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Thread: Lightroom, Basic question

  1. #1

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    Lightroom, Basic question

    I'm using CS5 and fairly happy with the setup. Considering Lightroom though. But there's a basic thing that I don't understand about lightroom.

    Background
    I'm using Bridge for managing pictures (approx 20-30.000 pr year). I have .xmp files next to the raw files. I use keywords in Bridge to qualify/tag pictures.

    I have a set of NAS servers. Here the picture from the years stored. When I actively work on a set of pictures I take the pictures to a local machine, work/modify/delete and copy (synchronize) back to the server.

    Interest
    My interest is only the picture manage side of LR.

    Not interest
    I use ACR for raw convertion. It's as close to LR (same engine) that raw converting in ACR or LR is the same. So tiny differences in post processing make no difference to me.


    Question 1
    How does this LR database work? Can I import and browse the big amount of pictures on the NAS servers -- in a fair tempo?
    Using Bridge browsing on the NAS servers doesn't work for two reasons. First the number of pictures exceed (by a big factor) what can be chached in Bridge. Second it's way too slow.

    But the question is if I can build up a workflow and gain something from using LR -- under the constraint that my picture base resides on the NAS servers and when I actively work on a group of pictures it's done on a local machine (synchronize back and forth -- pretty fast).

    Question 2
    Where dows the LR database reside? Can I install LR two plæces and access the same database from two clients (eg a stationary and a laptop).

  2. #2
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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Very basic reply (I am still quite new to Lightroom myself): Lightroom doesn't 'move' your images, it only imports a preview so they can be catalogued, apply keywords etc... I understand you will need to have the source of the images accessible (i.e. in your case, the NAS server) if you want to edit your images with Lightroom and export them for the use you want (printing, WEB, etc)

    Just very basic, I know... lots of people here will be able to give you a much more detailed explanation

    PS: I love Lightroom.

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    I was watching the Luminous-Landscape videos on Lr4 last night - narrator Jeff Shewe manages over 200,000 photos using Lr. I don't think it will choke on your collection.

    The big advantage to Lr over CS5 is that unless you make a copy, it makes all the edits to your pictures in metadata. The original file remains unchanged. You can also make virtural copies, essentially creating more metadata to define different versions of the same image. This has a huge impact on your storage as the metadata records are tiny compare to the original files and more-so the modified .psd or .tif files. You can copy the settings and apply them to multiple images, saving a lot of time if you need to make generalized changes across a large number of images. Also, it can catalog your photos in a zillion different ways and never make a single duplicate copy.

    I have been using CS4 for the past two years and am very impressed with what I'm seeing in Lr4. As far as RAW edititing goes, it is the equal of the CSx tools and, from what I understand, the processing engine is actually better than either CS4 or CS5. It also features some very useful import tools: like the ability to pre-define imports to include RAW conversion, file re-naming, adding metadata and making a duplicate copy in another storage location in a single step. Impressive stuff.

    I don't have NAS, but using the available 1:1 preview feature, it may be that you wouldn't even need to pull down files off the NAS to work on them locally.

    Regarding your question on where the Lr database structure resides, you can select that and I would assume you could put it 'out in the cloud' somewhere around or in your NAS so that you can get at it from your desktop or laptop as long as you have connectivity. I know it will also allow you to build a duplicate file but I believe that is only a backup, you can't actually operate from it. The Lr database can get relatively big, but it remains quite tiny compared to the size of your actual photograph database.

    I think you will find that Lr4 is exactly the tool you have been seeking.
    Last edited by Boatman; 9th March 2012 at 09:46 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Hello,

    the default location of a "Lightroom catalog" (=Lightroom Database) is in the following folder under windows:
    %USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Lightroom
    Under Windows Vista or Windows 7 this is normally C:\username\Pictures\Lightroom.

    In this folder Lightroom stores its database, settings and picture previews. These should be stored on a really fast storage like a local RAID or SSD. If you have tons of pictures it does really make a difference how fast this data can be accessed. It is possible in Lightroom to set different values how long picture previews are stored and the size of them. These settings are changeable under Edit > Catalog Settings.
    You can find more informations here:
    About Lightroom catalogs

    Personally I have never checked how Lightroom behaves if the original images are stored on NAS. I think if you have a fast NAS with multiple drives that delivers enough I/O and 1Gbit Ethernet you should not get into trouble. I would not try it with a low cost NAS (tiny CPU and RAM) that has only TWO drives in mirror mode.
    You can check it for yourself. Lightroom does not alter your original images during import. You can download an evolution version from Adobe.

    Cu
    Robert

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by slm View Post
    Question 1
    How does this LR database work? Can I import and browse the big amount of pictures on the NAS servers -- in a fair tempo?
    Using Bridge browsing on the NAS servers doesn't work for two reasons. First the number of pictures exceed (by a big factor) what can be chached in Bridge. Second it's way too slow.

    But the question is if I can build up a workflow and gain something from using LR -- under the constraint that my picture base resides on the NAS servers and when I actively work on a group of pictures it's done on a local machine (synchronize back and forth -- pretty fast).

    Question 2
    Where dows the LR database reside? Can I install LR two plæces and access the same database from two clients (eg a stationary and a laptop).
    Hello Søren

    Question 1: Yes. That's the way I work - my image files are not even on big fast NAS servers - just a pretty basic set of external drives.

    Question 2: Not quite, at least as I understand it. Maintain your master catalog on one machine (presumably the stationary machine), and export a copy of the part of the catalog you want to access to your laptop, then, when you've finished with the laptop, merge the changed laptop catalog back into the master. Martin Evening describes the process, and the export/import settings you might want to think about, in minute detail in his book (The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book, Adobe Press, 2010), but it's similar really to the process we use when we take a laptop out on a shoot and import, select, rate, and edit files in LR on the laptop, and then merge the catalogs on return. In the latter case, of course, you're merging the new images into your main image storage as well.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    The big advantage to Lr over CS5 is that unless you make a copy, it makes all the edits to your pictures in metadata. The original file remains unchanged.
    I often hear this Homer, but in reality, Bridge/ACR does EXACTLY the same thing. So no advantage at all I'm afraid.

  7. #7

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I often hear this Homer, but in reality, Bridge/ACR does EXACTLY the same thing. So no advantage at all I'm afraid.
    hmmmm. Exactly?

    As I understand it, but someone else may be able to correct me on this, Bridge is a (sophisticated) image browser. To use it, your images need to be online or accessible.

    On the other hand, LR's library functions are built on top of a database of information about your source images (including thumbnail previews as large or as small as you need them) and any edits you have done. You can access that database even if the source images are not available: for example, you can browse the thumbnails and perform any sorting/selecting/rating functions that you like whilst on the road with your laptop. The reason you can do this is that you are working with the database, not the image files. The reason you can't do the same thing in Bridge is that you're working with the image files, not a database.

    Of course, even in LR you could not print, or upload to web whilst the files are offline, because LR needs to apply your edits to the original images as part of doing that.

    Similarly, you couldn't do those things in Bridge/ACR without the images accessible - but additionally you'd need Photoshop because the print, export functionality is not built into Bridge or ACR.

    I think Jeff Schewe's (typically succinct) answer to a question on the Adobe forums ..

    quote "1. Feb 21, 2012 11:33 AM (in response to glaustin)
    Helpful AnswerRe: Lightroom, PhotoShop, Camera RAW & Bridge?

    Lightroom is a database while Bridge is a browser. That's the fundimental differences. Both Camera Raw and Lightroom work with the same raw processing pipeline and can redner files the same (assuming equal versions of both). But the usability and UI is a bit different in each.

    Lightroom is designed more as a single stop raw image processing and image management workflow solution. Whether or not it's your cup of tea depends on what sort of volume you produce and what sort of workflow you want. The best way to try Lightroom is to download the demo and give it a try."
    unquote

    ... pretty much sums up the fundamental differences here. The two solutions have some functionality, and even some code, in common, but they're different and pitched at different audiences. Like a Ferrari and a Mack truck both have headlights and wheels but one is not a subset of the other.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    hmmmm. Exactly?

    As I understand it, but someone else may be able to correct me on this, Bridge is a (sophisticated) image browser. To use it, your images need to be online or accessible.

    On the other hand, LR's library functions are built on top of a database of information about your source images (including thumbnail previews as large or as small as you need them) and any edits you have done. You can access that database even if the source images are not available: for example, you can browse the thumbnails and perform any sorting/selecting/rating functions that you like whilst on the road with your laptop. The reason you can do this is that you are working with the database, not the image files. The reason you can't do the same thing in Bridge is that you're working with the image files, not a database.

    Of course, even in LR you could not print, or upload to web whilst the files are offline, because LR needs to apply your edits to the original images as part of doing that.

    Similarly, you couldn't do those things in Bridge/ACR without the images accessible - but additionally you'd need Photoshop because the print, export functionality is not built into Bridge or ACR.

    I think Jeff Schewe's (typically succinct) answer to a question on the Adobe forums ..

    quote "1. Feb 21, 2012 11:33 AM (in response to glaustin)
    Helpful AnswerRe: Lightroom, PhotoShop, Camera RAW & Bridge?

    Lightroom is a database while Bridge is a browser. That's the fundimental differences. Both Camera Raw and Lightroom work with the same raw processing pipeline and can redner files the same (assuming equal versions of both). But the usability and UI is a bit different in each.

    Lightroom is designed more as a single stop raw image processing and image management workflow solution. Whether or not it's your cup of tea depends on what sort of volume you produce and what sort of workflow you want. The best way to try Lightroom is to download the demo and give it a try."
    unquote

    ... pretty much sums up the fundamental differences here. The two solutions have some functionality, and even some code, in common, but they're different and pitched at different audiences. Like a Ferrari and a Mack truck both have headlights and wheels but one is not a subset of the other.

    Cheers

    Tim
    Hi Tim,

    In terms of Bridge being a browser, you're quite correct (albeit a very capable one capable of rating / filtering / exporting a wide variety of objects) - but none-the-less, I was talking about Bridge/ACR being non-destructive (same as LR) (in response to Homer's post about LR having the "advantage" of being non-destructive).

    BTW, Bridge caches preview and thumbnail info too - and although the images they refer to need to be online (personally that's the only way I've ever known images that I'm working on) - they can actually be accessed simultaneously by different copies of Bridge over a network (something LE doesn't support).

    Exporting functionality is built into both Bridge and ACR (I use them all the time). Printing isn't (as far as I know), but then again, that's what Photoshop is good for (ie if you had Bridge/ACR then you also have Photoshop).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 11th March 2012 at 04:22 AM.

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Hi All

    Thanks for your answers.

    Central point
    Bridge is a browser with cached information -- but rely on the source to be there (it's a browser). LR is a database that keeps record of imported pictures. When you need to edit the pictures, then -- and first then -- they need to be there.

    I think the best advice is to try LR in a test setup. My main concern is the robustnes of the LR database. Bridge's caching mechanism doesn't scale very well, is slow and not robust. If LR work a bit more robust it could be the solution that improves handling the picture archive.

    Once more, thanks for you answers and input.

  10. #10

    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    You need to try Lightroom for a while to get the feel of whether it's for you - at first look it can be off-putting. People tend to love Lightroom or hate it; no half way house. I first thought it was a waste of space, but then on a dull few days spent time playing with it, and decided it was really rather good. I edit everything in Lightroom. Then 5 or 10% (max) need further editing in Photoshop.

    You could say that you can use ACR and Bridge to do everything that Lightroom can do; they're functionally equivalent. But to me that's like saying that a Tiger Moth was functionally eqivalent to Concorde. Yes, both take people from A to B through the air...

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Garrett View Post
    But to me that's like saying that a Tiger Moth was functionally eqivalent to Concorde. Yes, both take people from A to B through the air...
    I know LR isn't as efficient as Bridge/ACR, but I wouldn't quite say it's "Tiger Moth" material ...

  12. #12

    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I know LR isn't as efficient as Bridge/ACR, but I wouldn't quite say it's "Tiger Moth" material ...
    Call it artistic licence! However, I think users of Lightroom (numbering more than twice the number of Photoshop CSx users, last time I saw figures) would probably say that the utility offered by Lightroom is much, much greater than that of Bridge/ACR. As I say, there are plenty that disagree (strongly) with that.

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    As for efficiency, the truth probably is that the product you're used to is the most efficient. I have used Bridge and ACR for quite a while and it works very efficient to me. I have made a go on raw convert and post processeing part of LR. To me there's no difference at all. Only very few differences.

    But the difference to me would be the ability to organise photos in large scale. The truth here - as mentioned by some of you - is that I need to try it out. Now that LR4 is out it's perhaps pretty good timing for this test-run.

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    And the main reason I prefer LR over Bridge/ACR is the fact that LR has a load of presets - not so ACR.
    Those presets often create a great starting point for further editing in PS CS5. Maybe I'm just lazy.....

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Garrett View Post
    Call it artistic licence! However, I think users of Lightroom (numbering more than twice the number of Photoshop CSx users, last time I saw figures) would probably say that the utility offered by Lightroom is much, much greater than that of Bridge/ACR. As I say, there are plenty that disagree (strongly) with that.
    Although one could argue that PS is 4 times the price and yet only twice as many use LR

    In all seriousness, I think that a LOT of folks just don't know what can be done with Bridge/ACR. eg Many don't appear to know that hundreds of images can be opened at once, and have the same edits applied to all - all at the same time. eg Supposing that I mis-meter a setup in the studio and need to increase the exposure in post-production by 1 stop; in Bridge it's as easy as Ctrl+A - ENTER - Select all - and adjust the exposure up 1 stop. Job done (and synchronising edits between 2 or 200 images is about as easy). Many don't know that files can be exported from Bridge and yet once one of an infinite number of an export presets is setup (takes about 20 seconds each) then it's as easy as selecting the required files - dragging them onto the preset - and clicking the "go" button.

    So for me anyway, Bridge/ACR offers the same functionality as LR, but without (what I percieve to be anyway) the risks of the "all the eggs in one basket" catalog approach.

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris V View Post
    And the main reason I prefer LR over Bridge/ACR is the fact that LR has a load of presets - not so ACR.
    Those presets often create a great starting point for further editing in PS CS5. Maybe I'm just lazy.....
    Hi Kris,

    I'm a little confused ... you can create as many presets in ACR as you like; you just have to create them once. Or you can download a gazillion of them for free on the net.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th March 2012 at 07:20 PM.

  17. #17

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    .... eg Supposing that I mis-meter a setup in the studio and need to increase the exposure in post-production by 1 stop; in Bridge it's as easy as Ctrl+A - ENTER - Select all - and adjust the exposure up 1 stop. Job done (and synchronising edits between 2 or 200 images is about as easy)....
    one fewer keystrokes required in LR, but I wouldn't hold that against Bridge/ACR!

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Re: Lightroom, Basic question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Kris,

    I'm a little confused ... you can create as many presets in ACR as you like; you just have to create them once. Or you can download a gazillion of them for free on the net.
    Does this mean there's something about ACR that I haven't figured out? How do you create/download/save presets in ACR?
    A little help greatly appreciated!
    Then maybe I don't have to spend money to upgrade to LR4!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris V View Post
    Does this mean there's something about ACR that I haven't figured out? How do you create/download/save presets in ACR?
    A little help greatly appreciated!
    Then maybe I don't have to spend money to upgrade to LR4!
    Hi Kris,

    You just click on the presets tab (2nd from the right).

    To download presets, just search on "ACR Presets" - they download as XML files.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    one fewer keystrokes required in LR, but I wouldn't hold that against Bridge/ACR!

    Cheers

    Tim
    Including the mouse click to get to the Develop module? I wonder which is faster applying the edits though?
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 13th March 2012 at 03:29 AM.

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