So I have some DNG files I exported from Lightroom, and so when I first open them in PS, the Camera Raw dialog box opens and shows me the same settings as they were when the image was exported from LR (ie. the Exposure setting, white, shadows, clarity, etc all match the develop settings from the Basic panel in LR when the image was exported to DNG).
Now, when I open them in PS, the Camera Raw dialog box does show up and shows me basically the same adjustments as the Basic panel did in LR when the image was exported, which is good. However, after I open the image, and go back into the Camera Raw dialog box, it's like all of the sliders are zeroed out, and the changes I made in the Camera Raw dialog box when opening the image, are burned into the image with those settings (so basically, i t's like any changes I make to the image after opening it, will be in addition to the adjustments applied when the image was opened based on the adjustments from LR).
I though that there was a way you could open CR after opening an image, and it would preserve the CR adjustments for that image, so you can go back in and tweak your adjustments later on.
How can I do this?
IF you are referring to the Camera Raw filter, that's the way the filter works. However, if you convert the DNG file to a smart object and then open the smart object in Camera Raw from the layers panel, I think you will find that all of your previous adjustments will still be in place.
Is it possible to tell LR to save an image with adjustments as a smart object upon exporting to DNG? Or do I have to do that when the CR dialog box opens in PS when I open an image (DNG file)?
I should qualify that by stating that you should open the file from Camera Raw as a smart object. Then you can reopen the image in Camera Raw from the layers menu, and all of the Camera Raw adjustments will still be in place.
Photoshop edits are baked in so if you're already in PS and use the CR FILTER, you're not dealing with the raw file, anymore, despite what the window title says.
To experiment with Smart Objects in PS, try this from LR: right-click, Edit In, Open as Smart Object in Photoshop:
When it's a Smart Object in PS you can double-click it and it'll open the CR PLUG-IN (not the filter) and you can readjust from there, but what you are working on PS after the CR Plug-In is not something that'll go back to LR with the Smart-ness still intact.
Basically what you're imagining works between LR and PS isn't' quite all there, but some parts are by using Smart Objects, so it may be enough to get you want you want a different way, but maybe not. Just try the Smart Objects method and see what it does and if it'll do what you want or not.