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Changes made to a virtual copy of a PSD are changing the original as well

Explorer ,
Oct 15, 2023 Oct 15, 2023

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Here's what happened:

1. Imported raw images (NEF) into LR Classic, made some minor edits and chose 'Edit in Photoshop', made edits - LR created a PSD document and stacked it with the NEF file. I finished editing the PSD document.

2. Created a virtual copy of the PSD document in LR and chose 'Edit in Photoshop' >> original and made changes

3. Round tripped back to LR to see to my horror that the orignal document is an exact copy of the virtual document - I didn't want that, that's why I created a copy in the first place.

 

What am I missing here? What did I do wrong? How to correct my mistake (if any).

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Community Expert ,
Oct 15, 2023 Oct 15, 2023

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This is normal and expected.

 

If you edit the original in Photoshop, your virtual copies in Lightroom are moot! They will all reflect that Photoshop edit. All your virtual LrC copies will be based on that.

 

The Lightroom catalog is just a reference, a pointer, to the actual file in its current state, sitting in its folder on disk.

 

This goes to show that round trip editing is a recipe for confusion, unless you're absolutely aware of the differences in how the two applications work, and can take your precautions.

 

If you want to avoid things like this, keep it a one-way workflow. Do as much as you can to the raw file in Lightroom, then send it to Photoshop for things you can't do in Lightroom. Stop there.

 

Edits applied in one application will not be accessible in the other! The two applications work on completely different principles. What you see in one of them is a final, flattened, fully rendered version of what you worked on in the other. There's no going back.

 

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Explorer ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Thanks for your response but you didn't get the issue right. Here's a summary:

 

Edits made on a virtual copy of a PSD file are duplicated on to the original (or the master of which a virtual copy was created) without any warning. 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Nothing is duplicated. You edited the original. Both your virtual copies in Lightroom reference the same original file, now altered in Photoshop.

 

What you did is exactly the same as if you opened the PSD directly in Photoshop and made your changes, then closed the file again.

 

This isn't something that can happen with virtual copies of raw files, because a raw file can never be overwritten. It always stays in its original state. But a PSD can be overwritten, and that's what you did.

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Explorer ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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I get it now after making the mistake of assuming that a virtual copy of a PSD file is just misleading BS, unlike a virtual copy of a jpg or a raw file, it's not the same and Adobe expects people to realize it in their dreams. I think it's a reasonable assumption about virtual copies. If that weren't true why would anyone need a virtual copy? LR is about non destructive editing isn't it? Wait, not always, opps! Haha! 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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It would work as you expect if you had opened a copy with Lightroom adjustments. Then it would open in Photoshop as a physical copy, and Photoshop would save it out as a physical copy, and once back in Lightroom, it would appear as a copy separate from your original.

 

The core of this is the fact that you opened and edited the original PSD, in Photoshop.

 

I've just tested all this here, and it all behaves as I describe, and it's all consistent with what I expect. There is nothing inconsistent here. It's all perfectly logical and how it has to work.

 

Which, again, illustrates my original point: round-tripping is not a good idea, unless you're fully aware of all this and understand what to expect. Then you can take your precautions and know when to do it and when to not do it.

 

A virtual copy of a PSD in Lightroom is fine as a working document in Lightroom. You can have several virtual copies if you want, until you decide which one you want to use. But this can only apply to Lightroom adjustments, not Photoshop adjustments, because those edits will be baked permanently into the pixel data.

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Explorer ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Have you heard about 'hindsight bias'? What about 'confirmation bias'? no? I thought so!

In an ideal world we will be able to turn the clock back and correct our mistakes or engage in 'I told you so!' or 'I always thought so' arguments ad nauseam. 

Thanks for your energetic responses though they not really helpful.

Have a great day!

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LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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The software is designed to be non-destructive. If you instruct the software to perform a destructive operation, such as overwriting the original, that's really not Lightroom Classic's fault. In the end, the software does what you tell it to do.

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