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Creating non-virtual copies

Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Hello, I've seen this thread already and it doesn't answer my question: https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/how-does-one-create-a-duplicate-copy-in-lightroom-n...

Scenario: I have all my "current files" sat on a local drive. So, for example this year's weddings (the few that there still are) sit on my 😧 drive. But at the end of the year I archive off the files to a NAS on Z:

This all works fine. But there are situations where I want to be working with a set of files that are on the NAS (for example creating portfolio work) and I really want them local, not on the NAS. That way things are faster for me.

If I create a collection. Or if I create a set of virtual copies. That's all fine and good until the cache expires and I then get slow response as LightRoom tries to create a new preview.

Before I had LightRoom I'd simply copy the files from the archvive drive to my current drive and work on them there. I'd then have two copies - one that is in the "right" place on the archive (in the date/wedding folder as expected) and one that is in the "right" place for working on the portfolio items (in the portfolio area of my drive).

As I say I'm aware of collections and virtual copies and I use them. But they sometimes simpy don't do what I need and I'd like a real copy of a file held on a local drive (preferably that LightRoom is tracking in a stack with the original copy).

I'm trying to work out the tidiest way of doing that within LightRoom as it doesn't really understand copies - only virtual copies and sometimes virtual copies really aren't what is needed.

Does anyone else do what I'm trying to do and have a useable workflow for it?

Another option. You can export selected images using the "Original" file type. You can set a destination of your choice, on the local drive. You might do something in file Naming to distinguish image versions created for this purpose. You can check the option to (re-)import these exported versions, to the current Catalog. A copy of the latest LR parametric edit metadata is attached to the export and shows against this when (re-)imported too. So that avoids any destructive conversion to TIFF, e.g if the image thumbnail you are exporting refers directly to a NEF then it will be a NEF that gets duplicated locally; if it refers directly to a camera JPG or an external edit TIFF or PSD then that is what gets duplicated under the "original" selection - whatever the source type is.

 

But I agree with the other comment: working off a network NAS should not be markedly slower in practice, given suitable infrastructure and sufficient local caching. Try direct wired rather than over WiFi? Current performance may be improvable to the point where you don't need to distinguish local data from network held data. 

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Creating non-virtual copies

Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Hello, I've seen this thread already and it doesn't answer my question: https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/how-does-one-create-a-duplicate-copy-in-lightroom-n...

Scenario: I have all my "current files" sat on a local drive. So, for example this year's weddings (the few that there still are) sit on my 😧 drive. But at the end of the year I archive off the files to a NAS on Z:

This all works fine. But there are situations where I want to be working with a set of files that are on the NAS (for example creating portfolio work) and I really want them local, not on the NAS. That way things are faster for me.

If I create a collection. Or if I create a set of virtual copies. That's all fine and good until the cache expires and I then get slow response as LightRoom tries to create a new preview.

Before I had LightRoom I'd simply copy the files from the archvive drive to my current drive and work on them there. I'd then have two copies - one that is in the "right" place on the archive (in the date/wedding folder as expected) and one that is in the "right" place for working on the portfolio items (in the portfolio area of my drive).

As I say I'm aware of collections and virtual copies and I use them. But they sometimes simpy don't do what I need and I'd like a real copy of a file held on a local drive (preferably that LightRoom is tracking in a stack with the original copy).

I'm trying to work out the tidiest way of doing that within LightRoom as it doesn't really understand copies - only virtual copies and sometimes virtual copies really aren't what is needed.

Does anyone else do what I'm trying to do and have a useable workflow for it?

Another option. You can export selected images using the "Original" file type. You can set a destination of your choice, on the local drive. You might do something in file Naming to distinguish image versions created for this purpose. You can check the option to (re-)import these exported versions, to the current Catalog. A copy of the latest LR parametric edit metadata is attached to the export and shows against this when (re-)imported too. So that avoids any destructive conversion to TIFF, e.g if the image thumbnail you are exporting refers directly to a NEF then it will be a NEF that gets duplicated locally; if it refers directly to a camera JPG or an external edit TIFF or PSD then that is what gets duplicated under the "original" selection - whatever the source type is.

 

But I agree with the other comment: working off a network NAS should not be markedly slower in practice, given suitable infrastructure and sufficient local caching. Try direct wired rather than over WiFi? Current performance may be improvable to the point where you don't need to distinguish local data from network held data. 

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Oct 16, 2020 0
Mentor ,
Oct 16, 2020

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If the problem with having the image file located on tne NAS rather than in a local drive, is that you get poor responsiveness: you might consider generating a smart preview for this image? That will get stored in the local drive alongside your Catalog regardless of the location of the original. It should also deliver faster responsiveness for editing by virtue of having a lower picture resolution. The full resolution data will still be "fetched" on the fly when required for output, but your actual file storage scheme will still keep its consistency and rigour (I assume, this is a capture dated structure of some kind).

 

Making ad-hoc exceptions for where stuff is stored, for momentarily useful reasons, is to employ file-specific tactics which IMO LR is specifically made to help us abjure (!)

 

If an image happens to belong in a portfolio Collection, and its physical neighbour does not, those facts might change tomorrow: membership may swap, for example. But that is purely a Catalog metadata matter. It'd be laborious as well as limiting, to keep pace with this changing metadata situation, by altering the physical locations too. There may be 9, or 90, other Collections to do this for also - potentially, in logical conflict sometimes. Furthrmore: this Portfolio worthy image may be virtual copy number 2 of its original. The physical locations of the master, copy 1 and copy 3 would have to travel along with this copy 2 if you moved that between drive volumes. And if you have got other external edits etc present of the same image, those are now physically remote too.

 

In this sense: the more you can employ LR in a location-agnostic way, the better. Provided you can overcome performance issues the most overall straightforward way might even be for all images to go straight to NAS in the first instance!

 

A Library module preview for a file located locally, can expire just the same as one would for a file located in the NAS. You can adjust that preview retention period to suit your usage (and local disk capacity). Also the ACR Cache can be set to a larger size if it is regularly the case that you access images, whose working intermediate has been purged since you last worked on that. But Smart Previews could help there too, I believe.

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Oct 16, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Richard, partly it is for speed, yes. But not totally.

 

With regards to smart previews my understanding was that they are discarded (1:1 previews) based on my catalog settings (in my case 30 days). I don't want to set that to "never" because mostly I am happy that previews are discarded - it's the occasional image that I don't want to do this for. I wouldn't want my whole catalog previews to exist for ever. But my portfolios I want instant access to.

 

I regularly go and sit with colleagues and they open their Macs (I'm PC for what it is worth) and browse a bunch of files in the drive looking at their portfolios and showing me stuff. That's all lovely - but they too will have exactly the issues that you suggest, files in one place today that are keen favourites that aren't so keenly liked another day. So yes it causes a jumble of files. I'm aware of that. I'm just trying to work better using Lightroom (I've been a user for many years).

As it stands I do end up doing exactly the same. I export my "best images" to a drive, and look at them there. I then have a folder of images in one place and may have another folder with similar images in it. But none of these is controlled under Lightroom.

What I'm trying to achieve is something like this:

Let's say I find a dozen food photography shoots from the last ten years that I love. I'm making a new portfolio of images. I could put them all in a collection and browse them there - but network lag for the archive is a pain. I could, as you say, render smart previews. That will create a DNG in the catalogue held temporarily there.

Those dozen images are in their "correct" place - in the shoots that I did them for. But they aren't in a "useful" place for me. I want to physically place the RAW files somewhere, and edit them specifically for this portfolio so that they work together. That may be very different editing than the original file edits. So now I'm creating TIFFs of those files.

Where do those new TIFFs? Do they go with the original shoot? Do I have to turn on my NAS so that they are stored there? Or do they go somewhere that is more "useful" for me - in a folder for the current portfolio work? Do I have them on a local drive where I can polish them and think about them with the NAS turned off (and when I say NAS I'm saying that in this instance but it could equally be an archive drive that is USB connected that I've since disconnected and put in a cupboard so if I were to work with a bunch of different images from different drives I'd be plugging and unplugging the things as I work with the different images and that gets awfully messy).

 

For me, the reasonable thing to do is connect my NAS, or my various USB drives, pool all the "good" images I want to work with in one place, and work on them there - without the NAS, or USB drives, involved at all.


That way I can open that portfolio - either from Lightroom or from Bridge - and see "the portfolio" in one go.

But when I say "pool" the images I don't mean that I want to remove them from the NAS or USB drives - simply that I want to take copies of the raw files and create new variants.

 

That's why I'm not looking at virtual copies, or collections. That's why I'm looking at physical copies of files - but seeing if there is a sensible way to work it from within Lightroom.

You may see it as breaking what Lightroom tries to do - in that LR controls my files for me in one place.
I see it as Lightroom seems to be restricting me from working with my files in a comfortable way. I simply want to put files in a folder and work with that... but for LR to keep a track.

Does that make any more sense now?

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Oct 16, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Lightroom Classic does not have a feature to make a COPY of a file.

 

You could move the photos using your operating system and then re-connect Lightroom Classic to the new location. This does nothing to help the fact that for images where the preview has been discarded after 30 days, a new preview still has to be generated. You could also MOVE the photos in Lightroom Classic, again this still requires a new preview to be generated if the preview isn't available. I am skeptical that the time it takes to do these moves will be a real time savings compared to not doing the move and accessing the photos on the NAS.


Seems to me the better solution is to figure out why your network responsiveness is slow, and fix that. Many people have photos on a NAS without having responsiveness issues from the network or the need to copy/move the photos for Lightroom Classic to respond in a reasonable amount of time.

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Mentor ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Smart Previews are not the same thing as 1:1 Library previews and are held in a different place.

 

AFAIK the expiry options refer only to 1:1 previews, not to Smart Previews.

 

Smart Previews are a compact version of the source file, that can be employed as a "local functional proxy" for that. For as long as you want that to continue happening. Accepting that this proxy does not represent the image's full detail meanwhile; but you can remove the Smart Preview and revert to referencing the actual file whenever you want. 

 

So you can work on these images within Develop from that proxy, and have previews generated again from that, without LR needing to successfully access the actual source file (except that it will try to do so, when it comes to output). You could even disconnect from your NAS temporarily, and these Smart Previews (referring to particular images within the NAS, but stored locally) would continue operating just the same.

 

Effectively to tell LR to use a Smart Preview for a given image, or not, does not alter anything about where the full image file is actually physically stored, nor where LR knows this is "really" stored. LR fully understands the difference between a proxy and the real thing. The user doesn't need to micro-manage that. 

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Mentor ,
Oct 16, 2020

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Another option. You can export selected images using the "Original" file type. You can set a destination of your choice, on the local drive. You might do something in file Naming to distinguish image versions created for this purpose. You can check the option to (re-)import these exported versions, to the current Catalog. A copy of the latest LR parametric edit metadata is attached to the export and shows against this when (re-)imported too. So that avoids any destructive conversion to TIFF, e.g if the image thumbnail you are exporting refers directly to a NEF then it will be a NEF that gets duplicated locally; if it refers directly to a camera JPG or an external edit TIFF or PSD then that is what gets duplicated under the "original" selection - whatever the source type is.

 

But I agree with the other comment: working off a network NAS should not be markedly slower in practice, given suitable infrastructure and sufficient local caching. Try direct wired rather than over WiFi? Current performance may be improvable to the point where you don't need to distinguish local data from network held data. 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 24, 2020

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Richard, I'm marking this one as the "correct" answer as it seems the only answer that's remotely answering my question - how to copy files. Essentially export as original and re-import.

Discussions about NAS connectivity etc is irrelevant. Likewise telling me to create virtual copies is irrelevant. My original question said I already use virtual copies and collections. Despite cache activity a NAS that I connect to maybe once in a year is always going to be slower than an internal drive on my PC. I also have to put up with the NAS buzzing away in the background. There's loads of reasons I don't use NAS or plug-in USB drives and prefer to use my internal drives on the computer. Speed is only one of those reasons.

But even with files on an internal drive on the PC there are reasons it is desirable, every now and then, to make physical copies.

Actually I find Lightroom's way of working more clunky in many respects than just giving me the files in one place. Here's a specific example.

I created a portfolio of images, I got them all printed and so on and they were presented and assessed. Each one of those images is buried somewhere in the file system on my PC. Scattered amongst my folders. If I move old images off to an archive drive (that's disconnected and put in a drawer) they get harder to access (not impossible, just harder). So in five years time when I want to get hold of that portfolio I might have to start plugging and unplugging multiple drives (which may or may not work). Far simpler is to gather them all together in one place and say, "that's the portfolio". Bang. Done.

The only way to get a "set" of them was to export them to a folder somewhere. That way I could put them on a USB stick to take with me, or bung them on my phone to show people.

Exporting them is all very well but it would be more handy, at times, to simply say "go to the folder with these files in" and then do whatever I want to on the files.

As I say, the only way for me to do that is to have a set of exported files "somewhere" and keep track of them. Much easier to make some copies in Lightroom, have a folder that I can see in my "main image browsing softweare" and go to it when I need to. I can ensure that the folder of "copies" is not archived off when I archive off the other folders over time. I can simply keep my portfolio(s) on local drives whilst the other images shot around those images get sent to un-attached drives in a drawer somewhere.

Every now and then it is useful to simply copy files. That's all I asked for. I copy files such as Word documents. Nobody bats an eye at doing things like that - but for images somehow that becomes "wrong"?

I've got an answer of sorts. Is it any wonder that I find myself using Photomechanic more and more?

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Oct 24, 2020 0
Mentor ,
Oct 24, 2020

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To be clear: my suggestion was to include checking "import to this Catalog" option within the Export, not to carry out a separate import operation. The latter may not even work - if LR's duplicate prevention objects that a file of that same capture date and filename etc is already imported to the catalog.

 

For your other comments, I must disagree on almost all points. You appear to be objecting how ill-suited LR is for a file-based conception of image management, when LR is specifically "about" freeing us from the consequences that are inherent in that conception.

 

A Collection of images inside LR does keep track of the physical location of the images, because the Catalog is doing so. If that location is later changed - say, you move the photos from a given year into another storage volume - then wherever any of those photos may appear within perhaps lots of Collections and/or in any future searches etc, the database automatically maintains a working reference still. Regardless whether these are virtual copies or not. It's taken care of; it's normal business.

 

Analogy: we can obseerve with perfect correctness and justification, how difficult and unwieldy it is to taxi an airplane around on the ground. It's pitiful: not manoeuvrable at all. You can't drive smoothly around the city like you could in a Rolls Royce. You can't drive over rough ground like you could in a Jeep. A plane acts as a far worse kind of car, than literally the worst kind of car does. But the plane's ability to drive on wheels over the ground, is not what you buy it for. You buy it so that you can fly above any kind of city, any kind of rough-ground terrain, and also where no car could possibly go. It doesn't need (nor would it benefit from) all those driving-on-the-ground features that the Jeep or the Rolls Royce needs; beyond the bare minimum to get up into the air, and then to land again at the destination. And it needs those only for the controlled context of an airport. Cars don't require such an airport, any more than they require wings or a tailplane or a flight plan. Those are part of the "plane travel" package. But the "car travel" package does require bridges, freeways, tunnels, traffic signals... speed limits... congestion charging...

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Oct 24, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 24, 2020

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Richard, that's fine. We can agree to disagree.

 

From my perspective, every now and then it is desirable to have duplicates. If you don't see that, so be it.

 

No more than a plane would be your "total transport solution" Lightroom is not my "total image management solution".


I certainly didn't buy Lightroom as my total image management solution. It doesn't do my backups for example. Indeed simply choosing to delete files en-masse from Lightroom is a very slow process: it is far faster to remove the folder in Lightroom and then go to the file system and hit delete there. I don't do all of my editing inside Lightroom - I create images in Photoshop and work on them there, potentially combining images too. I grade my images before import using Photomechanic as it does the job more swiftly for me.

Lightroom is just one tool of many for my file (and image) management, not a panacea.

You fly in your plane. And every now and then I'll get on a train. Or use my car. Or walk. Or catch a bus.

Peace.

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Oct 24, 2020 0
Mentor ,
Oct 24, 2020

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All agreed. There's of course absolutely nothing wrong with file based thinking, or file based workflow - just, to try to force this approach onto LR Classic (or LR) is a recipe for avoidable frustration IMO.

 

The horses-for-courses point of an application such as LR, is to act as a front-end for managing and accessing a formally defined image library, as a database. This is of interest to people who actively like the idea of such a library, and all the virtual methods that it enables. Other people may be better served by e.g. Bridge or by a more full featured DAM - they will forego LrC's characteristic advantages, in order to realise the different advantages characteristic of their preferred workflow.

 

The Catalog approach does not preclude the use of other programs as adjuncts. I do this myself - not only Photoshop but also for example pano stitching in PTGui. However the LR Catalog is badly complicated by the involvement of a second image manager app - and is of no help with filetypes not recognised by LR - such as PDF, vector formats etc etc. So it all depends what your overall needs are; what 'problem' / 'opportunity' you need a solution for.

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