How to create smart visualizations in Lightroom


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Mar 1, 2021
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Welcome to the world of Maya, where everything is an illusion. Nothing is as it seems, but you have to trust. This is how the day-to-day life of those who work with software that optimizes visualization is like this. Learn how to create smart visualizations in Lightroom , don't get stuck on your external hard drive and gain in performance.


What are smart visualizations

  • Smart images are another visualization style in which Lightroom will render files in a RAW format that is allowed to be shared in high quality on Whatsapp GB, importing this visual image into a catalog without requiring any exposure with physical files on your HD.
  • Simply put, regardless of the chosen view (Minimum, Embedded or auxiliary, Standard and 1: 1), if you do not check this option together, Lightroom will always seek some kind of contact with the physical file.

This means that if the file is opened at another time and the photos are on an external HD, if it is not connected, a question will appear and the program will ask you to relink the images. Otherwise, he is unable to work. Something similar happens with those who live their day-to-day work in InDesign.

Advantages of using smart visualization
When you check the "Smart View" option in the "File Handling" tab, you will be using a view that is independent of the physical file. Forgetting HD at home will not be a drama in your day.
  • Eliminates the need to contact the physical file all the time;
  • The program works faster.
Creating Smart Views in Lightroom
  1. “Edit” menu> “Preferences”;
  2. In the “Performance” tab, mark in “Disclosure” the option “Use Smart Views instead of original images to edit the images”;
  3. Click "OK".

Remembering that the expected result in terms of image quality will remain the same. The visualization that may be slightly impaired. But don't worry, that's right, your images will preserve quality and maximum size.

How to create Smart Views in an imported photo set
Did you hear about this tip in the middle of a work in progress? There's still time. Just follow these steps:
  1. Select all photos in the set;
  2. Menu "Library"> "Views"> "Create Smart Views".
The work was great, everything was approved, now it's time to check out, export the images. Once Smart Views are created, you can give your HD up to date, but never goodbye. To export, re-plug your hard drive to relink your images and output smoothly. Now, leave the option always checked and let your machine run smoothly.
Last edited:
Very good.
I use Classic, where image previews regardless of size are only used in the Library Module. You can use a Smart Preview in the Develop Module if you create it, otherwise LR creates a brand new 1:1 image, when you first open in the Develop Module. LR updates the Smart Preview or newly generated full size image and your catalog every time you make an edit. The problem with editing a smart preview is the size limitation when drilling down in editing. Smart Previews are aimed at users who want to make edits with less than full sized images while traveling, not for use on your desktop main editing machine. I've tried them and much prefer editing a 1:1.

A Smart Preview is essentially an Adobe DNG file resized to no more than 2,540 pixels on the long side, with a file size of roughly 1MB. Doesnt sound like a lot but consider that every 1000 images would consume 1GB. Many like myself run an SSD as our primary drive so space becomes an issue. For speed the software, catalog and the preview file needs to reside on the same drive. With my setup I can quickly generate a 1:1 of only the ones I need, and discard it to save space after a defined period. As the LRCAT is the repository of all editing commands (not the preview), I consider said previews a disposable (use, discard, rebuild if needed). Unlike Smart Previews where you have one of everything for ever.

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