Photo merge, Lightroom Classic versus Photoshop engines

Community Beginner ,
Jun 17, 2021 Jun 17, 2021

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Hi, do these 2 programmes use the identical engines and produce identical results please?

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Engaged ,
Jun 17, 2021 Jun 17, 2021

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I haven't had any issues in the past few months, but I've encountered quite a few cases over the years where Lightroom couldn't merge (whatever the projection) and Photoshop could, so unless the cause can be attributed to how the GPU is used in both applications or something else, I would say they are different engines.

What I do by default is merge in LrC, which is fine 99+% of the time.If it fails completely or gives an completely distorted and useless result, I try it in Photoshop (sometimes succesfully, sometimes not, which reminds me I should be more careful when taking pictures).

Michael

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Michael Niessen - Photographer, photo-editor, educator

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 21, 2021 Jun 21, 2021

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Thanks. 

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LEGEND ,
Jun 17, 2021 Jun 17, 2021

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They often don't produce identical results.  When LR doesn't give satisfactory results, often you can get better results in PS.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 17, 2021 Jun 17, 2021

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@john2577640 wrote:

Hi, do these 2 programmes use the identical engines and produce identical results please?


If the image data starts as raw, no; the 'engines' differ due to the data itself.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 21, 2021 Jun 21, 2021

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Thanks John, so if we assume Raw, which gives the superior result if it is clear and descernable? Thanks, John

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LEGEND ,
Jun 21, 2021 Jun 21, 2021

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"if we assume Raw, which gives the superior result if it is clear and descernable?"

 

In my experience, when both LR and PS successfully merge, it's hard to tell the difference. That's why I first do the merge in LR, and only if I'm dissatisfied with the results, do I try PS. But maybe others observe something different.

 

LR's merge produces a 16-bit demosaiced DNG, while PS's merge produces a 16-bit TIFF/PSD in the Prophoto color space (similar to the color space used by LR), so both will have pretty much all the flexibility in further editing that the original raws do.

 

If others see noticeable differences, it would be great to see an actual example so we can all understand better.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 21, 2021 Jun 21, 2021

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@john2577640 wrote:

Thanks John, so if we assume Raw, which gives the superior result if it is clear and descernable? Thanks, John


 

Well, that leads to one of the biggest differences. If you feed Photoshop Photomerge some raw files to merge, it will use Adobe Camera Raw to convert them to Photoshop format first, and then merge them. So if you’re going to feed raw files to Photomerge, it would be best if the raw corrections were as close to final as you want them because it won’t still be raw after it’s done. For example, if you wanted to apply further raw-level sharpening or noise reduction to a finished panorama from Photoshop, it would be too late because it would no longer be raw at that point.

 

So if you want to still be able to apply raw-level adjustments after the merge, you must merge using Lightroom or Camera Raw, because they will give you a DNG raw file. Photoshop Photomerge gives you a layered non-raw Photoshop file that usually takes up a lot more storage space than a DNG panorama (another difference).

 

If the raw adjustments were absolutely perfect and final before the merge, then it could be difficult to discern the difference between a Photoshop and Lightroom/ACR merge.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 21, 2021 Jun 21, 2021

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"if you want to still be able to apply raw-level adjustments after the merge, you must merge using Lightroom or Camera Raw, because they will give you a DNG raw file."

 

The DNG produced by Merge isn't exactly like an out-of-the-camera raw -- it's already demosaic-ed. It contains RGB pixels, 16 bits per color per pixel, just like the TIFF/PSD produced by PS. In general, the LR Develop settings behave the same on both sets of files. I'm not aware of any Develop setting that behaves much differently.

 

But if you have an example where the settings behave differently, that would be great to present here so we could understand it better.

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