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One more thing about LR/PS and layers..... Many of the things photographers use layers for involves the idea of not harming the pixels in layers below... If you trash something, delete the layer and you're none the worse for wear.
LR, OTOH, employs technology that DOES NOT TOUCH any actual pixels regardless of what you do to the image. This is why there is no "save" function in LR. Every adjustment you make is stored in a database and applied in memory to the original image every time you view it. The actual original RAW file is never touched or overwritten. At any point in time, you can go back in the history and undo an adjustment. This functionality has made the use of PS layers solely to "save the pixels" obsolete.
Not really. In order to do that you have to go linearly back in history, undoing everything you did after the edit in question (unless LR has added a means of skipping back and undoing just individual actions that I'm not aware of). With layers you can experiment freely with the effect of that layer, including deleting the layer entirely, regardless of subsequent changes made globally or to other layers. I find this PS feature alone worth the price of admission and wouldn't be comfortable translating my workflow to Lightroom until the same or similar capability is provided.
Also note that working in Photoshop won't affect the original pixels of the raw file whether one uses layers or not, since one would be working on a tiff or jpeg saved (or "exported") from ACR or other raw editor. I can make the same edits to the raw in ACR as I would make in LR (and save the changes in a database rather than modifying the original file, same as LR), then move to PS for the remaining work that requires its capabilities. Thus I'm not using layers to avoid permanently affecting my raw file, but rather to take advantage of the additional flexibility and power of layers.
If you then want a file (usually a JPG) with all your adjustments applied to where it can be viewed outside LR, you export the image according to whatever specs you want such as size, pixel density, etc... You now have your untouched original RAW file plus the JPG you just made.
Same as with ACR/PS.
Since LR4 tells you exactly what you did with each adjustment with how many values you added or subtracted and the end result, all you need to do is go to the slider and undo it. For example, if your history looks like this
Clarity +100 100
Contrast +10 10
If you want to undo the contrast, all you need to do is subtract 10 at the slider. The items that do not have a numerical representation such as the Adjustment Brush, Spot Removal, Graduated Filter, etc, can be undone by clicking on the tool. The edited spots will then show up inside the image as a grey dot (adjustment brush, graduated filter) or little circles (spot removal) -- you can then right-click and delete those individually. Crops can be adjusted by clicking on the crop tool and adjusting.
I've been using PS since before CS (1990-something) and Lightroom since version 1. I find that with each subsequent version of LR I use PS less and less. So far, I've been upgrading both -- I have LR4 and CS6. I am re-evaluating this position and may not need/want CS7 when it comes out. My image editing requirements have not changed....
The LR cataloging is amazing and once I got the hang of working my workflow "top-down" in the develop module, I hardly ever find myself wanting to undo an adjustment in the middle of the list. I do go back and adjust items I've adjusted before as needed. For example, I may decide the overall saturation which I adjusted towards the top of the workflow needs further tweaking after I adjust the luminance of a particular color, which is towards the bottom of the workflow. No need to "undo" my original saturation adjustment. I just look in the history to see what I did and go back and do something else to it.
I still use PS to run some actions I've written such as backscatter removal for underwater shots. Also, the Content Aware functions in CS6 are great when needing to go beyond what Spot Removal does. Of course, HDR work happens all in PS as does BW processing. LR can do BW, but I find the results from PS superior.
Anything involving masks and heavy editing, of course happens in PS. I tend not to do much of this since IMHO, a photograph edited past a certain point ceases to be just a photograph and somewhere in there turns into "digital art"..... Nothing wrong with digital art.... but I'm a photographer. Masking I used to do for the purposes of local exposure/color/contrast, etc correction, I now do with the LR graduated filter, adjustment brush, and other associated sliders.
I find that using LR4, I can produce about twice as many finished images in a given amount of time than by using PS alone and my images start out "organized" from the point of import and stay that way. IMHO, the "Bridge-->ACR-->PS" cataloging workflow was a royal PITA. With LR, there's no need to keep track of the RAW, the PSD, the TIFF, the JPGs, etc.... I just have the RAW and the finished JPGs I produce for particular purposes... the latter which will never get edited.
Edited on Jul 30, 2012 at 09:38 PM · View previous versions