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Keeping originals and derivatives separate in LR
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Author Topic: Keeping originals and derivatives separate in LR  (Read 7036 times)
switters
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« on: June 10, 2008, 08:29:47 PM »

I've been working my way through the DAM book.  I'm fairly convinced now that it's a good idea to keep originals and derivatives separate.  I also see the logic of having a "working files" directory and a separate "archives" directory.  However, I'm still a little unsure about how to put those principles into practice in terms of workflow.

If someone would be willing to share their workflow from start to finish, including the process of creating a derivative file by exporting from LR to Photoshop, I'd be very grateful.  Here's my rough idea of what that might look like:

1) Import images from CF card using LR into "working files" directory
2) Apply initial changes while importing: rename files, add keywords, etc.
3) Do initial edit, get rid of rejects and add bulk metadata
4) Export originals as DNG files to "archive" directory
5) Choose images to process and open in Photoshop from LR
6) Make changes, but instead of saving back to LR, do a "save as" and save to "derivatives" folder

Is this basically how you all do it?  Or am I missing something?
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switters
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 07:11:17 AM »

Anyone?

Chris
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frankgindc
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 02:37:23 PM »

FWIW, for the most part, I am using LR only to track the originals and "virtual derivatives" (using virtual copies to create different crops or treatments of the same pictures).   I am creating derivatives mainly on the fly: just rendering what I need for jobs or uploads to printing service etc.   

Library-wise, then, I'm got LR pointing at my RAW folder with sub-folders like DVD_001, DVD_002, et (ala the DAMbook).   

Frank
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switters
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 08:38:29 PM »

Frank,

When you create a derivative in LR (a virtual copy), I assume you're allowing LR to save it in your Originals folder?  Or are you removing it manually from that folder and putting it in a "derivatives" folder?

Do you ever export a file from LR to Photoshop?  If so, do you then save the file into your Derivatives folder, or do you allow LR to do its default behavior which is to save it back in your Originals folder?

I ask because in the Dam book Peter recommends keeping Originals and Derivatives separate.

Thanks,
Chris
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David Burren
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 12:21:40 AM »

When LR makes a derivative copy (e.g. via "Edit in...") it will put it in the same folder as the original, with the name modified (e.g. with the addition of "-Edit" which you can change in the preferences).  However, if you want to keep your derivatives somewhere else there are a couple of ways.  The method I use in LR 1.x is:

Export the file to the required directory, with the naming/format/etc specified as per normal in the Export dialog.  However, the trick is to tell LR to import the file(s) once it's generated them.  By default you have options such as Open in Finder/Explorer, Open in Photoshop, etc.  There's also an option to "Open Export Actions folder".  This will show you the Export Actions folder on your system, and if you place a shortcut/alias to Lightroom in there, LR will present "Adobe Lightroom" as an option in the Export dialog.  In Finder it just takes holding down Opt+Cmd when you're dragging "Adobe Lightroom.app" to the Export Actions folder.

So then, LR will export the files to your derivatives folder and then pop up the import dialog (obviously you'd want to select "Import in Current Location" and there'd be no need to assign new keywords or metadata/develop presets).  That might be the functionality you're looking for.  Obviously once you've got the export settings set up right, save it as a preset.
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David
switters
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 06:46:32 AM »

David,

Thanks for your response.  I don't think I completely understand, though.  If I open an image from LR in Photoshop, the derivative copy of the image ("-Edit.tif") is right then put in the same folder the original is in, right?  If I wanted to keep originals and derivatives separate, then I'd have to manually remove the derivative from that folder or do something else entirely?

Are you suggesting that I first export the original file as a TIF to my derivatives folder, use the export action (LR) to re-import it, and THEN open in Photoshop?  That makes some sense, I guess, because then when I open that file in Photoshop it's already in the correct folder (derivatives).

I think LR 2.0 even has an option in the export dialog to automatically re-import a file after exporting it.  That should come in handy for this system.

Chris
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frankgindc
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 04:41:49 AM »

Difference between derivative files (or files that go through PS) and LR "virtual copies."   I more commonly use "virtual copies" and LR doesn't actually create a new file for that at all, just a new set of instructions for the edits.  Typically, when I send files to PS it is only for batch noise reduction and sharpening on the way to becoming prints or posted to web.  I let those "derivatives" hang around in a separate folder ("exports") folder, which I don't tend to keep around (those files are jpgs and contain the keywords that I applied in LR, so they could be imported somewhere else if need be).  I can freely delete these whenever, since I am not relying on them for long term use.  If I want to recreate them i can just export again in LR (again, using batches through PS so it's not labor intensive).

If I work on a file more intensively in LR--say, with layers or masking or something--I WILL import that image back into LR.  Usually I do this as a hi-res .jpg (sometimes a .tiff).    That way, my keyworded LR catalog still has a searchable copy of every flavor of image that I have (the masters, I suppose).  And I'll use some file name suffix to indicate that.    I wouldn't want to have large numbers of derivatives and originals in the same folders, but for the very few cases where a file gets special treatment, this seems to work fine.

Of course, if I wanted to catalog the "exported" files, of if you wanted to catalog them in their entirety, since they are exported with LR keywords, you could do so.   You could have a LR catalog that contains all your masters and one that contains all your exports/derivatives, sorta treating the masters files as a "working" catalog that you would use for keywording, ranking, and editing only.

Frank
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switters
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 07:30:33 AM »

Thanks Frank.

Maybe I'm making too much of a big deal about keeping originals and derivatives separate.  Peter has mentioned that it makes backup and restoring a lot easier, but the way I back up is different than what he suggests in his book anyways.  I have my images stored on a dedicated drive and that drive gets backed up hourly, and then every night.  I have a second drive that gets backed up to every night as well, and a third drive that gets backed up to and rotated once a week.

Doing backup this way I haven't been as clear on the need for keeping originals and derivates separate, but maybe I'm missing something.

In any event, my workflow is close to yours and I don't often export to PS anymore.  Once LR supports third-party plug-ins and gets Noise Ninja and Photokit Sharpening I'll probably rarely leave LR at all. 

I think I'll stick to my normal routine for now, which is very close to yours.

Chris
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johnhaines
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 09:51:24 AM »

Chris,

There is one reason I can think of to keep your originals in a seperate folder that is kept unchanged. That is if an application, e.g. lightroom, introduces a bug that causes a subtle corruption of files of folders on which you are working. With your backup strategy those corrupted folders/files will eventually get rotated out until you notice the problem. Worst case scenario is that you no longer have a good original to go back to.

The other argument for a "locked" set of originals is the simplification of restoration should you need it. If you work in your original folders and have to restore them it can be difficult to quantify how much work you have lost.

Regards,
John
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switters
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2008, 11:19:14 AM »

Thanks for your reply, John.

So what would the workflow look like in LR if I was to keep originals and derivatives separate?

I guess I could export the file as a full-size TIFF to my derivatives folder and then re-import it, and THEN open it up in Photoshop to do the extra work.  Upon initial export I could rename and add keywords so it's easy to keep associated with the original file when imported again.  Does this sound reasonable?

The only disadvantage is that LR doesn't allow stacking of files in different folders.  Too bad.

Chris
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Langsey
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2008, 09:01:26 PM »

Chris,

When I import from CF card I download my photos using downloader pro to a file on designated file on my computer. When importing to LR I use the "Copy photos as DNG and import" command. These are copied to a file designated in my DNG file. I end up having a RAW file and a DNG file. This way my originals are untouched and I work on the DNG files. These will eventually end up in a Masters file in EM2 for further tweaking in CS3, if needed. Then duplicated for sizing and sharpening for print and/or web. I found this works for me.

John
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