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Using virtual copies

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 5

Video: Using virtual copies

The changes that you make to the photo in Lightroom don't change the pixels in the image. They're simply instructions about how to display the image. So that means that know matter what you do to a photo you can always get back to the original as you've heard me say. Sometimes I like to keep the original as it is and try out some alternative looks on a photo, and in that case, I'll use virtual copies. A virtual copy is simply instructions about other ways to display the same photo. You can create a virtual copy in the Library module, or in the Develop module. Let's make a virtual copy of one of these images in the Library module, by selecting it. And then, you can either go up to the Photo menu and choose Create Virtual Copy, or you can use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Apostrophe, that's Ctrl + Apostrophe on the PC.

Using virtual copies

The changes that you make to the photo in Lightroom don't change the pixels in the image. They're simply instructions about how to display the image. So that means that know matter what you do to a photo you can always get back to the original as you've heard me say. Sometimes I like to keep the original as it is and try out some alternative looks on a photo, and in that case, I'll use virtual copies. A virtual copy is simply instructions about other ways to display the same photo. You can create a virtual copy in the Library module, or in the Develop module. Let's make a virtual copy of one of these images in the Library module, by selecting it. And then, you can either go up to the Photo menu and choose Create Virtual Copy, or you can use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Apostrophe, that's Ctrl + Apostrophe on the PC.

And now in the grid in the Library module, I see the original photo here. And right next to it. Another copy of the same photo. You can see the label up here, copy one. And I know that this is a virtual copy rather than an actual, physical copy on my hard drive, because the left-hand corner of this image is turned up. So that's the sign of a virtual copy. Now with that virtual copy selected I'm going to go into the Develop module pressing D on my keyboard and I'll make it change to the virtual copy.

Lets do something we've already covered, lets convert this image to black and white by going to the HSL, Color, B and W panel and clicking black and white there. I'll just go with this automatic black and white conversion for now. Now lets go back to the Library module by pressing G on the keyboard. To go to the Grid view of the Library module, and you can see that I now have two versions of the same image. The original color image, and right next to it the black and white. And I can make more virtual copies too. So this time I'll make a virtual copy of the copy, by selecting it, and then pressing Cmd + Apostrophe on my keyboard, that's Ctrl + Apostrophe on the PC.

Now I've got a second black and white. And if I select that one and go to the Develop module pressing D on the keyboard, I'll go back and click on HSL at the top of the HSL panel. And this time I'm going to use that effect that I showed you how to do earlier in the course where I drag all the sliders except for the red and orange opver to the left. So I have this partial black and white, partial color photo. Now let's go back to the grid in the Library module one more time pressing G on the keyboard. And you can see that I have three alternative displays of the same photo, color, black and white, and my partial black and white. But notice, if I go out to my operating system and I look in the folder that contains the two color images I started with, this one and this one, there are only two images there.

The virtual copies are not physical copies on my hard drive. They are just displays in Lightroom based on instructions in the catalog. So let me close my finder and we'll go back into the Lightroom library. To show you one more thing about virtual copies, when you make virtual copies, they're automatically stacked together. And I know that I have the stack here because if you look closely, you can see that there are two lines over on the left of the first of the three images and two lines over on the right of the last of the three images. And If I click on those two lines that collapses the three images into one stack, so they take up so much room in my library, and if I want to expand those images I can click on those three lines again.

So that just helps to keep your library organized. Now, let say that I don't want to have this virtual copy anymore I can delete one or more of them by selecting them here. And then pressing the delete, or backspace key on my keyboard, and yes I do want to remove the two virtual copies, and doing that does not effect the original. It is still there, in my Lightroom catalog, as well as on my hard drive.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 5
Up and Running with Lightroom 5

40 video lessons · 20114 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 22s
  2. 30m 31s
    1. Understanding catalogs
      4m 21s
    2. Organizing your photos before importing
      3m 10s
    3. Deciding where to store your photos
      4m 28s
    4. Importing photos from a drive
      8m 14s
    5. Importing photos from a camera
      10m 18s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Library module workspace
      7m 21s
    2. Viewing and sorting photos
      6m 16s
    3. Selecting photos
      7m 9s
    4. Reviewing and rating photos
      8m 41s
    5. Organizing with collections
      6m 27s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      6m 21s
    7. Keywording
      4m 51s
    8. Finding photos by keyword
      5m 40s
    9. Finding photos with the Metadata filter
      4m 53s
    10. Moving files and folders
      7m 16s
    11. Renaming photos
      4m 18s
    12. Working with Smart Previews when traveling
      6m 6s
  4. 54m 18s
    1. Develop module workspace
      6m 14s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 25s
    3. Fixing perspective with Upright
      7m 19s
    4. Setting white balance
      4m 41s
    5. Using the histogram to evaluate tones
      4m 5s
    6. Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel
      8m 45s
    7. Fine-tuning colors in the HSL panel
      3m 35s
    8. Converting to black and white
      3m 56s
    9. Using virtual copies
      3m 43s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      3m 24s
    11. Sharpening
      4m 11s
  5. 26m 21s
    1. Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 45s
    2. Spotlighting and vignetting with the Radial filter
      6m 0s
    3. Gradual editing with the Graduated filter
      4m 5s
    4. Removing dust spots with Spot Removal circles
      6m 12s
    5. Removing content with Spot Removal brushstrokes
      3m 19s
  6. 30m 40s
    1. Exporting photos
      9m 22s
    2. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 22s
    3. Sharing photos to Facebook
      5m 44s
    4. Printing photos
      9m 12s
  7. 26s
    1. Next steps
      26s

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