Lightroom can only work with flattened files. It has no layer support.
There is no need to flatten before importing to Lightroom, it can handle layered files, but you won't see the layers in LR. (it will display the image as if it were flattened, but the layers are still there)
I do quite a lot of work with layered files in Lightroom, and have had no problems. When I choose Edit in Photoshop, the layers are there, but I can't see the adjustments I have made in LR - I use Edit Original.
And I never flatten any of my layered files, if I need a flattened version, I flatten a copy, or export from Lightroom.
All you need for Lightroom is to ensure in Photoshop that you set the Preference under File Handling to Maximise PSD and PSB File Compatibility to "Always". That saves a flattened version of the image in the PSD that will be used by Lightroom , along with the layers that are available when you open in Photoshop.
Dave, I use Tiff files, for which there are no such setting in Preferences.
So I'm guessing that Lightroom creates a preview of the flattened file. (Lightroom never displays the original, but creates its own preview, also for non-raw files)
I never use the PSD format, but I would have thought that layered PSDs would work in Lightroom regardless of those settings?
What about the 2nd part of my question. Do you highlight all images using the shift key then flatten or do you just flatten the bottom image only?
I understand what you are saying but a bit confused. In short I import 3 images to Ps from Lr, auto align, work layer masks into 2 of the images for best possible results & view the finished product in Ps, but now I need to touch up that finished image in Lr, do I just hit Ctrl-SW or do I flatten first, & do I flatten all images by highlighting them all or just the finished image on the bottom only? New to Ps & learning as I go trying to follow what more experienced users already know. In Lr I get the images where I want to then blend in window pulls, better lighting , etc... from the other 2 images but still have to correct verticals, lens corrections etc...in Lr. I've tried to do lens corrections on all images before exporting to Ps but sometimes they don't always align, should but not always perfect. Can anyone be more specific so I follow along better, Thanks.
I do use PSD when saving work in Ps for later when I don't have time to finish. When I do work a few images in Ps after importing from Lr afterwards during export back to Lr I hit Ctrl-SW & it becomes a Tiff file in Lr for more processing. Is it flattened or not?
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Do you highlight all images using the shift key then flatten or do you just flatten the bottom image only?
Flattening will combine (flatten) all layers into one background layer, regardless. If you use one of the merge features, the layers are not actually flattened, only merged.
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I see my initial post was a bit short and a bit misleading, but it was cleared up by the others.
Lightroom can only work with flat images, but that can be a composite layer embedded in a layered file. However, the layer data can not be used in Lightroom.
So if you want to do further work on the file in Lightroom, there's little point unless the file is already flattened. It's just like using the ACR filter (which is probably a better option in these cases).
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It might be helpful if I walk through my typical workflow for images taken in camera (as opposed to created from scratch in Photoshop or Blender)
1. Import raw images to Lightroom and adjust. Add keywords etc. For some images that is it.
2. For those images that I want to carry out pixel editing it starts with getting the Lightroom preferences set.
After that you just select the image and Press Ctrl+E to edit in Photoshop
3. In Photoshop I add layers , adjustments etc and when ready use File - Save (Ctrl+S).
If I am working on a large file I use File - Save As (Shift + Ctrl+S) and give an incremental name (filenameA.psd, filename B.PSD etc).
Every time I save - the saved copy, with all its layers intact, goes back into the Lightroom catalogue so is available from Lightroom
4. I can if I wish carry out further adjustments in Lightroom (although I rarely do)
5. If I want to reopen in Photoshop, using Edit in Photoshop (Ctrl+E) I get a choice :
Edit Original - Opens the file , complete with layers , as I saved it from Photoshop - but without any additional Lightroom adjustments that I made in step 4. The Lightroom adjustments will be re-applied on saving so become visible again in Lightroom
Edit a copy - makes a copy of the file , complete with layers, and opens in Photoshop - again without any additional Lightroom adjustments I made in step 4 The Lightroom adjustments are re-applied on saving so become visible again in Lightroom
Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments - Opens a flattened copy adjusted with the Lightroom adjustments from step 4
I hope that helps. You rarely need to flatten the image.
Note: One thing to add - if I need a jpeg for posting on the Web - I export it (from Lightroom or Photoshop) leaving the original intact.
I'll give that a try, thx
Thank you for the step by step, a bit more clear now. Always helpful...many thanks
Ok I get it now, have to select all images...Thx