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Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Lesson 11 of 36

Use Lightroom with Photoshop

Dave Cross

Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

11. Use Lightroom with Photoshop

Lesson Info

Use Lightroom with Photoshop

Let's talk about, continue the discussion of starting with a Raw file and its inherent benefits of that beautiful ability to make adjustments in a non-destructive way in either Camera Raw or Lightroom. The process is virtually the same. It's just slightly different of how you get there. So I have just a few images in Lightroom because I didn't want to burden us with a whole huge amount of images, but basically, of course, the big difference with Lightroom is you can have multiple folders of libraries with all your images, et cetera, but ultimately, eventually, we still say, I wanna work on this photograph, so I go to the develop module, and if you look at the right-hand side, the settings in the develop module are exactly the same as Camera Raw. So there's no difference. They're the same. Adobe calls it same engine. Runs both. So it's not like if you've used Camera Raw, you'll be lost in Lightroom or vice-versa. It's the same thing. Now there's other peripheral things that are differen...

t, but in terms of just how you work on the photograph, it's the same thing, and it has the same benefit where you don't need to know should I use levels or curves or some other Photoshop command? I just want to adjust the exposure, contrast, et cetera. So I'll just make some change so you can see I did something. And then once I'm finished in Lightroom, now I need to transport this over to Photoshop if I want to do selective work. I mean, and let me be clear about this: I might look at this photograph and say that's exactly what I want, and there's no reason to go to Photoshop. If that's my end result then I can just export as a .jpg directly from here, no reason to touch Photoshop. The reasons for Photoshop are selective work, adding type, things that you want more control over. That's where you go to Photoshop. You can do what I would consider basic retouching in either Lightroom or Raw, so removing a little speck here and there, but to have more control, and certainly for things like I want this whole sky to be more vibrant because it's not just a nice, straight line, that, to me, is a job for Photoshop. So I'm going to assume in this case that I want to do something like that, so I need to get this into Photoshop. So I'm in Lightroom, I go into Photo menu, and there's a thing that says "Edit in Photoshop CC 2017," and it did that automatically, because it just knows that's the version of Photoshop I had. If I had Photoshop CC 2014, that's what it would say. So that happens automatically. Then it's gonna say, well, let me apply those settings that you've done in Lightroom and then open it in Photoshop. And at this point we have to imagine this as if we just opened a .jpg, because all those Raw settings reside in Lightroom. This is that same concept of Lightroom is now our negative and this is a print. So if we ever want to adjust the overall things, we go back to where the negative exists in the Raw editor. So the Camera Raw and Lightroom both work the same way in that respect. That's where you make the editing adjustments to them. So at this point then I could use whatever Photoshop operation. I wanna brighten the sky, I wanna do this area using the methods we'll continue to talk about, like adjustment layers and things of that nature. The only kind of slightly different trick, if you will, coming out of Camera Raw, there's no such thing as like a library. Camera Raw just says I'll open whatever Raw file you tell me to, whereas Lightroom by nature has this whole library function, like a database of images, so if I want to keep it together, meaning I wanna make some change here, so I'll just do something, again, for the purpose of demonstration so you can see that I've made some change to it. If I now say, okay, I'm done, I'm gonna close and save it. One of the online students asked before, when you go to save a file, where does it save? In this case it saves in a very specific place because it knows that it came from Lightroom from this particular library, so it will save it back to Lightroom in that same library. So I don't have to do anything. Because it started in Lightroom, it will go back to Lightroom, so that happens automatically when I close and save it. Even though I'm saving ultimately a .psd file, if I go to Lightroom, you'll see there's the version right there, and it actually is showing me... Here's, there we go. See how the file name says -Edit? So now that's the version that I did in Photoshop, so I have two different versions now. By default Lightroom likes to use .tif files, which is okay, because in this instance I know that this .tif file is my layered version because the one beside it is the Raw file. So they're completely independent. The Raw file I can still continue to edit the way I did before. It hasn't changed. The version I brought into Photoshop, I then added onto, so you still have to think negative and print, it's just now the printed version I've added more things in Photoshop, but for people who use Lightroom, this is a nice ability that it does that automatically. You don't have to say, oh wait, where's my, because most people have no idea where their Lightroom catalog actually resides on their computer, and you don't have to, because you opened it from Lightroom, so when you save it, it saves it back into that Lightroom catalog. But other than that, the same principles apply. You would use this Lightroom develop module the same way as Camera Raw to do what I would consider global editing, overall stuff, and then if you need to, bring it into Photoshop. It's not a requirement. A lot of people, landscape photographers might do 80 or 90% of their work only in Lightroom because the way they've taken the photograph they just need to say let me just make it more vibrant overall. Okay, I'm good. Yeah, then you're done. So there's no rule that says you have to use both, but my rule of thumb is, as soon as you start thinking to yourself I need to now edit this area or this portion or that sky and not the whole thing, to me it's much easier in Photoshop to do that. And just so you know, the reason I say that is both Lightroom and Camera Raw have an adjustment brush, which in theory lets you adjust in certain areas by brushing. My experience has been that it's not as accurate as using selection tools in Photoshop, and most people who have used that tool I think would agree it's also a little slower. Meaning you move the brush to start adjusting the sky, and when you watch, it's actually, I go like this, and then the brush goes hold on a second, I'm almost finished, so it's not exactly the most intuitive way to do things because you're waiting for things to happen. And especially if you have things like a sky with trees and you're trying to get inside the leaves or something. That's a job for Photoshop. And that's why they both exist in my opinion, because they both have their strengths. So you'll meet people who'll say I only use Lightroom. Sure. Fair enough. And that's great if they can do that. I like the fact that I have the ability, if I need to, to also put Photoshop into the picture as well. Okay, now, I wanna show you one other little twist on this. It's a little more unusual, but it's an interesting possibility. What I've showed you so far was in both cases Camera Raw and Lightroom doing that whole negative print thing so it's a one shot deal. It's a one-way street from the Raw editor into Photoshop. There's another interesting possibility which some people like, which is to create a two-way street, so you can go back and forth between your Raw editor and Photoshop, and in some instances that's kind of interesting. So the way you do that, I'm gonna show you in Camera Raw because it's easier. Okay, don't look. (chuckling) Normally when you're in Camera Raw, the little button down in the bottom corner says "Open Image," which is this one-way street, which means whatever you've done in Raw, apply those settings, open in Photoshop, the end. And there's no further relationship. Down here at the very bottom, you see where that's that thing that says, let me just turn off this annoying... Adobe keeps wanting to update Acrobat for me. I wish there was a, "No thank you. "You don't have to ever ask me again" button. Unfortunately there isn't. So at the bottom there's this little thing that looks like information. It says Adobe RGB 1998, et cetera, et cetera. This, with all due respect to Adobe, is the worst interface design in the history of software in my opinion. 'Cause that looks like it's just information. It's actually a really important button that should be called "I'm really important. Click here." Because some really important stuff is in there. It's actually all these workflow options that a lot of people don't realize that's what that is. When you click on it, it brings up this really important dialogue box that talks about things like color space, and sharpening, and all these other things, but to me, also very importantly, down here at the bottom, there's this checkbox that says "Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects." The key word in this is smart. This just means that this is gonna work in a smarter way. Instead of being a one-way street from Raw to Photoshop, I'll have the ability to go back and forth. I love the way I can edit my files in Raw with all those sliders, so I'd like to keep doing that. Instead of being a one-time thing, I'd like to keep doing it. So here's how that works. So let's make, I'll make it even worse in terms of exposure just to show you. So I do whatever I'm gonna do in Raw, and then I hit "Open Object." Used to say "Open Image." It's a subtle difference. And it's even more subtle in Photoshop, because if you look over here where it used to say "background." There we go. Now it doesn't. It just says the name of the file, and there's this little icon on the corner of the thumbnail, which is, probably not officially says this, but in my mind, it says "I am smart." So that means I can get back to Camera Raw from it at any time. It's not a one-way street anymore. So what that means is I could do things we'll talk about later on in Photoshop. Like I could, I don't know, scale it and rotate it and so on, but then I do all this Photoshop work and I realize, yeah, it's still too dark though. And in the first scenario when it was that one-way street, oh well, I can't edit it, but because that smartness means I can still access the original information, all I have to do is double-click on it right on that thumbnail. It goes back to Camera Raw, so now I have all these wonderful options to adjust all these great settings that I love. Do whatever I want, click okay, and then it updates in Photoshop, but preserves whatever I've done in Photoshop. So, to me, this is kinda like the best of both worlds, 'cause now I have the ability to take advantage of the easy editing in Raw because of those nice sliders, but then when I bring it into Photoshop, I can still build on top with Photoshop-style work, including selecting the sky and doing things we'll about as we progress, knowing that underneath it I haven't abandoned the Raw file yet. So it's not something that you do every day, but there are circumstances, for example, let's imagine you took a portrait of someone and you deliberately made it very dark. You know, it's a very dark kind of look. Or they have dark hair and you made it all very dark, but then you decided you want to try to cut them out of that photo, well, you can't now see where their head is because their hair is dark and so is the background. It's kind of like, I can't see anything. So what you could potentially do in that scenario is temporarily, because it's non-destructive, in Raw, really overexpose it so the photograph looks horrible, but you can see the outline of their head now, come into Photoshop, make that selection, once it's done, go back to Raw and put it back the way it was. So that's another one of those non-destructive things that also helps us for things like accuracy. Because I've watched people who have a photograph of a man in a white lab coat standing against a white wall and they're desperately trying to figure out how can I select the edge of his arm when I can't see it? And I'm like, why don't you temporarily make it look bad so that you can see the edge of their arm? So that's kind of that, you know, you may remember one of the other principles I talked about this morning was that whole "end up with." That meant I was willing to temporarily make the photograph look worse to serve a purpose, which was to help me end up with a better result. So some people look at that and go, well, what do you mean? I'm like, it's all about the end result. So if I have to get there by deliberately making it look worse, just make sure your client doesn't come in that particular moment, because they're gonna be like, "What are you doing? "It looks terrible!" I'm like, "Wait, I'm not finished yet," and I can do that now because of this Raw live, they call it Camera Raw smart object, but really just think of it as a two-way editing street between Photoshop and Camera Raw. Like many things in Adobe World, once I had to go and turn off that checkbox, 'cause I have it always on, 'cause I always want to have the ability to go back and forth. Just makes life easier. Now, as we will find out later, there's a small price to be paid for this, because when this document that I've now opened is this thing called a smart object. Because it's, in effect, protected inside this special container, you will find that, if I take any tool that does things like painting or whatever, I'll get this little symbol that says you can't do that because you can't actually click on a smart object. So as we'll see, there's a way around that, but I don't want anyone to try it right away and go hey, what's happening? I can't do anything anymore. You have to be prepared. There's still a way to get around it, but you just have to be prepared for that. If you went to use the healing brush or the clone stamp tool, none of them will work directly on the image 'cause technically it actually resides in Camera Raw. We're just looking at it in Photoshop. But once you get around that, this is a huge advantage to be able to have all that beautiful editing ability of Raw, non-destructive by nature, so if you were one of those people that's like I'm not sure I'm getting how I can work non-destructively, this is the easiest way, 'cause it's not a choice, it just happens. Every other one, you have to be actively, okay, I need to remember to use this method, whereas raw editing this way, it happens by nature, okay? So if I save after being in Photoshop then decide to make another edit in Lightroom, can I then open and see the layers in Photoshop, or will it flatten the file? No, if you do that, so you start in Lightroom, you edit in Photoshop, you add a layer and hit save, technically it's a layered file in Lightroom. So then when you edit in Photoshop, it automatically, you're just gonna say, edit the original, 'cause that's the one with the file, okay? So what about Lightroom? Can we be smarter in Lightroom? Well, you can, with a bit of a twist that usually makes people go like when my dog is... I say something, he goes huh? It's kinda like that happens. 'Cause people are like, wait, time out. So you saw before in Lightroom, I said edit in Photoshop, and I did that kind of one-way street thing. If I look down here, there's that smart word again. It says "Open as Smart Object in Photoshop." So, actually, let me do this. Before I do that let me make another bad adjustment. So you can see I'm at like -150, so we go back here, and we choose "Edit In," "Open as Smart Object in Photoshop." So it does the same thing. We've got that nice little smart object little gizmo. I can do the same thing I did before. Make some change, (mumbling) my Photoshop work. But now I wanna edit the Lightroom settings, and this is where things go off the rails a little bit in most people's head. (chuckles) 'Cause you're probably thinking, oh, I bet you just double-click on the thumbnail, it jumps back to Lightroom. No. That would be too easy. Instead, when you double click on the Lightroom raw smart object, of course it goes back to Camera Raw, 'cause, you know, why wouldn't it? Just to make our life more challenging. But it's got exactly the same settings. So if you look, remember, I changed the exposure to -150, it's still there. So you just have to get your head around that when you start in Lightroom and you come in as a smart object, if you wanna edit, it takes a slight detour to Camera Raw to do the actual editing of the file. Still the same functionality in terms of how it works, it just throws people off the first time where they're expecting it to jump back to Lightroom and it just can't at this point. Down the road that may change, but right now, so, what it means though, is when I make this change in Raw, ultimately when I save this file back into my Lightroom catalog it'll update because it's the same information. So I understand that probably was like, people were like, what the heck just happened here? This takes a bit of getting used to, and the main reason I show it at such an early stage in people's Photoshop career is in an effort to show you the ways that are gonna give you the most flexibility. Some people will look at this and say I can't see myself ever doing that 'cause it's a little too complex for me. It seems like it is, but it's like anything else, if you do it, depending on your personality, anywhere from three to 17 times, you'll be like, okay, got it. I remember working with a student one-on-one once and I showed her this, and she was like, "Nope." And like, by the end of the day, she was like, "That's so cool. I can use that all the time," and it was just because we went through it enough times, and she was kinda like, wait, so we actually got a piece of paper and went Lightroom, Photoshop, Camera Raw, Photoshop, Lightroom. She was like, "(sighing) K." (chuckles) So I understand. It's very different. But for Lightroom users, this is my favorite way of going from Lightroom to Photoshop, 'cause it embodies everything. All the advantages of Lightroom, and that two-way street just happens to be a two-way street with a slight detour into Camera Raw. Okay, so I don't wanna spend too much time on that, because I understand it's a little confusing at first, but the main message I wanna get across is if you're new to Photoshop and you're struggling with what's the difference between curves and levels and all these other things under the adjustment menu, raw editing is easier. Whether it's Lightroom or Camera Raw, sliders that make perfect sense are just easier. Also, two things that Photoshop doesn't currently have built in: clarity, which is in both raw editors, which is fantastic, and de-haze, which is... I almost used an expletive to say how great it was. Awesome. It's like I'd look at that, I'm like, how did I ever live without this thing called de-haze? You ever have photos that are just a little bit foggy, hazy, and move a slider, and it just, it fixes it. And there's nothing in Photoshop that is the same. So if nothing else, you wanna use raw editing for those type of situations, but really wonderful way to work for sure.

Class Description

Join Dave Cross in this beginner friendly class starting at the very basics with Adobe® Photoshop® CC. You’ll learn how to begin navigating the software and what the best practices and work habits are to approach different projects.

Dave will cover:

  • Working non destructively on your files
  • How to resize, crop, and straighten images
  • Using layers with basic layer examples
  • Adding text, color, and painting to images
  • How to retouch and adjust images using selections and masks
  • Learn how to use the tools you need to create the image you want. Dave will demonstrate using sample workflows that take you through projects from start to finish.

Don't have Adobe Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Quick Notes Guide

Landscape Image for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait Missing Element for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait With Element for Practice Edit

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.