#CreativeFriday – Using Lightroom and Photoshop to Edit your Photos

The Creative Cloud Photography bundle offers the Photographer even more flexibility when it comes to editing their photographs and opportunities to make their images look even more amazing. Integration between the two products is a key benefit and is re-enforced with this bundle. The integration is not new and has been in place some time now, however, with the release of the Photography bundle and the ongoing updates to the Creative Cloud, this integration has become much stronger and offers even more possibilities to make images look even more beautiful.


The typical workflow between the two solutions is to let Lightroom render it’s adjustments and take the results into Photoshop. This is a great and well defined workflow, however, it does not offer an option to re-edit the Lightroom adjustments from within Photoshop. The integration between Lightroom and Photoshop in the Photography bundle has become much more flexible, by making use of Photoshop Smart Objects. The ability to open a Smart Object from Lightroom into Photoshop is not unique to the Photography bundle, but, there has been a number of significant improvements to the workflow and the ability to use more Photoshop Filters in a non destructive way on Smart Objects as well as the traditional adjustment layers.


With traditional Photoshop workflows, any Lightroom / Photoshop adjustment(s) had to be rasterised early in the workflow and reduced the options for any non-destructive work. There are classic ways of editing images in Photoshop and work a rounds to try create a non destructive process, however, this can result in workflows with a large number of layers and committing to adjustments early in the workflow with no way to re-edit previous enhancements.


The Creative Cloud Photography bundle, offers new workflows for the photographer to embrace a true non-destructive workflow, without having to commit to adjustments early in the process. Images now can be saved with all of their Lightroom or Camera RAW adjustments in tact, with supported ways to re-edit the original RAW adjustments from Camera RAW or from Lightroom. This new workflow is a savior for anybody that is wanting to tweak, enhance and re-tweak their pictures to get the best result at any time in the process.


To demonstrate this, here is a picture that I took in Bhutan. I like the way that the monks are running up and down the stairs, carrying food and other items, I think it nicely shows part of the Buddhists monks way of life. However, there are a few issues that I would like to solve, and after all, both Lightroom and Photoshop are tools to help fix any photographic problems with the picture. First of all, when I took the picture I was stood to the right of the scene, this angle has created awkward result. Also, to me the monk disappearing out of the frame is not something in my opinion that helps the photograph. Of course all of these issues might not be what you would look to fix in the photograph.


The objective of this walk through is to show the integration of image editing between Lightroom and Photoshop and another way to open pictures, keep the Lightroom adjustments active and create a non destructive workflow for any future enhancements.


N.B. This walkthrough uses the 2014 release of Photoshop CC.



Initial adjustments can be made in the Development module of Lightroom, we don’t need to worry if the results are not exactly what we are looking for, as we can modify them later once our work is inside Photoshop.



To enable the non-destructive workflow and the powerful features of Photoshop CC, the RAW image will need to be opened into Photoshop, and in the mean time keeping our Lightroom changes so that we can work on them later. Instead of using the ‘Edit in Adobe Photoshop’ option in Lightroom (CMD (Mac)+E or CTRL (PC)+E), the option ‘Open as Smart Object in Photoshop’ will be used. This menu option can be reached by right clicking on the image in the film strip or the middle window, or by using menu item ‘Photo / Edit in / Open as Smart Object in Photoshop’


Once in Photoshop you will see the same single layer result as in a traditional workflow. The difference is the small icon in the bottom right hand corner of the image on the layer. This icon denotes that a Smart Object is in use. The Smart Object is effectively a container, which is storing Photoshop Objects. In this example the Smart Object is holding the RAW file as well as the Lightroom adjustments (in the form of metadata). The Smart Object could also contain layers, masks, video as well as any other Photoshop object.


To access the contents, just double click on the image on the layer. Before the contents are opened in this example, a Photoshop Adjustment layer will be added to make an enhancement to the photograph.




Photoshop adjustment layers are accessed from the Layer menu option and are placed above the layer that is selected in the layers pallet.



The curves adjustment layer has been applied (as shown below) and the image has had a simple ’S’ curve applied to it (The ’S’ curve will deepen the shadows and lift the highlights, adding contrast to the image).




Even though the curves layer is applied to the image, the contents of the Smart Object can still be accessed by double clicking the original Smart Object layer. This action will open the Camera RAW filter and allow modifications to the original Lightroom edits. The values in Camera RAW interface will be the same as from the initial settings in Lightroom (both Lightroom and Camera RAW share the same technology).  The usual features in Camera RAW (Lightroom) are also available in this dialog, including lens corrections, radial filters, adjustment brushes, split tone, etc.



Once adjustments have been made/refined and OK has been pressed in the Camera RAW dialog, Camera RAW adjustments will then be re-applied to the Photoshop Smart Object layer. The Smart Object will always show the final result of its contents.




Previous to Photoshop CC only a few of the available Filters could be applied to a Smart Object and used in a non-destructive workflow. In Photoshop CC almost all of the Filters can be used on the Smart Object and provide a re-editable, non-destructive enhancement to the photograph.  Photoshop Filters can be found under the Filter menu item.



The Filter to be used in this example and one that will fix the perspective is the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter. To use this Filter, lines are drawn across the image, in both the horizontal and vertical positions, where required. This will tell Photoshop where in the image the straight lines are. If there was any barrel distortion (including fish eye lenses or wide angle lenses), then the lines that are draw will follow inherent lens curvature and Photoshop will draw a curved line instead of a straight one. For each line there is an option to right click and pull up a dialog that will straighten out and fix to the vertical/horizontal.



Once the correction(s) have been made, the result will be sent back to Photoshop and shown on the original Smart Object layer. Notice the Curves adjustment layer is still in place above the original Smart Object layer. The Filter is applied to the Smart Object and will be positioned underneath it (as shown below). The Filter adjustment will be created with a mask, the mask can be used to show/hide parts of the filter effect. Also, using the eye icons that are next to the mask, the filters can be turned. The filter adjustments can be re-edited by double clicking on the filter.



Everything at this point is re-editable including the curves adjustment, original RAW edits from Lightroom as well as the Adaptive Wide Angle, all by double clicking on the relevant object.



Once back in Photoshop the crop tool can be used to trim the picture up and remove the monk from the edge. The Crop inside Photoshop CC as well as Photoshop CS6 has the non-destructive crop feature. The non-destructive crop feature has a small icon on the tool bar which can be used to control the removal of pixels after the crop. In this example, the pixels will not be removed and can be re-edited at any time (this option may also be marked as ‘Delete Cropped Pixels’ on the crop toolbar).



Once the Photoshop file is saved (CTRL (PC)+S / (CMD (Mac)+S) the result will be placed in the same location as the original RAW file and will also appear next to the original file inside Lightroom.



Once the PSD file is inside Lightroom, it can stay there an be part of the search/index system and can be found during the Lightroom filtering process. If the PSD file needs to be re-opened inside Photoshop then the regular CTRL (PC)+E/CMD (Mac)+E keystroke can be used to send it to Photoshop. Additional Lightroom adjustments can be made inside Lightroom at this point and re-opened using the Edit a copy with Lightroom Adjustments (remember that Lightroom will never modify an original file). However, the benefit of having the Camera RAW filter inside Photoshop means that adjustments at this stage in Lightroom are no longer required, the file can be simply opened into Photoshop and made using the Smart Objects and Camera RAW filter. This approach can make the editing process non destructive even after the Photoshop file has been saved.




Once the file is opened as the original from Lightroom, then the file will be opened from where it was left.



If in Camera RAW, the PSD file can be opened by using the ‘Open With – Photoshop CC’.








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