14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2017 4:18 AM by jerryp97433002

    Flattening an Image

    jerryp97433002 Level 1

      In Ps after you've been working with say 3 or 4 images & using layer masks it's advised to flatten the image before re-importing back in Lr. Why should this be done & what are the pros & cons, I just don't understand what it does. Also do you just flatten the final image after using layer masks or select all images with associated layer masks & then flatten?

       

      Looking forward to hearing from anyone who can shed some light on it for me. Thanks...

        • 1. Re: Flattening an Image
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Lightroom can only work with flattened files. It has no layer support.

          • 2. Re: Flattening an Image
            Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

            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.

            • 3. Re: Flattening an Image
              davescm Adobe Community Professional

              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

              • 4. Re: Flattening an Image
                Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                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?

                • 5. Re: Flattening an Image
                  davescm Adobe Community Professional

                  Hi Per

                  I have always used PSDs.

                  There is a warning Lightroom preferences to ensure Maximise Compatibility is set in Photoshop.

                   

                  Dave

                  • 6. Re: Flattening an Image
                    jerryp97433002 Level 1

                    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?

                    • 7. Re: Flattening an Image
                      jerryp97433002 Level 1

                      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.

                      • 8. Re: Flattening an Image
                        jerryp97433002 Level 1

                        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?

                        • 9. Re: Flattening an Image
                          Benjamin Root MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          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.

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Flattening an Image
                            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            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).

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Flattening an Image
                              davescm Adobe Community Professional

                              Hi Jerry

                              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.

                              This decides whether you will end up with a PSD or TIFF.You only do that once.


                              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.

                               

                              Dave

                              2 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Flattening an Image
                                jerryp97433002 Level 1

                                I'll give that a try, thx

                                • 13. Re: Flattening an Image
                                  jerryp97433002 Level 1

                                  Thank you for the step by step, a bit more clear now. Always helpful...many thanks

                                  • 14. Re: Flattening an Image
                                    jerryp97433002 Level 1

                                    Ok I get it now, have to select all images...Thx