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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 08 Dec 2018 (Saturday) 23:34
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Need some photoshop guidance / best practices

 
kaitlyn2004
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Dec 08, 2018 23:34 |  #1

Before lightroom, I used to edit exclusively in Photoshop. Obviously that was (seems like!) forever ago, and my skills were far more basic and techniques were probably not efficient.

As Lightroom has progressed, I've found that I try to use Photoshop as little as possible, but then that causes my to limit my own edits+creativity. I'm aware of where LR finishes and where PS starts, but I have trouble using them... together.

- If I am going to edit a photo in Photoshop, should I edit as a smart object or just a normal layer? If it's a smart object, then I am limited in what I can do (i.e. content aware requires a rasterized layer I believe?)
- Could really use some insights on techniques for non-destructive editing. I tend to edit on my normal layer, or create a million layers for each edit (but probably do it inefficiently!) and edit up with either something that's impossible to undo/edit, or giant file size.
- Can I (should I?) continue to edit in Lightroom if I need to make further adjustments or notice other tweaks? I realize photoshop can do everything LR can and more, but LR has a nice clean history state with all adjustments being editable as well. OR once I hand off to photoshop, is it photoshop onwards? I had tested this by editing in photoshop, saving without changes. Then I edit my source CR2 and massively changed temperature... open the TIF in photoshop again, but it doesn't have the updated changes to temp. If I edit the TIF in LR, then the original CR2 becomes old/orphaned.

I probably have more questions, but really I'm looking for guidance on workflows, best practices or techniques for using lightroom and photoshop together - not necessarily how to do a specific thing.


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Post edited 2 months ago by Wilt.
     
Dec 09, 2018 00:27 |  #2

Others may follow a different workflow than me, but...

  • I start with the fundamental understanding of LR (in the beginning) was a 'global change' tool with few single pixel-level capabilities, and of primary focus for the photographer. Photoshop started as a pixel-based graphic arts tool (not exclusively photographs), and over time become more strongly focused on photographer needs, yet retaining powerful (and gaining additional) graphic arts capabilities. Adobe bought the code for RAW conversion and integrated it into both LR and Photoshop, and then added years of product evolution to confuse the amateur photographer into which program to choose/use.
  • So I Import into LR and make global changes to the photo (exposure, brightness/contrast, shadow area boosts, white balance, straightening/cropping​) and then use a pixel-level editor (similar to Photoshop) to make changes on individual pixels when LR runs out of capability.
  • LR remains my data manager with its relational database and intelligent retrieval (based on keywords and body/lens/FL) which are more sophisticated than Photoshop (Bridge).

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john ­ crossley
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Dec 09, 2018 10:30 |  #3

kaitlyn2004 wrote in post #18767119 (external link)
Before lightroom, I used to edit exclusively in Photoshop. Obviously that was (seems like!) forever ago, and my skills were far more basic and techniques were probably not efficient.

As Lightroom has progressed, I've found that I try to use Photoshop as little as possible, but then that causes my to limit my own edits+creativity. I'm aware of where LR finishes and where PS starts, but I have trouble using them... together.

- If I am going to edit a photo in Photoshop, should I edit as a smart object or just a normal layer? If it's a smart object, then I am limited in what I can do (i.e. content aware requires a rasterized layer I believe?)
- Could really use some insights on techniques for non-destructive editing. I tend to edit on my normal layer, or create a million layers for each edit (but probably do it inefficiently!) and edit up with either something that's impossible to undo/edit, or giant file size.
- Can I (should I?) continue to edit in Lightroom if I need to make further adjustments or notice other tweaks? I realize photoshop can do everything LR can and more, but LR has a nice clean history state with all adjustments being editable as well. OR once I hand off to photoshop, is it photoshop onwards? I had tested this by editing in photoshop, saving without changes. Then I edit my source CR2 and massively changed temperature... open the TIF in photoshop again, but it doesn't have the updated changes to temp. If I edit the TIF in LR, then the original CR2 becomes old/orphaned.

I probably have more questions, but really I'm looking for guidance on workflows, best practices or techniques for using lightroom and photoshop together - not necessarily how to do a specific thing.

As with everything else in photography there is no right or wrong, it's all about personal preference.
Lightroom and Photoshop are tools and as such should be used as and when required to achieve the desired result.


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digital ­ paradise
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Dec 09, 2018 10:47 |  #4

The transition can be tough. It was for me but these days I try to use PS as little as I can if I'm working with LR. Not sure what version you have but with the brush, graduated filter and range mask I can avoid layers which is one reason for going to PS. The other is intense cloning.

People complain about LR being slow when doing "intense" brushwork. PS is a pixel editor while LR adjust parameters. Pixel editing alters image appearance at the pixel level which changes the original data. Because LR only adjusts parameters (which does not change the original data) it has to go through all you adjustments each time you add more. LR was always meant for quick edits, removing dust specs, minor changes, etc. It great for that but if you do intense editing it recommended to use PS. I'm talking about 100 adjustments as an example. That is why the two work together.

I always send the file back to LR to take advantage of the DAM and export process. I even do that if I send a file to DXO PL which I try and avoid as well. If I'm editing an event I immediately flag the original CR2 after the TIFF opens. At the end I select all flagged photos and then Invert that selection. Now the flagged CR2 files will not be exported and the numbering sequence is correct. I typically give a customer 4 or more sets of files. A few for web sized viewing and for larger prints - both matte and gloss. This way they can go through the smaller files and select the ones they want to print.

It took me a while to warm up to LR but I really like it now. 3 trials over a 6 month period. That being said the PixelGenius group made PK Sharpener free about a year ago. It was $100. That group was hired by Adobe to develop the export process and the Detail window adjustments in LR/ACR. So PK Sharpener's process is the same but with a few more options. Even though I have it I still use LR 95% of the time because it does everything I need. You might recognize a few names at the bottom. Bruce Fraser was an early pioneer of the 3 phases of sharpening.

http://www.pixelgenius​.com/ (external link)

What I like most about LR and now with PK Sharpener is it takes the guesswork out of the export process. If you keep everything within the LR family it produces very nice prints. Here is a comment from another site about a sharpening discussion.

While it is a good idea to use edge masking to avoid over sharpening large flat surfaces (like blue skies) when doing either capture or creative sharpening, you really don't need to worry about edge masking for output sharpening.

And I say this from years of experience and many rounds of test prints when working with the LR engineers developing both the capture sharpening in the Detail panel as well ad output sharpening in the export and Print module.

The output sharpening won't hurt your image at the print stage as long as you don't over-sharpen in the Detail panel. Output sharpening is supposed to be aggressive to counter the dithering required to convert pixels into droplets of ink. The same considerations that apply in capture sharpening such as edge sharpening and noise reduction don't apply when output sharpening.

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digital ­ paradise
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Post edited 2 months ago by digital paradise.
     
Dec 11, 2018 09:39 |  #5

More info about LR vs PS

https://www.lightroomq​ueen.com …imizing-lightrooms-speed/ (external link)

https://www.lightroomq​ueen.com …formance-workflow-tweaks/ (external link)


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Peano
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Dec 11, 2018 20:04 |  #6

digital paradise wrote in post #18767409 (external link)
PS is a pixel editor while LR adjust parameters. Pixel editing alters image appearance at the pixel level which changes the original data.

You seem to be suggesting that PS is a destructive editor that always alters original data at the pixel level. If that is what you intended to convey, then you need to correct your misconceptions about Photoshop, because it is not a "pixel editor."

If that isn't what you intended to convey, then you need to work on your writing skills.


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digital ­ paradise
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Post edited 2 months ago by digital paradise.
     
Dec 11, 2018 20:48 |  #7

Peano wrote in post #18769120 (external link)
You seem to be suggesting that PS is a destructive editor that always alters original data at the pixel level. If that is what you intended to convey, then you need to correct your misconceptions about Photoshop, because it is not a "pixel editor."

If that isn't what you intended to convey, then you need to work on your writing skills.

I actually got this directly from another link because I didn't like my LR parametric explanation. I believe the author meant it alters it but does not destroy the original. It even says that one of the LQ links. I don't think I'll be taking your advise :-)

Pixel editing alters image appearance at the pixel level which changes the original data.


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Post edited 2 months ago by itsallart.
     
Dec 11, 2018 21:11 |  #8

I used to use LR for basic editing, cataloging and then still put most of my shots through PS. I use PS and ACR only and no longer care for LR. I think it's all a matter of personal preference.
PS isn't destructive at all. You really need to become more familiar with it to enjoy its incredible capabilities. I used to ask my kids "what is a layer"? years ago and now I'm quite versed and enjoy the creative aspect of it, particularly when processing skin blemishes using frequency separation or creating multi layer composites or non-destructive adjustments on separate layers while still retaining the original image.
It's really about your preference and we're all different.


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digital ­ paradise
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Dec 11, 2018 21:24 |  #9

Both PS and LR use ACR but you are correct, PS can do so much more. If you don’t send the files back to LR from PS then the DAM is not used to it’s full advantage. File storage gets big with all the additional files.


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Dec 11, 2018 21:56 |  #10

I just remembered. I never really warmed up to the healing and cloning in LR. Anything advanced goes to PS. I'm out of the business now and my best friends daughter asked me to shoot her wedding engagement, which I did a as gift. Several days before the shoot she developed a pretty bad rash on her forehead just above her nose. She works in a personal care home for the elderly so she picks something up time to time. She was really worried but it was very easy fix using the healing brush in LR. It did a great job and saved tons of time not sending all those files to PS.


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Dec 14, 2018 13:19 |  #11

Personally I tend to try to do as much as possible in Lr, but when needed I'll happily switch to Ps and edit pixels. These days with less concern about storage I don't worry about the file size too much so will usually edit as a smart object, so that I can go back to ACR without having to deal with any pixel layers I have created above the smart object. Once I have finished editing in Ps the image goes back into Lr for both archiving, and final output preparation. I do my soft proofing in Lr, and will make edits to the soft proof VC to get the image to where it needs to be for each specific output type. I also do a lot of monochrome conversions, and much prefer to use Lr as my mono conversion system, although ACR will of course also do the job the same way. So I tend to convert to mono in Lr after editing the colour image in Ps.

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F2Bthere
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Dec 22, 2018 02:40 |  #12

I understand your desire to set up a non-destructive and fully reversible workflow in Photoshop and, within limitations you can do so.

The cost for setting up such a workflow include limits to what you can do, processes that are more difficult and time consuming, files which will be much bigger and will load and be changed more slowly.

Your RAW file will remain safe, whatever you do in PS. Your Lightroom changes will remain safe. And your PS changes can be backed out of or be redone, within reason.

I think it is better to develop a balanced working method which you follow. If something doesn't work, strip that part back and do it again.

I process my RAW file first (exposure, white balance, basic corrections to get good skin tones, lens correction, noise reduction, recover highlights or shadows if needed) and create a 16bit TIF file which I edit in PS. I use Capture One but LR or Camera RAW work, as do other options.

In PS I duplicate the background layer, which remains untouched. Any significant changes to the structure of the image happen here (perspective, clone stamp, etc) and don't touch the background layer. Above this go any dodge or burn layers. Above this curves and such which develop contrast, affect color, etc. these are labeled and organized with folders, use appropriate masks, etc.

Grain and sharpening are done last for the intended output. These layers can be stripped out and replaced for other intended output.

There are other elements which may be integrated, depending on the image, but this is my basic structure.

There are, naturally, other ways to do this.


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digital ­ paradise
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Dec 22, 2018 10:19 |  #13

Not sure if I mentioned it but when the TFF comes back to LR I immediately flag the original CR2/3. When editing is done I select all flagged files and then revert the selection so all non flagged files are selected. Now when I export the CS2/3 files are not exported and the numbering sequence is correct.


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john ­ crossley
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Dec 22, 2018 10:35 |  #14

digital paradise wrote in post #18775973 (external link)
Not sure if I mentioned it but when the TFF comes back to LR I immediately flag the original CR2/3. When editing is done I select all flagged files and then revert the selection so all non flagged files are selected. Now when I export the CS2/3 files are not exported and the numbering sequence is correct.

Is it not easier to just select the TIFF files?


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digital ­ paradise
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Dec 22, 2018 10:41 |  #15

john crossley wrote in post #18775980 (external link)
Is it not easier to just select the TIFF files?

I may only send 10 files out of 100 to PS. I try to avoid PS as much as I can but sometimes I have to send a few.


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