Lightroom Classic: Before after comparison of metadata conflicts

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It['d be great to be able to use the before after split screen mode to look at metadata conflicts visually. You could see which version of the metadata is the one to keep. Although you still need to see differences like keywords and so on. I like rob cole's SQLLiteroom's ability to find the files with metadata conflicts, but now I need to figure out which one to keep. Even if it wasn't a visual comparison, that'd be ok. I just feel like I'm blind choosing between the catalog and the xmp file that are out of sync.
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Bryn Forbes

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Posted 8 years ago

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Rob Cole

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@2011-12-10 (v4.0), ChangeManager has a feature that presents a dialog box with a list of all develop setting and metadata differences between what's in the catalog, and what's in xmp on disk. I have not thought of a way to include visual comparison, yet.
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Bryn Forbes

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Since Rob's website is gone, we're back to "huh, there's a metadata conflict. I have no idea what to do"
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Yes and I would like a sensible resolution choice. Right now we have:
- Overwrite original (terrible terrible terrible)
- Reload from source (looses all keywords, ratings, cropping, development, etc)

We really need a sync the metadata from file but keep Lightroom settings.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Show actual metadata differences on XMP vs catalogue conflicts....

Whenever Lightroom detects any kind of conflict between it's catalogue and a XMP sidecar file, it asks me how to handle that conflict. Problem is, I don't get any detailed information on the conflict like editing timestamps or actual differences in settings.

We do need 
  1. much better conflict detection (often times LR detects conflicts that don't exist)
  2. overview on changes between the two versions
  3. preview of image rendered with the different settings

This has been discussed for years now:
Lightroom: Before after comparison of metadata conflicts

Please fix this!
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Russell Cardwell

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Idea: Preview Metadata Changes.

I am constantly confronted with the little exclamation point icon that tells me that metadata has been changed. (Theoretically by another application, but usually no other application has been involved. Lightroom has simply lost track.) 

Unfortunately, all the choices are blind.

  • Blindly overwrite the metadata with different metadata Lightroom has found on the disk.
  • Blindly overwrite the metadata on the disk with different metadata lightroom has found.
  • Or ignore this notice and hope it goes away.
There is no way to know what metadata has been changed. Is it EXIF data or is it develop settings? Which set of data is newest? There's no way to know. 

Long ago, I learned the hard way not to click the button. I ignore it unless I absolutely need to resolve it. At that point the only way to resolve it is to create a virtual copy, update the original, and compare.

Why not add a preview feature, or better a way to compare the two versions side by side? It would save a lot of time.
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Jeremy Caney

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Out of curiosity, why don’t you click the button to resolve the conflict? Just because it’s ambiguous which is newer? Or have you also encountered issues such as file corruption?
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Cristen Gillespie

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Idea: Preview Metadata Changes (merging).

I'm glad you went to the trouble to write this one up. It doesn't sound like an easy "fix," but compared to destroying our metadata, it seems to me to be a worthwhile effort for Adobe to make. If they only let us see what we'd changed, where and when, it could be enough much of the time, but in cases like yours, maybe better to go all the way to letting us compare visually if that's reasonably possible.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Idea: Preview Metadata Changes.
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Good to know in 8 years this remains unsolved.

Obviously Lightroom can see there is a conflict, so why can't it display it? Even a basic listing of the fields it can see conflicting would be a million times better than the random guessing we have now...

In Library:
Title: "Summer in the pool"
In File:
Title "Summer in the pool!"

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Rob Rippengale

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Adobe just emailed an offer to "Learn from the experts on how to create amazing customer experiences." Maybe we'll get lucky and their programmers will sign up for the conference.
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Russell Cardwell

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Another thing I have started doing recently:

Since I automatically save metadata as external files, I have started using ‘Show in Finder’ to open the folder at the image location. There, I can make a copy of the XMP file. Then when I click the button to update the settings, I know that I can restore the original by renaming the XMP file.

Not an elegant solution by any stretch. But until Adobe decides to fix this, we’re stuck with such workarounds.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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If you're sure that you haven't modified a photo or its metadata outside of LR, it's safe to Metadata > Save Metadata To File and choose Overwrite Settings. (This doesn't address the core feature request, but LR tends to generate a lot of spurious metadata-conflict warnings.)
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I set most of the metadata (keywords, GPS position...) using Geosetter, and I develop all my photos with LR. In some occasions (like today), I forgot to reload the metadata from file before developing and then all developed photos miss the metadata.
Without the metadata comparison, I have the only choice of either lose my Geosetter settings and keep my development settings, or the opposite.
It would be nice to load metadata from file with a comparison box showing the differences between file and LR database to choose the ones to keep (for the current photo and for all photos in the batch).
Outside of LR, is there any plugin that provides this feature?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You can download Rob Cole's ChangeManager plugin from here:

According to Rob's post from 8 years ago, it displays differences between metadata in the catalog and metadata stored in the photo or sidecar on disk.   I don't know if it lets you merge the two. Many of Rob's plugins appear to work in LR 8, even though they haven't been updated in four years (Rob passed away in 2015).
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Richard Kain

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I guess that there is some information within the metadata that does not affect the appearance of the image, such as remembering how the image was printed or exported. When such entries change, there is no change in the appearance, which is the most important thing about the image. 

If the above is correct, it would be useful for Lightroom to distinguish changes that affect the appearance of the image from changes that do not change that appearance. Couldn't you simply color the flag (red!?) when the differences affect the appearance, and leave it white when the appearance is not changed by the metadata difference? Using red, for example, would highlight the cases in which the user should really care about the fact that there is a conflict. And if you make such a distinction, perhaps you could add in a script that goes through a folder to remove all of those conflicts, by either updating or not (the choice set as a user preference).