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ACR in PS rather than Develop Module in LR

Explorer ,
Jun 20, 2020 Jun 20, 2020

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With the new version of ACR released last week I have decided that I would much prefer to use that as my raw processor rather than the develop module in LR. However if I open a raw file for editing in PS from LR, which is what I wish to do, it goes to the "normal" PS workspace as opposed to ACR. I'm assuming this is because LR automatically applies "corrections" to any raw file. 

Whilst I can open ACR from PS as a filter or smart filter I have seen several articles/videos suggesting that this is not as good in terms of quality of the raw processing compared to opening the file from Bridge or OS which takes you directly to ACR.

 

Is this actually true?

 

If so is there any way I can setup LR/PS such that if I open a raw file for edit from LR it goes to full ACR, thereafter into PS once raw processing is finished, rather than PS direct?

 

I know that some will say that the LR develop module gives good results which is of course true. However it is a question of my preferred workflow and especially with the new ACR UI which I much prefer to the LR develop module. The key requirement is that by basing everything around the LR Library module I get automatic version stacking and a unified workflow with PS whilst having the excellent collections/smart collections/collection sets and general DAM features which I much prefer to Bridge. 

 

If this is not possible, which I'm fairly confident it isn't, can this new a feature request? 

 

cheers

 

Grumpy Hec

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Feature request, How to, Windows

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LEGEND ,
Jun 20, 2020 Jun 20, 2020

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[This post contains embedded images that don't appear in email. View the post in your Web browser to see the images.]

 

I think you understand this, but just to verify: ACR and LR Develop provide exactly the same editing controls and yield the same image quality. They have different user interfaces for the same functionality using the same underlying Camera Raw engine.

 

But if you want to invoke ACR / PS on a raw file in a LR catalog: In Windows File Explorer set the default app for opening your raw file's extension (e.g. .nef) to be Photoshop. Then to invoke ACR from LR, in LR right-click the raw file and do Show In Explorer. Then in File Explorer, double-click the raw file. Once you click Done in ACR, go back to LR. The photo's metadata status indicator will be an up-arrow -- click on it and select Import Settings From Disk:

johnrellis_0-1592705323177.png

This tells LR to read the photo's current develop settings from the .xmp sidecar that was written (or updated) by ACR.

 

You can make this process easier by using the Open command of the Any File plugin, assigning a keyboard shortcut to Open (I assign Ctrl-O). Just select a photo in LR and type Ctrl-O, and it will open the file in File Explorer's default app (Photoshop). But when you're done editing, you'll still have to click the metadata status indicator in LR and do Import Settings From Disk.

 

[Use the blue reply button under the first post to ensure replies sort properly.]

 

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Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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Many thanks for your detailed and thoughtful response. This reply along with other correspondance has confirmed what I always thought was true, i.e. that there is no sensible way of doing this. As I always knew the quality is the same as it is the same software underneath with just a different UI. It is the new version of the latter which appealed to me and kicked off this line of enquiry.

 

thanks again

 

Grumy Hec

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Guru ,
Dec 11, 2020 Dec 11, 2020

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Other considerations:

even though in both cases you might be using the ACR interface inside PS, there are important differences between using ACR as a filter, and having (e.g.) a Raw based image as a Smart Object to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic.

 

Using ACR as a filter inside PS, destructively alters the contents of whatever pixel layer you use this filter on. If used several times, those changes are cumulative hence the image quality can rapidly degrade. In any case the input for this usage of ACR, can only be whatever bit-depth and colourspace the PS document itself is employing: that is all it will ever have to work from. There's no recovering blown highlights or out-of-gamut hues etc. Smooth gradations will 'band' visibly, the more you work the image, and so on.

 

Using a Smart Object, the full quality Raw source does get embedded and Raw conversion settings / adjustments are attached which can be later be nondestructively updated, without any cumulative degradation happening at all. The bit depth and colourspace within which these adjustments are themselves happening - the internal "workspace" of ACR - is exactly the same as what happens within Lightroom. However the moment you complete these updates and click to exit ACR and return to the main PS environment, the associated SO preview gets re-rendered according to whatever bitdepth and colourspace the containing PS document is set to. This means that if you then further output from PS e.g. by printing, a double conversion will have happened: this would be particularly an issue if your PS document was (say) set to 8-bit and/or to sRGB. That would become your lowest common denominator - your bottleneck.

 

By contrast, Lightroom can operate under its internal working bitdepth and colourspace, direct from Raw data, through to the printer driver or whatever. There is no fixed colourspace or bitdepth imposing itself otherwise. Hence AFAICT the effective final delivered image quality can only really be equivalent to LR, in a case where the PS document is (say) set to 16-bits ProPhoto.

 

This involves a huge file-size penalty over the Lightroom way of working. The unchanging Raw file has to be stored either way - but for LR, no matter how many virtual copies you make, that is all that you have to store. A PS document is much bigger in most cases, than the corresponding Raw is. Furthermore a PS document with a Smart Object-embedded Raw inside plus the fullsize smart-object preview, plus the overall file compatibility-preview - especially 16 bit - becomes a truly startling quantity of data IMO to store, to open, to re-save, to re-backup as that changes, etc.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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Why would you want to do this in the first place? Because you think that Camera Raw would give you better results than Lightroom? As John already explained, that is not true. Camera Raw and the Lightroom develop module are identical, and the new interface of Camera Raw actually makes it look much more like Lightroom than the old interface did, so there is now less reason than before to prefer Camera Raw over Lightroom.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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To clarify I never at any point thought that the quality is any different between develop module and ACR. I hoped that was clear from my first post.

 

My driver was purely that I really liked the new UI, even though it has similarities to LR. However, it is clear that there is no sensible way to achieve my idea so the line of enquiry is over.

 

What is still open however is the notion that ACR as a filter/smart filter from PS produces inferior results. It could be that by that time the file is seen as a PSD/TIFF and hence the algorithms are different or produce different rsults. This is largely an academic interest point but I would be intrigued to know the answer.

 

Grmpy Hec

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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What is still open however is the notion that ACR as a filter/smart filter from PS produces inferior results. It could be that by that time the file is seen as a PSD/TIFF and hence the algorithms are different or produce different rsults. This is largely an academic interest point but I would be intrigued to know the answer.

 

That is correct. If you open an image from Lightroom in Photoshop, the Lightroom edits are 'baked into the pixels' of the resulting TIFF/PSD image, which is now an RGB image. You can apply Camera Raw as filter on that TIFF/PSD, but that is not the same as using Camera Raw on the raw data.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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Thanks. Always good to get better knowledge.

 

cheers

 

Grumpy Hec

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LEGEND ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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So bottom line, ACR provides identical image quality compared to LrC, slightly different user interface, and extra work every time you edit a photo. Hard to see a good reason to do this.

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Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 21, 2020

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Thank you for your response. I was always aware that the quality is identical but that was not the issue. It was purely a liking for the new UI in ACR and the idea of being able to use that from LR. That was all.

 

From this thread and elsewhere it is conformed that there is no sensible way of doing this so the idea is now parked.

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Explorer ,
Dec 11, 2020 Dec 11, 2020

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An update on this and how I did acheive what I wanted to very easily in the end. 

First a recap. I happen to prefer to do all my editing in PS and also have a preference for the UI in the new version of ACR as opposed to the LR Dev module. Both are purely personal workflow preferences of course. I am fully aware that the underlying code in the LR Dev module and ACR is the same and hence the quality is the same. I am also aware that ACR and ACR as a filter, invoked in PS when you select ACR from the filter menu, are different with the former working on the RAW file and the latter in the PSD/TIff, therefore not producing the same quality, plus not having the crop option.

Having established this criteria this is the workflow I now use which enables the RAW file to be worked on in ACR, full version, from within PS.

1) - in LS Library right click on the raw file and select "Edit in > open as smart file in photoshop"

2) - this opens PS with the file as the background layer as a smart layer.

3) - double click on the thumbnail and the file opens in ACR, that is full ACR, and you can work on the RAW file.

4) - exit ACR in the normal way which takes you back to PS with your edits applied and you can do whatever further work you wish to in PS. As it is a smart layer you can double click at any time to renter ACR to rework the RAW file as you would expect and thus maintain a non-destructive workflow.

As I said this is just my personal preference and many, indeed most, may prefer to do their raw work in LR Dev which is fair enough. I have shown this to several people and most have switched to this way of working. It does not entail additional work unless you consider the double clicking as such to which I would answer that it is hardly onerous.

I do not know if this is a workflow that was envisgaed/designed by Adobe developers but it works so that's good enough for me!

 

Hope that is of interest to some.

 

cheers

 

Grump Hec

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 11, 2020 Dec 11, 2020

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Fair enough. Open as smart object from Lightroom is a long-established and quite common workflow. There is a problem, however - there's no keyboard shortcut for it, like ctrl+E to "edit in", and you can't assign one. You have to go via the menu.

 

This is much simpler in ACR, you can just hold the shift key. It can even be set up as default in the workflow options. Why doesn't Lightroom have something similar?

 

And while we're at it, another thing that bothers me with Lightroom, as opposed to ACR, is that there's no option for light interface. The dark interface is very seductive because it hides defects and makes everything look good, but chances are the file opens too dark and with muddy highlights. Yes, I know you can set the image backdrop, but that introduces so much high contrast on screen that it only confuses the eye even more, and tends to make matters worse.

 

All that said, I still prefer Lightroom over ACR, mainly because of its high-volume, high-speed capabilities. There's just no way you can work as fast and efficiently in ACR.

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Explorer ,
Dec 11, 2020 Dec 11, 2020

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Fair point re lack of keyboard shortcut but personally doimng a right click and select is not a bog deal and takes 1 second.

Your comment about the light/dark interface is a very good one. If you print, as I do, that can make a big difference so I too have that set to light as I do in PS for the same reason.

 

Not sure I understand your point on volume/speed in ACR. I'm probably missing something there so apologies. If it's related to batch, that is somehing I rarely do so it is not an issue for me.

 

The big thing is, there are usually a number of different ways to do things throught the whole LR/PS workflow that we can all pick and choose our own way as is best suited to our syles and requirements.

 

cheers

 

Grumpy Hec

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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The speed/volume aspect begins with the fact that Lightroom operates from a central database, it doesn't have to write to every single file.

 

The Library module makes it easy to select any (large) number of images that require similar treatment, something you don't have in ACR. Then you can synchronize on the go, or all in one fell swoop - or just some of the adjustments. Yes, you can synchronize in ACR too, but not nearly as conveniently. You're also limited to what you can see in the filmstrip.

 

I often return from a studio shoot with 500 exposures on the card, most of which will require the same starting global adjustments. If I didn't have Lightroom for this, I'd tear my hair out...

 

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Explorer ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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Fair enough. The majority of my workflow is single images so the ability to do batch editing is not normally required. On the rare occasions I do need it that is what I do for the basic edit.

 

Given the fact that I do single images at a time in the majority of caes and enjoy detailed editing in PS the workflow I described previously, opening into PS as a smart object from LR, works extremely well for me. It enables me to use my prefered UI ( ACR as oppposed to LR Develope module) and enables reworking of the raw file if required all from PS whilst also keeping the resultant .PSD/tiff file up to date in the LR Library module when I exit. 

Clearly this is my personal preference and others will adopt a variety of other options as meets their requirements. Happily mature software such as LR/PS tends to enable a variety of ways to acheive the end result so individuals can use those which work for them.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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On my Mac I can drag a RAW file from LrC to the Photoshop icon on the dock and it will open in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop.  This will work with multiple images.  

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Explorer ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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Yep. That is an option. As I like to manage all images from within LR and use the DAM functionality therein that does not tend to be my normal way of working. 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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"On my Mac I can drag a RAW file from LrC to the Photoshop icon on the dock and it will open in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop."

 

That works on my Mac LR 10.1.1 / PS 22.2.0, but not on my Windows LR 10.1.1 / PS 22.20 :-<

 

[Use the blue reply button under the first post to ensure replies sort properly.]

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