13 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2018 7:44 PM by djparkerdiver

    Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?

    djparkerdiver Level 1

      Hello guys and gals

       

      I have a question regarding how I use Smart Previews in my workflow.

       

      First I will explain my workflow. I Shoot RAW on my canon, on import to Light room i build the smart previews and the 1:1 previews. I build the 1:1 previews for the culling selection process to decide which ones I'm going to edit because its quicker to view them and I can see which ones are the sharpest when zooming in.

       

      Then after Ive selected the ones that I want to edit and keep, I move the original RAW files on my computer that lightroom was talking to and store them externally. This is so that the develop module runs a lot quicker as I am just editing the smart previews now and the 1:1 original previews are no longer there.

       

      So, my question is, when I'm editing just the smart previews and exporting the end edited images to JPEG, am I loosing any quality in the end result, and most importantly am I loosing any of the potential editing ability that a RAW file has to offer. Do I loose any of the RAW image data using the smart preview?

       

      Hope that makes sense and many thanks in advance?

       

      Dan

        • 1. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
          dj_paige Level 10

          djparkerdiver  wrote

           

          Then after Ive selected the ones that I want to edit and keep, I move the original RAW files on my computer that lightroom was talking to and store them externally. This is so that the develop module runs a lot quicker as I am just editing the smart previews now and the 1:1 original previews are no longer there.

          I don't really think this step is necessary. You can tell LR to use the Smart Previews even when the original RAW is present. You get the same speed benefit from editing Smart Previews.

           

          So, my question is, when I'm editing just the smart previews and exporting the end edited images to JPEG, am I loosing any quality in the end result, and most importantly am I loosing any of the potential editing ability that a RAW file has to offer. Do I loose any of the RAW image data using the smart preview?

          If you are exporting from the Smart Previews, you are losing resolution (pixels) and quality. When it's time to export, you need to export from the original image (with the edits applied), and then you shouldn't lose any quality because of the use of Smart Previews when you edited. (NOTE: when you export to a JPG, some quality is lost via compression, this has nothing to do with the use of Smart Previews or not, the compression quality loss is the same)

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
            djparkerdiver Level 1

            Thanks so much for the helpful response.

             

            i have a few other questions following that if it’s ok?

             

            1) How do I tell lightroom to edit from the smart previews while the original is present.

            2) When editing from the smart previews do I lose any of the RAW data and/or editing capabilities?

            3) how do i then apply the edits to the originals and export from the originals?

            4) When I’m only editing and exporting from the smart previews is the loss of resolution and quality big enough to worry about and notice the difference?

            5) after I moved the original RAW files and only used the smart previews I have started to delete the RAW files to save space. I don’t want to keep copies of all my originals in RAW, I have a JPEG copy as backup. Do you think it could be a good idea to keep the RAW files for lightroom until I’ve finished the editing and exporting from the originals, then delete the RAW copy?

             

            thanks again for your help.

            • 3. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
              dj_paige Level 10
              1. There's an option in preferences that will do this. Since I am at work and don't have Lightroom in front of me, I make it a homework assignment for you to find it.
              2. Not that I know of.
              3. As far as I know, the edits made on the smart previews are automatically applied when the original RAW is present, you don't have to do anything
              4. Look at the exported photos and judge for yourself
              5. You NEVER delete your original RAWs. That's NEVER, as in NEVER, not in a thousand years, don't do it. JPGs are not backups. They are not backups. Your original RAW, copied to a different disk, is a backup.
              • 4. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Deleting raw files is the equivalent of keeping drugstore prints and throwing away the negatives. You lose all capability of doing anything creative with the original image. It would be a really dumb thing to do.

                2 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                  Todd Shaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  djparkerdiver  wrote

                   

                  2) When editing from the smart previews do I lose any of the RAW data and/or editing capabilities?

                  Smart Previews are 2560 x 1707 (4.4 Megapixel). Because of the reduced size it is difficult to properly evaluate and adjust Sharpening and Noise Reduction settings with typically higher Megapixel camera files.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                    Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Also, smart previews use a jpeg-like lossy compression on the raw data that can cause ugly posterization artifacts on images that have been strongly pushed (i.e. high values of shadows, clarity, etc.) and can show up as posterization even in mildly edited images in areas such as blue skies. Most of the time you will not see this but it can be really ugly when it happens. So never throw away your original raw files!

                    • 7. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                      djparkerdiver Level 1

                      Thanks guys!

                       

                      Hi dj_paige

                       

                      You all have convinced me of keeping the raw files but can you help me better understand your workflow as I’m going to have to change mine.

                       

                      You edit from the smart preview in the develop module and then export from the original Which is still available to lightroom. At any point to you move the original raw file after editing? To store it externally or do you keep it on your computer and then back up an external copy too? Just worry about filling my iMac with the originalS at some point?

                      • 8. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                        dj_paige Level 10

                        I don't use Smart Previews, so I can't explain the Smart Preview workflow in more detail.

                         

                        My original raw photos come out of the camera and are imported into Lightroom by copying them to my 2nd disk drive. They never go on the primary (system) drive in my computer. I never move the photos after that. I make regular and automated backups of the catalog file (using the built-in Lightroom catalog backup feature) and regular and automated backups of all my photo files using a third party application. All backups go to a different disk than the originals (a 3rd disk).

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          My workflow is similar. There are other pitfalls to working with smart previews. If you have Photoshop you cannot send a smart preview to Photoshop. You need the master image available to send to Photoshop (Or any other external editor for that matter). I have two internal hard drives besides my main SSD, so I have plenty of disk space. Smart previews just don't have a consideration in my workflow. There are features that must be sacrificed when using them because they are smaller and Photoshop isn't available. I like to have all options open when I'm working with an image.

                          • 10. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                            Todd Shaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            djparkerdiver  wrote

                             

                            At any point to you move the original raw file after editing? To store it externally or do you keep it on your computer and then back up an external copy too? Just worry about filling my iMac with the originalS at some point?

                            For performance purposes it's best to keep the LR catalog on an internal drive, but there's no need to import camera files to the internal drive. As mentioned you can copy your image files directly from the camera memory card to an external drive during the import into LR. You should also backup the external drive and LR Catalog file(s) to a 3rd dedicated backup drive. Here's how to move ALL of your image files to an external drive:

                             

                            https://www.lightroomqueen.com/move-photos-another-hard-drive-leaving-catalog/

                             

                            With the exceptions mentioned you can continue to edit, rate, keyword, and create collections with the external drive disconnected.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                              Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              You edit from the smart preview in the develop module and then export from the original Which is still available to lightroom. At any point to you move the original raw file after editing? To store it externally or do you keep it on your computer and then back up an external copy too? Just worry about filling my iMac with the originalS at some point?

                              The trick is to move the originals to an external drive but keep the link to them in Lightroom to the location on the external disk, so to use the full raw file all you have to do is to attach the external and Lightroom will figure out it is available and use it. If the external is offline it will use the smart preview.

                               

                              Note that smart previews so take up considerable space too. I have >2 TB of images and smart previews of all of those would take up easily several 100's of GB. Since Apple by default puts absolutely tiny SSDs in their machines that might actually be prohibitive too and you might not want smart previews for everything, just for the most recent or important stuff.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                                djparkerdiver Level 1

                                Thanks JimHess

                                 

                                i only really use lightroom and quite basic edits so think the smart previewS are fine for what I need.

                                 

                                thanks for your help

                                • 13. Re: Smart previews - Any RAW data capabilities lost?
                                  djparkerdiver Level 1

                                  Thanks so much everyone for all your help! Really appreciate it and all very useful!!