PM »
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I suspect you know all this, but ... When you edit a photo in LR, there is never an image file on disk containing the edited image, a file you could open in your RIP to print. Instead there is your original raw file and, separately, a list of the edit steps you applied. The Export command is sort of like Save As, letting you save the image, with edits, with the format and file name you specify. This is the file you can print with the RIP.

On the other hand, if you used the Edit in PhotoShop command and choose to edit a copy with LR adjustments, then save the image from PS (Save command, not Save As), the result will be a TIF file named OriginalName-edit.tif saved in the same LR folder as the original image and automatically made part of the LR catalog. This TIF file contains all the LR edits and the PS edits. You could open this file in the RIP for printing. You can also make further adjustments in LR, but then you'll have to export again for printing because the new LR adjustments will not be in the TIF file, just the old ones.

Hope this helps!
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2011, 05:09:24 PM »
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Peter:  I think you've identified the source of the problem I had this morning.  I did a preliminary edit in LR, further edited the photo in PS, saved it back to LR from PS, and exported what I then intended to be my final edit.  However, I then decided to perform a further edit of it in LR -- without then exporting it again.  That is apparently why I couldn't then seem to print this final edited version.  One must be SO careful!
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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2011, 11:18:59 PM »
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Instead of trying to learn eveything at once, start with the basics.  If you just do simple imports to start with, there is not a lot to learn.  Once you get to a certain point, then add more functions.  It is fairly easy to do global changes in lightroom later so why not just go with the bare minumum for now,  get a hang of that and use that as a starting point.  Even if you do nothing else, the library module is a great place to get at all your images in the same place.  Just ensure that you store your images on directories in chronological order, yyyy,mm,dd, is a good start and then go from there.
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2011, 05:38:36 AM »
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Jim, lots of good advise given here (of course). It does take some work to get your head around a different way of managing data, and since you are already aware of Seth Resnick's teachings I strongly suggest getting his and Michael's video tutorial:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/wamp.shtml

I have his book which is quite good but this video will help with the problems you are experiencing IMHO.

Dave
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2011, 08:46:50 AM »
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Jim, lots of good advise given here (of course). It does take some work to get your head around a different way of managing data, and since you are already aware of Seth Resnick's teachings I strongly suggest getting his and Michael's video tutorial:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/wamp.shtml

I have his book which is quite good but this video will help with the problems you are experiencing IMHO.

Dave

Dave (and Jonathan):  As you have perhaps noted from above in this thread, on Chris's earlier advice I purchased this video yesterday and have already begun watching it. So far, it seems really useful.  Thanks for confirming Chris's recommendation.  And also as Jonathan recommends, I need to begin slowly.  My problem though has been less the "importing" than the "exporting"  -- when (at what stage it's required) and how best to do that so my edits are not "lost."
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