Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with legacy Lightroom files, part of Lightroom 4 Essentials: 02 Enhancing Photos with the Develop Module.
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Here, we're going to take a look at how we can start to think about and work with legacy files. In other words, how can we work with those files which have been processed by a previous version of Lightroom? In the grand scheme of things, Lightroom, it's a pretty young application, and if you've been using Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW for any amount of time, you know what's happened, right? They have improved the process engine; the process version, and this in turn has changed the way that we are able to process and work on our photographs.
Now, in Lightroom, when we're viewing our pictures, say, here in the Library module, it doesn't really matter. The process version doesn't matter; it doesn't matter if it's a legacy file. Yet, the moment that we navigate to the Develop module, all of a sudden, something interesting happens. For starters, you may notice that in the Basic panel, we have some controls, or some sliders, which look like the controls or sliders from Lightroom 3. We also have this little warning icon. Well, what is all of this about? Well, in order to talk a little bit more about what's happening here, I want to pull up a slide.
In this slide, I want to talk a little bit about the basic controls in Lightroom 3, and compare those to Lightroom 4. Now, if I pull up the basic controls in Lightroom 4, you may notice that the sliders are a little bit different. I want to highlight a few differences here. You will notice that there are three new sliders, and these are completely different: Highlights, Shadows, and Whites. You also may have noticed that the Contrast slider, well it's up top, versus down below where it was before, and these sliders actually work in different ways.
Now, the latest process version in Lightroom 4 is much different. It goes beyond the basics to things like working with noise, and detail, and sharpness. I think this illustrates an interesting point. Let's jump back to Lightroom. Well, back in Lightroom, because this file was processed on a previous version of Lightroom -- Lightroom 3 -- it shows me the controls for that process version; interesting. Well, what about this little warning icon? Well, if I click on this warning icon, it's going to open a dialog, and give me some information about how I can update this file to the latest processing version.
Let's click on that, and see what it says. Well, here in this dialog, it basically says, there is some new technology available for this image -- a new process version -- and if you update this, you may see some different changes, because this new process version, it allows Lightroom to get into the data more effectively in order to work with noise, and recover highlights, and deal with shadows. So you may see some changes. Therefore, it recommends that you only do one image at a time until you're familiar with what these changes are like. You can also just save the image as is by clicking Cancel.
Well, what do we want to do here? What would be the best bet, say, with an image like this? Well, it really depends on your workflow. Let's say that you spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on your images, and getting them perfect. Well, maybe you don't want to update all of those photographs. Maybe you want them to stay as they are, or on the other hand, perhaps you want to update them in order to take advantage of the latest and greatest technology, in order to be able to process those images more effectively. Well, let's take a look at how we could update a photograph.
Well, here what we could do is we could choose a few options. I am going to turn Review Changes via Before/After off, because there is actually a better way to do that than this checkbox. Next, what I am going to do is to simply click Update. Now, once I click Update, watch these panels over here, or these sliders in the Basic panel. Okay, I am clicking Update. What we're going to see over here is that these controls, well, they've changed. You also may have noticed that the image changed slightly. Well, how did it change? Well, a great way to see the before and after here is to press the Backslash key.
That Backslash key shows us the before, press it again, and then the after. Another way to access this before and after type of view is to press the Y key. The Y key allows us to compare images in an interesting way. You can also click on the icon in your toolbar to change this split kind of a view of your photograph, and sometimes a split view can help you see some of the differences with the processing. Now, in order to turn this off, I am going to go ahead and press the Y key again to exit out of that Before/After view.
So in this case, I have successfully updated this image to the latest processing version. Well, let's say that I select another image. I click on another one in the filmstrip. I want to update this photograph as well. How could I do that? Well, you can also update a picture by navigating to the Settings pulldown menu, and then by selecting Update to the Current Process version. Here it is; 2012. So again, that would do the same thing that we just did. Another way to do the same exact thing is to scroll all the way down to the Camera Calibration panel.
In the Camera Calibration panel, we have the Process version. I can change this by simply clicking here on this menu, and choosing 2012. And again, all of these do the same exact thing; there are just three different ways to work with this in order to update the process version. Well, let's say that after we have updated a few images, we've decided we want to update the whole folder. We want all of these pictures to be up to date; to be using the latest process version. Well, you can always click on one image, whatever folder you're inside of.
For that matter, you could be inside of the main folder for your entire catalog and do this. It could be a small folder, or a big folder; either way. Whatever pictures you see in the filmstrip, you can update at one time. To do that, click on the warning icon, and then simply click on the button, Update All Filmstrip Photos. It's going to then take all of those photographs, and it's going to update those to the latest processing version. And again, this is a great way to update a group of pictures. So now back to you. What are you going to do in your own workflow? Well again, that really depends.
It depends on how you process your photographs, and what you want to do with them. For most people in typical scenarios, you are going to leave your older images as is, and then only update those pictures as needed, as you're working on them, if you want to see if you can process them in new ways. And then moving forward, of course, all of your images coming into Lightroom by default, they will have that latest process version on. Now, of course all of these decisions in regards to how to work with legacy files, well it's completely up to you.
It's completely up to your own workflow, and your own preference. And my hope is that this brief movie has given you some information, and insight which will help you make the correct decision as you evaluate how to work with your own legacy files.
- Improving tone, color, and contrast with the Basic panel
- Adjusting hue, saturation, and lightness with the HSL controls
- Performing local edits using the adjustment brush
- Converting to black and white
- Split toning to create a sepia tone
- Understanding sharpening
- Correcting distortion
- Removing chromatic aberration
- Adding or correcting vignettes
- Using the post-crop controls
- Adding film grain effects
- Understanding camera calibration in Lightroom