Lightroom: Prevent loss of Edit Histories when Reimporting Photos

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  • Idea
  • Updated 8 years ago
  • (Edited)
When importing DNGs with stored edits (included XMP data) then the history of the photo just shows "Imported..." instead of the list of edits.

I have a corrupt catalogue. (I did nothing to cause the correction :()
The catalogue contains photos which are not associated to folders in the library module. When I choose "Got to folder in Library module" from the context menu for such photos, nothing happens. I imported them just like any other photos, but somehow the corresponding library folder wasn't created or lost.

I tried synchroning the parent folder but the missing subfolders are not created again.

That's why I decided the only way forward is to create a new catalogue. However, the new catalogue doesn't have any of the edit history. The rendering is OK and I can reset it to see the original version of the photos but I cannot see the edit history anymore.

Why is the edit history not recreated? The essence of it must be available because otherwise the correct final rendering could not be created.

I believe edit histories should be available for JPGs, RAW and DNG files. When I decided to use DNG files vs RAW files with sidecar (XMP) files, I didn't know that I'd lose the history with a fresh import of a DNG file. I suppose that if I had XMP files, I could copy these and still had my edit histories.
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TK

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  • frustrated because loss of edit histories is an additional penalty over and above the catalogue corruption

Posted 8 years ago

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Dan Tull, Employee

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Two thoughts on this: I've generally been of the opinion that significant metadata should (eventually) find its way into XMP since XMP can be used as a kind of distributed catalog backup. The main reason I could see not to have history in the XMP is that it'd be too big, but if it were stored smartly as a series of deltas against the final settings, it's should be fairly small in most cases.

Which reminds me of another mini-feature I've wanted for the history panel: a "minimize" option that elides multiple (even non-contiguous) adjustments of the same slider into a single step. It would turn a messy history list into a simplified summary of all the actions taken to get from original to final.

The reason that's possibly relevant here is that minimize could probably be implemented in such a way that it could compare the default settings with the current settings which would mean an image imported without history would get a concise summary of the changes. Not as complete as the original, but it provides at least some of the utility.
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john beardsworth

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Application of presets? You mean upon import? I'd say they form part of the difference. But that's arguable. Some will want them in, some out, and as there's not a lot of value from having simplified history....
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Lee Jay

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We have a simplified history already. It just doesn't look like it. The numbers are cumulative so they aren't quite the same as those in the PS history palette.
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john beardsworth

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Not as simple as Dan is suggesting though, and I wouldn't want Photoshop history to be replicated in Lightroom (no, don't anyone suggest a history brush!!!)
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TK

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Dan, I like your idea of an "essential history". It could be just a view on an underlying full history but maybe the user could also be given the option to "compress" the history to retain only the essential steps.

History size in XMP files or DNG metadata could be best controlled by using data compression (c.f. .zip files). I think in compressed form it would be feasible to store complete histories. Those who prioritise storage space could opt to store essential histories only.

Current XMP contents must be close to "essential histories", otherwise LR wouldn't be able to produce the final rendering from the original.

Lee, you wrote: "Remember, due to the Camera Raw defaults and the application of presets, the starting point isn't always fixed." I don't understand what you mean. When LR only got DNG or RAW+XMP files to work with (i.e., not catalogue data) it must be able to recreate the final rendering as if the catalogue data were available. Hence an entire essential set of instructions (which is close to but not the same as a essential history) must be contained in the DNG or XMP. I don't understand your comment about already having a simplified history.
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Dan Tull, Employee

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See my remark lower in the thread. Zip compression works remarkably poorly on extremely large develop histories. They do better on large numbers of nearly identical develop settings, though even that is better accomplished by not storing identical settings many times. Most catalogs contain large numbers of photos with the same settings applied (either defaults or preset applied settings).