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  • non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

    hello, I read this forum for a few months, this is my first post here

    I use Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Collection. I have few years of experience in photography and huge collection of photos, I need to organize everything to make my workflow as non-destructive as possible.

    My plan is to store photos in 3 main folders:

    1) originals - all RAW files
    2) retouching - PSD files with RAW as smart-object, then adjustment layers, dodge/burn, smart filters
    3) finished - TIFF files

    The first stage is already accomplished. I pushed LR postprocessing to the limit. I can do a lot with wb/curves/hsb/toning. I miss layers - so I could peform curves more than once or use masks.

    The second stage can be acomplished in PS - I can send image from LR to PS as smart object, then I am free to use adjustment layers, smart filters (like color efex pro) and even dodge/burn (as gray layer or curve layers), then I store everything as PSD and I can reopen it later and change everything in non-destructive way: I can disable any layer, I can edit camera-raw settings I can change control points in Nik.

    The third stage are full scale, 16-bit, flat images exported from PS. They can be edited further, but it’s not possible to go back. They are just flat single layer images without more info inside.

    The biggest problem right now is how to use clone/healing brush. I don’t mean skin softening, I mean fixing most visible issues on skin but also stuff in background which can be distracting. My initial idea was to perform this type of retouching at the end, in the “finished” stage. However, I realized it doesn’t work this way. It’s best to do all color correction, dodge/burn and effects on “clean” image.

    If I will do initial clone/healing in PS, then I will lose my camera raw smart object - for instance if I move back to camera raw and make my photo brighter - the cloned layer will not match the current background layer.

    I can do non-destructive healing in LR just like I did in the past, but it’s very limited when compared to PS.

    I can do clone/healing in last stage, but then I will need to repeat it after each change in the future. And photos in my second stage will be “dirty”.

    Also the whole idea of frequency separation requires images which are not smart objects, am I right? Or is it possible to do frequency separation as smart filter?

    What are your experiences with non destructive workflow?

    PS. Is it possible to peform Lightroom adjustments (including healing brush) twice on same image and store everything non destructive in PSD? I know I can call LR on TIFF exported from LR, but I can call LR on smart object as smart filter in PS?

  • #2
    Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

    I Think you would benefit from the non destructive workflow shown at the link below. It uses Camera Raw, but Lightroom works the same way,where you can export as a smart object to Photoshop.

    Http://www.theartofretouching.com/smart-objects-rp

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

      hi John,

      I watched your video titled "Smart Objects Inside Smart Objects" and it was exactly about what I asked - you cloned on camera raw output, and then you changed camera raw settings.

      But as you said in the video - the old way to resolve that problem was to add another layer over clone layer and make everything darker instead going to camera raw again. And the "new way" seems to work same way. There is an old camera raw smart object, which we can't touch anymore, and there is a new camera raw object, which has cloning already applied. So what's the reason to have this old camera raw smart object? It's not really smart anymore - we can't do anything with it. We could use plain image instead and the result will be same.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

        Ok, here is my suggestion (actually is Calvin Hollywood style).
        When you open in PS as Smart object, you can do a new layer and then rename as Retouch layer. Then on this layer you do all healing stuffs, cloning all retouching. In this way you can have nondestructive method also on healing/cloning.
        Hope this help.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

          Originally posted by lvalics View Post
          Ok, here is my suggestion (actually is Calvin Hollywood style).
          When you open in PS as Smart object, you can do a new layer and then rename as Retouch layer. Then on this layer you do all healing stuffs, cloning all retouching. In this way you can have nondestructive method also on healing/cloning.
          Hope this help.
          When you do heal/clone on new layer and then you change something in smart object you will notice that your heal/clone doesn't match anymore. This is visible on video I mentioned in previous post.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

            That is true, if you use Camera Raw as a Smart Object, and then a Cloning Layer on top, the Cloning Layer is a problem, if you alter the Smart Object (Raw) below it.

            One Work around is any color corrections should be Adjustment Layers above everything, so those will overlay the cloning, and Smart Object. But you are right, it is no longer very smart.

            The other work around (as shown in the video) is to turn the smart object, and the cloning layer into a new smart object, and then use Camera Raw Filter on the new smart object.

            But, at the end of the day, once you clone, you have no way to edit the smart object. It will not forward that information onto the clone layer. I suspect in a future update, they will allow for layer linking, where it will allow updates to clone layers. However, I am not an engineer, and do not know the complexity behind it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

              Now, yeas, this is indeed possible, but now on RAW you do probably a few small readjust.
              Here I see a possible workaround. You can also the retouch edit layer in RAW filter and apply the same settings ... depends on settings you touch on RAW file.
              The other option, more better one I think, is to do the corrections in layer adjustments or with tools in Photoshop.
              Also a 3rd workaround can be that let's say you work on a hair and have done some retouching on whole image, then you edit the original RAW. Before do this, create a copy via "New smart object via copy", then edit it, let's say the hair, as you want, then mask it the hair to show on new layer and the rest will be untouched.
              I saw this way of editing by a russian girl if I remember well, she have done a beauty retouch for the same image, by around 5-6 layers with same RAW file, copied like I mentioned and in this way for each part, eyes, skin, hair etc had the 100% control over it, but it is require a lot of masking.
              Regards.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                Originally posted by lvalics View Post
                edit layer in RAW filter and apply the same settings
                This does not work, sadly. When you try, it will set the values to all "0".

                So you need to know the exact values of any changes for it to work. If you change the exposure to +.40, then this is easy, just make the new Camera Raw Filter exposure to be +.40.

                If you do a gradient, or other Local Adjustment, then you are pretty out of luck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                  I did not tried that solution, cause usually I do not go back to edit in RAW or if I need to do it, then I do as I suggested, "New smart object via copy", then I can edit this new layer with his own settings and then masking the zone I needed.
                  Also could be a Smart Object layer and Retouch grouped together and converted into smart object. It is not a perfect solution, but in this way both layer are handled as one, but you lose I think the original raw layer properties (I think).

                  I still think "New smart object via copy" is the solution and mask then.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                    Let me ask different way. What's the point to open camera raw as smart object if I can't change its settings later, because it will break my clone/heal? Does it mean that I have to use clone/heal after I finish color correction and dodge/burn? Then I can go back to camera raw during these phases. But what if I want to remove distracting objects in the background or spots on face/body in the first place? Should I open background image standard way instead as smart object?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                      Best to think of a SO (Smart Object) as just a raw (assuming that's the original data) embedded into the original Photoshop doc, then having editing access within Photoshop using ACR. If you kept the original raw data outside the PS doc, you would not 'see' this data in the rest of the layer stack so that's useful. However, if you just did all your parametric (instruction based raw processing) first, then rendered that into Photoshop and continued, the net results would be about the same (certainly with that raw data). So nothing magical is happening with the SO in the grand scheme of things other than it's all together and now visible as a Photoshop doc (which can be a TIFF, there's no reason to ever save PSD expect if you're messing with Duotones).

                      Once you are in Photoshop proper, technically the non destructive workflow is over in terms of the data you are editing. That is, there is always rounding errors applied to those exiting numbers so it's not technically non destructive. Now if you want to call the ability to move back in history or not stamp the edits non destructive, let's define that as such. If you flatten the data, or just print it, which is the same as flattening, as far as the data going to the print driver is concerned, you've applied edits that are 'destructive'. Do it in high bit, it's rather moot (but data loss occurs). Parametric edits on raw data truly is non destructive. Until you render instructions + raw data to produce new RGB pixels, no rounding errors and no edits applied anyway. You are viewing a preview (proxie) with current instructions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                        just jump original layer and work on copy like that you have the original art work and can go back anytime retouching is destructive, adjustment layers aren't.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                          I think there is lack of clear definition what "non destructive" really means.

                          Similar problem was mentioned in this thread
                          http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...structive.html

                          To me - non destructive means that each operation can be disabled at any moment, and each parameter can be changed. For instance Lightroom (or Camera Raw) is an example of non destructive processing. Any time I can change white balance or tone curve or HSL and it won't break any other changes.

                          In many places I see opinion that working on separate layer is "non destructive" because the original layer is untouched and we can always back to it. I disagree. One can copy any image to another file and by that definition any editor will be "non destructive" because we can always open original file.

                          I can achieve non destructive workflow with following operations:
                          - adjustment layers (curves, selective color, etc)
                          - dodge/burn, gradient, textures, etc
                          - smart filters (like Nik plugins)
                          But I can't with clone/heal.

                          Let's say that I am working on image and I am done with all color correction, dodge/burn, etc.... and now I want to finish it by using clone/heal. So I spend some time on it (let's say 10 minutes). Then next day I realize that I was wrong and I need this image warmer or colder. If I change any layer under my clone/heal correction then I will need to repeat clone/heal process again (and lose 10 minutes). You can say that I can make image warmer/colder by adding new adjustment layer above clone/heal - that's right, but it means that process is not non-destructive.

                          I wasn't able to find any way for non-destructive clone/heal (except the one in LR) so to avoid this problem I think I should do clone/heal first, and then start working on color correction:
                          1) primary color correction in Lightroom, basic clone/heal if possible
                          2) move to PS
                          3) frequency separation, clone/heal
                          4) non-destructive operations
                          5) save PSD

                          In this scenarion I can always go back and change all non-destructive operations without affecting my clone/heal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                            Lets just establish that Cloning is Destructive. Unless your do it Camera Raw (and it sucks there). End of story.

                            I guess what you need to do is have a sit down with yourself, and think about your own workflow. Personally, my work is 98% Non Destructive (I can turn on/off just about anything at will). If yours is not, then think about what order of doing tasks in, can give you the best results.

                            For me, I first use Smart Objects based on RAW data, then I clone. Once I clone, I start using Adjustment Layers. If I ever need to use RAW Tools again, I suck it up, and SO the whole thing, and use a Camera Raw Filter. I hate it, but it's just the way we currently need to use it.

                            For what it's worth, reading about your workflow, it seems to be the best. The only area we disagree on is that I do not do Frequency Separation. I find it way too much trouble for the results. While I may get heat for saying that, i stick to my guns. I simply clone/heal on one or two layers, and call it a day. That has always done well for me so far.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: non destructive workflow (LR+PS+Nik)

                              Originally posted by artofretouching View Post
                              Lets just establish that Cloning is Destructive. Unless your do it Camera Raw (and it sucks there). End of story.

                              I guess what you need to do is have a sit down with yourself, and think about your own workflow. Personally, my work is 98% Non Destructive (I can turn on/off just about anything at will). If yours is not, then think about what order of doing tasks in, can give you the best results.

                              For me, I first use Smart Objects based on RAW data, then I clone. Once I clone, I start using Adjustment Layers. If I ever need to use RAW Tools again, I suck it up, and SO the whole thing, and use a Camera Raw Filter. I hate it, but it's just the way we currently need to use it.

                              For what it's worth, reading about your workflow, it seems to be the best. The only area we disagree on is that I do not do Frequency Separation. I find it way too much trouble for the results. While I may get heat for saying that, i stick to my guns. I simply clone/heal on one or two layers, and call it a day. That has always done well for me so far.
                              Not that the split isn't useful, it is for certain things but it's not used by any working pro I know of.

                              Comment

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