14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 12, 2016 11:34 AM by Geoff the kiwi

    Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?

    martinperreault Level 1

      Hi,

      I wonder if it has ever been considered by the devs to include the ability to overlay LAYERS on top of the photos, with Blending Modes?

       

      For instance, there are so many great visual effects we can create in photography when using the same photo over itself using blend modes.  It creates rich styles of images.  ie.: a b&w version of the same photo on top of its color version, with blending modes.  This is just one example of creative workflow that could certainly benefit the photographer in Lightroom. 

       

      As it is, if you want to be able to do this simple effect, you need to:

      - create a b&w virtual copy
      - open both copies in Photoshop
      - copy/paste the b&w onto the color version
      - use the blend modes of the newly aquired layer
      - save the photo back into LR

       

      Now, imagine having to repeat those steps for a complete set of photos!

      When in fact it would be so simple in LR to simply create a virtual copy, and link that copy as a LAYER to your original, and use blending modes directly into LR.  You could even push it further, by adding the ability to use the ADJUSTMENT BRUSH and the GRADUATED FILTER to affect that layer by adding, subtracting onto it.

       

      Further more, we could even use textures to be layers on top of original photos. The creative possibilities are endless.

       

      Why this ability is not yet included in LR is beyond me... 
      or is there something I missed in LR that allows to do something similar, or at least achieve similar results directly within LR?

       

      Cheers!

        • 1. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
          john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          It's not in Lightroom because Lightroom is for photographers. You can do all that compositing and more in Photoshop.

          • 2. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
            Akash Sharma Adobe Employee

            Hi martinperreault,

             

            You could request for a feature like this here Photoshop Family Customer Community

             

            Regards,

            Akash

            • 3. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
              martinperreault Level 1

              With all due respect, how is using your own photos and layering them on top of each other with blending modes NOT a photographer workflow?  In a darkroom, photographers used to layer negative strips on top of each other for special effects all the time.  It's now graphic design.  It's post-process photography tools as much as playing with contrasts, clarity, curves, and all the other tools found in LR.

              • 4. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                danielsjack

                Lightroom is not meant for this.

                This is a program for photographers who want to quickly edit the images and in a bulk quantity.

                If Lightroom will be able to so all such things, it will consume all the graphic memory, nobody wan't that.

                Adobe is giving Lightroom and Photoshop combined at 10 dollars a month as the images can be cycled between the software.

                • 5. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                  99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  This subject has been raised in the past and I’m not aware of any changes that would make layers and blend modes available outside of Photoshop. But why not speed up your workflow by selecting your original and virtual copy and choosing:

                  Edit In >> Open As Layers In Photoshop

                  • 6. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                    john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    martinperreault wrote:

                     

                    With all due respect, how is using your own photos and layering them on top of each other with blending modes NOT a photographer workflow?  In a darkroom, photographers used to layer negative strips on top of each other for special effects all the time.  It's now graphic design.  It's post-process photography tools as much as playing with contrasts, clarity, curves, and all the other tools found in LR.

                    Lightroom is for managing, adjusting and outputting your photographs, in plural, but that doesn't mean it needs to include anything that can conceivably be done to a photograph, and I'm sure most photographers would dispute that layering with blending modes is comparable to the other tasks you list.

                    • 7. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                      john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      martinperreault wrote:

                       

                      As it is, if you want to be able to do this simple effect, you need to:

                      - create a b&w virtual copy
                      - open both copies in Photoshop
                      - copy/paste the b&w onto the color version
                      - use the blend modes of the newly aquired layer
                      - save the photo back into LR

                       

                      Now, imagine having to repeat those steps for a complete set of photos!

                       

                      I think what's really needed is a mechanism to run actions from Lightroom - something more generic like Bridge's Image Processor. To some extent you can use droplets for such automation.

                      • 8. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                        elie-d Level 4

                        Have you ever heard the saying, "Anybody could have discovered the laws of Relativity, but he would have to have been an Einstein to do it"?

                        We could say that any application could do layer blends, but it would have to be a Photoshop to do it.

                        • 9. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                          martinperreault Level 1

                          I don't understand why so much resistance for this layer option.


                          There is one thing I agree with all of you, and it's that LR is for " managing, adjusting and outputting your photographs, in plural".  And this is for THAT EXACT REASON why I am bringing up the Layers topic.  If you have a full set of photographs to edit, say, 25 shots, heck, even say 75 or 100 like I've had to do many times, and all of them require a blending effect of the same photo layered on top of its original, then wouldn't it be logical to have such feature integrated into LR to SAVE TIME?  LR was originally created for that purpose, to create a workflow for the photographer to be able to process many images from a shoot, and grade the shots in bulk.  What is so different between a GRADUATED FILTER tool already found in LR and a LAYER tool?  There is NO difference.  Both act as an effect layer on top of the original shot, to affect the output of said photo. 

                           

                          Photoshop is MUCH more than layers and blending modes.  It is a COMPLETE suite of tools that apply to so many aspects of imagery, may it be graphic design, photography, etc.  I agree, it is a powerful software.  But it's not because LAYERS are found in Photoshop that we have to automatically discredit the idea of having LAYERS in Lightroom.    As soon as we can see that the tool can

                          - save time in your photographic workflow

                          - be a useful tool to affect the output of your photo(s)

                           

                          then why would this not be considered as a valid idea? 

                          • 10. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                            Geoff the kiwi Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            All ideas are valid... no one is saying your idea is not valid.

                            Now tell me this... how can you combine two or more images into a new one without generating new pixels??

                            Lightroom is a non destructive workflow and pixels are only created/changed on export by creating a new file. I see you wanting to create new files inside of Lightroom, is that the case?/

                            I think the solution is to automate as John states or as has also been mentioned open as layers in PS or of you want more flexibility open as Smart Objects in PS.....

                            • 11. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                              martinperreault Level 1

                              Now tell me this... how can you combine two or more images into a new one without generating new pixels??

                               

                               

                              The same way you see preview images of the GRADUATED FILTER or BRUSH you apply to your photos.

                              Here's an example of a simple workflow I would propose:

                              - original photo

                              - create Virtual Copy from original photo, and make modifications to it (ie.: b&w)

                              - assign b&w virtual copy AS A LAYER to original photo.

                              - now the virtual copy is considered a layer "above" original photo.  Blending modes are made available to the virtual copy, since it is now treated as a layer.

                              - all modifications you make to the "layer" virtual copy, now appear on your original photo.

                               

                              Quite simple really...

                               

                              Another way to see it:

                               

                              - Original Photo is a landscape photo of mountains

                              - user selects another photo from library (ie.: clouds)

                              - user assigns the clouds photo as a layer to the landscape photo, and chooses a blending mode

                              - now the landscape photo preview shows the composite of the two images

                               

                              A simple eraser and brush tools could be added to the "layer" photo, so the user can remove or re-add parts of the layer composite.

                               

                              Multiple photos could be used as "attached layers" to one single photo. Possibilities are endless.

                               

                              Once the user is satisfied, he exports the original photo. LR sees that another photo(s) is/are "attached" as layer(s) to the photo being exported, and processes the export accordingly.

                               

                              I don't see what's so complicated about that. And it's all non-destructive.

                               

                              I'm sure there could be other simple ways to do it. But I just thought of this one because it uses a similar architecture workflow than currently found in LR.

                               

                              //edited to add multiple layers

                              • 12. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                                trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                martinperreault wrote:

                                 

                                I don't see what's so complicated about that. And it's all non-destructive.

                                 

                                I'm sure there could be other simple ways to do it. But I just thought of this one because it uses a similar architecture workflow than currently found in LR.

                                With the current processor (CPU & GPU) technology this simply is not feasible. As it is right now there are many users complaining about LR's performance with just one image file layer. Adobe has just added GPU support to LR and that barely works due to all of the variables with graphics drivers. Having worked in the computing technology industry for over 45 years I can tell you it will be possible at some time in the not too distant future. See Moore's Law:

                                 

                                50 Years of Moore's Law

                                 

                                EDIT: Fixed bad URL link.

                                • 13. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                                  martinperreault Level 1

                                   

                                  With the current processor (CPU & GPU) technology this simply is not feasible. As it is right now there are many users complaining about LR's performance with just one image file layer. Adobe has just added GPU support to LR and that barely works due to all of the variables with graphics drivers.

                                   

                                   

                                  You are correct, LR is VERY slow.  In fact, it is painfully slow when working on my D800 36MP files.  The Develop module is a slug.  And the GPU acceleration doesn't help much, and acts in weird ways (flashes of sursaturated colors, etc.).  But you see, I strongly beleive that there would be efficient ways to use cache files during the processing of the images.  For instance, why is it that every time you view photos in the Develop module, it takes a few seconds to correctly appear, while in fact it appears instantly in the Library module when the Previews have been generated?  It doesn't make any sense.

                                   

                                  With layers, it wouldn't be that complicated to have an efficient way of working with cache preview files.  I mean, once you have the preview file of PHOTO A and preview file of PHOTO B LAYER, then to blen the two together doesn't take CPU or GPU force at all. It's a simply task. 
                                  Of course, if the user starts to modify PHOTO A, then a new preview has to be rendered, but that's how LR currently works anyway, so that wouldn't change anything in processing time.  PHOTO B LAYER would still have its preview intact, and it would still take almost no resources to blend that preview on top of PHOTO A.

                                   

                                  There are ways to do it, non intrusive ways, that wouldn't need a workhorse of a computer either.

                                  As long as you're able to use the preview generated images to blend the layers, it would be quite simple and quick too.

                                   

                                  I don't have 45 years experience in computing technology, but I did design a photo app for the iphone and worked 2 years very closely with devs, and we had to come up with a similar cache system because the computing power of the iphone (at the time the iphone 3Gs) was very limited - even for JPGs.  And we had come up with a very efficient way to do a non destructive manipulation of images, that could be combined together with blending modes too.

                                   

                                  I remember reading one of the LR Devs comment regarding their less than perfect GPU Acceleration solution when everyone started to complain that it wasn't accelerating anything when LR 6 came out.  He said something like "LR's core is old technology that dates from early 2000's, that was not planned for photos of such high MP." , and something to the effect that they had to work around the problems created with that old coding.

                                  Perhaps it is time for them to evaluate the possibility of redoing LR with today's (and tomorrow's) photo technology in mind...

                                   

                                  Just my two cents.

                                  • 14. Re: Ability to layer photos on top of each other, with Blend Modes?
                                    Geoff the kiwi Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    All valid points Martin.... but it is unlikely anyone from the Lightroom team will see you points here... you need to post feature requests at Photoshop.com...

                                    Be assured though the team is aware of all of the limitations of Lightroom as it is and I am sure there is already a roadmap forward!!