15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 13, 2012 12:50 PM by echantigny RSS

    Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR

    mrdavepenguin Community Member

      Hi,

       

      I recently aquired both photoshop CS5 and lightroom 3. I'm still trying to get down the best workflow between the two programs. What I'd like to do is to use lightroom as my only raw converter and use photoshop to make the final pixel edits. I've been playing around with smart objects and have noticed that once you open a raw file from lightroom as a smart object in photoshop, it appears your stuck in photoshop. If you want to open the smart object and make alterations it opens in adobe camera raw in photoshop. Is there a way to re-open the smart object back in lightroom instead of in ACR?

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
          JimHess-ra2Osl Community Member

          No, ACR is what Photoshop calls.  There is no way to change that.  But it really doesn't matter because ACR and Lightroom are both driven by the same raw engine.  The adjustments that you make in Lightroom will be precisely the same adjustments that show in ACR and vice versa.  So when you have your image open in ACR it should be displayed with the same adjustments that you made in Lightroom.  Conversely, if you make adjustments in ACR those changes will be reflected the next time you open the image in Lightroom.

          • 2. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
            mrdavepenguin Community Member

            Are the files truly linked? You said that if I edit the raw file in  ACR after opening it from Lightroom as a Smart Object in Photoshop the  changes made in ACR will be reflected back in Lightroom. If I make  changes to the raw file in Lightroom, will those changes immediately  carry through to the Smart Object in photoshop? It did not appear to  work this way when I tried.

            I understand that both Lightroom and ACR use the same raw converter  engine. However, I thought that one of the advantages of Lightroom was  the improved layout of the raw converter engine controls. It seems very  limiting to not be able to go back and forth between Photoshop and  Lightroom as described in my original question. Where are the raw  converter instructions kept that tell ACR and Lightroom how to display  the image? Is it possible to just synchronize these settings between ACR  and Lightroom (and vice versa) so I can do what I described above out  of band of Photoshop and Lightroom (i.e. manually or with a script)?

            Thanks for your help!

            • 3. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
              JimHess-ra2Osl Community Member

              Both Lightroom and ACR read exactly the same adjustments. Take note of your numbers in Lightroom in some of your adjusted settings, and then compare those numbers in ACR. I think you will discover that they are exactly the same. The image might look different in ACR, but that is because the interface is a lighter color and it is probably deceiving your eyes or your perception of the image. Every adjustment in Lightroom is available in ACR. There is no way that I know of to make Photoshop call Lightroom.

               

              I don't believe you can open raw image in Lightroom, make adjustments, and then reopen the Smart object in Photoshop and expect to see those changes applied. But I may be wrong. I have never tried that.

              • 4. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                web-weaver Community Member

                Reading this thread I got the feeling that a piece of important information is missing:

                Once you open a RAW image in PS you cannot save the PS-edits into the RAW-file. PS cannot create or save RAW-files (and neither can LR - more to that in a bit). RAW files are created only in the camera and saved to memory disk.

                LR reads these files and saves all edits in the catalog while the RAW-file is untouched.

                PS is a pixel-based photo editor, i.e. there is no Catalog. So, by necessity, when you save your file in PS you have to create a PSD (default) or if you wish a TIFF, JPG, etc. If you opened the RAW-file from LR the newly created PSD will be automatically added to the LR Catalog and will be visible in LR on return from PSD.

                But you have now 2 files of the same image: the original RAW-file and the PSD created in PS.

                 

                Personally, I have come to rely on LR more and more for all my editing needs. Not only is the original RAW-file untouches, also the file size remains the same, whereas in PS file-size increases drastically if you save with layers intact. I edit in PS only if I absolutelu must and at present that is the case when there is extensive spotting to do since LR's spotting tool is not up to par with the PS clone tool.

                 

                WW

                • 5. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                  JimHess-ra2Osl Community Member

                  Of course that is true. But the whole point of opening a raw image as a Smart object is that from Photoshop it is possible to make changes in the underlying raw image data. Of course, the Smart object cannot be saved as a raw image, but that raw image data is accessible because Photoshop has the capability to call ACR. But, as you stated, no changes are ever made directly to the raw image. Both ACR and Lightroom treat raw image files as read-only files.

                  • 6. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                    web-weaver Community Member

                    You wrote:

                    "Are the files truly linked?"

                     

                    No, they are not linked. The changes / edits that you make in PS will be read and displayed by LR but NOT in the RAW file!

                    When you open an image from LR in PS the changes you made so far in LR will be reflected and displayed in PS.

                    But as I said earlier, PS cannot save PS-edits to the RAW file. When you save your edits in PS (with layers intact or not), a PSD is created and saved.

                    This PSD is added to LR's catalog and LR will display the PSD with the changes made in PS. But the RAW file is unchanged and LR will display only edits made in LR. Then, in LR you will have 2 files of the same image: the PSD with the changes made in LR and in PS and the RAW file only with the changes made in LR.

                    WW

                    • 7. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                      web-weaver Community Member

                      You wrote:

                      "..that from Photoshop it is possible to make changes in the underlying raw image data."

                      No that is not so, PS cannot make any changes to the RAW data. Neither can LR.

                      The RAW data is forever unchanged, because only your camera can write it. Neither LR nor PS can write into the RAW-file.

                      LR saves the edits in its catalog and displays the image that shows a combination of the RAW-image and the edits from the catalog.

                      PS can only save as PSD, TIFF, etc.

                      WW

                      • 8. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                        JimHess-ra2Osl Community Member

                        I think you and I are talking about the same thing, but our frame of reference is different. When I said from Photoshop it is possible to make changes to the underlying raw image data I was referring to the capability of opening the smart object in ACR and making the adjustments to the raw image data there. That is how it is possible to make changes to the raw image data FROM Photoshop. Of course, Photoshop cannot change the raw image data. And technically, neither can ACR. However ACR can store those adjustments made to the raw image data as metadata, and those adjustments will be reflected when you return to Photoshop.

                        • 9. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                          web-weaver Community Member

                          Yes, I appreciate that.

                          WW

                          • 10. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                            mrdavepenguin Community Member

                            Hi Again,

                             

                            So I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse, but I'm still missing something here. I understand the difference between a raw file and a pixel file. I apologize if I used some incorrect semantics that caused confusion.

                             

                            Since all a raw converter is doing (prior to rendering the image into a pixel type file) is displaying the raw file after applying some "instructions" that equate to the "edits" one has made (either in ACR or Lightroom) I would assume that there must be a way to synchronize those instructions. I'm still confused why I can't essentially replace Photoshop's ACR with Lightroom.

                             

                            You had mentioned that Lightroom stores the instructions for how to display the image in the Lightroom catalog. So when Lightroom sends a raw file to Photoshop as a Smart Object, what is really happening under the covers? My understanding from previous responses in this thread is that Lightroom is not simply passing a pointer to the raw file and a pointer to the instructions for how to view that raw file. So is Lightroom sending a  copy of the raw file along with a copy of the instructions of how to interpret the raw file?

                             

                            When you open a Smart Object up in ACR from Photoshop, where does Photoshop keep the instructions/edits? More importantly, where does Photoshop store the instructions/edits for the Smart Object? Since you've pointed out that both Photoshop and ACR use the same raw engine I would assume they can both completly understand each others instructions for how to view the raw file. So I was wondering if there is a way to synchronize these instructions between the two. This way you could "re-edit" the original raw file in Lightroom and then apply those changes to wherever Photoshop keeps the instructions of how to interpret the Smart Object. Is this totally off base?

                             

                            Again, the reason that I'm trying to do this is that I would like to keep as much editing as possible non-destructive. I would also like to use Lightroom for all raw processing because part of the beauty of Lightroom is that the user interface for the raw converter is much more organized and elegant than that in Photoshop's ACR. Additionally, I thought that only Lightroom could do local adjustments with a raw file? I might be outdated here though.

                             

                            Thank you so much for all of your time in helping me to better understand this.

                            • 11. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                              JimHess-ra2Osl Community Member

                              In a nutshell, there is NO way to get Photoshop to call Lightroom. Lightroom is a separate, independent program, whereas ACR is Photoshop plug-in (yes, other programs as well). The instructions written by Lightroom are passed to Photoshop and ACR translates those instructions and applies your changes to the image that is displayed in the Photoshop. Those instructions are retained so that if you open the smart object back in ACR those original instructions are available and can be modified. Those instructions are a permanent part of the raw image. They can either be stored in a XMP sidecar file or in a database. The instructions are transferred back and forth between programs. Since you are using Photoshop CS5 Lightroom doesn't have to create an interim file like it would have to do if you were using an older version of Photoshop. But the file that you save from Photoshop cannot be a raw file. All the instructions that were part of the raw file will be incorporated in the image that Photoshop saves.

                               

                              When you open the smart object in ACR from Photoshop, ACR uses the instructions that were passed to Photoshop from Lightroom. I'm not technically astute to explain how that is done. I just know that it is. Both Lightroom and ACR use the same set of adjustments. That's just the way it works, and there isn't any way or any reason for you to change that.

                              • 12. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                                Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                mrdavepenguin wrote:

                                 

                                When you open a Smart Object up in ACR from Photoshop, where does Photoshop keep the instructions/edits? More importantly, where does Photoshop store the instructions/edits for the Smart Object? Since you've pointed out that both Photoshop and ACR use the same raw engine I would assume they can both completly understand each others instructions for how to view the raw file. So I was wondering if there is a way to synchronize these instructions between the two. This way you could "re-edit" the original raw file in Lightroom and then apply those changes to wherever Photoshop keeps the instructions of how to interpret the Smart Object. Is this totally off base?

                                 

                                When you open an image in PS from LR as a SO, the raw file is imbedded inside the PSD file (or TIFF file). From there you can use the SO version of ACR to edit the raw parameters or use Photoshop to edit pixel aspects of the SO file. If you change the parameters inside of ACR for SOs, those edits are again stored inside of the PSD/TIFF file. They do not migrate back to Lightroom's raw file. The new images with the SO embedded can indeed be imported/saved back into LR. But it's not at all easy to push the raw settings from inside of the SO back to the raw file inside of LR.

                                 

                                If you want to edit a raw file from LR to PS as a SO, you will need to live with the fact you'll now have two iterations of the file; the original raw file and the raw file embedded inside of the SO.

                                • 13. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                                  web-weaver Community Member

                                  If I interpret you correctly,  I think what you want is to use PS as a photo editor and retain the image - with the PS-edits - as a RAW-file.

                                  And that is not possible.

                                  You say "that there must be a way to synchronize those instructions".

                                   

                                  No, there is no way, even though LR and PS use ACR - and it is the same ACR for both (BTW: ACR means Adobe Camera Raw).

                                  You cannot synchronize the instructions (= edits) because LR writes / saves them in the LR-Catalog, whereas PS (as a pixel-based editor) cannot write into the LR-Catalog (nor can it read the LR catalog).

                                  PS also cannot write XMP-files (alyhough Adobe Bridge can). PS is a pixel-based editor and that means that Adobe can write / save its edits only as a PDF (TIFF, etc)-file.

                                  When you open a RAW-image in PS with previous edits in LR), the image is displayed in PS with the LR-edits. When you then make further edits in PS you have to save those edits as a PSD (TIFF, etc.). If you don't and close the file the PS-edits will be gone and lost.

                                  You say "When you open a Smart Object up in ACR from Photoshop, where does Photoshop keep the instructions/edits?".

                                  I don't know, presumably in RAM or on the PS scratch-disk. But these instructions/edits are not accessible and if you close the file without saving the image they will be lost. And if you save the image you will have a PSD (or TIFF, etc.)

                                   

                                  You write: "This way you could "re-edit" the original raw file in Lightroom and then apply those changes to wherever Photoshop keeps the instructions of how to interpret the Smart Object." Yeah, it would be nice but it isn't possible. Maybe Adobe picks your idea and in the future who knows ...

                                  But right now: Nope.

                                  WW

                                  • 14. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                                    mrdavepenguin Community Member

                                    Thank you. I was missing the piece about how the Smart Object is stored in the Photoshop file. This makes sense now and I understand why the limitation exists, even though it seems like a big hole in the lightroom/photoshop partnership, but makes sense given that Photoshop was not originally designed to work with Lightroom as it didn't exist until recently.

                                    • 15. Re: Edit Smart Object in Lightroom instead of ACR
                                      echantigny Community Member

                                      I was digging around to find an answer to the exact same question.  I've always been under the impression that the goal of smart object was to be able to keep them up to date with the source so

                                       

                                      1- From LR: Edit in PS as smart object

                                      2- Make some changes using layers in PS without touching the SmartObject layer and save

                                      3- PSD is now in LR

                                      4- Make some changes to the original RAW in LR.
                                      5- Open up the PSD again in PS.  Expectations are that the Smart Object would now be a copy of the modified RAW.

                                       

                                      Otherwise, other than having access to ACR from the newly created PSD, there is no real need to open as Smart Object.

                                       

                                      I think taht something should be cooked up at Adobe for something like this to appear in CS7.  The original post is about LR3 and CS5 but still works the same in LR4 and CS6.