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Author Topic: Use Lightroom to edit Photoshop Smart Objects  (Read 3430 times)
MarkH2
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« on: September 01, 2012, 05:25:57 PM »
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A useful tip that may not be well known.

You can use Lightroom to edit your Photoshop Smart Objects instead of ACR.  Make the edits in LR, then in PS replace the contents of the smart object with the LR-edited version (Layer / Smart Objects / Replace contents).

I find it convenient to make snapshots in LR and select the appropriate one in PS if I'm doing multi-layered objects, such as sky vs foreground.  (I prefer snapshots to virtual copies since they live in the xmp as well as the catalog.)

I picked up this hint from Julieanne Kost, Adobe evangelist.  Kudos to her.

P.S. I posted this in a dormant thread where it was suggested I create a new thread.  Pardon the redundancy.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 05:32:33 PM »
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But if you then double click to open the file embedded in the SO it will open in ACR, right? 
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MarkH2
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 05:46:39 PM »
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But if you then double click to open the file embedded in the SO it will open in ACR, right? 

Yes, it will open in ACR.  But instead, you can edit in LR then replace the SO contents.

You can, of course, still edit in ACR if you prefer.  Editing in LR lets you take advantage of its additional features, as well as preserving the Master file in LR.  All a matter of preference.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 06:11:41 PM »
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Additional features?  LR and ACR have all the same editing functionality.  You don't lose anything by adjusting a RAW file in ACR vs LR.  You can still get access to the original image.  You can save snapshots in ACR, just as you can in LR. 
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MarkH2
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2012, 06:50:41 PM »
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Additional features?  LR and ACR have all the same editing functionality.  You don't lose anything by adjusting a RAW file in ACR vs LR.  You can still get access to the original image.  You can save snapshots in ACR, just as you can in LR.  

It is my understanding that LR and ACR have the same processing pipeline, so yes, the editing results are identical.  LR, however, has a different, and in my opinion, significantly more feature-rich interface to these editing capabilities.

A couple examples:

LR maintains a history of all changes.  ACR does not.

LR has a robust Before/After compare mode while you are editing.  You can set any history step or snapshot as the Before, then compare with a single keystroke.  You can compare split screened, etc. with synchronized zoom and pan.  None of this in ACR.

In LR you can define two adjustment brushes with different size, feather, and flow characteristics and a third for erase and easily switch between them.  You can use your mouse scroll wheel to resize the brush and its feather.  Not in ACR.

In LR while you are editing you can display the results in realtime on a second monitor.  You can even have that second monitor in Loupe / Compare / or Survey mode, zooming and panning independently of what you're doing in the develop module, all the while having your edits show up on both monitors.  ACR, not so much.

These are just a few examples of LR's features available when editing; they barely scratch the surface.  I used to be a pure ACR user for developing images because of LR performance issues.  With LR4 the editing performance now rivals ACR (for me, at least).  The more I use LR to develop the more I appreciate its power for enhancing and streamlining the workflow.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 06:59:13 PM by MarkH2 » Logged
Arlen
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 07:53:42 PM »
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Mark, thanks for posting this in its own thread. I think that there is enough advantage in LR (some which you described) to make this a worthwhile alternative. In addition, if one is trying to keep the original LR-edited version and the PS version in sync, then this provides a more efficient way to do it. Just one more type of arrow in the quiver.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 08:40:31 PM »
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Yes, that's all true.  But.... it has nothing to do with the ability to edit images differently and nothing to do with the ability to place a different version into a Smart Object.  That can be done with ACR just as it can with LR.

The workflows are different, yes.  But the editing capabilities really are not. 

The other features you're referring to have nothing to do with the editing functionality of the two applications. 

I'm not suggesting that LR isn't a good tool.  It is.  I'm not saying it doesn't have some advantages over ACR.  It does for some users.  I'm simply saying that what Kost is promoting as an advantage of LR, in this case, isn't.
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MarkH2
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2012, 09:28:27 PM »
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Yes, that's all true.  But.... it has nothing to do with the ability to edit images differently ...
The workflows are different, yes.  But the editing capabilities really are not.  

The other features you're referring to have nothing to do with the editing functionality of the two applications...  

  I'm simply saying that what Kost is promoting as an advantage of LR, in this case, isn't.

I clearly stated that the processing pipelines were the same.  I never said the cited features were editing capabilites.  They are features that facilitate editing.  You don't need to use them.  Your choice.

Kost is not promoting this as an advantage of LR.  She simply pointed out the capability and its utility.

For years I was strictly ACR.  LR4's enhanced performance enabled me to use it for editing.  The more I use it, the more I appreciate its features, to the extent that I typically avoid ACR now.  Not trying to change anyone's mind.  But LR4 might be a good time to reassess if you have shied away from LR editing in the past.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 03:58:56 AM »
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The workflows are different, yes.  But the editing capabilities really are not. 

The other features you're referring to have nothing to do with the editing functionality of the two applications. 
I find that rather than capability/functionality, it's usually a matter of when or where you identify the need to swap a smart object's contents. More often than not, that's not in PS/ACR. It'll be in LR when you're browsing, printing or outputting the TIF and notice you've overlooked a dust spot or some CA or whatever, or I'll be reworking the raw file with LR4's PV2012 and prefer its highlights handling (confirmed using Before/After functionality which obviously isn't in ACR). It's seeing the opportunity in LR that initiates the desire to update the smart object and the question of how to accomplish it.

Sadly, if you are dust spotting the TIF in LR, there's no built-in command such as "update this TIF file's smart object with these LR settings" or way of directly editing the TIF's SO layer within LR. Because those workflows aren't available, you're better off adjusting the raw file and then either using the replace method or my usual way of exporting a new smart object from the raw file and shift-dragging the SO into the existing TIF file.

John
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 06:06:53 AM »
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Mark, I give up. 

John, in the case you note I'm not sure why you're making it so complex.  Open the SO in PS, double click the layer thumbnail to open the image in ACR, fix your dust spot and you're done.  No need to replace images or anything else.  Similarly, if you do a Before/After in LR and like one version better, you can open the SO in PS, change the Process Version, make your adjustment and you're done.  Again, no need to go through the more tedious step of replacing the contents. 

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john beardsworth
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 06:43:08 AM »
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Well, in limited circumstances, like one or two spots, I'd often do as you suggest. But when it's more than one dust spot or a whole series of adjustments results from changing to PV2012, then it's quicker to replace, in one way or another, than to repeat them in ACR. What's more, why fix only the TIF file's smart object and not make sure the raw original is right too? After all if it was good enough to have gone to a TIF, there's a fair chance that I'll make another TIF from that original or output it in other ways. Sure, on an individual image basis you're right and one can get away with the quick ACR fix, but Lightroom's raison d'etre is that we've lots of pictures and want to use our time more effectively.
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MarkH2
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 10:16:20 AM »
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Mark, I give up. 


Bob,

I see from your website that you have developed a rather sophisticated sytem of image processing in Photoshop.  You produce beautiful photographs and are commercially successful, so what you're doing works great for you.  I would not dissuade you from your creative path.  Best of luck with your new book.

Mark
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 06:37:50 AM »
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Hold on a second, John.  I'm not talking about fixing the TIFF in PS. 

If you double click on SO thumbnail in PS you will open the original RAW file in ACR.  Make your changes, click OK and the SO is then updated with the new edits.  You're not repeating anything.  You're just using ACR instead of LR.  That's one of the advantages of Smart Objects.  You still have full access to your original RAW file whenever you want it.  The changes you made to the RAW file are written out to the xmp file and you can update the RAW image in LR later by reading from the metadata.

I understand what LR is for.  As I've said multiple times in this discussion I use it and like it.  But I don't slavishly adhere to a Lightroom-only processing pipeline for RAW images when I know that I can do the same things in ACR, when I know I can reduce steps and save time.  Yes, the workflow is a bit different.  The placement of tools is a bit different.  The ability to resize the brush with the scroll wheel would be nice.  I have never; and I do mean never, had occasion to have more than one brush active in LR at once so that feature is, for me, superfluous.  No you don't have the history saved but, at least for me, I rarely need the history saved anyway.  Making good use of snapshots in ACR gives you, in many respects, an edit history anyway.

If you're using Smart Objects in PS you're not working on a lot of images at once either.  And you can have multiple images open in ACR, make changes to one and sync to the rest, just as you can with LR. 
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Arlen
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 09:42:16 AM »
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If you double click on SO thumbnail in PS you will open the original RAW file in ACR.  Make your changes, click OK and the SO is then updated with the new edits.  You're not repeating anything.  You're just using ACR instead of LR.  That's one of the advantages of Smart Objects.  You still have full access to your original RAW file whenever you want it.  The changes you made to the RAW file are written out to the xmp file and you can update the RAW image in LR later by reading from the metadata.  

No. The changes you make to the SO in the TIFF are not written to the xmp of the original raw; I think maybe that's a main point you are missing here. (And one which I only recently learned.) The SO adjustments are completely separate from the original raw, and are stored in a copy of the original RAW within the TIFF; nowhere else.

However, I don't think anyone is on a mission here to convert anyone else to doing things a certain way. It was just an attempt to bring a lesser-known alternative to people's attention, for those who find it interesting or useful.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 10:16:09 AM by Arlen » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2012, 12:11:07 PM »
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No. The changes you make to the SO in the TIFF are not written to the xmp of the original raw; I think maybe that's a main point you are missing here. (And one which I only recently learned.) The SO adjustments are completely separate from the original raw, and are stored in a copy of the original RAW within the TIFF; nowhere else.

That jives with my understanding. And if you go back to LR, well edits made in ACR are not going to be seen because that raw isn't accessible there any more, it is inside the raw in that SO. As the OP points out, you have to go through the motions of actually replacing that raw file in the SO to reflect work done previously in LR. Not sure I see the point yet, that's more work than necessary to make a tiny edit (tiny edit assumption that one using LR would do most if not all the work in LR before even moving to a SO).

Could the embedded SO raw somehow communicate to LR's database to keep the two in sync? I suppose but seems like a lot of work for a small questionable gain. I suspect some users might actually what the raw within the SO to be unique and separate from the original raw in LR.
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Andrew Rodney
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Arlen
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2012, 12:58:17 PM »
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I suspect some users might actually what the raw within the SO to be unique and separate from the original raw in LR.

I agree, so it's good that we have choices available, depending on the circumstances.

As an example, let's say that while working on the TIFF, you see that (within the SO) there is excessive noise in some areas that you didn't notice while you were working on the RAW in LR. So you want to edit the noise reduction, in both this TIFF, and within the original RAW. Go back to the RAW in LR, make the adjustment; and then use the Replace Contents method that the OP described to carry it over to the TIFF.

As a counter example, say you are working in the TIFF, and decide to make some changes in the SO--for a creative effect version--that you don't want to be in the original RAW. So just make the changes to the SO in ACR as usual, and the original RAW is left untouched.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2012, 01:30:07 PM »
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Thanks for that, Arlen.  I did think that updates to the RAW file in an SO were updated to the xmp.

I didn't think Mark was trying to convert anyone to doing something different.  And that's not what I was trying to do either.  I just wanted to point out that the same things can be done in ACR as LR when it comes to editing; and ignoring the other LR features/benefits.
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Arlen
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2012, 01:51:42 PM »
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Glad to be of help, Bob. And like I said above, until recently I thought the same thing as you did.
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