Whats the diff between Photoshop and Lightroom?

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by ottor, May 6, 2009.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have Photoshop 3 ... Just curious what Lightroom provides that PS doesn't? I see posts where the photo started in Lightroom, and then they moved over to Photoshop to finish the PP ... :confused: ??

    thanks,
     
  2. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I think it has to do with dealing with RAW files-lightroom is like the darkroom where you process the photos, turn them into usable files like JPEG, and then you use Photoshop..
     
  3. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    Lightroom provides a lot of organizational and workflow advantages that Photoshop does not have-- mainly that it makes for an easy way to organize a catalog of work and makes it much simpler to go through images and flag those you wish to edit, then edit them, while discarding or simply shuffling away those that you don't want to edit.

    The best way to figure it out for yourself is to download a trial version and play with it for a while-- what works for some won't be ideal for others, so you may love it or hate it.

    I have moved away from using LR as an organzational tool, however, because I found it much simpler to construct my own file organization methods. Like I said, it's entirely your call and is based on what you find suits you best. That said, do find a systematic method of organization, I speak from experience when I say that it's a huge pain to have to go back and search through badly organized and badly labeled folders dating back several years.
     
  4. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is nothing lightroom does that you cannot do in photoshop other than organizing and arranging your photo files. Although you may prefer the work flow.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Lightroom is more of a 'workflow' software. It was designed with the purpose of allowing a photographer to quickly process and organize a large number of images, quickly and efficiently. The newer version of Lightroom (2) has added more image editing tools, so that you can do some image editing, but it's still not a full replacement for Photoshop as an image editor.
    For example, in Lightroom you can adjust the exposure, brightness, contrast, color, sharpness etc. You can crop, add borders, vignettes etc. You can print and even create print package pages. You can create slide shows or web galleries. You can organize your photos, tagging them, flagging them, giving them ratings in stars or colors and also give them key words for easy searching.
    You can do all of that in Photoshop & Bridge but I think Lightroom makes it a very simple process.

    The major (but sort of behind the scenes) difference between Photoshop and Lightroom is the way they work with your image files. Photoshop is pretty standard in that you open a file, make your changes then save the file. Probably saving a copy of the file and leaving the RAW (or original JPEG) files untouched. You might also save copies for printing, and for uploading to the web etc. It wasn't uncommon for me to have 4 or 5 copies of many of my images.

    Lightroom, on the other hand, has a non-destructive, database style workflow. You 'import' the images, which basically tells Lightroom where the files are and what they look like. Then you can do anything you want to them in Lightroom...the files aren't moved or copied (unless you want) and the actual edits to the image are not applied to the image files themselves (thus non-destructive). The edit settings are saved in a 'sidecar' file, so you can go back and undo or change anything, as many times as you want. When you are ready to do something with the files, you 'output' them in exactly the format that you want.

    You can also use LR and PS together. From Lightroom, if you need to do some editing that requires Photoshop, you can just click 'Edit in... and open the file in Photoshop, then save it back into Lightroom and continue with your workflow. You can also create collections in Lightroom and open them directly into certain parts of Photoshop. For example, if you want to create a stitched panoramic image from several files. You just take those files in Lightroom and there is a command to export them into Photoshop's stitching utility. Same thing for HDR.

    Yes, there are some people who start in Lightroom and finish in PS. There are plenty of things that Photoshop can do, that Lightroom can't. After all, Photoshop is the most comprehensive image editing program around. Lightroom is geared more for Photographers and gives them most of the tools that they require on a regular basis.
     
  6. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    ^^^Don't forget that Photoshop's ACR uses the sidecar file format as well^^^

    Yes-- if you are not using LR2 to sort/organize and pick your selects, then it does not hold many advantages over CS4. However, it is a much cheaper way to get access to the latest incarnation of Adobe Camera Raw.

    --I have moved from LR/LR2 to a much more intricate workflow using Photo Mechanic, Capture One 4, and Photoshop- like I said, it's entirely a matter of what works best for you. Do try a trial of Capture One (I'm referring to the regular, not pro version, so ~$100 rather than ~$500!), it's a very powerful converter that is an alternative option to ACR, and well worth trying out.
     

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