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In order to understand how to fully work with catalogs, what we're going to do is we're going to dig a little bit deeper in this topic of working with RAW files or DNG files in the Lightroom catalog. Now, this is going to be a little bit complicated. So, you're going to hold on your hats and glasses for this one, because we're going to really dig into this topic. Here, what I'm going to do is take two movies. The first movie we're going to conceptually talk about the idea of the RAW workflow and DNG workflow and catalogs. And then in the second movie, I'll actually show you how it works.
So, the first movie is a little bit more conceptual. And where we want to begin is just with regular RAW processing. We have a RAW file. We open it up in Photoshop, which then opens the file in Adobe Camera Raw. And in that context, what actually happens is we have what's called the sidecar XMP file. And the sidecar XMP file is just a text file, and it contains some really interesting information. In other words, it'll say this image should have this amount of contrast. And it'll then apply that contrast to the image.
In other words, when you RAW process images, it's nondestructive. You're not affecting pixels. Rather you're changing the text in the sidecar file. And that's really how that typical RAW workflow works. So how does this work inside of Lightroom? Well, by default, Lightroom saves all of this information inside of its main catalog. There's no need for an XMP file. Yet some people may discover that they'd prefer to have their settings saved to this little text file, this little XMP file. So of course, there's a way to do this, either by preference or manually.
And here we can see a couple of screen grabs, where you can either turn on this option to automatically write your changes into XMP, or again to manually file-by-file, you can choose this to save the metadata to file. All right. Well that's how it works with RAW images. What about the DNG format? Well, the DNG format is kind of interesting. By default, there are no XMP files. So, what happens again is by default, any settings you apply, like let's say a black-and-white conversion, well, that is all saved inside of the catalog. Okay, well great! Well that works really well inside of Lightroom.
Yet of course, there's another option. It's a similar option to working with RAW files. And here what we can do again is turn on that same preference to automatically write the changes into the XMP. In the DNG format, the XMP is actually inside of this file. So again there's no sidecar file, but it's writing the change to the file itself. Or you can do this manually, image- by-image, either one image at a time or multiple images. You can select this option to update your DNG preview & metadata. Now at this juncture, if you're like me, you're probably thinking, okay this is a little bit clear.
I'm getting this concept that with DNG or RAW files. You can either save your settings to a catalog, or you can save them to XMP or write to the DNG file. Yet I need to see a little bit more. I need to see a hands-on perspective in regards to how this actually works in order to fully understand this concept. So, let's go ahead and take a look at how this works inside of Lightroom and let's do that in the next movie.
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