Lightroom: Add a 'Use smart previews to increase performance ' option

  • 12
  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
Many users are disappointed with the speed improvements of the LR5 beta. However, there is one new feature, smart preview, that has potential to fulfil this shortfall: smart preview.
Although smart preview is currently being used to make slower systems usable, it would also make fast systems MUCH faster. So I propose a new option that forces smart preview even when the original image has NOT been disconnected.

Suggested implementation
User has a new option in the UI, ‘Use smart previews to increase performance’.

When this is selected, all operations are applied to the current view at the current zoom level. So if the user is working on a 1.5MP (1500x1000) view of a 24MP (6000x4000) image, the changes will effectively be applied internally to a 1.5MP smart preview (and will therefore be working on a quarter of the pixels, ie up to x4 faster).

Changes to the actual 24MP image will be forced if the user
(1) increases zoom level, or if
(2) the system is idle, or if
(3) the image is closed, or if
(4) the user clicks a new ‘apply changes now’ button.

The exact situation(s) that will force changes will be applied to the original 24MP image will be configurable from the ‘Use smart previews to increase performance’ option (i.e. all 4 of the situations noted above will appear as checkboxes when setting ‘Use smart previews to increase performance, the default being all 5 checked). NB – if the user does not check 1, the system will have to limit the maximum zoom, and a requester will appear whenever this issue becomes relevant to the current workflow.

If the user closes Lightroom with outstanding changes still in the pipeline, a requester will appear asking if the user wants to update smart previews before closing.

If the user attempts to export an image with outstanding changes still in the pipeline the changes will be applied to the full 24MP image before export.

This option allows the end user to custom select a tradeoff between UI performance vs smart image caching, and will be a major advance in overall Lightroom performance.
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Sham Bhangal

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  • excited

Posted 7 years ago

  • 12
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Sham Bhangal

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Sorry, typo, 'the default being all 5 checked' should of course be 'the default being all 4 checked'
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Bryn Forbes

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I agree. If I know I'm not checking sharpness at 1:1 for the current stage of my workflow put off all the full resolution processing until later.

One workaround would be to rename your drive with original images temporarily, then lightroom thinks the drive is gone, and will use the smart previews.
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Rob Cole

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A couple things that may interest you for the mean time:

PreviewExporter supports:
* taking photos (with smart previews) offline for enhanced develop performance.
* exporting (regular or) smart preview (even if photo online) for enhanced export performance.
* further reducing smart preview size for an additional boost to develop performance.



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You're speaking out of my soul. This is exactly what I started doing several days ago.
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Rob Cole

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Right on... :-)
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Jeff Harmon

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I would LOVE to see a checkbox added just under the histogram where Lightroom tells you if it is using Originals or Smart Previews so that when checked even if the Original is available Lightroom will only use the Smart Preview.  I am doing this manually right now by temporarily renaming the folder where the originals are at so that Lightroom is forced into using the Smart Previews and it works so well I just really wish there was a easier, less technical way to make this work.

Seems like it would be good to also have a warning dialog box come up at the point where the photography may want to turn it back off and go to originals like when exporting.  Would be good to have it auto switch on a specific photo back to the original if the user sends it over to Photoshop for editing.