Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

The Art of Raw Conversion #031

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom™ 1.0

DOP Lightroom Tips

Mac & PC

review diary by Uwe Steinmueller


Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Library

Part 3: Develop

Part 4: Other Features

Part 5: DOP Lightroom 1.0 FAQ

DOP Lightroom Tips (this page)




We hope this page will grow over time to a very useful Lightroom resource.

Lightroom 1.0: Tips

Open RAW files as Smart Objects into Photoshop CS3

This is unfortunately easier on the Mac because Lightroom does not support drag&drop on Windows.

Having a the RAW files a a Smart Object in Photoshop allows you to change settings using ACR 4 later.

Here are the steps:

1. Edit RAW file in the LR Develop module

2. Make sure the XMP data are saved to disk (either manually in the Library module or by using automatic XMP update)

3a. Mac: Drag & drop the RAW file from the Lightroom film strip to Photoshop CS3

ACR 4 will open and you hold the shift key. This changes the open mode (shows "Open Object" instead of "Open Image":

Click on "Open Object"

3b. PC: Open this RAW file in Photoshop via File->Open as Smart Object

4. You have now a Smart Object with the original RAW file embedded.

If you want to open most RAW files as Smart Object then you can set an option in ACR 4.0:

In this case you can use the shift key if you plan not to open the RAW file as Smart Object.


What about the file sizes (with and without Smart Object)?

We tried it with a Canon 20D RAW file:

  Size (with normal compression)
Canon 20D RAW file 7 MB
File opened normally in CS3 (no smart Object) 55 MB
File opened in CS3 as Smart Object 75 MB

For this quite low overhead we will use RAW files opened as Smart Objects in the future. What are the advantages?

  • Smart Objects allow you to export the original RAW file in the future
  • Your TIFF files carry the full RAW files with them including the settings
  • You can export also the settings via ACR 4
  • You can modify the settings of the RAW file (e.g. improved dust spot removal)


TIFFs in Lightroom, ACR 4.0 and Photoshop CS3

The good news with Lightroom and ACR (Camera Raw) 4.0 is that both can also edit TIFF, PSD and JPEG files. But you have to be careful and know the pitfalls.

We only cover TIFF files here but most of it applies PSD and some even to JPEGs. The following assumes that we have enabled in Lightroom "Automatically write changes into XMP":

Here we should know that the XMP data (develop settings and metadata) are written into a XMP sidecar file for all RAW files. But for DNG, TIFF, PSD and JPEG these XMP data are part of the file itself.

Working with non-layered TIFFs

First we have to import these TIFF files into Lightroom (or you created them in LR via external editor):

Be careful whether you want to add some default "Develop Settings". If you add any Develop Settings to a TIFF file this will change the interaction with Photoshop CS3 (more below).

No Develop Settings for TIFFs

If you open a TIFF that has not develop settings in Photoshop CS3 it opens as normal TIFF file (like forever).

Now change some develop settings in Lightroom for a TIFF file:

Image shows develop settings

Note: It may take some while (10-20 seconds) until these settings are written to the files XMP section.

Once the XMP data are changed for this file it won't open directly in Photoshop CS3 but instead via the new Camera Raw 4.0:

TIFF opens via ACR 4.0

This is perfectly fine if you want the changes in Lightroom to be reflected for this file. If not it gets annoying. It is even more troublesome if you work on many YIFF files in a batch process. The process will then require to open ACR 4.0 for all images that have new XMP develop settings.

Fortunately there is a way to remove these XMP settings in the TIFF files by resetting them in Lightroom:

Reset Develop Settings

In the Library Grid mode you can reset a whole set of images. Because of the excellent history mode of Lightroom the old settings are not lost and recorded in the history. But getting back to the previous state would require to handle each image by itself which can be a lot of hassle. Best you plan ahead and know what you want to do with your TIFF files.

Working with layered TIFFs

Here things get a bit more critical. We would avoid to change any Develop settings for layered TIFF files. Saving back XMP data to layered files can corrupt the layer structure of the TIFF file. We has some of these casualties. This is a known bug in LR 1.0 and will be fixed in a next version.

  • The file cannot be opened anymore in Photoshop CS3 and your get this error message (it maby only a Mac bug):

  • The good news is that we could recover the flattened version of these files in LightZone at least in some cases. You can also try to open the file in Lightroom with "Edit in Photoshop" but you need to create a copy.

Watch for XMP conflicts:

More often than we would like to see we get XMP conflicts in Lightroom:

"!" indicates an XMP conflict

This conflict indicates that Lightroom has a different XMP information than the file (e.g. if it was changed by an other application). Click on the "!" and you have two options:

a) Overwrite settings in the file by LR settings. This can cause the above mentioned corruption if you have a layered file.

b) Import XMP from the file on the disk (you lose your LR settings)

In some cases you may not want to risk a) but also not want to lose the changes in LR. We would recommend:

  • save the settings as a temporary preset
  • get the XMP data from the file
  • Create a new TIFF file via "Edit in CS3"
  • Apply the save preset data

Sorry this all sounds confusing and it really is. We now mainly use LR for the handling of RAW files and Bridge for TIFFs. With future versions of LR it will be likely less critical.

We are almost certain that we did not cover all corner cases. You feedback is welcome. Best you use our forums.


Read about the other parts of Lightroom

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Library

Part 3: Develop

Part 4: Other Features

Part 5: DOP Lightroom 1.0 FAQ

DOP Lightroom Tips (this page)





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