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Creating virtual copies

From: Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop

Video: Creating virtual copies

Every now and then I feel a little indecisive about which direction I want to take in a particular photo. Or in other situations, I might really want to create multiple versions for example a full color version and a black and white version. Obviously both of them looking very different and requiring different adjustments. For those types of situations, we can make use of virtual copies in Lightroom. I use this feature mostly when I want to explore creative avenues for a photo, but you can use it in a wide variety of situations. Let's assume for example that I have been working with this image.

Creating virtual copies

Every now and then I feel a little indecisive about which direction I want to take in a particular photo. Or in other situations, I might really want to create multiple versions for example a full color version and a black and white version. Obviously both of them looking very different and requiring different adjustments. For those types of situations, we can make use of virtual copies in Lightroom. I use this feature mostly when I want to explore creative avenues for a photo, but you can use it in a wide variety of situations. Let's assume for example that I have been working with this image.

I've selected this image of pine trees in the snow on the Filmstrip, and perhaps I'll make some adjustments to the overall appearance of the image. Perhaps cooling it down just a little bit so it looks a bit more wintery and maybe even enhancing contrast just a little bit, basically applying whatever adjustments I think might work for this image. But somewhere along the way I might decide that I would like to have a different interpretation of the image and so that's where the virtual copy comes into play. To create a virtual copy with the image selected I can choose Photo > Create virtual copy from the menu, I can also right-click on the Photo and then choose Create virtual copy from that pop-up menu.

This will create a virtual copy, a second copy of the image, that is grouped in a stack with the original. Keep in mind that for both of these images, the original and the virtual copy, we are referencing the exact same original image. Lightroom is just keeping track of two different versions or interpretations of that particular photo. So I have my original here, the first image in the stack, and that has the minor adjustments I applied, cooling off the image and enhancing contrast for example.

I can now switch to my virtual copy and make some changes to that version of the image. Perhaps I want to experiment around with some more dramatic adjustments, maybe increase clarity, maybe boost the vibrance just to produce something that's a little more or almost graphical and dramatic. You can see that in this case I have two variations on a theme with the image and I can switch back and forth between them at any time. And of course, I'm not limited with the particular adjustments that I'm applying to the original versus the virtual copy, I could apply any adjustments I'd like.

Again, perhaps making one, a black and white interpretation. Perhaps making one, a more traditional color version or applying some very dramatic adjustments. I can do anything I'd like retaining as many virtual copies of an image as I'd like. So anytime that you feel you want to experiment around with an image, or you're happy with one version but you want to consider a possible other version of the image, using virtual copies really helps expand your flexibility when working on your images in Lightroom.

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This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop
Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop

34 video lessons · 1448 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 1m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
  2. 15m 9s
    1. Overview of the Develop module workflow
      3m 8s
    2. Evaluating images
      3m 26s
    3. Seeing a before-and-after view
      3m 40s
    4. Correcting mistakes with the History and Snapshot features
      4m 55s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Starting with a Develop preset
      4m 9s
    2. White balance adjustment
      4m 8s
    3. Basic exposure controls
      3m 26s
    4. Highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks
      3m 15s
    5. Adding clarity to an image
      2m 15s
    6. Boosting colors with Vibrance and Saturation
      3m 4s
  4. 31m 39s
    1. Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve adjustment
      7m 22s
    2. Advanced color adjustments
      5m 5s
    3. Sharpening an image
      6m 33s
    4. The Graduated Filter tool
      5m 2s
    5. Painting adjustments into an image
      7m 37s
  5. 24m 11s
    1. Cleaning up blemishes
      5m 4s
    2. Cropping and straightening photos
      5m 55s
    3. Applying noise reduction
      3m 52s
    4. Lens correction adjustments
      6m 2s
    5. Removing red-eye
      3m 18s
  6. 18m 41s
    1. Creating virtual copies
      2m 52s
    2. Converting color into black and white
      3m 51s
    3. Adding a color tint
      2m 30s
    4. Split toning effects
      3m 20s
    5. Adding a vignette effect
      3m 56s
    6. Adding a film grain effect
      2m 12s
  7. 12m 31s
    1. Adjusting multiple images with Quick Develop
      2m 49s
    2. Duplicating the previous adjustment
      2m 38s
    3. Copying and pasting Develop settings
      3m 54s
    4. Synchronizing Develop settings
      3m 10s
  8. 17m 16s
    1. Basic Photoshop workflow
      5m 41s
    2. Stitching panoramas
      5m 1s
    3. Working with HDR images
      6m 34s

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