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Thread: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    At the risk of starting world war 3 (it'll be one Donald that does it, so I'll get in ahead first) ....

    I want to ask what is a simple question of Adobe users. I'm not asking whether you prefer Lightroom or Photoshop.

    All I am asking of those who use both - why? Or if you rejected one in favour of just using one of them - why? I often see a statement such as " Did XYZ in Lightoom and then took it into Photoshop". I also know that Lightroom is excellent at sorting out and storing images.

    I have just subscribed to the Photographic Creative Cloud (many reasons, but am already seeing the benefits, particularly in printing) after years of working with the GIMP and then Elements. And having worked my way through the 'Basics' tutorials on 'lynda.com', I can understand some of what Photoshop can do in my workflow.

    But, other than using Lightroom to store images sensibly and then working on them in Photoshop, I don't see why you'd need both. Or is it because Photoshop is a more powerful tool for working on the images.

    Enlighten me.

    And please try to stick to just the question!

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    Donald,

    I would add that there are three options (Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom) within the Adobe family. Elements is a stripped down and less expensive version of Photoshop. I've tried all three, chose Elements and worked with it for years and added LR about three years ago. I started with Photoshop and at the time I was using a somewhat slow computer and that is what initially led me to steer away from Photoshop, last time I used Photoshop (2years ago) I had a much faster machine but the system resources were still taxed by the engine that runs Photoshop. Finally cost and system resources pointed me towards Elements and LR.

  3. #3
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    I probably donít Ďneedí Photoshop but there are a few things it does well like resizing for specific outputs and output sharpening which I use daily. Iím not into massively complex multi layered editing but I still find some of the tools more powerful and I do occasionally remove objects which PS does better. The Content Aware crop is superb too.

    As a total workflow I find it intuitive and smooth swapping between the two apps with total ease and file security.

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    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    Lightroom was designed to do the image management and basic adjustments and corrections. Initially, Lightroom was never intended for advanced editing so was designed to work seamlessly with a full-blown editor such as Photoshop or Elements or PaintShop etc. The confusion seems to have arisen from the fact that Lightroom's editing functions have improved significantly over time. However, when it comes to needing layers and masks for fine adjustments, cloning, montage, photo merging, text etc most good editors outperform Lightroom. About 85% of my photographs do not require any Photoshop editing and can be entirely processed in Lightroom but for the other 15% I do layer-based edits that just cannot be successfully done using Lightroom alone.

    Below is a poster I would never try to do using Lightroom alone.
    Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop
    Last edited by pnodrog; 19th October 2017 at 11:37 AM.

  5. #5
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    In in pretty much the same position as Robin. I decided to go the CC route a couple of years ago, it just made sense to me (after a lifetime of working with commercial software, I didn't have any emotional barrier to paying monthly or annually).

    As a result I got Photoshop, effectively for free - which is pretty amazing. I really don't use it - it's just too vast for me to dip in and out of. However, I've started on a course to learn "smudge painting", which is really nothing to do with photography, and for which Photoshop is essential.

    Dave

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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    Ya gotta ask yourself...are you satisfied taking pictures taking pictures or are you more
    interested in creating artwork. Creating that artwork kinda requires Photoshop

  7. #7
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    All I am asking of those who use both - why? Or if you rejected one in favour of just using one of them - why?
    I use both.

    First, it's important to keep in mind--as Manfred would certainly point out--that the raw processing engine in Lightroom is accessible in Photoshop as ACR, so one can do the parametric editing Lightroom offers while using only Photoshop. There are some interface differences, however.

    With that caveat: I have found that what works best for me is to have Lightroom as my home base. I usually prefer parametric editing when it works well, which is not all the time. All of the edits are reversible. Since they are simply stored as xml files, they don't take up any appreciable room. I know that storage is cheap, but still, I find it convenient to have a 25 MD raw file and an 8 KB xml file to manage rather than a TIFF that may as much 500+ MB. Lightroom also has several ways that you can store different edits of the same photograph. For example, I often have one color edit and a second virtual copy done in black and white. I find that when I don't need selections, I can usually do all of my edits in Lightroom. I entirely disagree with Chauncy that artwork requires photoshop. It all depends on the image.

    Off the top of my head, I can't think of many things that Lightroom does appreciably better. I won't try a complete list, but here's my quick comparison for a few specifics:

    1. Tonal adjustments: the tools are somewhat different, and both have pluses and minuses. LR has no levels tool, which I would like to have. It has regional tonal adjustment tools that are often very handy. Its curve tool is fine for RGB adjustments but has no luminance-only option.

    2. WB: I find this much easier in LR

    3. Touch-up work, e.g., healing: LR is fine in some cases but far less flexible and powerful than photoshop's tools. This is one reason I sometimes move the image to photoshop.

    4. Local adjustments: LR is getting better, and it is fine for some work, but Photoshop is far better because of selections.

    5. Lightroom has nothing analogous to the choice of blending modes for layers.

    6. Noise reduction: in the most recent versions, LR is excellent, better than Photoshop (but again, one can use ACR from within photoshop)

    7. Sharpening: the LR tools have gotten better, and they are often entirely fine. However, Photoshop offers more options.

    When I do need things that LR doesn't do well, I just send the image out to external software (in my case, Photoshop, Zerene, and Nik) and then bring it back again so that I have the edited images in the same catalog. If one does it correctly, Photoshop will automatically send the photo back to the library. Other software sometimes places it in the right directory but leaves it to the user to resync to get the image into the library.

    As I mentioned to Manfred in a thread recently, I also love the Lightroom print module. I think many printers would look down their noses at me because LR printing is simplified. For example, rather than resizing the image to print dimensions and adjusting sharpening, I just tell LR what level of output sharpening to use, and it calculates what is needed based on output characteristics. It is a shortcut, but it works very well.

    Finally, there are lots of plugins for Lightroom that make it a very convenient home base. For example, one plug-in for the export dialog takes all of the images I have selected, creates TIFFs from them (I can control the attributes of the TIFFs), calls up Zerene, and loads all of the TIFFs for stacking. I can create an export choice with the options I usually use, so when there is nothing unusual, I can do all of this with two mouse clicks, one to call up the export dialog and the other to execute my Zerene export with my selected options. If I want to upload an image to Smugmug, I simply use another plug-in in the export dialog, which lets me select image attributes and presents me with a complete list of my Smugmug galleries. The software then creates the jpeg, uploads it, and deletes it so that it isn't stored on my computer.

    With all of that, I actually make very little use of the digital asset management functions that Lightroom was originally designed to provide.

    None of this is a pitch for others to follow suit. I'm just describing what works well for me.
    Last edited by DanK; 19th October 2017 at 02:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    Thank you all so much. Excellent discussion so far.

  9. #9
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    +1 to what Paul and Dan have written. Their views are quite consistent with mine.

    As you are a Gimp user, Photoshop and Gimp have a lot in common. As you are a DxO Optics Pro user, Lightroom / Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) have a lot in common with Optics Pro.

    The Lightroom Develop Module and ACR are really the same piece of underlying software with a different user interface.

    The Lightroom discussion just got a bit more complicated as of today (?), as Adobe has released two versions with the CC 2018 update. Lightroom CC Classic which we were all familiar with and the new Lightroom CC that seems to have dropped the DAM (Library), Print, Map, Book and Web modules and stores all the images on Adobe's Cloud service. I just updated my Creative Cloud software, so have spent some time exploring what is new.

    I also spent the past month using Lightroom, rather than Camera Raw as for some reason, I could not get ACR to work properly on my laptop, most of my raw processing was done in Lightroom. Even after all that practice, I find I still prefer the ACR user interface.

    Back to your question Donald. As you shoot raw, you will need to use a raw convertor. You can use ACR, Lightroom or DxO Optics Pro. All of these programs do raw conversion and a bit more, which is some fairly substantive global editing and some more localized edits. Let me put Optics Pro aside for now and concentrate on Lightroom / ACR.

    With all these pieces of software, you are accessing the raw data, so all the data your camera collected is available for use. No white balance has been assigned, not colour space has been set (sort of; Lightroom actually uses a variant of ProPhoto internally), etc. Until you export, everything is a variable and that maximizes flexibility.

    That being said, most of my adjustments are in the basic panel; I tweak mostly the white balance and often tune the shadows and highlights. I usually add a touch of clarity and the rest of the sliders I rarely touch. I always apply lens correction and sometime apply a vignette and dehaze. I use a couple of custom camera profiles. In other words I do as little as possible in Lightroom / ACR.

    I never use the sharpening at this point. In fact I turn it off completely. Noise reduction is something that needs to be done before sharpening and as I have no idea as to the order that these are applied, I wait until I get into Photoshop to do all of my sharpening work (import, in-process and export).

    I export my files using the ProPhoto colour space and I export as a SmartObject (more about this later). I do everything else in Photoshop.

    Unlike the parametric editor in ACR / Lightroom, in Photoshop one can make changes at the pixel level. The software works with layers, so when I stack things up, I know exactly the order in which Photoshop will apply the changes. With layers come layer masks, which allow one to make changes to a very specific part of the image, clipping masks, that apply the mask only to the layer it is clipped to. There are blending modes that let layers interact with each other.

    One of my favourite features are SmartObjects. In the past, in Photoshop, applying a filter was a destructive edit, but if filters are applied to a Smart Object, the settings are save and the changes can be made at any time. When the main image is opened as a SmartObjects, one can use the Camera Raw filter, which works identically to Camera Raw, so I can go back and tweak my white balance and even change my colour space. The user interface is identical to ACR, but not Lightroom, so familiarity with ACR is required. All of these features allow me to use a non-destructive workflow, so I can change anything I've done without having to step back.

    When it comes to sharpening, this is generally my first step when I bring an image into Photoshop. When I sharpen at this stage, I know that any noise reduction that I did in the raw processor will have been applied and I will not be sharpening noise.

  10. #10

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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    If you just use Photoshop you will need to get Adobe Bridge which is a free add on to Photoshop and does many of the things like viewing and managing files which would otherwise be done with Lightroom.

    Bridge does everything which I require, very simply, and more besides.

    I have tried Lightroom but found it to be a needlessly complex system for doing the simple tasks which I require. All my editing work is done with Photoshop.

    If I ever gave up using Photoshop I would return to Serif and their new Affinity software. Elements is far too basic for my requirements.

  11. #11
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    Re: Need enlighting - Lightroom and Photoshop

    I was using Photoshop 7 (long before the CS series came out) and had problems with my computer at that time. My computer tech recommended erasing the hard drive and starting over. I did than and even though I had the access code for the Photoshop 7 on the CD cover, I couldn't get it working again. Adobe stated that it was an invalid number. This was my first problem with the Adobe folks. BUT NOT THE LAST!

    I tried to purchase an educational copy of Photoshop CS (the original Creative Site) and despite the fact that the Adobe website stated that Professors Emeritus (My wife is a Professor Emeritus of Palomar College, in San Marcos, CA) are eligible for the academic copies, I could never get that through the minds of the Adobe customer service reps...

    Anyway, to get to my answer to your posting, I tried both Adobe Photoshop Elements and then Lightroom as cheaper alternatives to buying a standard Photoshop Program.

    Somehow, neither of these programs were intuitive for me. I couldn't get me feeble brain around these programs doing the filing for me. I would literally LOSE my images. Editing them and then never finding them again. Doubtless it was user error but, I had never lost an image using Photoshop 7.

    There are ways (I GUESS) to get around without using either Lightroom or Elements as a file manager but, when I tried that, Elements crashed and I could never get Lightroom to work...

    I tried using a Lightroom copy of NIK Software when the NIK folks were still selling their programs. I couldn't get it to work with Lightroom.

    Then a while before CC came out as a subscription, I had a chance to purchase a boxed version of Photoshop CS6 (which included Bridge) at a relatively low price. Then when Google purchased NIK, I added the NIK Suite as a Photoshop plug-in.

    I am very happy with Bridge + Camera RAW + NIK and when things are working - why fix it if it ain't broke

    I now have Photoshop CC and Bridge 2017 and I am very happy with it. Luckily, the ten dollars a month I pay doesn't impact me in any great way.

    As far as the quality/ability of PP with Lightroom versus Camera RAW - the both use the same logarithm. I would import my image into Photoshop anyway - So for me, Opening the image in Bridge/Camera RAW and finishing the PP in Photoshop + NIK is the way I am comfortable working.

    BTW: I would not use the Adobe type of cloud management. As I mentioned in this post
    Adobe CUSTOMER SERVICE is an oxymoron
    My CC Subscription was terminated through no fault of mine. I was told that if I had any images stored on the Adobe Cloud, they would have been lost. Luckily I wasn't using the Adobe Cloud storage...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 20th October 2017 at 01:09 AM.

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