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Adobe Photoshop Family

54 Messages

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996 Points

Tue, Feb 11, 2020 10:04 PM

1

Lightroom Classic: Auto-synchronize from current folders listed in Library

So many newbies to LR Classic don't quite grok the folder interface, in that it only shows images that you've explicitly imported.  They don't know why Images added later to those same folders don't show up in LR.

Why not have a folder auto-synchronize process running behind the scenes, so any folder (and its subfolders) shown in the Folders panel of the Library module can immediately have new images added to the catalog, exactly where they are?

I think that would be a much more intuitive behavior for folks starting out with LR Classic.

Responses

Champion

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3.1K Messages

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56K Points

8 months ago

It's a nice idea, but it may cause more problems than it solves. What if somebody moved an image (outside of Lightroom) to another folder? I see people do that all the time. If the original folder is synced first, then that image would be removed from the catalog. Yes, it will be added again when the second folder is synced, but that means you will have lost all edits and other metadata, and the image will have been removed from all collections (so possibly also from your iPad, because it was removed from all synced collections too).

If the new folder is synced first, then Lightroom may refuse to import it because it recognises that it's a duplicate, but it also might add the image as a duplicate. Again that means you will lose all edits, metadata and collection memberships when the original folder is then synced and so the original image is then removed.

Johan W. Elzenga,

http://www.johanfoto.com

Champion

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750 Messages

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13.3K Points

8 months ago

I think this is unnecessary.  "Newbies" just need to dedicate a little time to learn Lightroom is not a file browser.  

54 Messages

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996 Points

8 months ago

Good points, for sure.

However the folder auto-synchronize could be in add-only mode, so that it never removes images from the catalog.  That would be the safest, data-loss wise.

Then the user could be prompted to use the existing "locate missing images" workflow to reconcile the problem.

In fact, perhaps Lightroom should have an additional auto-collection at the top of the Library panel for Missing Images.  I'm full of ideas today!

546 Messages

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10.7K Points

8 months ago

I'm with Johan on this one.  The idea is nice in principle, but could easily cause as much or more confusion than what's going on now.

I don't see how having auto-synchronize in an add-only mode would really help either.  No matter what, every move/add/change/delete done outside of Lr causes some issue that needs to be taken care of.

- What if a file gets renamed?
- What if a file gets replaced with another (same name, different file/image)?
- What if 10 files get deleted and 5 get added back?
- What if files are restored from a backup?
- What if a folder gets renamed?
- What about offline storage locations?  Etc.

If Lr was auto-synchronizing everything, it would need to be able to programmatically handle these and every other combination of things that could be thrown at it.  I think the amount of activity you'd have to account for and map out would get really ugly, really quickly.  At least right now, it's consistent.  If I do something outside of Lr, I know that I'm the one who has to go into Lr and tell it what I've done.

And then there's the whole performance aspect.  I'm using Lr to manage roughly 115,000 images in 1,000 folders right now.  I can only imagine the performance hit if it was trolling through those files & folders all the time looking for changes.  I want Lr to go faster, not slower!  :)

Champion

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3.1K Messages

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56K Points

8 months ago

Indeed. There are lots of things that users can do and often will wrongly, leading to ‘missing’ images. Every time we tell people that they should not try to solve this by using Synchronize Folder, because that only makes things worse. If Lightroom would do that automatically on their behalf, it would only mean more problems, not less.

Johan W. Elzenga,

http://www.johanfoto.com

Champion

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3.1K Messages

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56K Points

8 months ago

That is indeed another concern. Let’s face it. There are lots of things that users can do and often will wrongly, leading to ‘missing’ images. Every time we tell people that they should not try to solve this by using Synchronize Folder, because that only makes things worse. If Lightroom would do that automatically on their behalf, it would only mean more problems, not fewer problems. Even if Lightroom would only add images and never remove any.

Johan W. Elzenga,

http://www.johanfoto.com

54 Messages

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996 Points

8 months ago

Fair enough.  There's still a fundamental disconnect caused by showing a folder hierarchy and its contents that don't match the current state of the file system.

I've been using LR long enough to understand and appreciate why it's that way.  But I also empathize with new users who find it confusing and non-intuitive.

Champion

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750 Messages

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13.3K Points

8 months ago

New users just need to take the time the learn Lightroom in not a file browser.

54 Messages

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996 Points

But in fact it does includes a file browser that allows:
  • viewing the folder hierarchy
  • viewing the contents of folders
  • creating folders
  • moving folders
  • moving files
  • renaming folders
  • renaming files
  • deleting folders
  • deleting files
And yet Lightroom's file browser does not stay in sync with the current state of the actual file system, and we all are just so used to it that we forget how weird that is.

Again, I get why it's currently designed that way and I'm personally totally used to it.

I'm just saying it's confusing to new users and Adobe could do better without sacrificing functionality or risking data loss for its more advanced users.

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

8 months ago

That's partly what Bridge is for. Maybe they should just rename it something like Lightroom Bridge? ;)

54 Messages

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996 Points

Only if they rename Bridge to Bridge Classic :-)

Champion

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750 Messages

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13.3K Points

Good one.  : )

Adobe Administrator

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8.2K Messages

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117.5K Points

John, I will call the marketing team and see if I can get that done...
 

Adobe Photography Products

Quality Engineering - Customer Advocacy

546 Messages

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10.7K Points

Darn...you beat me to it!  You gotta throw Photoshop & CC into the name at some point too though for the full experience.

Champion

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750 Messages

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13.3K Points

8 months ago

Just because Lightroom can do all those things does NOT mean Lightroom includes a "file browser" like Finder/Explorer or Bridge.  It just is displaying the folders/files that you have imported.

Adobe Administrator

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8.2K Messages

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117.5K Points

8 months ago

This is one of the reasons Adobe has three different solutions.

1. Bridge - a disk-based file browser for all file assets.
2. Lightroom Classic - a disk-based referential database for photographic assets only. 
3. Lightroom desktop - a cloud-based solution that eliminates folders completely. 

It would be inaccurate to characterize Lightroom Classic as being a file browser or having a file browser. It is not and it doesn't. If you look at your bullet points and add the word referenced in front of the words "files" and "folders"it would be more accurate.
 

Adobe Photography Products

Quality Engineering - Customer Advocacy

54 Messages

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996 Points

Understood.

I just wonder how many users Adobe loses to Capture One, Affinity Photo, Luminar, etc. because of this very subtle distinction and the difficulty of onboarding new photographers into Lightroom Classic.

Of course, I need to remind myself of the elephant in the room--the new Lightroom CC which does away with file management altogether.

For folks who don't understand file management vs. referential databases, Lightroom CC is a good middle ground.

Thus, I withdraw my feature request.  Phew, we can all relax! ;-)