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Help! Missing smart previews: can I rebuild them from LR Mobile?

New Here ,
Nov 25, 2021 Nov 25, 2021

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Hi!

So, my goal was to edit photos in a catalog while traveling using the smart previews. I copied the catalog (not the original files) onto an external drive and brought it with me. The collection/catalog was already synced with LR Mobile. I used LR Mobile on my phone to cull the collection down to what I wanted to edit, then I opened the catalog on my travel laptop and waited for it to sync my changes from LR Mobile.

 

It did sync (the changes are there), but for some reason it did not create the smart preview files, so I can't see any images. I had to upgrade the catalog when I opened it on this computer because I just updated my LRCC to the latest awesome version. I see the smart preview data files, but there's no folder of smart preview files in the catalog folder.

 

I don't know why the smart preview folders didn't seem to come along with the catalog I copied, but since they are there in my LR Mobile, isn't there some way to rebuild the previews in the catalog when I open LRCC on my laptop? Or if you have any other solutions I'm all ears 😄

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Cross-app workflows, iOS: iPhone, Windows

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 25, 2021 Nov 25, 2021

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You mention "Collections' so you must be using Lightroom-Classic on your 'Master' home computer.

So my comments if I understand what you are doing-

"I copied the catalog (not the original files) onto an external drive and brought it with me."

1) Lightroom-Classic can only 'Sync' from ONE catalog. So a 'Copy' made to the Laptop will NOT be the 'syncing' Lr-Classic Catalog.

"I don't know why the smart preview folders didn't seem to come along with the catalog I copied."

2) Using a 'Copy' is NOT the correct way to use a Catalog remotely (on the laptop). The correct method is to use the feature [Export to another Catalog] which will create specific Smart Previews to match the photos/Folders/Collections that you selected to include in the 'Exported' catalog.

3) But my Point#1 still applies- Lr-mobile will NOT be syncing to this 'Exported' catalog on the laptop, but will continue to sync to the 'Master' catalog (at home!)

4) When you arrive 'home' you will see the edits you have done using 'Mobile' versions of Lightroom, in the 'Master' catalog, as that is the 'Sync' catalog.

5) Your edits done in the Laptop Classic Catalog will only appear in the 'Master' catalog when you [Import from another catalog]

"some way to rebuild the previews in the catalog when I open LRCC on my laptop?"

So I guess the answer to this is- No.  If referring to Lr-CLASSIC on the laptop.  (LRCC???) The Smart Previews are created as in  my Point#2 above.

 

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 11.0.1, Photoshop 23.0.2, Lightroom 5.0, Bridge 12.0, Windows-10.

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New Here ,
Nov 26, 2021 Nov 26, 2021

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Thank you for your response! Yes, it's LR Classic on my home computer.

So, when I opened the copied catalog on my laptop, it did say this was the catalog that was syncing, and it synced to LR Mobile and showed me the flags I had applied on LR Mobile after I left home? What you say makes sense - that the synced catalog would be the master at home, not the copy I made - but how do I explain the flags showing up, and the collection and catalog still showing that they are synced?

I will keep in mind the "export to another catalog" method in the future, thank you!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 26, 2021 Nov 26, 2021

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Lightroom Classic can only sync one catalog. If the catalog on your main computer is synced, then any catalog you create by using 'Export as catalog' will not be synced. The edits in the exported catalog were included from the main catalog, they did not come from syncing. If you want to export a catalog to be used on the road, then you must include smart previews when exporting and copy the entire exported catalog folder, not just the catalog file.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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New Here ,
Nov 26, 2021 Nov 26, 2021

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Thank you for this - I ought to have thought of the fact that in copying a catalog and opening the copy on a different computer, it might not sync properly. 

The changes, though, were definitely from syncing - they are just "flagged" photos, not edits, but I didn't flag the photos until after I left home, on LR mobile, so they were not flagged when I was working on the catalog at home, but they did show up on my laptop when I opened the copied catalog and let it sync. I did also copy the entire catalog folder, not the file, but I was in a rush and didn't check anything about the smart previews folder. I don't think I'll fully understand this till I get home on Sunday and sit down to edit like 600 photos in one evening 😕

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 26, 2021 Nov 26, 2021

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The changes, though, were definitely from syncing - they are just "flagged" photos, not edits, but I didn't flag the photos until after I left home, on LR mobile, so they were not flagged when I was working on the catalog at home, but they did show up on my laptop when I opened the copied catalog and let it sync. Depending on what you wanted to do, you may consider using Lightroom (desktop, not Classic) on the laptop. That will work and you do not even have to export a catalog for that. Just make sure that all the images you want to edit are synced.

 

This sounds like maybe you enabled sync of the exported catalog, but then you terminated the sync of your main catalog at home in the process, so I'm not sure that's a good workflow to continue to use. Like I said: Lightroom Classic can only sync one single catalog.

 

What might be a better way to do this is to use Lightroom (desktop, not Classic) on the laptop. You do not even have to export as catalog to make that work. Just make sure that you have synced the images you want to edit, and they'll show in Lightroom after the sync is finished. Edits you make on your laptop will sync back when you open Lightroom Classic at home.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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