19 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2017 1:45 PM by saral63628703

    Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?

    JJ Tiziou Level 1

      To the good folks at Adobe (& beautiful forum users)

       

      Does anyone know what the practical limitations are for synchronizing large Lightroom catalogs with Creative Cloud in v6CC?

       

      I'm currently using Lightroom 5, and pondering the upgrade to v6 (standalone or CC).

       

      For regular software use, I'd generally rather the regular license then being tethered to yet another monthly payment.

       

      However, the Creative Cloud option seems appealing if it will let me seamlessly synchronize my main archive library (housed on a desktop Mac Pro) to my laptop, mobile devices, etc.

       

      So my question is whether Lightroom CC would be able to do this as advertised with my rather large catalog (~1Million images).

       

      With v5, I'm currently dealing with:

      .lrcat file = 18.34GB,

      previews.lrdata = 35.91GB

      SmartPreviews.lrdata = 1.18GB

       

      From what I gather, the CC Photo plan has a 2GB cap - would that prevent my catalog from syncing? Or is there separate storage for these files, and would I be ok with just the catalog and previews syncing if I keep my main raw files on my desktop machine?

       

      If I can really keep a searchable and synchronized copy of my Lightroom Catalog on my laptop, then that's great. And I understand that a preliminary sync would definitely take a while, but if it was able to quickly sync in new files afterwards as added, then that would be great, and totally make the CC membership worthwhile.

       

      But if the whole thing's just not going to work with this many images (I know that storage and bandwidth are still somewhat limiting factors), then maybe it makes more sense to get the standalone upgrade.

       

      Thoughts? Anyone have any experience with catalogs this big with Lightroom CC?

       

      Thank you,

      -jj

        • 2. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
          dj_paige Level 9

          There is no practical limitation to catalog size.

           

          People in this and other forums reports catalogs of 500,000 images working well (with the single exception that it takes a long time to backup).

           

          I haven't seen anyone report a catalog of 1 million images, but there's no technical reason why it should not work.

           

          Anyway, on a logical basis, plus understanding that today's databases are designed to scale up without significant performance hits, I don't think you should worry about the size of your catalog.

           

          Having said all that, I have no idea what synchronization does to the equation, but I'm sure you are right, that bandwidth limits how much synchronization you can do.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 3. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
            JJ Tiziou Level 1

            @Kglad - Thanks for moving my post... but to clarify, I'm not asking about the Lightroom Catalog's size itself (I know that it works fine) – but rather about Creative Cloud's ability to handle synchronizing such a large catalog between different installations of Lightroom.

             

            The promotional language for Lightroom CC says:

            With the Creative Cloud Photography plan, you can organize, edit and share your photographs from anywhere — on your computer, on the web, on your iPad and on your iPhone or Android device. And when you make an edit or flag a favorite in one place, it's automatically updated everywhere else through Adobe CreativeSync technology.

             

            But if the $9.99/month CC Photography plan has a 2gb limit, will this work with a catalog my size?

            • 4. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
              JJ Tiziou Level 1

              @dj_paige - thanks for the reply.

               

              To clarify, I'm not asking about the capacity of Lightroom Catalog itself (I know that it works fine) – but rather about Creative Cloud's ability to handle synchronizing such a large catalog between different installations of Lightroom.

               

              The website says this:

              With the Creative Cloud Photography plan, you can organize, edit and share your photographs from anywhere — on your computer, on the web, on your iPad and on your iPhone or Android device. And when you make an edit or flag a favorite in one place, it's automatically updated everywhere else through Adobe CreativeSync technology.

               

              Which sounds great in theory. I'm just wondering if anyone's seen it in practice with larger catalogs.

               

              I'm downloading the free trial, and will see how it goes...

               

              thx!

              -jj

              • 5. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                With Lightroom Mobile, you don't synchronize entire catalogs. You synchronize different collections.

                • 6. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                  john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I think the problem isn't going to be the catalogue itself, the lrcat file. I often work on a catalogue that's got just over 600k pictures and as Paige says, backup is the only thing that's slower. I can't recall the catalogue's file size, but it's not huge and I'd expect it to sync as fast as bandwidth allows. Not sure if it would exceed the 2Gb CC space, maybe, but remember that the catalogue also has a previews folder and could very easily exceed the limit.

                   

                  However, the blurb you quoted isn't really about syncing the catalogue via the CC folder - it's talking about Lr Mobile. Notice how it doesn't mention other installations of Lightroom. So with Mobile you have your catalogue on one computer and connecting it to Lightroom Mobile. This sends compressed versions of your pictures to Adobe's cloud, which then lets you edit images on mobile devices (quite a lot of adjustments plus star ratings and flags) and use a web browser on another real computer (to edit star ratings and flags).

                  • 7. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                    JJ Tiziou Level 1

                    @JimHess - thanks for the heads up.

                     

                    I'm actually less interested in the mobile version, and really just liking the idea of my laptop having a synced up version of my whole catalog. (Right now, I can do this by exporting a copy of the catalog once in a while, but that's annoying, and actual sync would be nice.)

                     

                    Basically, the appeal is for the situations where I might want to pull things up on the fly, in a less structured way, for impromptu slideshows, or examples during a workshop, etc - and having newest work available automatically.

                    • 8. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                      JJ Tiziou Level 1

                      @John Beardsworth - thanks ... and you're right that it doesn't explicitly mention other installations of Lightroom, but the preceding sentence is:

                       

                      You take a camera everywhere you go. Why not take all your photos and photography apps, too?

                       

                      (Emphasis added to the "All")

                       

                      - so that's the thing that I'm wondering about.

                       

                      Does "All" mean a few favorite collections, or does it mean my whole archive?

                       

                      As I mentioned above, my catalog file's weighing in at 18gb... w/ ~30gb of previews. (Whole raw archive is ~10TB - of course I'm not expecting to sync that all... although now that PhotoShelter just upped to unlimited storage, I'm sending it all their way...)

                       

                      We'll see what happens with the trial...

                      • 9. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                        john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        I work on a rough assumption that each smart preview (the compressed file that gets uploaded) is about 1 megabyte, but there isn't a limit to how many of these smart previews can be uploaded and they don't count against the 2Gb Photography Plan or 20Gb full CC storage. So it could mean the entire archive. I've not pushed it beyond 10000, but that's down to my needs and also the difficulty of finding pictures ( eg by keyword) on a mobile device.

                        • 10. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                          ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Your catalog will be "on" one computer, either a PC or Mac that runs regular Windows or OSX.  Collections you specifically designate for synchronization with LR Mobile can be accessed via a simplified user-interface on iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, or via a browser from the website lightroom.adobe.com if you're on a regular computer, that shows you your pictures when you login as you.  That's it.  There are no hierarchies or folder structure like in LR, just groups of photos in collections that you have to scroll through to find a specific photo, so the fewer the better.

                           

                          If synchronize all your photos, then there must be enough storage on your phone or tablet to hold all the reduced-sized smart previews that are being used as proxies for the master photos on the desktop/laptop device.  So far you cannot designate where photos are stored on the LR Mobile devices, so it'll fill up the main memory of the device, and unless you have one that has only one area of memory, like iPhones and some newer Android devices, rather than memory and a removable flash card, then you won't be able to get very many images on it.  You will also want to be careful not to be syncing unless you are on Wi-Fi or have an unlimited data plan.

                           

                          I don't use LR Mobile, much, but do use LR on two computers, most every day, using a USB3 external drive that I swap between the two computers, and back up to another USB3 drive overnight or at other important times.  It's relatively easy to lose or damage a portable drive so you always want it backed up elsewhere.

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 11. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                            Yolanda's Yak Level 1

                            Looks like the below info is wrong.  With the latest Creative Crowd update from 2017, it looks like all my catalogs since 2003 are now suddenly way over Adobe's new size limit.  Every catalog I open now give tells me I have to use a 3rd party app for catalogs over 4GB.

                             

                            I'm not a programmer, but this seems pretty pathetic on Adobe's part to roll back catalog limits to such a tiny amount retroactively after 13 years.  A 4GB catalog limit makes LR a toy.

                             

                            Anyone else having this problem?

                             

                            Any suggestions?  Given how poor Adobe's technical support has been, I can't believe they are recommending a 3rd party app to make their software work.  And I can't imagine they will provide technical support for the 3rd party bandaid they are recommending to use.

                             

                             

                             

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                            • 12. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                              dj_paige Level 9

                              The error message is wrong, this is a known bug. Ignore the message.

                              • 13. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                The display of the warning message is probably in error; you can ignore it for now.

                                 

                                However, the message is real. When LR creates a ZIP file of the catalog file and the catalog file is more than 4 GB in size, the built-in mac utility to unzip the file will not work due to the file being bigger than 4 GB. In that case, you will need to use a 3rd party app that correctly handles ZIP files that big.

                                • 14. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                  saral63628703 Level 1

                                  I get the same message. I don't understand what it means. Is it only a backup issue rather than an operating issue with LR, meaning that on an every-day basis, LR will work fine with the catalog, able to access all files, but if you need it at some point as a backup (LR fails, for example), you need the 3rd party app?

                                  • 15. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                    Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                                    It isn't a backing up issue. It is a BUGGY OS X issue giving you a false warning. Put a check mark in "Don't Show This Again", or whatever it actually states, and stop worrying about it.

                                    • 16. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                      ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                      The built-in ZIP handler for the Mac OS does not handle ZIP files that are bigger than 4 gig.

                                      If Lightroom creates a backup where the ZIP file is bigger than 4 gig, you will need a third-party program to unzip that backup.

                                       

                                      In this case, the bug is that you are being shown unnecessarily this (true) message when the ZIP file is smaller than 4 gig.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 17. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                        saral63628703 Level 1

                                        ManiacJoe

                                        My Lightroom Catalog.lrcat is less than 1 GB, but my Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrcat and Light Catalog Smart Previews.lrcat are both over 4 GB. Does the message pertain to the main Catalog or the Catalog plus all the previews?

                                        • 18. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                          ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                          For backup purposes, only the LrCat file is counted. The folder trees that contain your previews (*.LrData) do not get backed up because they can be recreated at any time and their contents tend to be temporary.

                                           

                                          While we are talking about backups, make sure you have backups of your original image files. Lightroom does not create backups for those.

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 19. Re: Large Lightroom catalogs / size limits?
                                            saral63628703 Level 1

                                            Thank you. This clarifies everything on this issue for me.

                                             

                                            I do generally backup my original images, but it's always good to have a reminder. I use Time Machine and it seems to work well.